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Top 10 Tips for Time Management
by On August 4, 2009

time management tipsYesterday we announced our Contest Winners in our Time Management Contest. Today, for the Top 10 Tips Tuesday, we wanted to give you some time management tips.

Be Free!

1. Work on your Highest Priority Task Durning Your Peak Performance Time

Schedule demanding tasks to the part of the day that you work best, where your energy levels are at their highest. It maybe first thing in the morning or early afternoon – work out when it is and then see yourself moving ahead.

For me, I am most productive in the morning. I schedule all of my “high brain” activates such as writing and planning at that time. I save administrative tasks for the afternoon.

2. Check Your Email on a Schedule

It’s not effective to read and answer every email as it arrives. Just because someone can contact you immediately does not mean that you have to respond to him or her immediately. People want a predictable response, not an immediate response. So as long as people know how long to expect an answer to take, and they know how to reach you in an emergency, you can answer most types of email just a few times a day.

One of our instructors at Freedom Personal Development actually lists when she checks and responds to email in the bottom of her signature. You can also set up an auto responder that states when people can expect a reply.

3. Ask Someone who is Efficient – What their Secret is?

Ask the most efficient person you know what their secret is and how did they develop these habits. Then see if it will work for you. Make sure it isn’t someone who is efficient just at work, but in their entire life. They get tasks done ahead of schedule and still has time to spend with family, work out and take vacations without stressing out.

If you want to go right to the source of time management mastery, check our Brian Tracy’s program, How to Master Your Time. Brian will give you so many strategies to impore your efficiency you can pick and choose the ones that work best for you.

4. Don’t Allow Anyone to Take Your Time from You

Set up boundaries around your time. If you are stopped in the hall for a conversation or someone barges into your office, ask for this person to arrange a meeting with you (if appropriate); don’t allow co-workers to infringe on your home time; if someone is late for an appointment and haven’t contacted you – give them 15 minutes past the appointed time and then move on. It is up to you as to how you allow other people to use your time!

5. Create Daily Task Lists with Scheduled Times

If you don’t know what you should be doing, how can you manage your time to do it? Some people like writing this list out by hand because it shows commitment to each item if you are willing to rewrite it each day until it gets done.

To really ramp up your to-do list, actually schedule time when you will be focused on each task and nothing else. Think of this as budgeting your time. Make sure to schedule “catch up time” for items that may take longer than you expected or to schedule any interruptions in your day.

6. Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time

Break down each big project into sub-actions: For example, if you need to send out a marketing email, break that up into: a)Write email draft, b)edit email text, c)layout email, and d)send. When you break down projects into smaller tasks, they become more manageable, and you can allot a realistic time frame for getting the project completed.

7. Learn How To Say No

In all honesty, there are times where you may not be able to refuse a project at work or a task at home, but try to not take on more than you can accomplish. If you must, look into using outside help. In your business or the workplace, this outside help can come from another company, someone you met at a networking event or look at doing a skills exchange like……….you may be able to provide a service in return for whatever.

Rather than trying to do it all yourself – sometimes all you have to do is ……ASK!

8. Practice Delegating Tasks and Assignments

An effective manager of time recognizes that our use of time in certain areas is truly wasted. There are some tasks that others could accomplish for us and thus allowing us to focus on those things of more importance. It might be useful to allow our children to wash the dishes or gather up the dirty clothes. It could improve work related assignments by sharing them with others who are capable of doing them. It also helps build character in others when we demonstrate a trust in their ability to do something normally performed by us.

No doubt there will be those in the workplace who simply view this as a passing of the buck or more workload for them. However, if we treat individuals respectfully, demonstrating our confidence in their abilities, they will be more readily open to helping out for the benefit of everyone. Are there tasks at work or at home that can be delegated to other employees or other family members? Can we train someone else to take on a role or responsibility normally performed by us? Why not consider it and share the work load?

9. Consider Hiring Professional Help

As previously stated, if you are overwhelmed at home, you may want to call on a professional housecleaner or gardener or use the Supestore home delivery services it doesn’t matter what tricks you use to free up more time.

10. Move Your TV to another Room

What ever room in your house the TV that you watch the most is in, move the TV someplace else. This will cut your the habit of sitting down and watching the boob tube. Try just cutting out at least two hours of viewing time and work on more important tasks.


Top 10 Words to Delete from Your Vocabulary
by On July 28, 2009

deleteWords are powerful because they shape our thoughts, determine our actions, and chart the course of our lives. This is true whether the words are positive, giving hope and encouragement, or negative utterances that steal our joy and confidence.

Wherever we are in our lives, personal relationships, or our careers, the words we have used consistently are partly responsible.

This fact can prompt us to become more aware of our words, and when needed, to change them, so that we can begin to get the results we really desire.

Recently, during a particularly challenging period, I discovered that I was using some of the following words far too often to get the favorable results I wanted:

  1. Can’t
    The use of this word is responsible for countless hopes and dreams lying dormant on the drawing boards of our lives. Completely eliminate your use of this word and you will see your life change for the better.
  2. But
    When used as a conjunction, “but” negates what ever statement precedes it. “I want to study medicine, but it will take a lot of hard work.” Your mind doesn’t focus on your desire to be a doctor or nurse; it only focuses on the hard work you need to put forth. Replace this word with “and.”
  3. Should
    Any statement that uses the word “should” elicits guilt. “I should have gone to the gym,” makes you feel guilty for not going. Replace this word with “choose,” as in, “I chose not to go to the gym because…” There is no such thing as should – it is or it isn’t.
  4. Maybe
    This word indicates indecision, doubt, or uncertainty as to a course of action. For example: “Maybe, I’ll better wait to…” for those of us interested in personal development, choose to use “maybe” sparingly. Replace this word with “I will” or “Will not.”
  5. Soon/Later
    Both of these words are indefinite in referring to time, it also shows a lack of commitment. Replace with a definite time or date.When someone tells you he or she is going to do something “soon” or “later” there is no way to determine when “whatever it is” will get done. Imagine what can happen to deadlines and you integrity when the words soon or later are used frequently.
  6. Someday
    This word, like “soon” or “later”, is too indefinite, and when it is used, it shows the same lack of commitment. Replace with a definite time or date.
  7. Never/Always
    These words are absolutes. There are only limited circumstances when “never” or “always” is absolutely true. The use of these words, in my opinion, suggests a closed mind, and personal growth is seriously hindered when “never” or “always” is used on a regular basis. Replace these words with a non-absolute term.
  8. Won’t
    The word “won’t” implies an unwillingness, reluctance, or closed mindedness, and, like “never”, it is quite harmful to our personal development or self-growth efforts. Using the word “won’t” closes the door on many of the action steps needed to advance our goal.
  9. If
    This is a small word that carries large doubts and uncertainties, and when used often, it gnaws away at our confidence and intended actions, two qualities necessary for any type of success.
  10. Try
    I don’t know about you, but each time someone has said these words to me, or when I have used them in conversations with others, whatever the subject of “I’ll try,” was, it rarely got done. Replace this word with “I will.”

Give these words serious thought before they are used in our “self talk,” conversations we have with others, or the written word.

We must remember this: Our words affect our thoughts, our actions and ultimately our lives, and because of their power, we must choose them with the utmost care.


Barbara J. Henry is a published author, (Journaling: Twenty Plus Reasons Why You Should Start Now), personal development expert, and avid reader of books on self-growth, self-help, and spirituality, which are the subjects of her blogs. Barbara has journaled daily since June of 1995, and as a result, she describes herself as “the journaling lady.”

Visit her web site: to read and comment on some of her blog posts. Visit the Titles and Products page for a free copy of her very effective tip sheet: “9 Write ways to Solve Problems.”

Top 10 Tips for Overcoming Failure (and action steps to do something about it)
by On July 14, 2009

Everyone hates to fail but what most people don’t realize is that failing is part of success. Anyone who has ever succeeded has failed many times. So, how do you overcome failure?

1. Learn from your mistakes and failures.

How did you learn to ride a bike? The short answer: you fell off 100 times. Every time you make a mistake or fail, learn as much as you can from it so that you are better prepared next time.

Action Step: Write down the top five things that you learned from your last mistake or failure.

2. Don’t dwell on it.

Now that you have learned something from your mistake, move on. Don’t dwell on your past. You can’t tell where you are going if you are looking backwards. Also, dwelling on your past failures will keep you in prison right where you are.

Action Step: Write down the top 5 things you want to try in the future.

3. Don’t be afraid to try again.

Don’t let the fear from your last failure stop you from reaching your greatness, goal, dream, or potential. Just like learning to ride that bike, you didn’t fall once or twice and then give up.

Action Step: Take what you have learned and try it again now that you are better prepared.

4. Think about worse case scenarios.

If you don’t succeed, what will the outcome be? Is it something so terrible or is it something manageable? Often when we look at things in this perspective we realize it’s not as bad as we think and this alone helps mitigate some of the fear.

Action Step: Write out the absolutely worst case scenario your imagination can come up with.  Ask yourself, can I handle this if it happens? If yes, move forward with it.

5. Take baby stps.

If your fear is extreme or truly preventing you from moving forward or making those much needed changes in your life, don’t jump in full force, take it a bit slower and get your feet wet a little bit at a time. This sometimes eases you into an opportunity; depending on the situation this may not be possible, but if it is, it can help ease the transition.

Action Step: Write out all of the small steps it will take for you to achieve your next goal.

6. Tell yourself “I can do this!” (and believe it.)

Yes, you may have failed at something in the past, but that doesn’t mean you will fail again. Even if it’s an attempt at something you’ve never tried, keep in mind the old adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. If you fail you can say at least you took that chance; if you never even tried, you lose, but it’s worse than failing because you’ll never have made the attempt. Keep positive and give it your best shot, because reaching a level of confidence is a definitive measure of success.

Action Step: Go to a mirror right now and say out loud, “I can do anything I put my mind to. I can do it, I can do it, IF I put my mind to it.”

7. Surround yourself with positive people.

No matter what it is that you are trying to achieve, surround yourself with successful people that have done what you want to do. One of the best ways to overcome failure is to learn how other people just like you overcame failure. This will not only encourage you but give you the proof that it can be done.

Action Step: Find a person or a group of people who are successful and get around them as soon as possible.

8. Talk to others (or read).

Reach out and communicate with others who have dealt with the same issue you feel you’ve failed at. See what made them succeed and if they have any tips. If anything, they’ll likely be able to offer some moral support so when the going gets tough, you have some words of wisdom to fall back on.
If you don’t know anyone to talk to, get a book on the topic and learn from someone who has been there and done that.

Action Step: Make a list of all fo the people you can talk with and all of the books you can learn from.

9. Realize that failure is part of the learning curve.

Failure and mistakes aren’t fun but they are what help us learn to be great at whatever it is we are trying to achieve. “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

Action Step: Think back to a time where you succeeded. Then think how many times you failed or made mistakes to get to that success.

10. Mobilize your fear.

Take your fears and make them work for you. Use them as the driving force to conquer your hesitations by allowing them in to inspire and motivate you rather than languish within you.

Overcoming fear is one of the biggest obstacles people have with change. Change is intimidating, but much good can come from change, but you’ll never know unless you try.

By not letting fear run the show, you can ultimately discover your fears are conquered and you’ll have more confidence when the next big decision or change arrives.

Now that you have the Top 10 Tips for Overcoming Failure, go out there and just do it! You have a seed of greatness on the inside of you. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from reaching your full potential in life.

Be Free!

To get your free 7 part e-course, subscribe at

Top 10 Tips for Being Successful
by On June 23, 2009

1. Take Risks 
Do not be afraid to take risks…where is the fun in that? If you want something, go for it! Do not try and justify every action you make. Sometimes, all you have to do is to take that big leap! We usually allow ourselves to settle at what is safe and secure and yet we end up wondering at all the “what ifs?” and “what could have been?” in life.

If you take a risk and fail, move on!!  The best way to learn anything is to fail at first. 

We recently posted an article with some great stories on how people overcame failure.  We recommend you read the article, Go Forth and Fail – From Setback to Success for some examples on how to get back up after you have failed.

2. Make Opportunities 
This is more logical than waiting for opportunity to knock on your door – which may or may never come.  Taking action, asking questions and being in control of your destiny is critical.

3. Have a Plan
Always have a plan.. this is the best way to stay on track with your goals. Break a big goal into smaller goals and milestones to strive for.  This then becomes your plan.

4. Stay Motivated 
Half-way through reaching a goal, we sometimes get tired and lose the desire to go on. It is important to stay motivated. Remind yourself with the reasons as to why you are working hard.  Read motivational quotes and articles. Assure yourself that every effort exerted will eventually pay-off in the long run.

5. Be Patient 
Always remember that attaining goals almost always takes time. Be kind to yourself and the people around you because everything is actually a process in working your way up the ladder each day.

8. Reward Yourself 
As you surpass every milestone try and treat yourself for a job well done.

7. Do Not Stop Learning
You may feel that you have already become an expert in your field when you’ve been working on it for so long. But this shouldn’t be the reason why you should stop learning.  Read, take classes, research on the internet and listen to audio programs to learn new perspectives and grow. Keep innovating! New ideas and new ventures helps keep the fire burning!

8. Learn to Delegate 
When you are getting close to your goals you will find out that there are many more things to do than hours in the day. Find someone to help take some of your load so you can focus on things that needs your full attention.  Listen to Tim Ferris’ tips, author of the book, ”The 4-Hour work Week” on how to delegate in this video.

9. Raise Your Standards 
Always learn to “Step-up!”. Increase your standard and strive for more! Strive to be constantly improving.

10. Be Thankful
Not only with your accomplishments but also with your trials and your failures. It will keep you humble, which in turn, will help you continue striving for success.

Top 10 Tips to Network Effectively
by On June 16, 2009

Here are 10 tips to network more effectively:

1.  Attend as many conferences and seminars as you can in your field.
2.  Always carry a pocket (or purse) full of business cards.
3.  Proactively introduce yourself to people everywhere you go and explain what you do.
4.  ALWAYS follow-up with people you think you could do business with after you meet them.
5.  Subscribe to trade journals and magazine to be aware of people and current events in your field.
6.  Send greeting, holiday and thank you cards to your clients and business associates to stay in touch.
7.  Connect with people on a personal level as well as on a professional level.
8.  Remember people’s names. (If you need help with this, click here)
9.  Respond to phone calls and emails as soon as possible.
10. Learn to ask “What do you do?” with comfort, sincerity and interest.

Want to improve your networking skills?  Check out this resource:

How to Build a Network of Power Relationships
How to Build a Network of Power Relationships By Harvey Mackay

Top 10 Referral Tips
by On June 9, 2009

Referrals, referrals, referrals.  Every business professional knows how important referrals are.  With them you can work smarter, make more money and grow your business faster than any other method.

In today’s economy, referrals are vital to keep business rolling. 

For today’s Top 10 Tips Tuesday, we are going to focus on how to generate referrals.  What you should know and how to professionally cultivate more. 

 1. Ask for them outright. Explain what you do and say you’d like referrals.
The #1 reason people don’t get referrals is that they don’t ask.  Just saying you appreciate referrals on your business card isn’t enough.  Proactively tell people what you do, why you are unique, the people you work with and if they know anyone that would benefic from working with you.

2. You have to do the courtship before you pop the question.
It takes time. First you have to build your reputation and build it carefully by providing excellent service. When you’re good at what you do, and know it, asking for referrals is second nature. Occasions will arise where it’s the natural thing to do, i.e., “You know, I could help Frederic with that. That’s exactly what I do. Why don’t you have him call me at XXXX.” You also have to have let the other person get to know you enough to trust you.

3. Create an atmosphere where referrals can occur.
This means getting out and about, talking with respect about what you do and about the clients you work with, and letting other people see who you are. Join the Chamber, go to seminars, Rotary, work out at the health spa, attend the symphony, but these aren’t just social events. When you’re in a profession, you ARE the product.  It’s possible to be late for lunch, forget names and abuse the waiter and be a good accountant, but it isn’t probable. Be who you are when you’re out, but be the professional who you are.

4. Basically you aren’t going to get them until you don’t need them.
That’s one of those things in life. If you’re desperate for clients (or anything else), you’ll drive it away. People can sense it.

5. What’s in it for me?
It’s not about you. There are a few good-hearted souls who just go about helping other people, but not many. Everyone else is thinking of the repercussions. If someone refers someone to you, what will they get?

6. What could they get?
Here’s something I got when I referred a client to another coach for a service I don’t provide: the client I referred was treated so wonderfully, I received rave e-mail for days from the client. It strengthened my credibility and relationship with my client, who then went on to refer others to me.

7. Don’t badmouth or steal clients.
You know how the new hairdresser asks you who on earth cut your hair that way? Don’t badmouth the person who refers. If they aren’t good, you shouldn’t be referring with them. If they are good, say so. Don’t try to steal their client. Use your emotional intelligence and stay in the loop.

8. To get referrals, give referrals.
In that way I build relationships with others who’re in a position to refer to me somewhere down the line. I refer for other reasons, and sometimes for no reason at all except to refer.

9. Premiums, reciprocal arrangements, referral fees.
These are ethical in some fields and not in others. If you can use them, do so. Give referral fees, bonuses, premiums. If you can’t do that, discount your service to the referrer or give them extra time. Most of all give thanks! Support potential referrers in their endeavors–donate a door prize for the seminar they’re giving, give a joint event where they can see you in action, offer to invite some of your clients to their Open House, mention (to a vendor) that if your practice builds, you’ll be buying more X, Y Z. Let them get to know you and your work product, and then suggest referrals. More than likely the topic will come up. If it doesn’t, bring it up.

10. When someone refers someone to you, keep in touch.
When someone refers a client to me, within the bounds of confidentiality, I keep the referring person informed. I write or call them to say the contact has been made and that I appreciate the referral. I inform them of stages in the process, with the client’s permission, i.e., “I’ve scheduled Carmen to take the StrengthsFinders profile,” or “Carmen and I will meet on ____.” I let people who refer others to me know how much I appreciate it. I always call them and ask them if their client/friend/spouse/business partner was pleased with my services. I ask them for more referrals. Done right it’s a slow process of integrity and good services. It builds slowly but once it reaches the tipping point, it’s exponential.

This Top 10 List was written by Susan Dunn, M.A., Clinical Psychology, who can be reached at, or visited on the web. Susan Dunn is a personal and professional development coach. She helps people evolve, and helps professionals market their services. Email her for free ezine.

Top 10 Personal Development Ideas
by On May 26, 2009

Happy Top 10 Tips Tuesday!

Freedom Personal Development is excited about helping people grow and reach their personal best.  Our blog is always filled with great advice on how you can improve your life and grow as an individual and a professional.  Today we wanted to condense some of the best personal development ideas into a top 10 list.

1.  Read books and Write Regularly

Your brain needs new information daily to keep developing, and reading new books is one of the best ways to do just that. Find a few minutes a day to read books on personal development, and it will help you grow even if you don’t find any terribly useful ideas in any book.

A hint for personal development readers: stop searching for that revolutionary book that will solve all your problems! There is none. If you get an idea or two out of each book, it is worth the read.  Check out Freedom Personal Development’s Recommended Reading List

Be sure to write something, too – it will benefit you by allowing you analyze the material you’ve read, process it and produce your view of it. Writing greatly helps you to memorize things, so reading books on personal development and then posting your thoughts on the same topic in your blog will have a double effect of learning some important life lessons.

2.  Wake Up Earlier

There are many articles explaining all the benefits of waking up earlier. My 5 am mornings have helped me identify the following:

  • I’m more productive in early hours of a morning than in late hours of an evening.
  • The earlier you wake up, the less distraction you’re going to have. Most people are asleep, and you can enjoy some quiet time doing anything you like: blogging, exercising, reading a book.
  • The best hours of your sleep are between 10 pm and midnight. You will need less time for your sleep if you catch these two magical hours. Go to bed later, and you will need longer sleep to fully rest and up your energy levels.

3.  Ask Positive Questions

By simply changing the way you ask questions, you can transform your whole life: get into a good mood more often, solve complex problems and find unique solutions in even the worst situations.

I’ve explained why you need to learn this skill in my Positive Questions Article:

Positive questioning is here to help you boost your confidence level, and do it the quick, easy and natural way. Asking positive questions means assuming you’re good enough to find the answer, and this way of asking yourself is a sure way to approach the right solution.

Asking yourself positive questions and generally taking a positive approach to any task will take most of possible pressure and nervousness off your shoulders, leaving your mind clear and sharp, ready to solve even the hardest problems.

4.  Learn to Fail. It’s Part of Your Success

I’ve accepted failures as a very natural part of my life long time ago. The only person who doesn’t fail is the one who doesn’t do anything.  I suggest that you learn to fail successfully:

Any failure is a measure of a progress. If you can say you’ve failed in something, this usually means you’ve actually tried some things out and worked rather hard to do your best. And so, your efforts were not futile, albeit not enough to make you absolutely successful this time. It doesn’t mean you didn’t make any progress though!

Apply yourself, make sure you learn from your mistakes – and you’ve got yourself one of the best recipes for success in the long term. Do this consistently, use some planning in addition to it, and you’ll be doing better than 90% of all the people around you!

5.  Do Your Goal Setting

It is absolutely vital to set your goals, otherwise how would you know whether you’re achieving them or not? To ensure you set your goals right, use some of my 3 golden rules of goal setting:

  1. Make sure your every goal is valuable to you – because you will not be able to put your efforts into something which has no value to you.
  2. Make sure your every goal is an absolute necessity – unless you’re sure you absolutely have to achieve your goal, it will very soon drop down to the status of a “good to have” kind of things, and may be dropped and forgotten shortly after.
  3. Realize that achieving a goal is a process, not just a result – no point in spending your precious time in the hope that one day you’ll reach your goal and it will change your whole life. What if that never happens? Stay conscious about the fact that achieving your goal is a process – and learn to enjoy this process, this is the only way to be successful.

6.  Focus on important things

Don’t waste your time on something which is not really important. Stop worrying about petty things and events if they can’t have a major impact on your life. Slow down and take a note of aspects of your life which are really important to you. Learn to focus on what you want to improve.

It’s so easy to let important things pass you by these days, that mastering the skill of focusing on what’s really important is a benefit you can’t afford to miss. Working on this aspect of your personal development will help you in long-term to achieve a much quicker and easier switch of your focus, which is a really useful skill to have. Just imagine being able to fully engage in your work as soon as you arrive, and to easily stop thinking of your work as soon as you leave for home?

Focus also helps you concentrate on achieving the desired result by simply making everything else less visible and noticeable for a period of time. Learning to focus means ignoring all the noise and working on the real goal.

7.  Master Your Habits

It is quite possible (and actually not so hard) to work out the habits you want and to get rid of the habits you don’t need. Take control of your habits by finding the pain and pleasure associated with every habit, and by focusing on them as needed.

I’ve mastered many habits over the past year, and what I can tell is that after just a few months, and a few habits successfully mastered, you will gain both the knowledge and the confidence needed for controlling any habit you want.

Here are just a few things you can make a habit to make yourself a better person and enjoy your life in ways never possible:

  • Wake up at 5 am
  • Always think of ways to please people around you – start with your family
  • Exercise regularly
  • Make sure to regularly read books 

8.  Get Organized

Organize your workplace and your home office, designate areas and time for processing your email and other incoming information like letters, magazines, newspapers and print-outs. Get rid of all the stuff you don’t need, and learn to do it during your processing sessions.

For instance, if you have time in the morning to read your emails – go through all the new mails and decide on the next action right there for each email in your inbox – put useful information into appropriate folders and delete useless emails right away. Label the rest so that it’s easy for you to later see what emails need to be replied first.

Organize your contacts and your books, and learn more about personal finance. Staying organized isn’t an easy task, but trust me, it’s the best approach. If you don’t organize anything, you will eventually start missing important meetings, forgetting emails and losing money. No wonder getting organized costs huge sums of money when professional consultants come to your office and do it for you. Why wait till this happens, when you can easily get and stay organized by spending just a mere 5-15 minutes a day?

9. Plan Ahead and Manage Time Effectively

Start planning everything you do, and be sure to review your plans now and then to reflect on why some things on your list did or did not happen. You should plan for everything – including your time off and holiday breaks, hobbies and other activities.

Get into a habit of planning your week ahead, even if it’s just a high-level overview of what has to be done.

Managing your time effectively means working out a number of skills like reviewing and prioritizing your plan and actions. It seems that I always have time to do things, and in most cases I achieve this by simply planning only as much as I can realistically do, and reviewing my progress regularly to stay focused and prioritize tasks effectively.

10.  Love

You can’t grow personally without love for many things. You’ve got to love yourself and enjoy self-growth and constant improvements you’re making. You need to love what you’re doing – it will benefit everything you do, be it something at work or at home. Love your family and cherish your friends. Be caring and genuinely interested in others.

That’s all I’ve got for you today. I’d like to thank you for your interest and your patience, and use this opportunity to wish you success in your personal development. Try making some of these ideas part of your life, and I’m sure you will enjoy a healthier, happier and more balanced life.

Let me know how it works out, will you?

This Top 10 list was complied by Gleb Reys at The Personal Development Blog.  His quest is to improve your productivity at work and enrich your everyday life.

Be Free!

Top 10 Tips to Becoming a Better Listener
by On May 19, 2009

We are starting a new tradition on the Freedom Personal Development Blog -Top 10 Tips Tuesdays!  Every Tuesday we will give you the Top 10 Tips to become more effective in a particular area of your personal or professional life.

Today the tips have to do with effective communication.  More specifically, how to become a better listener. 

Why should I improve my listening skills?

It’s a great question. For the simple reason that a person’s listening skills are a central component to most of the activities people care about. Your ability to understand what others are trying to tell you, to grasp details about projects, to learn information about a customer’s needs, or to understand what is going on in your family’s life all depend on your ability to effectively listen.

Active, empathetic listening plays a crucial role in good communication. By tuning into others, we avert misunderstandings and mistakes and we strengthen our business and personal relationships. Yet most of us really don’t listen effectively.

We’re taught how to read, write and speak, but rarely how to listen. The good news is that listening skills can be learned, practiced and mastered. Here are ten tips to improve your listening skills.

1. Start observing your own and other people’s listening habits – Ask yourself what it feels like when someone really listens to you and, conversely, when they don’t.

2. Stop talking! – You can’t talk and listen effectively at the same time. Spend only 20 percent of the time talking and 80 percent listening.

3. Be present and patient with the speaker – Don’t interrupt. Avoid mentally preparing your response or rebuttal while the other person is speaking.

4. Listen with empathy – Put yourself in the other person’s place so that you can understand the speaker’s point of view.

5. Let the speaker know you’re really listening – Maintain good eye contact and nod or shake your head occasionally. Your body language gives the speaker clues about whether or not you want to hear what they’re saying.

6. Identify your red flag words and hot button topics – Being aware of them will help you avoid distorting the speaker’s message or shutting down. When you close your mind, you take the risk of missing something important.

7. Eliminate external distractions – Avoid noisy restaurants or sites that are too hot, cold, windy, or uncomfortable. Move to another location in your office or at a reception if you’re having trouble hearing.

8. Keep background noise to a minimum when trying to listen to someone on the telephone – Turning magazine pages, shuffling papers, or clicking computer keys sends a signal that you’re only half-listening.

9. Practice listening by paying close attention to speakers on television – Listen to those who are giving speeches rather than just sound bites.

10. Create a checklist of listening habits you want to change – Develop an action plan for changing specific habits each week. Practicing good listening habits will help you become a master listener.

This Top 10 List was found at

This piece was originally submitted by Dee Helfgott, M.P.A., Author of LISTEN UP! and NETWORK SMART! booklets, Business coach, speaker, corporate trainer & author, who can be reached at Dee Helfgott, M.P.A. wants you to know: I help clients develop and use three key success skills: Listening, Networking and Coaching. The original source is: LISTEN UP!

10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Giving a Presentation
by On January 8, 2009

Renowned speaking expert, TJ Walker, goes over the 10 questions that every speaker should ask themself before presenting.

10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Giving a Presentation

  1. What are the top concerns of your audience?
  2. What are your handful of key messages?
  3. What is your water cooler message?
  4. Do you have a real story involving a real person, place and problem that brings to life each key point?
  5. What exactly do you want audience members to do after they hear you speak?
  6. What is the desired outcome of your speech?
  7. Do you have a simple, one-page outline for your presentation?
  8. Have you rehearsed your speech out loud (and preferably recorded on video)?
  9. Do you have a follow up plan to further drive home your message to your audience?
  10. Do you have a plan to ask at least one person who will be in the audience to give you feedback on what he/she likes and remembers from your presentation?

Have fun presenating and Be Free!