Make Room In Your Life

BPC Bolen quote June 27

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Seeds That You Plant

BPC Stevenson quote June 20

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Do What You Can

BPC Arthur Ashe quote June 6

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Keep Momentum Going

BPC Michael Korda quote May 30

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Written Goals

BPC Brian Tracy quote May 23

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Doing Work of the Heart

heart and paint brush
Meaningful work is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Over the years, I have coached clients and friends as they moved from business to business, from full-time to part-time work (and vice versa,) or to completely new careers. All in search of fulfilling, rewarding work that makes a difference.

I’ve been lucky to experience several careers myself. I worked professionally as a college professor, a high school teacher, in direct sales, as a business executive, and as a small business owner. Looking back, it is amazing to see how all these experiences prepared me for the next — even when the path wasn’t immediately evident.

I’ve also learned that how we live our life away from work influences who are in our career. Over the last couple of years, I worked (and sometimes struggled,) to put together the important pieces of my life so I could be my best in all things. I learned to cook healthy food, became disciplined in my yoga practice, found a new church, focused on my family, learned to paint (well, kind of), and made more time for friends.

One of the most rewarding experiences has been volunteering for our local Hospice. Over the last two years I made phone calls to bereaved families, provided respite care for patients, worked in the office and helped with special events. Like Hospices across the nation, I found that our organization is one made up of extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. I wondered if there might ever be the opportunity to work alongside these people professionally.

Recently, a position was posted in the Volunteer Department at our Hospice. The job description listed skills and tasks that perfectly fit my own experience.

I got the job.

What I know with utter certainty is that this is what I am meant to do.

What I also know is that saying goodbye is never easy. Sherra is an amazing business partner. Our business, Big Picture Coaching, sprang from her vision. I will be forever grateful to her, and to each of you.

Thank you for your time.  For reading our blog, working with us on the phone, corresponding by email, and for always striving to be the best in your own business. I admire each of you as small business owners and as great people.

As I leave this phase of my career, I ask you the same questions I have asked myself over the years: 

  • Where are you in your career?
  • Are you doing work that counts?
  • Are you leading a life that makes you better in all things?
  • What is your next step?

If you need help finding the answers, get in touch with Sherra! As she continues the work of Big Picture Coaching, I promise she will help you discover your heart work.

I wish you the very best.

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5 Tips for Using Email as Business Communication

envelope

Email is a great form of business communication, but is often overused or used unprofessionally.

Here are few quick tips for using email:

1. Clearly state the purpose of your email in the subject line.

Make sure your email is read by simply stating the purpose and/or subject of your email.

2. Get right to point in your email, keeping your message short and simple.

For example, emails are a great way to remind your clients of an upcoming meeting or event. It’s not a good place for long, detailed communications.

3. If you have several points to make, try using bullets for clarity.

Long paragraphs don’t belong in emails. Try shorter sentences as well. Bullets are clearly, quickly read and are often remembered.

4. Use mass or group emails sparingly.

To make these emails more effective, consider creating a timeline for sending newsletters or business announcements on a set schedule — monthly, is a good rhythm to keep your business in front of your clients, but not overwhelm them.

5. Finally, don’t forget about the power of a hand written note sent via US mail.

A notecard is the perfect way to thank you a client for a referral, or the opportunity to serve them. It’s also a great way to recognize someone for a job well done, or to compliment them.

Several years ago, my husband made a New Year’s resolution to write a note to someone every single day. It was a lovely gesture. More importantly, it was a commitment to building others up. A simple handwritten note, complete with a postage stamp, let’s the recipient know they were worth the time it took to write them and pop the note in the mail.

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Tips for Leaving Phone Messages

phone message light

What are  the “rules” for leaving telephone messages as part of a business communication?

What do you say?

How many times can you call back without running the risk of being pushy?

Sherra and I are often asked these questions. To be honest, there isn’t one answer, but here are some tried and true guidelines for leaving messages:

Message #1

  • Say who are calling for.
  • Identify yourself.
  • Remind the person you are calling where you met, or how you are connected.
  • Let them know you’ll call back the next day.
  • Give them a time frame for your return call.
  • Leave your number in case they would like to call you.
  • No need to go into detail.  Just make it short and simple.

Your first message might sound something like this:

Hi Mary! This is Laura Harbolt. We met last week at the women’s networking group. I’m calling to follow up on our conversation regarding _____. I’ll give you a call back tomorrow around noon. Or if you’d like, you can reach me at (phone number.) I’ll look forward to talking soon!

Message #2

  • Identify yourself.
  • Let them know you’ll call back in a day or so.

Here’s an example of your second message:

Hi Mary, this is Laura. I’m sorry I missed you again — I’ll try you back next week, or if you have a moment, give me a call back at (phone number.)

Message #3

  • Call back at a different time of day.
  • If you don’t reach them, then know that this is your last phone message.

You’ll say something like this:

Hi, this is Laura. So sorry to have missed you again, Mary. I’m guessing this is a really busy time for you, and I totally understand. Please feel free to contact me anytime if I can help you with _____. And in the meantime, I’ll keep you on my list and be back in touch later on down the road.

If you haven’t reached your contact in three tries, chances are they are not interested — at least not now. The best investment of your time is to move on, leaving the ball in their court. Do add them to your pipeline, however, making a note of when to get back in touch.

Next time, we’ll talk about the dos and don’t of written communication.

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Tips for the Telephone

pastel telephonesTalking on the phone seems to be a dying form of communication these days. And yet the phone is one of your most valuable business tools.

While on the phone you can ask and answer questions and give feedback. The person you are talking with can hear the warmth in your voice. Together you can share a laugh or a concern. In a phone conversation you can guide your client to quicker decisions.

Here are 6 tips for using the phone professionally and effectively:

1. Schedule time to make phone calls.

Choose a quiet place. No driving, noisy children or sounds of a busy restaurant or coffee shop in the background.

2. Begin the conversation by asking if they have a minute to talk.

Offer to call back if it’s clear your client is distracted or in a hurry.

3. Respect your clients’ time.

Make your offer quickly and briefly.

4. Stay away from written scripts.

You can use notes or bullets to remind you what to say. Reading a script makes you sound like a telemarketer rather than a trusted service provider.

5. Expect to hear “no,” or “not now” sometimes.

If the answer is not now, let them know you will call back in a few weeks.

6. Never end the conversation without thanking the person you are talking with.

Let them know how much your appreciate their time and their consideration.

Next time, we’ll talk about leaving messages…

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One Good Idea

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