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Video – Mark Victor Hansen on Affirmations
by On September 10, 2010

In this video, Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, talks about the power of using affirmations, both those that build you up to create greatness and those that bring you down.

What are affirmations? According to Mark victor Hansen, they are the words you say to yourself, words others say to you, or images you think about, act upon or act upon you. Whether they are good or bad, they will have an affect on you and he has some great stories that illustrate this.

Be Free!

Working Smarter AND Harder (plus words of wisdom from Will Smith)
by On September 9, 2010

Eric PlantenbergUnderstanding the role that your talents and skills play in your career is foundational for your personal improvement.

In the realm of personal development, there is an incredible focus on working smarter not harder. While that is a concept that I have found incredibly valuable in countless scenarios in the past 20 years, I believe that it is only half of the equation.

What many people who are ‘selling’ the work smarter not harder ideology omit is that the AND principle can be found at the core of almost every Elite performance. What I mean by that is that when you look at the best of the best in any field, they are working smarter AND harder to create their Elite results.

When a person slumps… and I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t, I would suggest that the quickest fix is to tighten your focus, put your head down, and get to work. Strategizing the most effective way, planning and working Smarter are all exceptional ideas once you have momentum on your side.

I was incredibly inspired by a short video of Will Smith where he points out what he anchors to in his quest for greatness. Here are a couple of quotes that stood out for me:

“Greatness is something that truly exists in all of us.”
“Don’t you ever tell me there is something that you can’t do.”
“I’m going to lay this (one) brick as perfectly as it can be laid.”

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

I love how these quotes are congruent for such a long time in Will’s life. It really struck me how consistent his message is from early in his life through the present. I also love how Will borrowed some great material from FPD talking about Talents and Skills!

After watching this… I’d love to know what stood out for you. What can you take from this post and Will’s Wisdom to support your achievement of your goals?

Be free!

eric
President

Denver CO Memory Training Workshop September 20 and 21
by On September 8, 2010

outside of this area, you can view our National Workshop Schedule online for other dates and locations.

If you have not yet reserved your seat, please enroll today – space is limited. (online or by phone 888-233-0407)

Ever forget somone’s name seconds after meeting them? Wish you could give presentations without notes? Would your life be easier if you could instantly recall important information about your clients or materials for exams?

If so, this workshop is for YOU!

Denver, CO Mwmory Training Workshop Details

Location:
Ramada Plaza Denver North
10 East 120th Avenue
I-25 at Exit 223
Denver, CO 80233
303-452-4100
Directions

Dates:
September 20 and 21, 2010
Monday and Tuesday
(you attend both days)

Time: 1:00 – 5:00 pm

Enroll in the Memory Training Workshop

After attending the Memory Training Workshops, you are guaranteed to:

– Experience a 300% increase in your ability to recall information.
– Remember a list of 50 unrelated items forwards, backwards and in and out of order.
– Develop the ability to deliver presentations without notes.
– Be able to meet 20 new people and remember all of their names within an hour.

Look forwards to seeing you at the workshop!

Be Free!

Kurt Venekamp
Speaker in the Denver area

Top 10 Tips for a Productivity Boost
by On September 7, 2010

Today’s Top 10 Tips Tuesday is a guest post from Leo Babauta, the author of Zen Habits.  Leo has a popular blog on living your best life – you should check it out!  Read this post for a sample of his work and learn how to get a boost on getting things done.

Be Free!

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We all need a productivity boost now and then — sometimes throughout the day. We each want to be productive for very personal reasons — to accomplish more, to make more money, to get done earlier to make more time for our personal lives, to accomplish our goals. But whatever the reason, these Productivity Tips will do the trick.

Here they are, in reverse order (click on links for more on each):

#10: Take care of your Most Important Things first. Your Most Important Things for the day — the things you most need to accomplish that day — should take priority over everything else. However, we all know that fires come up throughout the day, interruptions through phone calls and email and people dropping by, new demands that will push the best-laid plans aside. If you put off your MITs until later in the day, you will end up not doing them much of the time.

Try to get all three of your MITs done before moving on to anything else. If you can do that, the rest of the day is gravy!

# 9: Wake up early. Decide what you’d like to accomplish each morning, and build your morning routine around that. Like to exercise? Put that in there. Healthy breakfast? Go for it. Check email? Fine. The mornings are a fresh start, peaceful and free of ringing phones and constant email notifications. If you get your Most Important Things done in the morning, the rest of the day is just gravy. (see How I Became an Early Riser.)

# 8: Simplify information streams, crank through blogs & email. Think about all the information you receive (email, blogs, newsletters, mailing lists, magazines, newspapers and more) and edit brutally. You will drastically reduce the time you spend reading. For everything else that begins to come in after your editing process, ask yourself if you really need to be getting that information regularly. Most of the time the answer is no. Now, after this process, you should be left with less to read. Here’s the next step: crank through it all, really only reading the really interesting ones.

Editing and cranking through the information you receive can free up a lot of time for more important things — like achieving your goals.

# 7: Declutter your workspace; work on one thing at a time. The decluttering your work space part of it is simply to remove all extra distractions, on your desk and on your computer. If you’ve got a clean, simplified workspace, you can better focus on the task at hand. (See more on how to do this.)

Now, with distractions minimized, focus on the task at hand. Don’t check email, don’t work on five projects at once, don’t check the stats on your blog, don’t go to your feed reader. Work on that one task, and work on it with concentrated focus until you are done. (See How NOT to Multi-task.) Then celebrate your achievement!

# 6: Get to work early; work fewer hours. My best days come when I get into work early, and begin my work day in the quiet morning hours, before the phones start ringing and the din of the office begins it crescendo to chaos. It is so peaceful, and I can work without interruption or losing focus. I often find that I get my MITs done before anyone comes in, and then the rest of the day is dealing with whatever comes up (or even better: getting ahead for the next day).

Added bonus: you skip rush-hour traffic.

But just as productive is the second part of the tip: leave early and work fewer hours. It’s paradoxical, but if you work fewer hours, and know that your time is limited, you will be more focused. Then you have more hours to yourself! Everyone wins.

# 5: Avoid meetings; when you must meet, make it effective. I find it best to say no to meetings up front. I just say, “Sorry, I can’t make it. I’m tied up with a project right now.” And that’s always true. I’ve always got projects I’m working on that are more important than a meeting.

Now, you probably won’t be able to get out of most meetings, so here are some tips for making meetings more effective.

# 4: Avoid unnecessary work. If we just do any work that comes our way, we can be cranking out the tasks, but not be productive at all. You’re only productive if you are doing work that moves you towards a goal. Eliminate non-essential tasks from your to-do lists, and start to say no to new requests that are non-essential.

If you do not take these steps and speak up, and say no, then you will be overloaded with work that you simply do not need to do. Cut out the non-essential tasks, and focus on those that really matter.

# 3: Do the tough tasks first. You know what those tasks are. What have you been putting off that you know you need to do? Sometimes when you put things off, they end up being things you don’t really need to do. But sometimes they are things you just gotta do. Those are your tough tasks.

Do them first thing in the day.

# 2: Work off-line as much as possible. To increase your productivity, disconnect your Internet connection. Have scheduled times when you’re going to check your email, and only let yourself check your blogs or surf the web when you’ve gotten a certain amount done. When you do go online, do it on a timer. When the timer goes off, unplug again until the next scheduled time.

You’ll be amazed at how much work you’ll get done.

# 1: Do something you’re passionate about. This might not seem like the normal productivity tip, but give it a thought: if you really want to do something, you’ll work like hell to get it done. You’ll work extra hard, you’ll put in even more hours, and you’re less likely to procrastinate. It’s for work that you don’t really care about that you procrastinate. Read the full post for tips on how to find your dream job and do work you truly care about.

Source: Zen Habits
Author: Leo Babauta

Video – What is Success?
by On September 3, 2010

What do you consider to be a success?  It is a provoking question.  In this video, everyday people off the street are asked, “What is success?”

Be Free!

Contest – What Would You Tell Your 18-Year-Old Self?
by On September 2, 2010

Last year I hosted the contest Hindsight is 20/20 and wanted to do similar contest this year, but with a twist.

Imagine you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself at age 18. Turning 18 is an exciting age – you are finally a legally recognized adult, you can vote and the world is full of possibilities. Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your younger self?

Perhaps you would pass along a few words of wisdom. Maybe there was an opportunity you wish would have taken, or a mistake that you wish you could have avoided. Perhaps you would just pass along some stock tips 🙂

To enter, type your name, email below with your answer to this question:

What would you tell your 18-Year-Old Self?

Feel free to enter as many times as you like with each comment being a different piece of advice.

Winners will be picked based on how concise their answer is, insight gained from the past and quality of the advice.

Prizes:

First Place: A laser pen
Second Place: An Expect Success Book
Third Place:
– Freedom Personal Development Water Bottle

All winners will also get a “Be Free” Bumper Sticker and Happy Highlighter.

The deadline for submissions is Thursday, September 30, 2010. Winners will be emailed and announced on our blog Tuesday, October 5.

I can’t wait to read all of your thoughts and comments!

Be Free!

David Shoup
Instructor

Winners Announced – Public Speaking Contest
by On September 1, 2010

Thanks for all of the great entries!  It was tough to pick a winner this month. There were many good questions and some of them were technical in nature and others were a revelation of the fear that many people possess. Our two winners seemed to really have some serious fear when in front of large groups so I had to award the prizes to them because of their honesty. Perhaps winning a contest will give them a reason to smile the next time they are about to present in front of a group and that will help loosen them up a bit. I think some of the answers that all of those with questions had can be found in the advice given by others or in my response below.

Wow! There was some awesome advice given out in this contest. If you are hoping to improve your speaking ability and confidence I would read all of these entries more than a few times and let them sink in. Nice work to everyone who shared, and thank you. Now, on to the winners!

Question #1 – What is your #1 question on how to be a better public speaker/presenter?

First Place and winner of an Expect Success book is Susan Alsted (#19)

Question #1 – What is your #1 question on how to be a better public speaker/presenter? Even though I have the knowledge of the subject, my mouth is so tensed up and before I know it, I freeze. I listen to others, I get tips and each time & try new ways, and it always seems the same outcome. A 20 min presentation takes me 2 mins and I am done. Small groups are a breeze but the large groups I simple fail at.

Question #2 – What advice would you give to someone that was nervous about giving a presentation to a large group of people? Just simply say “No thank-you” but I will be there to listen and encourage you. ;o)

Second Place and winner of a Freedom Personal Development Water Bottle is Gina Gulliford (#27)

How do you keep your nerves under wraps while speaking? Sometimes I’m shaking so much I can hardly stammer the words out of my mouth. Thank you for the answer.

Some of my favorite responses for question 1:

11. Question #1 – What always goes through my mind: “How will this change the audience’s life for the better?” If I cannot come up with a good answer, what’s the point of the speech?
15. Question #1: (response) How can I inject humor into my presentations without it seeming forced or a cheap gimmick to get audience attention?
18. How do I get rid of the physical nervous characteristics?
19. Even though I have the knowledge of the subject, my mouth is so tensed up and before I know it, I freeze. I listen to others, I get tips and each time & try new ways, and it always seems the same outcome. A 20 min presentation takes me 2 mins and I am done. Small groups are a breeze but the large groups I simple fail at.
21. When asked to prepare to speak in front of a group of people who I do not share their passion for that particular cause. . . what should my focus be on?
25. #1 – how do I develop the skill that will help me speak in front of an audience to an impromptu question whether it if for a 2-3 minute response or a 10-15 minute overview of something.
26. How can you make sure the speaker is not just droning on in that put to sleep monotone that drives the listener nuts?
27. How do you keep your nerves under wraps while speaking? Sometimes I’m shaking so much I can hardly stammer the words out of my mouth.
34. What events in your life (outside of public speaking), have led you to be a better public speaker? For instance, was there an event that made you love being in the spotlight? Was there an event that helped you overcome fear? Was there an event that made you extremely confident? What steps (outside of public speaking) could one take to become a more competent public speaker?

Question #2 – What advice would you give to someone that was nervous about giving a presentation to a large group of people?

First Place and winner of an Expect Success book is Jennifer Rogers (#35)

Tips for gaining greater comfort in giving presentations:

1. Prepare your general speaking points and practice your presentation out loud in front of a mirror. You can even videotape yourself.
2. You can use index cards but only write key points on them; or use your room files from the Memory workshop to trigger key topics.
3. It’s helpful to know your audience – add items of importance or interest to them to customize your presentation.
4. Get some audience participation early on (example – show of hands on a question). It can calm your nerves.
5. Wear an outfit you’re comfartable & confident in.
6. Visit the venue beforehand & mentally run through the presentation there, if poosible. Plan ahead for success!

Second Place and winner of a Freedom Personal Development Water Bottle is Brett Heffern (#37)

Question #2: “What advice would I give?” What are the most critical points to tell someone who might be nervous about getting up to speak in front of a group of people? Well…

– First and foremost, take some some really deep breaths before getting getting up to speak. This will help the speaker be more aware of their rythym.

– Secondly, keep in mind you’re not talking to your audience bur rather with your audience. Don’t think of a memorized speech that you have to remember word for word but an exciting, inner-active discussion with your audience. Include the audience by asking questions, throwing out ideas, etc.

– Third, make sure your speech has a point – and stick with it!

– Finlly, just have fun. If you mess-up on a word just keep going! The audience isn’t going to remember why you fumbled but rather how well you recovered.

Brett

Jennifer Rogers (#35) was our First Place winner for question 2. Jennifer’s tips were well organized, right on, AND she is about the only person who mentioned using Memory Training! Come on people!  The number one fear in the country is public speaking and the #1 reason for that is because people are afraid they are going to forget what they are “supposed” to say. Using Memory Training has changed people’s careers when they use it consistently to deliver speeches.
Jennifer also mentioned videotaping yourself. Video taping yourself is so much more valuable than practicing in front of a mirror. I do realize that a camera is much more expensive than a mirror, but with access to phones with video ability, and webcams you don’t need something super expensive. Here’s why that is better than a mirror. When you worry about constantly correcting yourself WHILE you are speaking then your focus is shifting back to yourself screwing up. Filming yourself allows you to focus on “how” you are delivering the words with emotion, inflection and you let it all go without stopping or worrying that your delivery was perfect. Then when you watch the film you can allow yourself to take notice of the things you would like to change.
2nd Place goes to Brett Heffern. Some big breaths before you start is great advice and keeping in mind that the crowd is normally very forgiving is great to keep in mind. I have found it to be true by wat
ching other speakers and speaking myself that the crowd generally accepts that everyone will slip up from time to time but the ability to recover and keep going or laugh at yourself is how you can win their hearts.

Some of my favorite responses to question 2:
10. Know your audience, the presentation has to be on target so you must know the target.
Know your material, don’t just memorize it…internalize it.
Make sure you give the audience not just information but a big piece of yourself.
Practice in from of someone your trust and whose opinion you value for feed back
Most importantly…HAVE FUN!!!
11. Question #2 – Remember that the audience doesn’t know what you’re going to say. If you goof, keep going. They may not even notice. Remember, if you’re nervous, your focus is backwards – the speech is all about THEM, not you.
35. 1. Prepare your general speaking points and practice your presentation out loud in front of a mirror. You can even videotape yourself.
2. You can use index cards but only write key points on them; or use your room files from the Memory workshop to trigger key topics.
3. It’s helpful to know your audience – add items of importance or interest to them to customize your presentation.
4. Get some audience participation early on (example – show of hands on a question). It can calm your nerves.
5. Wear an outfit you’re comfortable & confident in.
6. Visit the venue beforehand & mentally run through the presentation there, if possible. Plan ahead for success!

37. – First and foremost, take some really deep breaths before getting up to speak. This will help the speaker be more aware of their rhythm.
– Secondly, keep in mind you’re not talking to your audience bur rather with your audience. Don’t think of a memorized speech that you have to remember word for word but an exciting, inner-active discussion with your audience. Include the audience by asking questions, throwing out ideas, etc.
– Third, make sure your speech has a point – and stick with it!
– Finally, just have fun. If you mess-up on a word just keep going! The audience isn’t going to remember why you fumbled but rather how well you recovered.
43. When you are preparing to go up to the podium and you’re nervous and shaky, take a moment and remind yourself that it’s not about you. You’re nervous because you are focused on yourself doing a good job, but it’s not about you. It’s about those in the audience. They are the ones that want to learn and grow from your message. Remember that it’s about them and not you.

I did want to address two of the questions specifically from up the contest. “How can I inject humor?” and “How do you invoke emotion in an audience?” It is important to realize that “trying” to be funny rarely works. You have to be yourself in front of the group. Which is one reason that I think some people are afraid of speaking. Because the thought goes “what if I am myself and they don’t like me?” but that thinking only leads us down dark paths and more fear. Realize that people love genuineness and sincerity. If you are naturally funny that will come across in your speech and if you don’t feel naturally funny, then don’t try to add a bunch of someone else’s “jokes” to your presentation. They will bomb. I learned that one the hard way myself. In the beginning of my career, Roger sat me down and explained that I was funny but NOT when I was using other people’s jokes. It hurt to hear it, but it helped me create my own style.
And the only way to invoke emotion in an audience is by having emotion within yourself. When you have genuine emotion and passion inside yourself that will shine through and you don’t need any technique to show it. Just lay it all out for the world to see and understand that not everyone will share it with you but the majority will feel it and be moved in some way themselves.

Thank you to everyone that entered the contest.  Watch for the next contest on our blog tomorrow

Be Free!

Tom Weber
Instructor