Friday, March 30, 2012

Finding Love After Loss Video Blog

I found a new program with which I'm playing: Animoto

You can take still photos and animate them. Add a little music and you have a cool video. 

I've compiled some of my favorite Facebook posts about finding love after loss and made a video for you. Hope you enjoy it!

Click here to see the movie. Please share it with your friends.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Importance of Follow-Up When Dating

I have previously made the connection between marketing and dating because they are both utilize communication skills to get what you want. In the case of marketing, it’s a sale. In the case of dating, each party is pitching themselves to the other.

In truth, the twelve most persuasive words apply to all forms of communication: discovery, easy, guaranty, health, caring, money, new, proven, results, safety, savings and you! If you want to read the entire special report I’ve written on this subject, it’s available as a free download via my website. Once on the page, just scroll down the left hand column to find it.

If you are in business and you’ve made a sales call, or even if you have been to a networking event, what is a productive way to ensure a successful conclusion to your meeting? 

In one word: follow up.

It’s so simple, yet most people don’t do this. And why is that? There are usually excuses offered.

Let’s look at some of them and see how this applies to both marketing and dating.

Your plate is overloaded and you’re spreading yourself too thin. By the time you return sales calls, your potential clients have forgotten who you are or found someone more responsive to their needs.

Your calendar is booked, so you seemingly don’t have any time to date. Ask yourself if you are busily filling up your time so you have an excuse not to date. If you were really interested in dating and/or a special someone, you would organize your time to make room for this activity/person.

You find yourself at a lack for words or feel uncomfortable in these types of situations. You let your nervousness override your innate competency to complete your job.

If you have been out of the dating arena for quite some time, you may be experiencing dating jitters. That’s normal! Use your nervous excitement by channeling it to project a n upbeat, positive and smiling demeanor. You can also preempt nervousness by preparing a mental list of back-up discussion ideas, if conversation starts to lag. Moreover, be interested in what your date has to say and simply play off the topic he/she is discussing. Soon the nervousness will dissipate.

Lack of confidence. You are afraid to ask for the sale. You may think you’re not good enough or who would want your product and/or services. Consequently, you do nothing. You can't get what you want unless you ask for it!

You may be listening to that little voice in your head that tells you that you’re not enough. Well, you are! If you are interested in someone, let him/her know in subtle ways that further contact would be welcomed. No one likes to be rejected and many want to know that they will not be before they ask for a second date. Accordingly, follow-up with a thank you call or e-mail and let your date know that he/she will receive a resounding yes.

You want to follow up and get the sale but you don’t want to feel like you're being too pushy or sales-like. Instead, you act wishy-washy and your client doesn't understand your mixed message. If there's no message, there will be no sale.

No one is a mind reader, and you know what happens when you ASS-U-ME! Also, at the end of a date, don’t ask for a phone number or say you will call when you have no intention of doing so. This mixed message only creates hurt feelings. If you want to "mix it up" simply strike a balance between being overly enthusiastic and too aloof.

You’re not sure of the importance of follow-up. Your mindset might be that it hasn’t worked before so why should I do it now. In order to be terrific, you need to be specific! Before you do any follow-up, be clear in the result you wish to accomplish.

Be clear in your intentions so you can telegraph them properly. In order to accomplish this feat, you have to be sure of what you want and the type of person that would suit you best. Take the time to get to know the “new you” before you search for a new partner.

In general, follow-up allows the momentum of an interaction to continue. In both personal and professional venues, you want to “strike” while your image remains fresh in the consciousness of your prospective client or date. In this busy world of ours, and with the vast number of people with whom we come in contact, it takes repeated contact to make a lasting impression. Follow-up is one way to establish yourself as memorable, and that’s a first step to success.

If you’re an entrepreneur, check out my newest book, “Understanding Networking and Social Media for Entrepreneurs From A to Z.” 

The principles that you will read about in this book can easily be applied to networking and social media for personal usage.

It's available via Kindle or as an e-book via my website.

Friday, March 16, 2012

10 Tips on How To Live Happily Ever After

Remember that childhood chant …”First comes love, then comes marriage …”? It implied that there would be a happily ever after, and a lot of us bought into that sentiment!

The reality is that life is neither a fairytale nor is it all hearts and flowers. It can be, however, a loving, safe and nurturing place, if the partners persistently take the proper care to keep it that way.

Naturally, you want to marry Mr. or Miss Right, who is someone with whom you have much in common and to whom you feel a special connection. As time goes by, though, that “right” person has to continue to do the “right” things within the relationship to keep it alive and vibrant.

How does one stay Mr. or Miss Right? Here are 10 tips to keep you on the ‘right’ path.

1. Remember that marriage is a choice, and you have the power to choose to be happy or to be miserable in your union. If you feel stuck, dig yourself out by recognizing and dealing with your issues. Be neither a victim nor an enabler of your partner. Your life; your choice.

2. Don’t avoid conflict. It is not inherently bad. In fact, it’s how humans share their differences. It’s only how you choose to address conflict in your relationship that can make it a growth experience or a debacle.

3. Be grateful. Look for ways to show your love and be willing to accept your partner’s shows of affection (even if it is not in the way you want it or expect it).

4. Always paint your partner into the landscape of your life. Wherever you go and whatever you are doing – carry your partner with you. In this way, you are sharing your life even when you’re apart. This raises the importance of your partner in your thoughts.

5. Shun complacency. Relationships require work, for they should always be a work-in-progress. That means as each individual changes so must the relationship adapt and change, too. You wouldn’t want to operate equipment with old or wrong instructions. Similarly, you don’t want to operate your relationship with instructions that no longer apply.

6. Don’t hold grudges. This means when you are heatedly discussing Topic X, don’t bring in baggage from Topic Y that happened years ago. If you don’t release your grudges, you will have the same argument (without ever resolving it) throughout your relationship.

7. Don’t nag. Of course, you can make a polite request of your partner, but nagging (which you may think is only reminding) won't get it done any faster. In fact, it might have the opposite effect as all your partner hears after the first time is "blah, blah, blah."  Try asking for help rather than demanding or uttering the statement, "You never help around the house." Superlatives such as never and always are fighting words, for they are both improbable.

8. Keep intimacy alive – both the emotional and physical type. Withholding sex will only fuel the fires of discontent. Conversely, engaging in sex (even if you’re not in the mood or predisposed because of conflict), can help to clear the air by letting you reconnect with your partner on a visceral level. Sex naturally opens up the doors to positive communication.

9. Discuss your finances and your approach to financial management ahead of your union.  Make an active plan in which both partners have a say. If you remain passive in this area, there is no room for complaints down the road.

10. Take care of yourself and create boundaries. This is not a selfish act. If you are not good to yourself, you cannot be good to others. When you’ve had “Me Time” then you feel refreshed and able to cope with the ups and downs that all relationships experience.

It's your move!
Make it one towards building a happily ever after.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Using Proper Body Language To Find Love After Loss

What you say matters as much as the way you say it. Your accompanying non-verbal gestures also matter, for they convey subtle messages of approval and disapproval.

Let’s examine 10 areas in which nonverbal clues can make the difference when meeting prospective dates.

1. Eye Contact. If you are able to maintain eye contact with someone you’ve just met for at least 60 to 70% of the time, you are showing this person respect and exhibiting a genuine interest in what he/she has to say. This also fosters a comfortable atmosphere where self-defense mechanisms can be diffused. Eye contact above 70% can make a person uncomfortable, for no one likes such an intense scrutiny. And 100% eye contact is just staring and sort of creepy!!

2. Ears. Although it may be difficult to give off too many nonverbal clues with yours ears unless you can wiggle them up and down, just remember that good communication takes place when you listen twice (2 ears) as much as you talk (1 mouth).

3. Mouth. On the other hand, your mouth can be very expressive. It can turn up in a smile or down in a frown. Lips can be pursed, which oftentimes indicates disapproval. Raising your hand to your mouth and covering it while you’re talking can indicate a sense of insecurity about what you’re saying. Since a person is paying attention to your mouth when you’re talking, it takes just a small nuance to send a loud message.

4. Posture. As you sit at a table across from your date, are you slumped over or sitting tall? Good posture emanates confidence and a general sense of well-being. When you stand or sit up straight, it is easier for you to breathe deeply. This, in turn, promotes calmness. Slouching with droopy shoulders might indicate that you carry the weight of the world on your back and it is wearing you down. This negative stance can turn people away before you even get a chance to have a conversation.

5. Head. How you hold your head is also related to your postural stance. Keeping your head up indicates self-assuredness. It tells listeners that you know what you’re talking about and that you have valuable information to share. Slightly tilt your head to the right or left and that authoritative air is softened. A head tilt puts you in listening mode and shows genuine interest.

6. Arms. Cross your arms over your body and you’re projecting a defensive attitude or expressing disapproval over what is being said. Keep your arms at your side or behind your back and you project an open-minded quality – willing to listen and ready to receive new information.

8. Hands. For many people how they use their hands during a conversation is a cultural thing. Thus, there may be no deep meaning in their gestures. In general, though, palms up indicates a friendly attitude vs. palms down possibly indicating a more aggressive attitude. Be aware of how a person shakes hands. Is the extended hand in a vertical position (which indicates a feeling of equality) or is the hand offered with the palm up or down?

8. Legs. Tapping, jumpy legs lets your date know that you’re nervous or even hiding some fact about yourself. Whether you cross your legs or not is mostly about comfort, although keeping your legs straight out precludes your date from getting too close to you.

9. Angle of Your Body. How you turn your body can be indicative of your attitude toward another. It’s a pretty simple formula: we angle ourselves toward people we like and away from those who we don’t.

10. Space. Remember the character, the close talker, who appeared in a Seinfeld episode and made everyone so uncomfortable because he overstepped the other characters’ personal space? There’s a happy medium in creating the proper space between conversationalists. Too close and you could be labeled pushy. Too distant and you could be labeled aloof. Strike a pose somewhere in the middle.

Enjoy this clip from the Seinfeld show and watch all the body language. Remember, everything means something!

Clip from Seinfeld "Close Talker" episode

Friday, March 2, 2012

To Be Normal or Not To Be Normal

To paraphrase William Shakespeare ... 
To be normal or not to be normal. That is the question.

After experiencing loss, a popular buzz word you may hear (used to try to help you to understand your new life circumstances) is “new normal.”

I believe to understand the new normal, you must first understand normal. However, let me ask you, “Who and what is considered normal these days?” I don’t think we can rely on Webster to define normal anymore. The dictionary says it is something that is usual, customary or ordinary.

You only need to look at Mother Nature to see the reflection of the absence of what is considered normal today. Think about how many times in the last few years that you’ve heard the weather forecasters say that we are experiencing unseasonably (read: abnormal) warm or cool weather. I know that one year I visited my sister in the northeast in January, and it was 60 degrees, and back home (in the southwest) it was in the thirties! You could categorize these new weather patterns that seem to be changing from year to year a new normal.

The truth is that normal is always in flux and, therefore, every day can be considered a new normal.

John Henry Newman said that “growth is the only evidence of life.” Consequently, every day as you learn new things, you adjust your normal. This is especially evident if you have small children. They grow and change at such a rapid pace that every day is certainly a new normal for them, and this keeps them in a constant state of awe. And as they change, you must also change how you respond to them.

Accepting every day as an opportunity to greet a new normal can make your life more rewarding. In fact, it can allow you to recapture the awe you experienced as a child, if you let yourself get excited about the new opportunities that lie in front of you.

It can also afford you the ability to take giant leaps toward your goals. By disdaining complacency (which you can do by regarding yourself as a work-in-progress or a person who is willing to make changes when new information is received and processed), you can escape what Albert Einstein defined as a state of insanity – which is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.

If life can be compared to a racing river – fluid and ever-changing – then complacency can be compared to a murky swamp that keeps you mired in one place.

Avoid stagnating in this swamp, which is a dark and negative place. Instead, ride the cycle of life where each new experience encountered is a state of new normal. Once adjustments are made, it simply becomes the norm. In actuality, if you are moving forward in life, it is simply a never ending cascade of a new normal becoming normal.

Release your uneasiness over greeting the many new normals to come. It is life in all its glory and your previous experiences have been preparing you for success.