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What's-Really-Your-PassionAn executive once said, “There is nothing wrong with wanting to make money. However, it should not be the sole objective. The end goal should be to provide a service or product that people need.”

No matter what your passion is in life, should you decide to turn that passion into reality, the end goal must go beyond just making money – it can solve a problem, provide enjoyment or peace, make life easier, etc. And, it’s not as hard as you might imagine.

For example, say your passion is pottery. The product that you will create will satisfy the need of those who enjoy the beauty of pottery. You will touch their emotions. Perhaps, you will awaken senses and memories that have been dormant and bring to your customer – as anyone who appreciates art knows – hours, if not days and years of peace and enjoyment.

You may ask, “Can my pottery do that?” The answer is “Yes.”

Take what you believe to be “your passion” and break it down to your core passion. They key thing to discover is what is behind your passion. Ask yourself, “What am I trying to create? What am I really interested in? What are the true feelings or emotions behind my passion?” Delve deep into your thoughts and ask yourself, “How does my passion affect other people? How can others benefit from my passion? “Does it solve a problem or provide a service or product that other would need?”

Through examination, you may discover not only what is really your passion, but also a renewed sense of passion… for your passion.

©2014Bob Garner – Bob is a funny motivational speaker who teaches his audiences how to achieve goals, diminish worry, stress and fear and live more productive and peaceful lives.

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For those in the corporate world who have to travel to earn their pay, many times we find ourselves in the presence of unpleasant people.

From plane trips to restaurants to meetings or events, an occasional rude person expresses his or her discomfort at something we may have said or should have said or did or didn’t do.

Sometimes their unhappiness is expressed by a few choice words, a nasty look, or – if we are driving and someone feels we are not driving fast enough – the mere dexterity of their fingers communicates the message. Hopefully, you don’t feel compelled to respond to this form of communication, other insults or goofy looks that others throw your way. It’s easy to respond; however, it’s more challenging – if not rewarding – to not respond. The next time you get the urge to respond, remember this story:

Buddha was once asked by his disciples why he didn’t respond to the insults that others would cast toward him. Buddha said, “Imagine what would happen if someone placed a gift at your feet and you chose to ignore it. Or someone sent you a letter and you did not open it.” The disciples answered that it would be returned to the original owner. Buddha responded with one word, “Exactly.”

Just let the anger or insult from another person pass you by, and, like a boomerang, it will have to go back to its owner. That is the one of the best and quickest ways to deal with mean people.

©2014BobGarner – See how these corporations brought the WOW factor to their eventshttp://tinyurl.com/62u2u2y

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SWAG (which stands for the “Stuff We All Get”) at trade shows is enormous, yet it serves a purpose. While it can aid in getting attendees to stop by your booth, help initiate discussions, or be used as a “thank you” for coming to the booth, the main purpose is to help remind attendees about your booth and product/service after the show. In other words, it’s about post-show mind share.

Like much advertising/promotion (which is what SWAG is), some companies over-think it, some under-think it, and some don’t put any thought into it at all. With nearly 30 years of experience at trade shows for companies that range from small to Global 100 corporations, here are the most common groups and some tips to more effectively utilize the power of SWAG.

The Over-Thinkers:
It’s wonderful when an exhibit has a theme, and tying your give-away into your theme can be neat. However, primarily the people who will be aware of a booth “theme” are those who created it and possibly those who are working the booth. Attendees may notice, but they actually don’t care nor will they remember your theme.

What is most important on a giveaway is your logo and website. If you choose to have your slogan, that’s fine, too. But, keep in mind, instead of fussing over the tie-in to your theme – spend that time looking for a giveaway that will be something an attendee will actually want to take home. Any giveaway can be customized with your theme, but remember, unless it’s your slogan mark, they won’t remember your theme. Instead, focus on obtaining some SWAG that is eye-catching, interesting, fun or useful.

The Under-Thinkers:
Every year, a “new” giveaway is born and the under-thinkers jump on it not only because someone said it was new, but also because it’s an easy decision. Never mind that a bunch of other exhibits will have the same giveaway or that, as marketers, a little creativity is a good thing to use.

This group is the polar opposite of the over-thinkers and will put little thought into choosing a giveaway. Like the over-thinkers, you need to spend some time researching not the “latest and greatest,” but what would be appealing to your particular audience at the show. Think about what YOU would like to bring home or to the office.

The giveaway doesn’t have to be super expensive. There are many inexpensive, creative, eye-catching giveaways out there. You just need to do some research. As mentioned, it shouldn’t have tons of copy on it, a list of products, etc. It’s not a brochure; it’s SWAG. Keep it short and simple.

The Not-At All Thinkers:
This group usually consists of those who refuse to give away free stuff, because they don’t want a bunch of free loaders stopping by the booth. This group can also contain those who actually think that attendees don’t want free stuff!

Unless you have the hottest and latest product/service at the show, you are deluding yourself to think that your service/product is enough to entice potential customers from walking by your booth. True, some of your current customers may stop by, right before they go to your competitor’s booth that has giveaways. While they’re there, your competition can now chat with them, while you stand in your booth and check your email for the 30th time. You may get a few new attendees to drop in, but what’s the incentive?

While you will get the “tire kickers,” keep in mind that just because an attendee approaches your booth because of the free stuff, doesn’t mean they couldn’t necessarily be a good prospect. As mentioned, free stuff – if used properly in the booth – can aid in initiating conversations with reps.

Additionally, everyone likes free stuff; they just don’t like free junk or more of the same stuff that everyone else is giving away. I have been to countless high-level executive trade shows, and when we had a good giveaway, the “suits” take it. When you have a fun, unique or useful giveaway, attendees take it.

What I also find interesting about the last two groups of thinkers is that they spend a lot of time discussing signage, videos and booth design or money to sponsor the big party, a lunch or a banner and spend little to no money or time on choosing an object that an attendee can take back to his/her office or home with their company name/brand on it.

It’s highly unlikely that attendees will remember the look or design of your booth, your signs, your video or what company paid for lunch. But, when they take a piece of cool SWAG back home or to the office… now you have some mind share. It not only reminds them about your company, but, if it’s a neat giveaway, they talk about it with others back at work. It sits there on the desk or at home as a reminder of your company. That’s mind share; that’s power!

Therefore, in addition to the aforementioned benefits of using giveaways to initiate conversations or as a “thank you” for stopping at the trade show, some thought should be used when choosing your giveaways. Remember, SWAG is a small piece of advertising that gives an exhibitor the opportunity to provide current or potential customers with some mind share, after the event is over. And in today’s competitive business world … that’s the power of SWAG.

Bob Garner has nearly 30 years of experience as not only a trade show magician, but also as a consultant to many of his Fortune 1000 corporations on sales performance and trade show ROI. To see how you can increase your trade show ROI, watch his trade show magicians video.

©2013 Bob Garner. All Rights Reserved. Feel free to post this article, but please use my byline and resource box. Thank you.

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Like cold calling, emails focused on potential customers are referred to as “cold emails.” Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it’s difficult to get prospective customers to open and read those emails. Here are a few tips that may help to increase your open and read rate of cold emails.

1) The Subject Line:
Authors, writers and publishers spend enormous time creating their titles. Why? Because they know that the main reason people buy books, read articles, or click on news content is the title. Spend time on creating a subject line that catches your potential customer’s interest. It needs to be concise and should summarize your email.

2) The Funnel:
From an internet marketing standpoint, view your email as the beginning of the sales funnel. The email should be brief and succinctly diagnose a potential customer’s problem or concern; provide a solution and a way for that customer to find out how they can solve that problem, or provide the proper links to find that solution. In other words, don’t send them to your home page. Take them directly to the page where you provide your services or answers to that particular problem. It is also beneficial to have a short video at the top of that page that restates their concern and provides some solutions or ideas to solve the problem and why they need to read your copy on the page.

3) Research:
It always helps to do some extra research on your potential customer. In addition to viewing their sites, see if your customer has personally written any blogs or articles. Read what they have written. If appropriate, you can send an email to them about their article or blog and a comment. Make sure that you have the signature box of your email filled out properly, with a website and a call to action to view that site. Example: Look who helped XYZ Company increase their sales closing by 20% – (add site link).

4) LinkedIn:
A little LinkedIn research goes along way. I assume you have targeted your potential customers, so linking up with them is a good idea. Also, see if they belong to any groups. Check out their participation level and if they participate, join that group and comment after them. (As with the comments on blogs and articles, make sure that what you say has merit and is not a blatant attempt to win favor. Phony never works.)

5) Value Add:
You can also offer a free ebook, white paper or video in your email subject line. For example, if your market is branding, you might use a subject line with a value add such as “Get your customers to think of you first – 7 tips video!” Lead with that in the subject line and just have them click to read or view the video. (Do not use an attachment, as many people will not open attachments.) Make sure you always put a call-to-action in any value add. Remember, if the subject line and your value add fits in with their need, they are more likely to open it, read it, view it and take action.

6) Follow-Up:
Either via an auto-responder or your own little typing fingers, follow up in a day or two with an email stating “Hope you read our 7 tips to get your customers to think of your first. If not, you can view it here (add link).” “At XYZ company, we specialize in….” Here is where you can provide further information on how your company can solve your customer’s problems and provide links, as well as the link to the page that offers your service (with the video) in this email. Chances are they will view the video first and then read your white paper. (Again, take time creating your subject line for this email.)

7) Patience:
Like hammering a nail, if you keep at it, eventually you drive it home. As you know, the competition for the eyeballs of potential customers is fierce. By doing a little extra work on your subject line, funnel, content, value adds and follow-up, you will, undoubtedly, be doing more than most of your competition. That little extra work is what will help you stand out in the minds of your potential customers and, eventually, get them to open and read your cold emails.

Bob Garner is a modern day rags-to-riches entrepreneur who helps people turn their dreams and goals into reality. As an entertaining motivational speaker, he speaks to the audiences of Fortune 1000 corporations on personal and professional development. He is also an author and syndicated writer.

©2013 Bob Garner. All Rights Reserved. Feel free to post this article, but please use my byline and resource box. Thank you.

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Ever have an idea, but slammed the door on it saying, “That won’t work” or “That’s crazy”? As children, we were taught and actually encouraged to be creative.

Strangely enough, as we continue through the educational process, creativity becomes discouraged. We are encouraged to “think outside of the box,” as long as we remain enclosed in a “larger box.” (By the “larger box,” I mean the box where we are not to “ rock the boat,” “question the status quo,” etc.)

This “box within a box” style of creativity continues through our working years. Many employers will say that they want their employees to be more creative, when it comes to selling products or services, finding solutions to customer’s problems or building better teams, yet many of the ideas that employees offer are shot down, faster than you can blink.

Occasionally, a good idea is let through the door, and – as the writer and inventor Arthur C. Clarke put forth – those new ideas will pass through three periods. The first being “It can’t be done.” The second, “It probably can be done, but it’s not worth doing,” and the third, “I knew it was a good idea all along!” (If you’re in corporate, that should ring a bell!)

While others can slam the door on our ideas, oftentimes we do it ourselves, before anyone else has the opportunity. From negativity and self-doubt to poor planning and unrealistic time frames, we can kill our own ideas, instead of following a few steps to allow our ideas to take root and grow.

With that said, here are a few tips to help you open the door to your ideas – and let them grow:

Keep a Notebook Handy:
While this sounds elementary, have you ever had an idea and then scrambled around for a piece of paper on which to write it down? Perhaps you had an idea, thought you would remember it and then later, while trying to remember it, you couldn’t. The English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon once said, “Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.” So, take a tip from Sir Bacon and write down your ideas.

Time to Contemplate:
When you can find a quiet moment, review your ideas. Let your brain chew on them, and see how you inwardly feel about your idea. Have a conversation with yourself. Ask yourself questions. Write out the pros and cons to your ideas and study them. Make sure to avoid the knee-jerk responses of negativity that can arise. (Remember a quote from Albert Einstein, “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.”) View your idea with an open mind, never forgetting that (usually) if you were given the idea – you were also given the way to make it a reality.

From Idea to Reality:
If after your self-conversation, you view that your idea is viable, write down some steps that you should take to turn that idea into reality. Don’t be too specific, just a few basic steps. Picasso attested that one should have an idea of what one wanted to do, but it should be a vague idea. Look at the basic steps and choose the most logical first step and then act on it. Don’t set up time frames that will force you to move fast or deadlines that are impossible to meet. Just let your idea flow and grow on its own. As you move forward, adjust accordingly. Sometimes one idea leads to another better idea, so you dismiss the first idea and move on to the next.

What is important to remember is that when you act on your idea, you step out of the “herd mentality” that most people have. The masses have never developed or created anything. Progress happens when individuals take ideas and move on them. As a funny motivational speaker, I’ve always appreciated the wisdom of entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn who once stated, “Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need to open the door is just one more good idea.” Follow these three tips to open the door to your ideas.

A funny motivational speaker and funny motivational keynote speaker, Bob is known for his creative way of reinforcing specific points in his presentations with entertainment. Additionally, Bob is an author and syndicated writer on personal and professional development. His new Twitter site offers tweets on abundance, peace, happiness and success – go to @Abundancefaucet.

©2013 Bob Garner. All Rights Reserved. Feel free to post this article, but please use my byline and resource box. Thank you.

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Do you ever wonder if an email recipient actually reads your whole email? We’re not talking a sales email, just a business correspondence that requires an action or some type of response. It appears that the attention span of many of those in corporate rivals that of a child opening gifts on their birthday – open a gift, look at it, open another, repeat, go do something else.

This is not only frustrating for the sender, but it also strikes at the heart of two important topics in corporate – communication and teamwork. If the email is about a customer issue, then you just hit on the third big corporate issue – customer service. To aid you in having your business emails read and the information supplied capturing the attention of the recipient to elicit a response, here are a few tips:

Subject Line:
Internet marketing experts know that keywords are crucial. Keywords are short 3- 4 word descriptions of your site and not only allow search engines to index and list your site, but also are the words that appear on Google or Bing that will catch your attention and get you to click on a certain site. Those in the book and newspaper industry know that they must grab you with the title or you’ll never buy the book or read the article. Therefore, use the same strategy for your emails. Put the main keywords of your email into the header. For example: Subject: Need your answer on XYZ project today” is more effective than “XYZ Project.” Keep the subject line short. If you need immediate action use “Action Item” in front of main message, then put keywords after, such as “Action Item: Need answer on XYZ Project today.”

Keep it Short:
Winston Churchill once said, “I’m going to make a long speech, because I’ve not had the time to prepare a short one.” Every professional speaker knows that the creation of a long speech takes far less time than that of a short one, because for a short speech, every word counts. In your email – every words counts!

While condensing your information into the smallest amount of words takes time, it does improve the odds of it being read in its entirety. Write out your email and look for ways to edit as much as possible, so that the main message is clear and concise. Aim for two to three short paragraphs. Contain the most important part of your message in the first paragraph, as most people will skim over your email, if it’s too long or has too many paragraphs.

Never Ask More Than 2 Questions:
If you ask more than 2 questions, there’s a good chance that none will be answered or only one, at the most, forcing you to send another email to the receiver. If you need to explain something and then ask a question, position the question into a separate paragraph. If you have more than 2 questions, you can put them in bullet point; however, the receiver will generally only answer the easiest question, forcing another email to get a complete answer. 

Call to Action:
If you need an answer or a response from the receiver, in addition to placing the words “Action Item” in your subject line, place a call to action statement at the end of your email such as, “Please respond to this email,” or ‘If you would please respond to these questions as soon as possible, it would be appreciated.” After this statement you can place your “Thank you,” “Regards,” etc.

Think advertising and marketing – there is always some call to action, because people need to be reminded that they need to act. If you are looking for an answer or a response, it helps to make sure that the receiver knows this. The receiver may still not respond, but the chances of them doing so is a bit higher.

Signature Box:
Make sure you have your complete information in your “sig box” – where your name and company info should be. Include a phone number and any other appropriate contact information. Watch any corporate logos, as they can sometimes (due to the large number of firewall providers) send an email to a spam folder – despite what your company’s tech person says. True, if you’re sending an email to a co-worker, they already know who you are; however, adding appropriate information in your sig box not only looks more professional, but it can also provide additional information that may grab the attention of the reader.

The Power of the CC:
You can follow these tips and still not receive a reply, which is extremely frustrating. Most recipients aren’t any busier than you, but many are disorganized or lack professionalism. Sometimes the recipient doesn’t have an answer, so your message is ignored. In a perfect world, he/she should still get back to you to let you know your email has at least been received.

If your email is vitally important – like a customer needs an answer – and you find yourself having to resend it, you may need to CC someone else, when you send the second or repeat email. After all, we know that nearly 50% of corporate work is reverse documentation, so why should your important emails be any different? Obviously, restraint is required for this tip. You can always pick up the phone (remember the telephone?) and call the person with whom you need to speak.

Do Unto Others:
Make sure that you get back quickly to those who email you. You can’t complain about others, if you’re guilty of the same offense.

As a funny motivational speaker and funny keynote speaker, I send a ton of emails. By following these tips, I, have found that I receive a higher response rate, than when I don’t. Therefore, these tips may also increase the chances of your emails being read and replied to …even by those in the corporate world.

©2013 Bob Garner. All Rights Reserved. You may use this article, but you must use the whole article, the byline and author resource links.

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Convention and conference planners understand that with tight budgets, the advent of web meetings, and more companies than ever before hosting their own customer events, conference trade shows have taken a bit of a hit. Some conferences have vanished, while others have had to combine with other shows in order to stay alive. True, there are some conventions that are still robust, yet the footprint of many companies at those shows has been reduced.

Despite cutbacks, one concern that affects a company’s decision to exhibit at a show is whether they receive a quantifiable ROI from their participation. While conferences do make money from attendees, they also make a huge amount from exhibitors via exhibiting fees, sponsorships, and advertising opportunities at the show. Therefore, it would be in the conference planner’s (and conference management company’s) interest to aid exhibitors in receiving that ROI. The following are a few things that meeting and conference managers can do to make that happen:

1) Non-Conflicting Show Hours:
Probably the largest complaint from exhibitors is having the exhibit floor open while there are sessions running. Oftentimes, the traffic is light to non-existent and exhibitors view this as a waste of time.

Conducting sessions concurrently during exhibit floor hours forces your attendees to choose between attending sessions (for CEUs, personal interest, etc.) and visiting exhibitor’s booths. Depending on the industry, you may be required to supply a certain amount of educational hours. However, don’t keep the hall open at those times. Instead, start the sessions earlier or open the hall later. Possibly hold a session or two in the exhibit hall. This gives attendees the freedom to attend the session, while others can visit the booths.

2) Lunch is Not Hall Time:
Some conference planners still insist on having lunch in the exhibit hall and then starting up sessions shortly thereafter. By the time attendees have gotten through the food line and have eaten, there needs to be time for those attendees to visit the booths. Try to keep the hall open – with no conflicting sessions – for an hour or more after lunch. This not only helps your exhibitors, but also aids your attendees, as they do want to spend quality time with exhibitors without being rushed.

3) Talk to Exhibitors:
Make sure your staff actually visits all of the exhibitors – not just the large booths – and asks them for feedback. Make sure that the staff listens and backs up those conversations with viable actions.

4) Trade Show Police:
While every booth should adhere to the rules, don’t go overboard and run the show like it’s the military. I have seen small exhibits attacked for minor infractions, while larger booths get carte blanche. Remember, this is a trade show where companies are competing for the time and attention of attendees. While some companies spend money and time creating ways to attract attendees, others do not – and these are the exhibits that do most of the complaining. Again, there are rules, but they need to be flexible. A trade show is not a library or a high level meeting room. There will be noise, contests, attractions, and attendees in the aisles. As long as the noise is not overbearing and the aisles are relatively clear, then let the companies do what they do, which is compete.

Following these simple steps will aid your exhibitors in realizing a higher ROI from participating at your conference. While they seem simple and logical, many conferences planners and convention planners do not take them into consideration. Hence, why many companies have lessened their footprint at trade shows or have decided not to go at all. As a conference or meeting planner, it’s important to take all parties of your event – attendees and exhibitors – into consideration. After all, both are your customer, and part of your job is to help them to come together – so that all may benefit from being at your show.

With nearly 30 years of experience at trade shows, Bob Garner has seen it all. A trade show magician with clients worldwide, Bob has also counseled many of these clients on what shows to attend and how to exhibit. As one of the most respected trade show magicians in the business, Bob helps his clients achieve a high ROI.

©2012 Bob Garner. All Rights Reserved. You may use this article, but you must use the byline and author resource.

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