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The Long Game of Marketing


In the past, we at Speak for Yourself have discussed the importance of expanding your professional network and have offered tips on the most effective ways to do so. Networking, however, does not end when you leave an event with a stack of business cards in hand. Networking is a way of creating long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. Here are some practical steps to manage those relationships in the long term.

1) After speaking to an individual at an event, write details that you learned about them on the business card they gave you. This could include his wife’s name, an interest she has, or a project he is working on. Doing this ensures that when you reach out to her again, you will stand out as somebody who really listened and connected on a deeper level.

2) Make sure to send an email within 24 hours of the event to maintain that connection. Doing this increases the likelihood that he will remember you, your face, and who you are.

3) If you come across a news story, a project, or another contact that you think would be helpful to her, email or call with that piece of information. Remember, networking is about what you can do for the other person, not what you can get.

4) Make sure to be in contact semi-regularly. You don’t want to be a pest, but you want to maintain enough contact that your relationship can be win-win.

Karen Speaks at National Cancer Survivors Day

You might think that my keynote “Letters From Einstein”, about hope, resilience, and brassieres, inspired my audience of cancer

survivors, care givers, and the Texas Health Plano team of staff and volunteers. I hope it did.

The truth is that this audience inspired me.

As a fellow cancer survivor I understand this audience’s challenges about uncertainty and loss of control. It was an honor to give my presentation about how to handle life’s chaos with hope and humor.

Thank you- Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano for the opportunity to share my story and to hear yours.



Word by Word on Bird by Bird – Instructions on Writing and Life


You will find neat stuff when you clean out your stuff.

Normally I do not do book reports for my blog; but, these notes on Annie Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird – Some Instructions on Writing and Life, surfaced when going through an office pile.

Here’re the notes I wrote on her phenomenal book that can help you on writing and life.

P. xxvi: It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.

p. 3: Telling the truth in an interesting way turns out to be about as easy and pleasurable as bathing a cat.

p. 9: Learning what you aren’t writing helps you find out what you are writing.

p. 19: Write bird by bird. By one-inch picture frame at a time. Try not to get overwhelmed.

p. 25: All good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Begin with “shitty first draft”.

p. 26: Quieting these negative voices is at least half the battle I fight daily. Voices – mice – mason jars!

p. 28: Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor. It will cramp and insane your whole life.

p. 40’s: Think of writing as a Polaroid. Point camera at what grabs your attention and shoot. The final pic will be different and you don’t know what it will look like. It emerges.

P. 59: Drama holds readers attention. Setup – build up – payoff. Payoff answers why we are here. Setup – tells the game. Build up – puts in all the moves.

p. 62: Plot = A B D C E   A – Action. B – Background. D – Development. C – Climax. E – Ending.

p. 67: Dialogue – The way you nail character – work on getting voice right.

p. 74: Set design – details!!

p. 80: False starts – excellent story about nursing home.

p. 100: There is ecstasy in paying attention.

p. 103: If you abort a project there is nothing at the center about which you care passionately. “The core, ethical concepts in which you most passionately believe are the language in which you are writing.”

p. 110: You need your broccoli in order to write well. When I don’t know what to do, you get quiet and try to hear that still small voice inside. It will tell you what to do.

p. 112: You get your confidence and intuition back by trusting yourself. By being militantly on your own side. You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind. You need a voice you are not trying to control.

p. 121: K-FKD – K F… radio station. K – LUV – the other radio station. The K-LUV station is in one ear saying good stuff. K-FKD is the other ear that’s self-loathing. Annie’s K-FCK is ON every morning. Try lowering the volume!

p. 136: Put index cards everywhere. When you give yourself permission to start writing, you start thinking like a writer.

p. 156: Some conferences can be cut throat and competitive and you need to be ready for fierce critique.

p. 174: Can’t write? Do it as a letter!

p. 181: Mark Twain said, “Adam was the only man who, when he said a good thing, knew that nobody said it before.” Life – recycling center. You have to offer your OWN sensibility, your sense of humor, or pathos, or meaning.

p. 192: “Something to be said for painting portraits of the people we have loved.” Later – delete self-indulgence.

p. 215: Real payoff – writing itself.

p. 218: Cool Runnings: “If you’re not enough before the gold medal, you won’t be enough with it.”

Karen Speaks to Lerch Bates about how to Speak For Yourself to Grow Your Business

Lerch Bates, a global 65-year old  highly respected elevator consulting company asked me to speak to their organization. We had a blast!
Speaking for themselves…
“Karen provided valuable instruction that was very practical enabling our people to put these actions to work immediately. For example: do one business development action daily, smile, begin with “you” rather than “I” on email, fix google search issue, don’t block the light, more praise.”
Bart Stephan, President & CEO
“Karen showed enthusiasm as well as delivery information while providing us with knowledge on better ways to communicate.”
Derek Mento, Project Manager
“Informative, uplifting, energetic.”
John Arther, CFO

Humor: Use it when you communicate!

Sarah Epstein, Speak For Yourself Marketing Guru interviews Karen about the business of humor…

Political cartoons are powerful. The cartoonist disarms you with laughter while conveying an important political message.

As a presenter, you can similarly utilize humor to engage your audience and make them more receptive to your message. An audience full of potential customers, for instance, may approach your presentation with uncertainty. Opening a presentation with humor, however, makes you likeable. Humor cannot replace a worthwhile product or service, but it can sell you to your audience. A customer that relates and likes you will be infinitely more likely to seek your services. Humor helps you sell yourself.

Q:  Karen, what would you say are some great ways to utilize humor?

A:  Find the funny stuff of life – at work or at home – and ask yourself, “Is there a way I can use this funny incident to help make a point?” If so, write it down (our memories are as long as our pencils) and use it.

Q:  Are there certain types of humor or types of jokes that speakers should avoid?

A: YES. I strongly urge you NOT to use jokes. First – you will offend a political party, a gender, or whatever is the butt of the joke. Second – your crowd probably already heard this dumb joke. Third – the funniest stuff is real stuff that happens to real people. You just have to observe with purpose.

Q: Is humor always appropriate in a presentation?

A: No. But almost. Even in a eulogy you can say some funny and heart warming things about the bereaved. Use your common sense.

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