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"Why Choose Between Fun and Content When You Can Have Both"

Why Aren't People Paying Attention In That Meeting?

Found myself sitting in a meeting recently and noticed the following going on:

  • People were texting The Simpsons Movie full
  • People were twittering
  • People were talking
  • People were emailing
  • People were doodling
  • People were cleaning out their purse
  • One person was writing checks
  • Another was making a list of some sort
  • One was cleaning his finger nails – and then staring at what came out.
  • And one guy was observing all of the above (that would be me!)

download 3-2-1 Penguins! As a speaker I know one thing, if they’re doing any or all of the above, it’s my fault (for the most part); I’m not keeping them interested or engaged. But on the other hand some people need a little guidance at a meeting to recognize why they are in attendance. It’s one of the reasons I created The Meeting Playce

Mat™; to give people a tool to take something away from that meeting experience. It’s fun; it’s creative; and it gets you thinking.

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Keep the people engaged and we won’t be doing all of those things listed above. But how do you keep people engaged? Here are three ideas:

  1. Include them by asking stimulating questions
  2. Offer them opportunity to interact and be a part of the meeting; to put to practice what you are presenting
  3. Give them new and fresh content – or at least take a new thinking approach to old stuff. Stop rehashing old ideas.

There are many more. But why not start here. If you’re a presenter of any sort; civic meeting; staff meeting; or conference presenter, make a pledge right now to keep those people with you and not looking for opportunity to go to technology land, finger crud world or the ear wax kingdom.

Now this is what you call Customer Service?

Met a colleague for breakfast this morning. We were sitting drinking our coffee and brainstorming. On the table was a little bowl of creamers; enough to bathe in. (As an aside, what is the deal with those things anyway? Why is it that some have to be kept cold while others can sit on the sidewalk on a brutally hot summer day alongside that fried egg?And do restaurants really know which is which and why? And what about the supply we find in hotel rooms? Should I be looking for cobwebs; you never know how long those have been sitting next to that in room coffee maker?)

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But anyway, I digress.

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Star Trek: First Contact rip Armageddon ipod The Simpsons Movie buy Silent Trigger ipod Out of the corner of my eye I saw the waitress serving the table behind us barreling down the aisle. She whizzes by, puts her hand out, scoops up our little bowl of dairy delites and drops them off at the next table.

Ed and I looked at each other in amazement. Wasn’t sure if he was shocked, appalled or confused.

I just laughed. I guess my quota of free refills had been reached.

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Tired of those boring meetings that lead to no results, no innovative ideas and nothing new being said.

Take The Meeting Playce Mat ™ to your next meeting. It’ll make your next meeting a whole lot more productive – or at least a whole lot more fun!



 Find out more about the Meeting Playce Mat (TM) Here!




Are you hanging out with Recessionaries and participating in the Recession? I hope not.

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I keep hearing about this Recession, yet I’m still not seeing it???

  • I had to wait 30 minutes for a table last night in a restaurant. At 9:00 the place was still packed
  • The roads are as congested as ever; if not more congested? Are people getting up in the morning and driving to the companies that laid them off just to say hi?
  • The line to check out at one of my favorite stores was ten deep the other day and there seemed to be more than enough help at the register
  • The company who normally turns my marketing materials around in two days has not delivered my proof yet – it’s been a week? They’re swamped with work; so they tell me.
  • I booked two engagements this week at my normal fee
  • One friend booked a cruise; another a week in the Caribbean; a third to South Africa

So this leads me to a few questions:

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  1. Am I just hanging out with the right people?
  2. Are service organizations staffing down to give the appearance of being busy?
  3. Are companies trying to move forward and ignoring the craziness that is Wall Street and Washington?
  4. Are the travel deals so good that I better do some surfing as soon as I post this blog entry.

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I really am trying not to participate in this Recession. Would you join me?

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What is it?

Look long and hard at the picture below and try to guess what it is before reading any further.

So what is it?

Recently I attended a seminar on the importance of play; as it relates to design, innovation and creativity in business and society.

Tales of the Riverbank full One of the exercises involved being paired up with someone to create a new idea or product. There was one catch. We were not allowed to talk. This had to be a non-verbal exchange of ideas based on drawing or writing. I was paired up with Karen, a professor from Syracuse University.

Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film divx Karen started our conversation with what looked like an open box.

I put wheels on it.

From there it just got silly.

Karen and I were no longer on the same page; we both had our own idea for a new product. I started going down the path of an oven and she started going down the path of I didn’t know what; but I think it was something military; as it appeared to be armed with weapons.

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But at the end of the exercise, we had agreed that we had designed the first Attack Skating/Skiing Oven named Herbie Chasseurs de dragons full movie .

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Above Us the Waves dvdrip Play is critical for creativity and innovation to occur. Play can also be constructive and transformational for any organization when used the right way and for the right reasons. Some of the smartest companies use play to create new products and services. And it does wonders for the health and wellness of an organization. Is your organization playing?

Outsourced move June 18th is Recess At Work Day; a day that promotes health and wellness, creativity, team building and so much more. But don’t wait until June 18th; visit the Recess At Work Day website today and start playing, innovating, designing, being more creative and getting well!

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Shut Up! Or You May Be The Next One Let Go

In my How To Be A Good Employee program

, I offer some simple rules to navigate the workplace; have fun, stay motivated and be a good team player.

Rule #5 is SHUT UP!

Now this does not mean you should not speak up for what you believe in or bring attention to matters of importance; it means stay out of the gossip and nonsense that is so pervasive in many organizations. Pretty simple to state; not so easy for some to do.

Yesterday I received a call from two former colleagues. Both still work for the same company. It seems that a staff member was let go and they called to tell me as if I cared.

When I leave an organization I could care less about what is going on – especially the crap. But there are those who seem to think you care; or maybe it is just their way of staying in touch. Who knows. And again, who cares?

But it was interesting how both of these people had very different explanations as to why their co-worker was let go. One painted a picture of it being an unfair decision; the other painted a picture of it’s about time.

Who is right? Who knows. And again, who cares.

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But this is how organizational gossip and employee turmoil begins or gets fueled. If you’re an employee of an organization you know the talks that are going on after someone is let go or receives some corrective discipline. Are you part of theses talks? Are you inciting them?

Let me make life easy for you…………….Chances are that none of the gossips really know the real reason; nor will they ever. Probably, because chances are it’s a little bit of valid information from every piece of gossip out there.

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Hence Rule #5?: Shut Up! Stay out of it and do your job.

The World is Crumbling Around Us……………….

And this guy is pissed at Burger King . Make sure you click on the police recording link.

And then give this some thought…………………………..

You know that the 911 Operator will remember this day for a long time to come; she can probably write a book of bizarre calls. But enough about her, what are the funny, crazy, silly, outlandish things that have happened at your workplace that still make you laugh? When things get tough at the office, take a moment to reminisce and laugh.

And the stupidity at Bank of America continues….

Me and You and Everyone We Know movie If you remember, back in November I gave Bank of America the Stupid Company of the Month Award (you can read about it here)

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Well the Stupidity at Bank of America continues. The account I thought was closed is not, and has been accruing $5.95 monthly fees on a zero balance.

And why?

Well it seems when I logged into my online account and told them to close this account they closed the online banking account, but not the actual checking account.

And how did I find this out?

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The very nice customer service representative told me that when I called asking why I am receiving overdrawn statements when I requested the account to be closed. He informed me that I had requested the online account closed and not the actual checking account. To close a bank account you actually need to talk live with a person – on the phone or in a branch.

Okay, I’ll take part of the blame here -perhaps a miscommunication. But on whose part?

Not mine. Remember, the customer is always right. Right???

So I made a suggestion to the BOA rep. I suggested that maybe he pass along a suggestion to the online department suggesting that they might be a bit more explicit in their email communication about the closing of online access versus closing of an actual bank account.

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And to which his response is…………..

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I can go to the website and submit that suggestion by myself.

And to which my response is………………..

I’m not even a customer any longer; and you’re the customer service person who should be forwarding these requests.

And to which his response is………………

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There are different ways we gather information at BOA and him forwarding the information is not one of them. (Now if this line isn’t enough to make you puke; you know that came right out of some training manual)

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain trailer And to which my response is……………………

A chuckle and the stupidity at BOA continues.

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Just a few days ago I again heard talks of the US Govt nationalizing BOA. Nationalize. Can we De-Stupidize them first!

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A Message For Governor Rell: Yeah, yeah, yeah, families are making do with less, blah, blah, blah.

College Road Trip Families Are Making Do With Less; So Can We.

Who’s Harry Crumb? ipod That was a point that Governor Rell (CT) kept repeating during her doom and gloom budget conference yesterday. She was setting the tone for what was about to come……………..
layoffs, agency closures, agency consolidations and decreased services. I’m sure this is happening in most states.

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Malevolence movies Hey Governor, I’m willing to make do with less; but I think it is about time that you make it easier for me to do so.

I just finished writing an $18 check for a boat trailer. Three weeks ago I wrote an $18 check for a jet ski trailer. Hey governor…………why can’t all registrations be renewed online?! Why couldn’t you send these both to me at the same time? Why do I have to write a check, stick a stamp on it and walk to my mailbox – Twice! Why can’t I print out my registration online? And what about my license? What happens when I arrive at the DMV to renew it and find out the hours are shortened or you have closed the office. Yeah, yeah, yeah, families are making do with less, blah, blah, blah.

Yo Governor, I’m willing to make do with less; but I think it is about time that you make it easier for me to do so.


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Outsourced movies Government talks about having less bureaucracy; I think that government needs to learn how to get out of their own way. Do you need to lay off 400 people? Maybe? Maybe not? Are there lazy people in government who take advantage of their jobs? Absolutely. Are there lazy people in the private sector doing the same thing? You bet. But is it possible that you have perpetuated things by placing people in the wrong positions, not screening candidates properly, and turning your head on “out on administrative leave” issues? And now, after you have fostered (not you personally) this type of behavior for decades you plan to fix it with fewer services and people?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, families are making do with less, blah, blah, blah.

You forget one thing Governor; families are already doing with less; now you’re going to be asking them to do with even less. Your speech seemed to address your political team, not the great people of CT! Forget Double Taxation. This is Double Screwation.

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So using the DMV as just one example, how about implementing some things that make sense? Now take the resources you just saved and deploy them into positions that make more sense, training that allows people to use their talents, and products and services that support everyone. If private industry has learned how to tap into people’s talents, so can government. Need help figuring it out? I’ll show you for free!

You see Governor, I really am willing to make do with less; but I think it is about time that you make it easier for me to do so.

Don't Invite Your Mother To The Meeting If She Is Going To Whine

If you’re old enough and your parents had guts, balls or chutzpah, you remember “The Look.” The Look meant you did something wrong and you had either cut it out right now………..Or Else. It was appropriately used when we were taken to a public place – restaurant, house of worship, or shopping.

Who’s Harry Crumb? psp Or Else meant discipline. It didn’t mean time out. It didn’t mean you were sent to your room to think about what you did; a room where you had computers, 100” flat screen TV’s, MP3 players, your cell phone and enough toys for a small village in a third world country. Discipline often involved hands, belts, slippers, or even a broom. Now I am not supporting physical discipline but I do know in the past I have mentioned my view on this ridiculous thing called “Time Out.”

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Godzilla’s Revenge hd So there we are, in the food court of the Convention Center. Ellen and I are looking for a place to sit, eat, and catch up a bit. We meet at this event every year to play a bit as well as strategize about our businesses. We join a young woman at a table for six. She invites us to sit down as it will only be her and her mother. Mom is nowhere in sight. But without even knowing what she looked like we hear this train barreling down the tracks, approaching the table.

“This is awful. They have no food I like. I don’t want to sit down here with all this noise. The food choices were terrible. The lines are so long. The cashier is so slow. (She is now at the table.) They don’t give you any napkins. Where am I going to sit? (We left seats on either side of her daughter and one across; quick aside, notice it is across; not acrossed.) Ellen is horrified; I am biting my tongue not to laugh. Oh, by the way; for my current and former New Yorkers, she’s got one of those high-pitched Nasally New York Voices – (think Janice from Friends). Her daughter points her in the direction of the condiment station where she can find her napkins. And then it happens; as she turns away the daughter gives her “The Look.” I burst out laughing. It was wrong but all I could do at that point.

There was absolutely nothing right going on in this woman’s life on that day. Mother-Daughter time meant nothing to her. I wished I could have introduced her to people in that room who had lost their mother; or worse yet, their daughter. Slapping her back to reality would have been my pleasure. Or maybe a little reminder, that unlike those kids in the third world country, at least she could afford food.

And then I got thinking about some dynamics of meetings and teams; which is why I was there. I am currently working on a new product to make painful meetings a bit more valuable and fun

Before It Had a Name dvd (watch your inbox for the launch); but this was the perfect example of how often times we invite the wrong people to a meeting. In my research about successful meetings one of the most common complaints is that things do not get done because the wrong people are in attendance. The wrong people bring bad ideas. The wrong people bring no ideas. The wrong people bring their agenda. The wrong people are not capable of looking at all sides of a discussion and then making a decision that is right, not just in their best interest. The wrong people will use a phrase like “Not to play Devil’s Advocate” on a regular basis. Drop the Advocate is what I am thinking; because you are the Devil! The wrong people suck the life out of a room. They always find something wrong with the project, the product, the idea, the class, the hotel, the restaurant, etc. Think about it at your next meeting experience. So how do you identify who the wrong people are? They are usually the topic of discussion at the meeting which occurs right after the meeting – you know the one.

Do you we realize we invite the wrong people to meetings, we put the wrong people in positions, we have conversations with the wrong people, we try to train the wrong people. I can go on and on. We invite people out of courtesy. News Flash! – They don’t want to be there either; hence the possible sucking out of life. So who are the right people? I propose three simple questions when you are asked to attend the next meeting:

  1. Why are you being invited to this meeting? (What is the expectation being placed on you?)
  2. What will you contribute of value to this meeting? (Not can you, but will you)
  3. Is there a better person that should attend in your place?

Let those three questions be the basis for staying on or getting yourself off that invite list. And if you’re planning the meeting, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Look at your list and ask why you’re inviting each person?
  2. What is the contribution you expect from each person; tell them beforehand
  3. Do you really have the right people on that list?

So mom and daughter get up from the table to leave. We smiled at the daughter with one of those “we feel your pain” looks. Mortified, she smiles back and gave us “The Other Look” – the rolling eyes one. I hope mom accomplishes whatever her daughter expected by bringing her to this event.