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There are a lot of fine points to networking, and you can find a lot of good tips all over the place from a lot of authors, but to me, here’s one big secret you need to know if you want to be successful at networking.

Here it is:

You gotta do it!

Like exercise, networking isn’t a spectator sport and it isn’t a passive activity. You’ve got to consciously be practicing professional networking all the time with the goal of growing the number of people who are willing to help you, and they’re willing to help you because they know you’d do the same for them.

Yes, this may get old. Yes, it may often seem difficult. And yes, it may require monumental effort on your part.

So on the days you might not feel so much like networking what should you do? Do it anyway! Push yourself! You’ll be glad you did not only because you can celebrate that feeling of accomplishment that comes from meeting a personal challenge, but also because you’ll be moving one step closer to the results you’re looking for.

Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway!” – Emory Austin


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valentine candy boxIf there’s one resource I absolutely love, it’s the library. If there’s one place that levels the playing field, if there’s one place I don’t mind my tax dollars going, it’s the library. The OKC Metro Library system has been a resource I’ve used for over 20 years now, and I continue to marvel at what the library system has to offer.

I once heard a speaker say that information wasn’t power, that only applied information was power. If information by itself were power, then the library wouldn’t be the quietest, deadest, least-crowded place in town. The point being made was that in order to get results, just having “information” wasn’t enough, one had to do something with it. To take ACTION. I agree with that, as I’ve written before, but I think we might be tempted misinterpret that to think it’s a slam on the library, when the exact opposite ought to be the case.

Og Mandino wrote that at his lowest point emotionally, found himself at his public library. He found himself strangely compelled to start investing his time in a self-directed education that would ultimately result in helping him raise himself from a “hopeless bum” into a millionaire. He ended up writing books that would inspire millions, too. In fact, there have been several stories told of how “bums” literally went to the library to get out of the cold and ended up using that time to read. To better themselves. And they wound up finding solutions that would turn their lives around and ultimately help them not only “survive,” but prosper. The point is often made that it was the ACTION of applying what was learned to achieve the success, but isn’t it worth celebrating that the same education that enabled that success is available to all of us? Right down the street, in many cases?

I was just there with my son and I was amazed at how they now have Kindle Fires that families can check out that have all kinds of interactive learning tools and such. Heck, I was dazzled a few years ago when they started offering digital downloads of books and periodicals that you could get, from your library onto your phone or tablet, without even leaving the house. That they now make technology available to those who need it, and might not otherwise be able to afford it, is pretty doggone cool as far as I am concerned.

The resources are plentiful and they’re yours for the borrowing. You’ll find your local library is peaceful and quiet…and rarely is it crowded!

You’ve already paid for it, so are you really maximizing this amazing asset?

You want weapons? We’re in a library. Books are the best weapon in the world. This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself!” – Doctor Who, Tooth and Claw



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Looking for a graduation gift? Just sayin’…

Networking can be the most powerful marketing tool you have. This is because it puts you face-to-face with prospects, enables you to get to know all about how you can help them, then enables you to tailor your introduction to exactly that. When you network, you are the brand to those you meet wherever you go. You are the window through which your brand is viewed, you are what they will “say” about your brand, and whatever feelings they get for you or about you will become their brand association with you. Remember, that’s really all a brand is, whatever the customer thinks of when they think of you.

So with that in mind, just remember that EVERYTHING is branding! Be friendly, be professional, and be mindful that somebody is watching, and building lasting impressions of you, all the time.

I know you get this, but if there are others out there who represent your brand, how about making sure they know it, too?

Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you‘re saying.”Ralph Waldo Emerson




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Just a short, get-to-the-point post this week. Unusual for me, huh?

What’s not so unusual for me is to sneak in a little self-promotion, so I’ll subtly do that now

Two articles I’d selfishly like very much for you to see:



The message: THANKS to all those who made the journey possible.

The lesson: 20 years ain’t near as long as it used to be!







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Is Time Money?

By Dr. Burt Smith October 22nd, 2014

Short answer: Yep, Time is money. If you’re busy, you can just stop reading right here and get on with your day.

Not only is time money, but time is the new measure of wealth.

There is most definitely a correlation between time and money! On the expense side, it’s time = money. On the revenue side, money = time! Time is kind of the currency we’re all working for, if you think about it.

I know a lot of “successful” professionals who are constantly hopping on a plane and gallivanting here or there, sometimes to exotic locales. They make excellent money, but they’re always on someone else’s schedule. And “someone else” often doesn’t care that it’s their kid’s birthday or a death in the family or even if they’re ill. Their attitude is, “We’re paying you to be here. We’ve got an audience who expects YOU to show up and perform. We have a contract and we expect you to honor it.” The higher up the ladder you go, the higher the stakes, and the higher the consequences.

We ought to all ditch our wall clocks and digital smartphones in favor of hourglasses because the hourglass shows how time really runs out, one grain at a time.

Time is the most important thing you have, so invest it wisely. And count that time you have to spend with whom you want and/or doing what you want as a blessing of immeasurable value. You may find you’re even wealthier than you thought!

 Dost thou love live? Then do not squander time for that is the stuff life’s made of.” – Benjamin Franklin


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The perfect Tweet?

By Dr. Burt Smith January 14th, 2014

Below is a link to an article shared in a Tweet by Tim Berney, founder and president of VI Marketing and Branding. Tim spoke to an entrepreneurship class of mine a while back, as he has done many times over the years. This very successful entrepreneur gives his time and wisdom to the class, and sticks around afterward to visit with students individually about their business goals. This is because, like most truly successful people, he believes in helping the next generation on their journey.

One very clear, very important message he shared with these entrepreneurs-in-training is the unavoidable necessity of hard work in being successful at any undertaking.

That reminded me of a Tweet Tim had shared some time ago.

Incidentally, if you’re looking for a crash course in how to use Twitter to build your brand, without alienating your followers with the usual, useless, boring chatter that’s most often seen on Twitter, Tim’s Tweet below is a near PERFECT example.

What he’s done is share a RESOURCE with his followers, which in this case is an article about entrepreneurship. Your followers are busy people, after all, so when you find something that could benefit them but that they might not otherwise discover on their own, sharing it with them is a great service on your part. It’s something they’ll value and appreciate.  Tim has additionally added his own comments on the article, thereby making the find that much more valuable to his followers or anyone else who reads it because we benefit from his perspectives on what we’re about to read. Powerful!

Check out the Tweet and the article to see for yourself…


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The ONLY time these two guys stopped working was to take this pic!

The ONLY time these two guys stopped working was to take this pic!

A good time was had by all and a boatload of money got raised for the Dream Fund Thursday night thanks to the Oklahoma City Marcomm Community. It’s always fun to hang out with marketing gurus (and AMA Past-Presidents) Brian Blake and Kevin Jessop, but to get to share the stage with these pros was an additional honor.

Many thanks to all those volunteers and donors for making GIVING to such a great cause so enjoyable.

If you were there you know what a well-attended, well-orchestrated, professionally done event it was. If not, you can read all about it in the Twittersphere by searching #okcjinglemingle.

I have always been proud to be a member of the marketing PROFESSION, but the comaraderie and generosity we saw at the Jingle Mingle reminds me why I’m proud to be part of this profession in this unique Oklahoma City community. That’ll keep me in the holiday spirit until at least the Super Bowl! Bravo and thanks, guys!


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hands claspedLooking for a way to get some quality,  FREE training? Then volunteer for a cause or a not-for-profit. These folks are always looking for help with projects. In fact, not only do they need help, they need LEADERSHIP to help them reach their goals. In other words, they need YOU. And YOU may need them, too.

As I was building my business several years ago, I found that getting actively involved in the right organizations was not only great for building my personal brand and that of the business, but also for getting some great training at someone else’s expense!  Plus it’s just a lot of fun because you get to work with other leaders you might not have the opportunity to work with otherwise.

There are several cautions that need to be observed when volunteering (and I’ll talk about them another time) but the benefits far outweigh the costs when it comes to volunteering.

So the next time the chance to volunteer comes along, don’t think about how busy you are, think about how it can positively impact your future.


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toastingSometimes being dead wrong can turn out to be a good thing! When the idea last year for doing an evening event at the Oklahoma City Chapter of the American Marketing Association came up, a banquet-type event (translation: labor-intensive event!), I was skeptical at first, and I said so. I did it in the same vein as so many good past-presidents had advised me over the years when I was in leadership, which was just to say, “Hey, let’s be careful…, these things cost a lot of money and it’s often hard to find the labor to pull it off, evening events are a tough to get people to attend, have you thought about this, have you thought about that, etc…” Never intending to be a big ol’ downer, and I hope I didn’t say something like “We tried that once and it didn’t go so well…,” because statements like that guarantee an organization will have a mediocre future. But, since a not-for-profit kind of has to be able to justify every dollar it spends because it’s somebody else’s money you’re spending, that has to be the big filter through which every decision is made. I just didn’t think overall this was a good one. So I just had to get my two cents in. Nobody listened, and that was a good thing, it turns out, because the inaugural Marketini event, as it was so cleverly named, was a huge success. People literally had to be turned away. Plus, the event elevated the stature of the already prestigious Excellence in Marketing Awards by showcasing their presentation in a venue that gives them the attention they deserve. The event happened to be held in the OKC Chapter’s 50th year, and since I’ve been a member for nearly 20 of those years, that was kinda neat to reflect upon. The Marketini had this cool, Mad Men theme and everybody dressed “50s,” it was really something.

I might also point out that even though I didn’t agree with the idea, once it was green-lighted, I tried to do what past-presidents did for me so well any time I had an idea, and I sometimes had some crazy ones – I supported it. Our company was a sponsor and I spent the day of the event helping the committee with the set up and the Saturday morning after helping with the take down (Side note – if you drive a pickup truck, be careful who knows it! A good line to memorize is “I’d love to haul that for you, but since this is a company-owned vehicle our insurance prohibits it.” Then shrug and shake your head slowly while wearing your most convincing  expression of regret…).  Seriously, it was fun to be a part of that historical occasion and I’ll always be proud my financial support and sweat equity helped make it so.

Usually this is where I conclude the post with an action or a marketing lesson you can use, and there are actually several positive, long-range, strategic, branding lessons to be gleamed from my 2012 Marketini experience, which I’ll talk about another time. They’ll probably find their way into my next book, as a matter of fact, because there were some great lessons learned.

I wanted this post to just be a much-deserved thank-you, because a LOT of hard work goes into such an undertaking.

As the second annual Marketini approaches, a toast to the professional chapter of the American Marketing Association of Oklahoma City and its current leadership. Hear, hear!

 Try a lot of stuff, keep what works.” – Jim Collins, Built to Last

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The other day a colleague of mine had a problem with a computer program he was working with. I was able to offer him a quick solution which impressed the heck out of him, which was great, until he asked me how I was able to do that, and I had forgotten! He quickly became less impressed. I spent the rest of the day obsessed with trying to remember how I did learn to do whatever it was I did.

I got to thinking about it, and I recalled that I knew how to solve it because I HAD to! In fact, it got me to pondering how over the years, as a sole practitioner, I’d often find myself up against a deadline. Right about that time Murphy’s Law would show up. I had an unscheduled problem and a deadline to meet, which meant that I had to get that problem solved and get on with it! So I’d stay after it and experiment and tinker until I found the answer. It was frustrating at the time, but in the end it was quite a feeling to know I could solve my own dilemma. Downright empowering, in fact!

One important characteristic shared by entrepreneurs is a can-do, refuse-to-quit attitude. As Tom Peters said years ago as he urged larger organizations to think like small businesses,  small businesses succeed because they have to! Rarely easy, often nerve-wracking, but when it all comes together there’s a sense of satisfaction that’s hard to describe. The next time you find yourself up against a challenge, remember that solving it will be rewarding in more ways than one.

Fall down seven times. Get up eight.” – Japanese Proverb


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