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

Secret Santa 2011. 24 Free Books. 24 Happier Employees!

Ho-Ho-Ho!

Tomorrow is December 1st. Tomorrow begins Secret Santa 2011: 24 Happier Employees

Here’s how it works:

  1. From December 1st to December 24th each day I will select one person to receive a free printed copy of my book Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace
  2. The person who receives the book will be based on nominations I receive from you! My committee of three (me and two dogs) will choose the winner (while roasting chestnuts on an open fire) based on who we think needs the most help.
  3. Nominations must be recceived the day before. So nominations I receive today will only be good for a book being sent tomorrow. You are encouraged to nominate daily. When you submit a nomination give me a good reason. Nominate a friend, coworker; maybe even your CEO?
  4. You can include the snail mailing address in your nomination or I can email you if your entry is chosen to get the recipient’s information; whichever you are more comfortable with. I will not sell names or use this information for corporate espionage.
  5. The book will include a note from me that someone nominated the recipient as someone who needed some cheering up, a boost in morale and/or a WBD (weapon of boss destruction). I will not share your Secret Identity; even if the Joker and Riddler are plotting my doom. It will be up to you if you decide to tell that person you were their Secret Santa.

That’s it. So let the nominating begin.

 

P.S. No nominating yourself! This is about Tis the Season to be giving – except it ain’t costing you anything this time!

Start nominating people by visiting my contact page by clicking here

Should authors hold a story hour in your home or office?

Two weeks ago the Electrolux vacuum cleaner rep came knocking on my door. She wanted to enter me in a drawing to win $1,000 worth of groceries. The catch: they are going to follow-up with me (relentlessly) in order to get into my living room, demonstrate their product, and try to convince me to buy one.

Yesterday, a neighborhood kid knocked on my door asking me to buy some pasta so he can go on a school trip. I guess those of us who don’t have kids are expected to subsidize those of you who do? Or subsidize the schools for offering a trip that neither the parents nor the school system can afford? At least it’s pasta; something I can eat; and not some useless wooden holiday trinket or wrapping paper that showed up eight months later. (I’ll save that one for another time)

But these two incidents got me thinking………………..

  • Maybe authors should start holding story hours in people’s homes and offices? We could go in and read excerpts of our work in order to “tease” people into buying. I can go into people’s homes and read them excerpts of Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth. I can tell them how great the book is and how it will change their organization if they just implement a few of the 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace? I can talk about how I am using the tactic of engaging with customers personally; just like what is talked about in the book.
  • Or maybe I could just tell people that I need help paying for my trip to the Caribbean this winter? Open communication always will provide for a better employee and customer experience. And surely you want me to be happy and warm this winter anyway. Don’t you?

But what this really got me thinking about is how the very old sales tactic of going door-to-door in order to sell something or grow a database is still en vogue; or schools and vacuums might not be in business. I wonder what other old sales and marketing tactics might still work. What’s working for you?

But in the meantime I have to go buy some pasta. I don’t want to be known as the cheap neighbor or be the target of snowballs this winter.

RICH DIGIROLAMO, founder Recess At Work, works with organizations to create happier work environments, strengthen work teams, design new programs, and create better relationships with customers and peers. Sometimes even to save a customer.

Are you ready to take a Recess from so-so customer service and to inject more fun and engagement between employees and customers? Invite Rich to work with your team.

 

 

Ring Bell for Service. Piss off Store Employee.

So I did what the sign said……………………………Ring Bell for Service.

I stood there and smiled with a big ole childish grin.

Now what I did not expect was the woman behind the counter to give me a look as if she wanted to throw me in the pizza oven across the driveway.

So as she stared me down I responded “Well it said to Ring Bell For Service. I was doing what I was instructed. I guess someone does not have a sense of humor.”

Quickly another employee jumped in and in a playful voice responded, “Yes, that is why we hide her in the back and don’t usually let her come out.”

(Ah, perhaps the big meany is the business owner? But goody, someone wants to play with me)

“Well she’s not the ideal role model for customer service” I went on to say.

“I know. We’ll have to send her back to school” replied the employee.

I laughed. I recognized the employee was working hard to save this transaction, this customer, and perhaps to right a wrong.

Too bad Miss Personality was still standing there staring me down.

Now if it wasn’t for my addiction to these things – Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds – I would have walked out the door and never returned – which I probably won’t anyway.

But I admire that the employee recognized what had happened and was working to fix it. I could not believe that the other person clearly could not see what she had done and her reaction might not have been the best. And if she wasn’t able to apologize or make light of the situation maybe she needed to walk away………permanently.

I’m sure I’m not the 1st person to ring the bell when staff were standing a few feet away. I’m sure I won’t be the last. In Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth we read about a company that holds contests for customers to suggest signage ideas for a company store.  My suggestion for The Gift Barn would be “Ring Bell for Service – unless the mean looking lady is anywhere in sight”

But here’s a couple of questions for you to ponder…………

  1. Do you have the right employees interacting with customers? (especially as we go into Black Friday and the holiday shopping season)
  2. Do you have rules, policies…or signs, that are just breeding grounds for a potential bad customer experience?

RICH DIGIROLAMO, founder Recess At Work, works with organizations to create happier work environments, strengthen work teams, design new programs, and create better relationships with customers and peers. Sometimes even to save a customer.

Are you ready to take a Recess from so-so customer service and to inject more fun and engagement between employees and customers? Invite Rich to work with your team.

 

If every employee is not smiling Tim Smith can help!

Most days I smile. But let’s be honest, aren’t there just those days that no matter how much you try that smile just cannot be mustered up?

Enter Tim Smith……CEO and Curator of Smile-Therapy. Whether it’s a link to a fun video or song, a humorous story, a motivational message or a joke, each morning I get something delivered to my inbox to start my day. But today’s was something to get me thinking. With Black Friday just around the corner and Small Business Saturday the next day I thought today’s Smile-Therapy was appropriate. With Tim’s big smile of approval I share today’s Smile-Therapy:

 

Today at Smile-Therapy:
New idea for the Holidays: Do you like this?

It’s that time of year when the Holidays are upon us. You can almost smell the cranberries, stuffing, apple pie and glazed turkey in the air.
Anyone notice that we’ve already had 2 or 3 Black Friday’s before the true Black Friday. Seems like marketing for Christmas shopping comes earlier and earlier each year.

We received an email the other day and it got us thinking  about CHOICES when shopping for all of our loved ones this Christmas holiday season.

The question was raised–Do we want to do all our shopping online and in big box stores– spending thousands and thousands of dollars on products and gifts not made in the US of A?
Or what about supporting some of the local businesses in your hometown. Not only keeping the people in business, but helping your community thrive.
 

Simple things we can do:
What about asking your brother what pizza or sub shop does he usually eat lunch at? Does he use a local landscaper for his lawn needs?
Where does he do his local dry cleaning? Gift certificates are available for all these local establishments.

Your sister. Where does she do her nails, or get her hair done? What about where she works out, does yoga or Pilates? Perhaps a gift to the local gym?

Mom and Dad..Do they drink wine? Most towns have a liquor entrepreneur.
Do they enjoy bowling, golf or tennis… how about some local passes to the nearby alleys, links or courts?

In general, a GREAT QUESTION  to ask is:
Where do they usually spend money, and what other services do they regularly utilize?

Maybe buy them something you know they will utilize,  rather than that cool sweater that sits in the closet, or, that funky new gadget, that never comes out of the package.

We took a quick look though our local Chamber of Commerce directory book and found a few other ideas. Most of these sell gift certificates too…
Legal services, chopped wood for winter time, chiropractic services, massages, flower shops were a few.Then there’s a tire store, day care and babysitting services,  putt putt golf, and restaurants galore.

Yard care, window washing, painting companies, and martial arts. Even web designers for those thinking of starting a website or re-vamping an old one.

Let’s not forget the local photographers, wedding consultants and fitness instructors
Use your imagination. The possibilities are endless.

We aren’t suggesting avoiding the malls and shopping on cyber.com as a whole. We do propose you tax your creative noggin a bit more.
Ask a few questions of your loved ones. Perhaps– some of your holiday budget can end up staying in and supporting the local  businessmen and women right in your own community.

What’s your thoughts and feedback on this subject??

T.A.Smith
Creator/CEO Smile-Therapy.com
Smile More. Feel Better. Excel Toward your Personal Best.
www.Smile-Therapy.com

 

There’s so much information out there that talks about how important small businesses are to our economy. Here in CT businesses are rallying around Small Business Saturday. I am sure they are in other states as well. As a business speaker, working with businesses large and small, I recognize the importance of next Saturday and I will be participating – even if the items cost a few bucks more. Heck, I will even be supporting some of my clients.

But for right now I want you to think about how this time of year is not the happiest for some people. Finances. Loss of loved ones. Military folks away from home. This time of year is an opportunity to put smiles on the face of friends/coworkers/employees. For $5 a month you can do that. $5. Now I know a lot of training budgets have been slashed, but I’m sure you’ve got $5. And in addition to the morning message you get access to tons of money saving ideas Tim has researched. Your $5 will be returned over and over – and people you work with will love you. So, check it out and tell Tim that I sent you.

And with the small $5 investment you can go participate in my Cyber Monday event: 28% off everything. Just use the code 28%RICHER when you purchase any of my products on November 28th. Maybe you’ve been eyeing that Do-It-Yourself training system: the RECESSitation Pack. Smile, November 28th is your opportunity.

RICH DIGIROLAMO, founder Recess At Work, works with organizations to create happier work environments, strengthen work teams, design new programs, and create better relationships with customers and peers. He believes that a smiling engaged workforce makes for a better employee and customer experience

Are you ready to take a Recess from old school thinking and inject some new energy into your organization resulting in a better employee and customer experience?

Two large retailers staying open until 3:00PM on Christmas Day

Oh crap! You’re at a neighbor’s house Christmas Eve and they give you a gift. You weren’t expecting one. You thought the whole gift exchange thing was done. And naturally you’re not the type who keeps that emergency gift in the closet for just these times. Lesson learned.

So what did you do?

Rather than saying “Thank you, you shouldn’t have” these words rolled off your tongue:

“Oh, I have one for you too. I was going to drop it off tomorrow morning before we headed out to see the family.”

Well fortunately for you our friends at Walmart and Target are going to save your butt. Yes, they have told their employees that Christmas is cancelled. Forget church, 7 fishes, Santa, the Yule Log and whatever other tradition you may have. Christmas for you is cancelled.

In a shareholder-centric move, Walmart and Target stores will remain open from 4:00 AM on Christmas Eve through 3:00PM on Christmas Day – and all employees will be scheduled. Heck, now you can even get your exchanges done right after the moment of disappointment. Get your last minute Christmas Tree and decorations on Christmas Day. Imagine the fun you and the family can have putting up the tree on December 25th and taking it down the next day?

Now don’t be expecting happy engaged employees. And I’m sure these two stores will not be stocking Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth! I’m also certain that the customer experience may not be the best either. But from what I hear their families have been invited in for a glass of Egg Nog, some cookies and to drop off a present to their hard working relative; so you never know.

So when you leave that holiday party late on December 24th, do not go home. Go directly to your car. You’ll have that opportunity to rid yourself of that awful feeling of not buying that gift.

Hmmm….come to think of it maybe I’ll just move Christmas out of my house. Buy presents, wrapping paper, tape  and toss the presents under a store tree.

Happy Shopping Season!

 

Disclaimer: This is a joke. There is no factual evidence to this story. I was in a mood this morning and having some fun. But seriously, with Black Friday merging into Thanksgiving Day for some retailers this could very well be the next very real scenario. I hope it is not the case and I do hope that the hard working retail employee in your family gets to enjoy as much of the holiday season with you as possible.

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RICH DIGIROLAMO, founder Recess At Work, works with organizations to create happier work environments, strengthen work teams, design new programs, and create better relationships with customers and peers. In his new book Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace he talks about why it is important to create a great employee experience throughout the year.

Are you ready to take a Recess with Rich, inject some new energy into your organization and create an even better employee and customer experience?

 

 

 

 

Take a Recess from NOT DOING something

Last week I spent some time with Recreation and Parks professionals at their annual national conference. The topic: Fun and Affordable Marketing. Or as I liked to call it Slap in the Face 101.

The reality is the majority of this group of people do not market their products and services. They do very little to engage with the customer to keep them buying. Now this piece is not a bashing of Parks & Recreation; because many industries and businesses are guilty of this.

  • Raise your hand if you’re guilty of putting out an electronic brochure (i.e. your website) and hoping people find you
  • Raise your hand if you’re guilty of not staying in touch with customers who have already bought from you
  • Raise your hand if you’re guilty of not encouraging each and every employee to make it their job to market your business

The Meeting PLAYce Mat will make your next meeting a heck of a lot less boring and keep people engaged!

So recently I redesigned the Meeting PLAYce Mat. I wanted to do something with the old ones. I gave all 250 people in the room a sample. Guess what? Orders are already coming in. In this techno-crazy world we live in I still believe in putting things in people’s hands (and helping the United States Postal Service survive). I passed out sample postcards that I have created for my new book, Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth, and for marketing my speaking services to their industry. Guess what? Orders are coming in and I am in conversations with 3 different state associations about speaking at their annual conference.

I gave away a free Recess At Work Implementation System. You had to give me your business card for a drawing. Guess what? I now have 250 business cards with information from people who might buy from me. I just grew my database by 250 people. I even told them what I just did….and that they would be hearing from me.

But the kicker to the whole thing was I was having fun doing this. Giving away free stuff. Giving people ideas on how they can stay in touch with their community. Getting people excited about their jobs again and how they can have fun too!

The definition of Recess is a break from the norm. In their case, the norm was not marketing their products and services.

So I told them LET’S TAKE A RECESS FROM NOT MARKETING.

Of the ten ideas I gave them the one that seemed to have gotten the most interest was what I like to call “Your Office Could Be An Episode of Hoarders.” If you want to know what I shared with them send me a note.

But in the meantime, what do you need to take a Recess from not doing?

Give that some thought if you really want to grow your business or create a better experience for your employees or customers?

 

—–

RICH DIGIROLAMO, founder Recess At Work, works with organizations to create happier work environments, strengthen work teams, design new programs, and create better relationships with customers and peers. In his new book Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace he talks about why it is important for every employee to understand their impact on customers.

Are you ready to take a Recess with Rich, inject some new energy into your organization and create an even better employee and customer experience?

Act like a Peabody Duck. People will still have a good time.

I’ve been to Memphis four times and have never witnessed the March of the Peabody Ducks. So this time I put it on my list of things to do during my overnight stay. It was top of the list; even before BBQ and listening to some fantastic blues music on Beale Street.

The duck march was at 5:00 but I suspected I should get there earlier. I arrived at 4:15 and my gut instinct was right. (As my friend Lynn Robinson taught me, always trust your gut.) People had already been congregating around and above the fountain where the ducks were swimming.

At 4:55 we heard a short presentation from a Peabody staff member adorned in his Royal Duck-master outfit. He explained that the ducks would walk out of the fountain, down the stairs, around the fountain, then down the red carpet in single file and hop on the elevator to the sky level and the Duck Royal Palace. Then he chose one person from the lobby to be an Honorary Duck-master and take the journey with him to the sky.

5:00 comes. Out of the fountain. Down the stairs. They don’t walk around the fountain. They don’t walk single file. But into the elevator they go for their ride home.

So what’s my point?

Sometimes the best laid plans are orchestrated and don’t work out; yet people still have a good time. Some experiences can be recreated while others cannot. Sometimes we approach things differently and get the same results.

Royal Duck Palace for the famous Peabody Ducks

Maybe it’s time to stop trying to orchestrate perfection? Maybe it’s time to enjoy things for what they are and not what they should have been. Maybe it’s time to act like a Peabody Duck, do it your way and let everyone see you strut YOUR stuff.

Maybe it’s time to let employees act like Peabody Ducks and create not only a great employee experience, but a great customer experience.

—–

RICH DIGIROLAMO, founder Recess At Work, works with organizations to create happier work environments, strengthen work teams, design new programs, and create better relationships with customers and peers. In his new book Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace he talks about why it is important for every person within an organization to act and stop thinking.

Are you ready to take a Recess with Rich, inject some new energy into your organization,  create an even better employee and customer experience, and start implementing what you’ve been thinking about?