The Age of Conversation 3 cover

March 21, 2010

Age3cover Gavin and I are feeling like proud parents about now….exhausted, a bit worn thin but very, very excited.  We shipped the final, edited manuscript for Age of Conversation 3: It's Time to Get Busy off to the publishers (more details soon!) this week and we're almost home.

We wanted to share the cover design with everyone.  Many, many thanks to Chris Wilson (Fresh Peel blog), who got this done right in the midst of his move and transition to his new job with Fleishman-Hillard in Dallas.

He picked up some of the earlier cover design elements (done by David Armano) and added some of his own twists as well.

Chris has always been an incredible supporter of the Age of Conversation series.  He even launched the first Amazon bum rush for Age 1 — and he wasn't even an author of the first book.  That's all about class and community. 

Fortunately, Chris' thinking is well represented in 2 and 3…and now, so are his design skills.

Again — many thanks to Chris.

Want more Age of Conversation scoop?  Watch for the official author list later today as well!

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5 reasons why other people will spread your personal brand

December 5, 2009

Shutterstock_18268654 I was part of a panel (with Claire Celsi, Nathan T. Wright & Dr. David Bulla) talking to journalists about personal branding this morning.

Part of my message was that it's fine and dandy to have a personal brand…but one of the keys to its success is in how you share your brand with the world. I used the analogy of a dandelion.

Once you figure out what your personal brand is all about….you hold it out to the world, like a dandelion.

Sure…the wind will gently blow some of the seeds along, letting them land somewhere and take root.  But…if you really want your personal brand to be spread far and near…you need other people.

When someone holds a dandelion close to their mouth and gives a big blow….those seeds go everywhere.  What would make someone want to use some of their power and influence to help spread your personal brand? 

Here are five reasons why someone else might make the effort to spread your personal brand:

Are you a go-giver?  Do you share what you know and have? 

People tend to want to help those people who help others.  If people know that you're not a taker, they're going to be more inclined to serve you up to their friends and colleagues.

Are you a credible resource?

Do you actually have something to say that is real, relevant and of value?  In today's world, one of the currencies that is most valued is relevance.  You need to be someone who walks their talk to earn that credibility.

Are you consistent and reliable? 

People only have so much "connection currency."  So they don't want to waste it by introducing the world (or their contacts) to someone who is wishy washy or doesn't honor their promises.  If I help set up a meeting between two people and one of them cancels at the last minute or is a no show…some of that bad karma rubs off on me. 

Are you real? 

If your personal brand is something you put on and take off like a hat — why would someone run the risk of exposing you to their network?    There are many posers (as Steve Farber calls them) out there.  Don't be one of them.

Are you grateful? 

When someone goes out of their way to feature you on their blog or use one of their connections to help you — do you say thank you?  Do you look for ways you can return the favor?  Do you make them look good by treating that gesture as a gift rather than an obligation or entitlement?

There you have it.  If you want others to help introduce you and your personal brand to the world…be the kind of person who makes that easy and enjoyable! 

Photo courtesy of

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Want to connect face to face?

July 21, 2009

One of the biggest budget crunchers for most businesses is travel.  But sometimes, there is no substitute for a face-to-face conversation.

But then again, maybe there is.

Cisco's Telepresence is technology that takes video conferencing to a whole new level.  You can check it out in the video below.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, first because you can access this technology by the hour.  I was able to find five re-sellers in Des Moines, so I am pretty sure you'll be able to find at least one in your neck of the woods.  For many organizations, this might be a very attractive and cost sensitive solution.

And…Cisco, in this social media age, is holding a contest.  You create a video telling Cisco why you'd benefit from having access to Telepresence.  You can win $3,000 and 5 free hours of access.

You can view the contest's webpage by clicking here.  Check out some of the videos.  People aren't doing anything overly high-tech.  But boy are they giving Cisco some smart sales messages. (If you enter, let me know and we'll share your video with the blog readers!)

Don't dismiss this as a "big company" tactic.  You could do the exact same thing.   Here are the benefits:

  • Very shareable…note how Cisco is letting people rate the videos.  Now if you entered, wouldn't you tell your friends to go vote for yours?
  • Introduces a whole lot of people to your product/service
  • Creates a want for your product that probably was unrealized before the contest
  • It's like a mini focus group.  Listen carefully for sales nuggets and ideas

There certainly are other perks to this sort of a contest.  What benefits do you see?

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Blogger Social ’09 is here!

February 11, 2009

BS09 - blog badge Hopefully by now you've heard that Blogger Social is taking us to the fantastic city of Boston this April! 

We've got a weekend packed with fun, laughter and smart bloggers!  We'll eat and drink our way through the historic city and our hostess is none other than Lori Magno, of Blogger Social '08 fame!

You can get all the scoop and register today by going to

To keep the party intimate and give you a chance to actually spend plenty of time with all of the attendees, we're limiting registration to 100 people. 

So don't dilly dally!

We'll have a casual night on Friday, a Boston-centric, you can't believe I am actually here outing on Saturday afternoon and the very swank soiree on Saturday night.

The price is exactly what it was last year and we've got some excellent hotel deals lined up for you.  You heard all about it last year and you were bummed that you weren't there.  Don't let that happen again this year!

CK, Lori and I are looking forward to getting social with you!

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Want to work a little smarter?

December 7, 2008

Picture_1 The minds behind Working Smarter (SmartDraw‘s blog) decided that they would create a small network of blogs that they believe can serve business leaders with practical, actionable information and ideas.

As they said in their official announcement:  "Today we are proud to formally announce the launch of the Working Smarter Network, WSN for short, an exclusive consortium of websites and blogs that provide varied, relevant and useful information to help business people become more effective."

I’m delighted to report that I was invited to be one of the 13 charter members.  If you’d like to check out the other sites that were invited to join….here you go.

  1. Altman’s Better PowerPoint
  2. B2B Marketing Confidential
  3. The PowerPoint FAQ
  4. Selling Magic Sales Journal
  5. B2B Sales & Marketing Knowledge Sharing
  6. Drew’s Marketing Minute
  7. Indezine – PowerPoint & Presentations
  8. The JF Selling Resources Blog
  9. Marketing Interactions
  10. PBR – Sales Training & Leadership
  11. The Sales Hunter
  12. The YouBlog – Presentations & Communication
  13. Wilder Presentations

I have no doubt you’ll find some useful and thought provoking reading among these sites.

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When does 237 = 15,000?

October 29, 2008

Age of Conversation 2 coverImage by andrewodom via Take 237 generous authors.  Cull them from 15 different countries.  Add in 8 topics of discussion and what do you get?  Hopefully, $15,000.  But for sure, you get…

Age of Conversation 2.  Why don’t they get it? 

After a very long process, the hardback, paperback and e-book versions of Age of Conversation 2 are on sale, starting today.

As many of you will recall, Gavin Heaton and I got a wild hair in the spring of 2007 and solicited 103 authors to help us create the first book, Age of Conversation

With that book, we were able to raise over $14,000 for Variety, the Children’s Charity.  Surely, with twice as many authors, we can top the $15,000 mark. I’m hoping for $20,000 – truth be told.

Each author contributed a single page chapter and wrestled with topics like:

  • Manifestos 
  • Keeping Secrets in the Age of Conversation
  • Moving from Conversation to Action?
  • The Accidental Marketer
  • A New Brand of Creative 
  • My Marketing Tragedy
  • Business Model Evolution
  • Life in the Conversation Lane

Put it all together and you have insights from social media pros, traditional agency veterans, authors, ministers, directors of marcom, artists, PR experts, non-profit directors and many others in between.

The book will make you think, shake your head and on occasion, laugh.  It will also mean that you helped us raise money for a very worthy charity that cares for the world’s children. 

As my friend (and one of the authors) John Rosen succinctly said…Buy this book.  Period.

Here’s a complete list of our gracious authors.

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Feel like a manic juggler?

October 28, 2008

Animation of 3 ball cascade , also known as a ...Image via WikipediaI don’t know about you but sometimes it can be a little overwhelming.  Okay…that’s a lie.  It can be incredibly overwhelming.

We’re all juggling as fast as we can and no matter how many balls we have in the air, there’s always another one being tossed into the rotation.

There’s a new project (or three) at work, a new book to read, 5,000 new blog posts in your RSS feed reader, six fresh social media tools to explore and 200+ e-mails.  Daily.

That doesn’t even take into account your family, friends and just carving out some down time.  Have a hobby?  Like to travel? Well, sleep’s optional, right?

Never before in my career have I seen a more turbulent time.  Turbulent is not necessarily a bad thing.  There’s just so much swirling around us, our customers and the work we do.  And it’s exciting.  Intoxicating.  And important to continuing to be relevant in our jobs.

So…how do you juggle it all? How do you stay sane AND productive?

Here’s my plan.  Help me spread the word that we’re looking for Sanity/Productivity tips.  Once we get a good collection here, I’ll create an free e-book that we can offer to others suffering from the same manic juggling that we are.

Come on…share a tip, idea or solution that works for you.


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The answer to ending poverty? Education. Ours and theirs.

October 15, 2008

Poverty2 Today is Blog Action Day ’08 — the one day a year that bloggers unite on a single topic.  We hope to raise awareness, initiate action and shake the web.

This year’s topic — poverty.

Here’s the truth, if we’re willing to be honest with each other. 

Most of us don’t think about poverty every day.  Because we don’t have to.  Sure, we might sponsor a child in a poverty-stricken country or donate canned goods to our local food shelter.   We bring old coats and mittens to church every winter for the homeless. 

But then we stop for brunch on our way home from church and poverty is the furthest thing from our minds.

While all of those acts are kind and serve to meet an immediate need — we fill a belly or warm hands — they don’t actually address the problem.  As long as people are shackled to poverty, they don’t have the tools to break free.  They are reliant on us to continue to put bandages on their problem.

My friend Laura Hecht tells me that if we could lift people from illiteracy, we could take a big bite out of poverty.

In educating myself to write this post, I also discovered the End Poverty 2015 organization.  They’ve identified 8 major goals that would make it possible for us to be the generation that ends poverty forever.  Not surprising, universal education is one of their core tenants.

I don’t even begin to pretend I have the answers.  But I do know today is the day for asking ourselves the tough questions. 

We can’t help educate the world until we begin to educate ourselves.

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Age of Conversation 2008 promotion starting to trickle out

October 11, 2008

Picture_7_2 The official launch of Age of Conversation 2008 is mere weeks away and we have lots of exciting things planned to tell the world about the book, the authors and the charity that benefits from the book — Variety, the children’s charity.

For a sneak peek into the book’s origination, how the ’08 version is different from the original and what’s next, check out the podcast that Jay Ehret did with Gavin Heaton and myself.  Jay’s (who blogs over at the Marketing Spot) goal is to interview all of 237 authors of this year’s edition.

Hat tip to Jay for taking on the project and be sure to watch for future podcasts over at the Age of Conversation site.

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Text in your movie review?

October 10, 2008

Picture_4 Here in Des Moines, moviegoers attending the premiere  of the documentary movie "Trouble the Water" will have the chance to participate in an interactive review via their mobile phones and text messaging.

To join the review, audience members will send the keyword "water" to 72466. A return message back will invite them to join the review by typing in their general opinion based on one to five stars, with five being the highest rating.

Then, participants will asked to submit three adjectives they believe best describe the movie. A final message invites texters to provide additional opinions, with a 160-character limit.

The review is sponsored by the theater and Catchwind, a mobile marketing company. Reviews can be viewed at and

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