Tag Archives: goals

Why Time Should Be Important To You

time management book next to different colored clocks

 

Time should be important to you. According to the 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management by Kevin Kruse, successful people think about their values, priorities, and consistent habits. We all have 1,440 minutes in each day. How effectively are we using them?

 

Highly successful people rank time was the most important item they have. It’s the one true equalizer. You can never lose time and get it back again. Time is your most valuable and scarcest resource. Innkeepers have a lot of demands on their time as well as guests to please.

You must know what to focus on and how you are going to get it done. Understand what is most important to you and what activities will provide you with the greatest leverage to getting there. What do your guests appreciate the most?

Identify your most important tasks (MIT) and do those before you do anything else. If you truly want to get it done, you must schedule time for it. Work from your calendar, not your to-do list. Master the practice of letting go of other things. Accept the fact that there will always be more to do and more that can be done. A dilemma not unique to innkeepers. Your guests also have pressures in their lives. They may be coming to you for much needed rest and relaxation!

Always carry a notebook to write down your ideas. When billionaire Richard Branson did not have his notebook with him, he wrote his idea down in his passport. Think of how many times you had a great idea, but since you didn’t write it down when you thought of it, you later forgot what it was! The notebook can be little in size, so it is convenient to put in your pocket and have with you at all times.

Email is a great way for other people to put their priorities in your life. If you send less email, you will receive less email. Use the subject line to indicate the action required. Keep emails short to respect other people’s time (as well as your own). Innkeepers can provide links to information that is on their website so emails to guests are shorter. Consider having a “frequently asked questions” section for guests to read on your website.

Billionaire Warren Buffet said that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything. Every ‘yes’ is a ‘no’ to something else. Say no to everything that does not support your goals. We should always be accommodating to guests, but that does not necessarily mean we offer ten different packages. Choose the ones that are the most popular and profitable.

80% of your results come from just 20% of your actions. This is known as the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule. Look for time saving methods. Do the most important things exceptionally well. For all other tasks, “good enough” will do or hire them out to another person. This is NOT to say we cut corners in providing hospitality, but we should be as efficient as possible. Perfection is impossible.

  • How valuable is this task?
  • Am I the only one who can do this?
  • How can the same outcome be achieved with a faster process?

Focus your time only on the things that use your unique strengths and passions. Invest the first sixty minutes of each day to rituals that strengthen your mind, body, and spirit. If a task can be completed in less than five minutes, do it immediately. Of course, we cannot anticipate all the issues (including guest complaints and maintenance problems) that we inevitably will face each day, but we can be strategic in how we handle them.

Productivity is about energy and focus, not time. We must be mindful and live with intention. Focus on the things that bring you further to your goals each and every day. Remember we all have 1,440 minutes in a day. That is why time should be important to you.

The Power of Making Lists

sticky notes on cork board and on one sticky note are the words "make things happen"

 

In her book, How Much Joy Can You Stand?: A Creative Guide to Facing Your Fears and Making Your Dreams Come True, Suzanne Falter-Barns, focuses on the power of making lists.  She suggest making the following lists:

 

  • 10 Things You are Passionate About
  • 10 Things You Love About Your Life
  • 10 Things That Are Uniquely You
  • 10 Things You Would Like to Share
  • 10 Things You Could Fix or Change About the World
  • 10 Things You’d Like To Do Before You Die

The power of making lists comes from reflecting and writing down the answers to these lists.  You will know more about yourself. You will recognize what you are passionate about and what you love about your life.  You will know what makes you, well–you!

You will think of specific things you can share (time, talents, or money).  You will think about what you could help fix or what you would like to change about the world.

Lastly, you will have the opportunity to think of things you would like to do before you die (your personal bucket list). Many people have testified to putting down the most unlikely events and they came true!

“Shark Tank” Investor and successful entrepreneur Barbara Cocoran, who uses lists to overcome her time constraints, organizes her lists into the following three sections:

  • Calls to make
  • Things to review
  • Projects to do

As you write the answers to these lists down, you will know more about yourself and your goals and dreams. I challenge you to experience the power of making lists! Lists also let you evaluate how you are spending your time. It is easy to be busy, but harder to be effective. The power of making lists may be that it changes your life!

What Mentally Strong People Do

Book Cover: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do by Amy MorinThis post will highlight the book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change,  Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success by Amy Morin.

The author defines mental strength as being able to regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts, and behave in a positive manner.  Anyone has the power to improve their mental strength.  The benefits of mental strength include:

  • Increased resilience to stress: better equipped to handle problems more efficiently and effectively
  • Improved life satisfaction: behaving according to your values = peace of mind, recognizing what’s really important in life
  • Enhanced performance: helps you reach your full potential

So what are the 13 things mentally strong people don’t do? Then we look at what they do instead.

1) Mentally strong people don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves:

  • Focus on what they can still accomplish with their life
  • Choose to take control and change their attitude
  • Make a conscious decision to celebrate life’s gifts
  • Feel grateful for what they have
  • Volunteer, stay active, and continue to learn new things
  • Look for the silver lining in circumstances
  • Actively problem solve to improve situations
  • Participate in experiences/activities that help them feel better
  • Stay focused on what they do have rather than what they don’t have

2) Mentally strong people don’t give away their power:

  • Set limits to create healthy boundaries
  • Don’t depend on others to regulate their feelings
  • Don’t let others define their self worth
  • Don’t avoid addressing the real problem
  • Don’t become a victim of their circumstances
  • Don’t give other people’s words more power than they deserve
  • Don’t lose sight of their goals
  • Speak up when people hurt their feelings so they don’t grow resentful
  • Forgive those who attack them so they don’t have any more power over them
  • Forgiveness reduces stress, increases tolerance to pain, and can lengthen life
  • Let go of their anger to focus their energy on a worthwhile cause
  • Don’t allow any one person’s opinion to define them
  • Evaluate feedback to determine if it has any validity
  • Remind themselves they have a choice in everything they do, think, and feel
  • Choose to define who they are going to be in life
  • Realize no one else has the power to control how you feel
  • Set healthy emotional and physical boundaries with people
  • Behave proactively by making conscious choices about their responses
  • Take full responsibility for how they choose to spend their time and energy
  • Are willing to examine feedback and criticism without jumping to conclusions
  • Don’t blame others for their own behavior
  • Don’t allow criticism to control how they feel about themselves

3) Mentally strong people don’t shy away from change:

  • Know that staying the same often means getting stuck in a rut
  • Open to learning new things, improving their life, developing healthier habits
  • Focus on what they can do to make a positive difference
  • Make changes based on what is best
  • Don’t allow emotions to make the final decision
  • Create a successful plan for change
  • Create goals they would like to accomplish in the next 30 days
  • Establish accountability and monitor their progress
  • Behave like the person the want to become
  • Set realistic time frames and reach their goals

4) Mentally strong people don’t focus on things they can’t control:

  • Focus on what they can control
  • Don’t waste energy worrying about what they can’t control
  • Point out the positives in others making a genuine effort to create change
  • Stop trying to force people to be different
  • Ask for help when they need it
  • Keep the emphasis on influencing others rather than controlling them

5) Mentally strong people don’t worry about pleasing everyone:

  • Don’t base their self-worth on the way other people seem to perceive them
  • Don’t make decisions based on trying to please everyone
  • They are authentic to who they really are
  • Recognize that worrying about trying to please everyone is a waste of time
  • Know exactly what their core values are so they make the best choices
  • Have more time and energy to devote to their own goals
  • Say no when they don’t want to do something
  • Behave assertively even when speaking up may not be well received
  • Don’t lose sight of who they are and what their values are
  • Don’t automatically say yes to an invitation, they consider if it’s a good choice
  • Don’t agree with people and comply with their requests to avoid confrontation
  • Know that they do not have to go along with the crowd
  • Can express their own opinion even if it goes against what the majority of people think

6) Mentally strong people don’t fear taking calculated risks:

  • Make decisions based on logic
  • Know that emotion interferes with making logical choices
  • Weigh the potential costs against the potential benefits
  • Decide if it will help them achieve their goals
  • Consider the alternatives
  • Ask, “How good would it be if the best scenario came true?”
  • Ask, “What is the worst thing that could happen and how could I reduce the risk that it will occur?
  • Willing to do more research in order to calculate the risk better
  • Resolve to make the best decision possible with all the information that is available
  • Monitor the outcomes of the risks they take
  • Make strategic judgments not blind gambles
  • Are willing to take risks that cause them discomfort
  • Don’t allow irrational thoughts to influence their willingness to try something new

7) Mentally strong people don’t dwell on the past:

  • Shift their thinking to move forward
  • Give themselves something else to think about
  • Establish goals for the future
  • Focus on the lessons they’ve learned
  • Think about the facts, not the emotion
  • Look at the situation differently
  • Make peace with the past
  • Practice forgiveness
  • Accept experiences so they can live in the present

8) Mentally strong people don’t make the same mistakes over and over:

  • Learn from their past mistakes and don’t repeat them
  • Find out what went wrong and what they could have done better
  • Know what they will do differently next time
  • Create a written plan to prevent repeating the same mistakes
  • Establish behavior that will replace the previous behavior
  • Hold themselves accountable and think about alternatives
  • Use positive self-talk and keep their goals in mind
  • Create a list of reasons why they don’t want to repeat your mistake
  • View mistakes as an opportunity to improve themselves for the future
  • Acknowledge personal responsibility for each mistake
  • Don’t make excuses or refuse to examine their role in the outcome
  • Don’t put themselves in situations where they are likely to fail

9) Mentally strong people don’t resent other people’s success:

  • Secure enough not to be threatened by the success of others
  • Avoid comparing themselves to others
  • Focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses
  • Don’t insult other people’s accomplishments
  • Stop trying to determine what is fair
  • Focus on cooperation not competition
  • Happy about others’ accomplishments
  • Create their own definition of success
  • Replace negative thoughts with more rational thoughts

10) Mentally strong people don’t give up after the first failure:

  • Don’t allow failure to define who they are
  • Know that deliberate practice is more important than natural talent
  • Accept that failure is part of the process that helps you learn and grow
  • Realize failure is often part of the journey to success
  • Learn from their failures
  • Understand they will be okay even if they fail repeatedly
  • Rest assured that they are becoming better with each failure
  • Resolve to try again even if previous attempts were not successful
  • Develop a new plan to increase their chance of success

11) Mentally strong people don’t fear alone time:

  • Use alone time to reflect on their goals and set future goals
  • Write in a journal
  • Learn meditation which can improve health, emotions, memory, etc.
  • Take a few minutes every day to be alone with their thoughts
  • Reflect on their goals and progress every day

12) Mentally strong people don’t feel the world owes them anything:

  • Know that life isn’t meant to be fair–that some people have more positive experiences than others
  • Realize they have choices in how they respond to disappointments
  • Spend more time helping others
  • Behave like a team player
  • Focus on their efforts, not their importance
  • Acknowledge their flaws and weaknesses
  • Stop and think about how others feel
  • Don’t keep score
  • Practice humility which makes them stronger
  • Have a healthy amount of self-esteem
  • Focus on what they have to give, not what they want to take
  • Give back to other people in need

13) Mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results:

  • Don’t underestimate how difficult change is
  • Recognize that progress isn’t always obvious
  • Know what kind of results to expect to see in a specific time frame
  • Practice delayed gratification
  • Keep their eyes on the prize
  • Remind themselves of their goals in creative ways
  • Celebrate the milestones along their journey
  • Deal with the feelings of frustration and impatience in a healthy way
  • Pace themselves for the long haul
  • Establish realistic expectations and don’t expect results tomorrow
  • Look for areas in their life where they can improve
  • Focus on finding strategies to help them develop the skills to make progress
  • Develop a plan to help themselves resist temptation
  • Find accurate ways to measure their progress

Maintaining mental strength means…

  • Incorporating mental strategies in your life that will help you reach your full potential
  • Looking at what you’re doing well and build on your strengths
  • Identifying the areas that need improvement and challenge yourself to get better
  • Monitoring your behavior and identify strategies to help you be more productive
  • Regulating your emotions to change how you feel
  • Changing how you think and behave
  • Evaluating your thoughts to make sure they are realistic and productive
  • Asking for help when you need it and surround yourself with supportive people
  • Committing to being a healthy role model for others

Developing mental strength is not about being the best at everything–it means knowing that you will be okay no matter what happens!

40 Thoughts on Life Now That I Am 40

40 Thoughts on Life...Now That I am 40

 

Now that I have turned 40 years old, I am writing to reflect on 40 things I have learned in my lifetime.  These thoughts are not in any order of importance nor are they meant to cover every aspect of life.  I’m sure every adult has at least 40 of their own thoughts on life.

 

Life is short and long at the same time.  Sometimes things seem to take forever while other times you want moments to last forever.

The older you are, the faster time goes by.  As a child, it seemed like it took forever for your birthday and Christmas to come.  Now, birthdays are a reminder to me that we will not live forever.

Life can change in an instant.  Health challenges, car accidents, and other tragic events can drastically change your entire life.

You can either grow stronger or grow bitter after enduring the challenges of life.  I choose to grow stronger each day.  I am not referring to physical strength, but of growth in character and integrity as a person.

Our life is meant to be a blessing to others.  Look around you.  There is always someone less fortunate than you.

Sometimes your own time is the best gift you can give someone.  Time with the ones you love and care for.

Take time to celebrate life.  It is a gift to live every day in the PRESENT.  We cannot change the past and if we only live for the future, we can’t enjoy today.

Surprise yourself or someone else in your life.  Let someone know what they mean to you by giving them a hug or telling them in words specific things you appreciate about them.

As you spread love, it comes back to you.  It may not come from the same person, but you will be rewarded for your kind words and deeds.

Be grateful for the little things every day.  Thank God for things that we may take for granted.  That the sun is shining (providing us heat) or that it is raining (watering our plants and farmers’ crops).

Keep a gratitude jar with scraps of paper noting one thing each day that you are grateful for or something you heard that made you smile.  Read it aloud with family and friends on New Year’s Eve.

Life is an adventure.  Routines can help you achieve great things, but even for people that like to plan out every minute of their lives, you need to challenge yourself to do something different every day.  Drive the scenic route.  Smile at a stranger on the street.  Post something inspiring on social media.

Don’t be superstitious.  Thirteen can be a good number.  Maybe you were born on the 13th or the number 13 has another positive meaning for you.  Don’t bother with reading horoscopes or visiting psychics. Life is what you make it.

In all things, lean on God.  He’s got your back if you earnestly seek Him and ask Him to help you.  He loves you and wants you to live the best life possible.  He may allow challenges in your life, but He will never allow you to experience something greater than you can handle.

Appreciate what others have done for you. There is no way you would be where you are in life today where it not for the help of other people.  Take time to thank them personally.

If you are struggling financially to make ends meet, don’t be afraid to let others know.  Maybe some time in the future you can repay the favor to another person in need.

People need to know that you care.  There are people you probably know that may suffer from anxiety and depression as well as those who may be dying or in the process of recovering from a major surgery or even a stroke.  Reach out to them and listen.  Your presence in their life may be the motivation they need to live another day.

It is impossible to know everything about anything.  There is always something new to learn.  Even the most accomplished people in life, continue to practice their gifts.  Surgeons learn new procedures and artists learn new techniques. You can always grow in your abilities to do something–even in areas where you are considered an expert!

Everyone has their own opinions about a variety of issues.  Be less concerned about being “right” and be more concerned with how you treat others.  Kindness goes a long way.

Be a good sport when you lose at something.  This doesn’t necessarily have to be something athletic.  Whenever someone does something better than you, be thankful that they proved it possible to achieve.  There will always be people more talented than us.  What matters more is your character than your abilities.

Be a good sport when you win at something.  Recognize others for their achievements and thank them for participating.  You may be a role model or mentor to them.  It is important to help make other people feel important.

People tend to respect those that show them respect. Every person deserves respect.  Wealth, prestige, and fame are what the world values.  I believe it is more important to value someone for their character.

Your character is who you are when you think no one is looking.  If you do and say what you do only to impress others, in time it will become obvious that is your motivation.  However, if you are truly being YOU, then you may inspire those around you.

Look after those who cannot defend themselves.  Abuse (in all its forms) of other humans and abuse of animals must be stopped.  The sick and elderly also need looking after.  How you treat others reflects on who you are as a person.

People can change.  It is possible for people to improve their character and their life habits.  Be open to giving someone another chance.

Look for others around you that could benefit from your wisdom.  Even young people know things that older people may not.

Eat things that will fuel your body to function at its best.  The old saying is “garbage in, garbage out.”  I gave up the sugary (but oh so tasty) Chic-Fil-A frosted coffees to make my own healthy protein shakes at home.

Exercise regularly.  I need to do more than just walk my dog outside.  It may help for me to get an accountability partner to discuss my health and fitness goals.  I do know that working with weights helps build muscle tone and burn fat.  I think the more consistently I do something like exercise, the easier it will be for me to make it a good life habit.

Write down your goals in life.  Break them into smaller steps (a daily to-do list) that you can work on each day.  They say that those who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them.

Allow yourself to have fun.  Sometimes we can be so goal-oriented that we don’t reserve a little time each day to do something we enjoy.  For me, this includes spending time with family, watching movies, reading, and solving crossword puzzles.

Volunteer some of your time each week to help a person or a cause.  This gives your life more purpose.  You are contributing to something you feel is worthy of your time.  You are using your unique skill set (there is only one person exactly like you) to achieve things.

It is easier to keep things clean than to have things become messy all over again.  For example, I don’t keep many things in my car so that my car stays clean.  However, I need more discipline when it comes to my house.  I love how I feel when I just finished organizing a closet!

Be your own person. Don’t try to impress others by being someone other than yourself.  Be authentic to who you are!

Always be considerate of others around you.  You may not know everything they are going through.  Some people don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal challenges with others and they may even keep it bottled up inside.  If someone (in your opinion) overreacts to something, there may be more to the story.  Be there to listen, but don’t force them to tell you everything on their mind.

Not everyone is confident in their abilities to do specific things.  There are plenty of things I’m not yet confident in my abilities to do.  I have spoken on a few webinars, but I don’t feel comfortable speaking in front of others who can see me as I am speaking.  With the webinars I’ve done, no one could look at me.  However, if you stuck me in a room full of people looking at me, I would be more nervous.  Even people who appear confident may be faking it.  Fake it until you make it!

Do your best to avoid negativity.  Speak only positive words!  Replace “I can’t” with “I can”!  Swap “I don’t know how we will get this done” to “I know we will get this done.”  I don’t mean for you to be unrealistic, but belief in yourself and other people goes a long way towards achieving great things.

Take deep breaths and five-minute breaks throughout your day.  Those who work nonstop are LESS productive than those who take breaks.  It is more effective to study in twenty-minute bursts followed by ten-minute breaks than it is to study without taking a break.  Your brain and your body need time to accomplish what you are learning and doing.

Better to eat and stay hydrated throughout your day than to eat one big meal each day especially late at night.  Your metabolism does not need the shock!

Do a little bit each day towards your specific and measurable goals.  Don’t wait until the last minute to do something.  That just makes it tougher on yourself (and probably the people around you).

How much time any of us has is unknown.  People are more important than money or things.  Be loving and generous towards others.  Make the most of every day!

January Holidays B&B Inns

Celebrating January holidays at B&B inns can attract more hospitality business.  Both big and small,  there are special holidays throughout the year.  Some holidays are officially observed (like Thanksgiving) while others are just for fun (like April Fool’s Day).

january holidays

 

Depending upon where you are in the United States, the month of January can be really cold yet beautiful.  It is a time for reflecting on and making decisions to improve your overall life.  It can also be about honoring those who have made a great impact on the world like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

January Holidays

 

Jan. 1 New Years Day

  • Keywords: Happy New Year, New Year’s Day, January 1st, 1st Day of the Year
  • Themes: fresh start, new you, resolutions, commitments, goals, dreams
  • Example: New Years Eve Special

 

Cobblestone Bed and Breakfast of Birchwood, Wisconsin celebrated the New Year with champagne, hors d’oeuvres, noise makers, and hats.  That sounds very festive!

Example: New Years Eve Dinner or New Years Eve Package

 

Each New Years Eve, Orchard Inn of Asheville, North Carolina hosts a decadent 7-course dinner. The night begins with hors d’oeuvres at 7 pm and then dinner at 8 pm. Then guests raise a glass to the New Year with a complimentary glass of French champagne. 

Guests who chose their New Years Eve package (for the 2015-2016 calendar change) received 2-nights accommodation, breakfast each morning and dinner on New Years Eve as well as a choice of dinner on December 30th or January 1st.

 

 

january holidays

St. Augustine Foot Soldiers Monument in St. Augustine, Florida

Jan. 18 Martin Luther King Day

 

  • Keywords: MLK Day, Martin Luther King Day, Civil Rights Leader
  • Themes: freedom, respect, equal rights, unity, peace

 

 

 

 

Example: Carriage Way Bed and Breakfast of St. Augustine, Florida is promoting FREE admission into Castillo de San Marcos Fort on Monday, January 18, to honor the memory of where Dr. King himself walked.

Example: Morehead Manor Bed and Breakfast of Durham, North Carolina, named by Black Enterprise magazine as the number one black-owned bed and breakfast in America, promotes their local area’s Annual MLK-Black History Month Parade.

 

Promote your bed and breakfast by celebrating more holidays throughout the year.  Have the appropriate decor (such as New Years’ noise makers) to make your inn more festive.  Consider hosting a dinner or encouraging your guests to attend local events (such a parades) in your area.

Become known for celebrating amazing holiday festivities (like these January holidays at B&B inns) throughout the year. This attracts visitors to come again to experience your hosting of another holiday.

 

Top Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

 

Katie Couric: The Best Advice I Ever Got

the best advice I ever got

 

The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives by Katie Couric is full of practical information for people from all walks of life. Each chapter features a famous person who gives us a sneak peak into what they have learned from their own experiences. At the end of this post is a YouTube video of Katie talking about how she wrote the book and which celebrities contributed their stories.

Comedian and Actor George Lopez: “If you quit, you’ll never find out what could have happened.”

Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur Mario Batali: “As you cook up your own life, never let anyone else’s recipe for success intimidate you…”

 

Emmy Award-Winning Television and Radio Host Larry King: “Learn how to listen.  You don’t learn anything when you are talking.”

Emmy Award-Winning Television Broadcaster, Journalist, and Co-Host of Good Morning America Robin Roberts: “Be patient and persistent.  Life is not so much about what you accomplish as what you overcome.”

Professional Football Player Drew Brees: “What is meant to be will happen for me, and all I should concern myself with is the things I can control.”

Figure-skating Champion Michelle Kwan: “Your finest moments in life aren’t necessarily those in which you finish first but, instead, the times when you know you simply gave your best–when you did it heart and soul, and held nothing back.”

Co-founder of Twitter Biz Stone: “Think about what is valuable before thinking about what is profitable and know that there’s compound interest in helping others–start early!”

Professional Psychologist, Bestselling Author, and Television Host “Dr. Phil” McGraw: “Instead of ignoring these dreams and hoping you can get around to them later on, you have to be committed to developing an action plan, to creating a “life script” with measurable goals, and to building a core of supporters around you to keep you going in the right direction.”

Grammy Award-Winning Artist, Musician, Entrepreneur, Actress, and Activist Alicia Keys: “When you make a decision because you really love what you’re doing, because you’re really passionate about it, believe in it, and because you’d do it no matter what the outcome–that’s when you become most successful.”

Bestselling Cookbook Author and Television Host Ina Garten: “You can’t figure out what you want to do from the sidelines.  You need to jump into the pond and splash around to see what the water feels like.  You might like that pond or it might lead to another pond, but you need to figure it out in the pond.”

Sixty-sixth United States Secretary of State and Stanford University Professor Condoleeza Rice: “The point is that life is full of surprises and serendipity.  Being open to unexpected turns in the road is an important part of success.  If you try to plan every step, you may miss those wonderful twists and turns.”

Four-Star General and Sixty-Fifth United States Secretary of State Colin Powell: “So it doesn’t matter where you start in life but where you finish and, along the way, whether you do something that you love and enjoy doing.  Never settle for anything less than what you love doing and do well.”

Olympic Speed Skater Apolo Ohno: “It’s not really about the destination, but about what it took to get you there.”

Taking Larry King’s advice to learn how to listen, identify at least 3 people who have achieved success and ask them to share their thoughts.  Possible questions could be:

  • What was your greatest challenge?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What do you know now that you wish you could have known earlier in life?
  • Was there anyone who mentored you?
  • How did you become so successful?
  • Is there anything you wish you could have done differently?
  • What are you most excited about for your future?

Essentially, informally interview them (much like Katie Couric interviewed these people) to gain more insight.  If the person you are interviewing knows you well, they will be able to relate this to your goals.

While we each need to do something that aligns with our own personal interests, passions, and goals; we can benefit by the wisdom and experience of the successful people around us.  In addition, we should all be open to sharing the lessons we have learned with those who come to us for advice.

Here is a YouTube video of Katie Couric talking about how she wrote this book!

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Tips

 

visual storytelling tips

 

This is the last of the series of blog posts discussing the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio.  This features their smart tips for social media photography.

 

 

Visual storytelling tips and social media photography tips:

  • Up your resolution to the highest resolution possible
  • Collages need to be of similar resolution
  • Divide your images into thirds either horizontally or vertically
  • Align your image slightly off center to make it more engaging
  • Variety matters, use a range of angles and setups
  • Take more pictures than you think you need
  • Frame your shot with less cluttered backgrounds
  • Use close-cropped images
  • Work the angles
  • Shine bright with lighting and filters
  • Show don’t sell
  • Celebrate occasions
  • Share great quotes
  • Include photos related to your company’s lifestyle
  • Inspire through the use of images by showcasing your company’s lifestyle, values, and opinions
  • Show how your products and services contribute to the greater good
  • Encourage emotion by featuring a sentimental side when appropriate
  • Propel action into a still image
  • Sprinkle in humor and have a little fun
  • Embrace creativity
  • Not all pictures have to have only one item
  • Go behind the scenes to make your customers feel like part of your brand

This is the conclusion to the blog series about the book The Power of Visual Storytelling.  I highly recommend this book.  I literally took twenty pages of handwritten notes from information in this book!  A special thank you to the authors Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio for letting me share some of their book.  I am not being compensated for this review, I just really think this book is great any business looking to grow their online marketing.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Responses

visual storytelling responses

Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, authors of the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand remind us that anything can happen at a moment’s notice online. Companies need to identify common occurrences, both positive and negative.  It means looking for opportunities to create visual storytelling responses all around us.  Some strategies include:

 

  • Understand the most important factors that can influence sales and customer leads
  • Weather may be an important theme to craft content around
  • At key times of the year, companies can announce awards, rankings, events, speeches, partnerships, and make other announcements
  • Understand the most frequently asked service inquiries and comments, both positive and negative
  • Develop a robust content library to allow time for real-time opportunities
  • The best storytellers play off their audience responses to hit the message home
  • Extend the life of conversations and engagement as long as it is relevant
  • Look at the content fans are sharing each day

While on the topic of user generated content, there is a higher barrier to engagement if it is not natural for fans to share visual content.  Reward sharing behavior with a campaign, contest, and/or rewards.  Look for themes in the most common types of photos, videos, hashtags, and sentiment.

Choose a clear call to action such as a unique hashtag available across all social media channels.  Make full disclosure to customers how and where their photos and videos will be shared.  Highlight examples to show a range of creativity.  Give rewards and recognition by having an “image of the week” or randomly sending a thank you.

Customers can share their own content through videos shared on social networks like YouTube, Instagram, and the Vine.  Look at your content calendar to determine which video(s) will help tell your visual story in a way that other media cannot.  Think about your target audience, desired end goals, and what resources are available.  Evaluate the needs of your audience and show off your personality.  Mix up the content to a variety of different types and lengths of videos. Common videos include:

  • Announcements
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Case studies
  • Celebrity partnerships
  • Community involvement
  • Company overview
  • Demos
  • Event highlights
  • FAQs
  • Goals
  • How-to
  • Live streams
  • Office tours
  • Parodies
  • Testimonials
  • Video blogs
  • Visual portfolios

Fan shared content as well as company made videos can show another side to a business. The key is to make the most of what customers are saying about you.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Shaping

visual storytelling shaping

 

According to the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, companies need to do visual storytelling shaping.  Each piece of content needs to have a clear theme and point of view as well as a take away message for the reader.

 

Content needs to be aligned with who you are as a company: voice, personality, and values. Once woven together, these themes shape your story.  It is important to list your goals and determine how visual content can help achieve them.  Ask yourself, if your company were a person, what would it look like in real life?

Embrace social media’s more personable, human side.  Look for the most commonly discussed conversation themes from your online consumers.  Shape your story and identify major themes to craft your visual content mix.  Look at your goals, company voice, and customer feedback by social media platform.

Determine Your Visual Content Mix:

  • The magic is in the mix to keep storytelling fresh
  • It allows you to deliver more personalized content to target audiences across different platforms
  • Evaluate your desired frequency per platform for posts, tweets, pins, etc.
  • Have a formula and clear plan of what steps you will take
  • Frequency varies by company and by social media channel
  • Quality content always trumps quantity and volume
  • Content must be interesting, important, and relevant to your audience
  • The usual shelf life of a tweet is considered an hour at most
  • The shelf life of a Facebook post is around 24 hours
  • Prioritize by social media platform the most important content themes that go into crafting your visual story
  • The mix needs to balance what is important from an ongoing visual storytelling perspective with goals, current events, questions, and general conversation from your customers
  • Content goals will likely change each month depending upon how much news your company has or tweets your making in response to fan engagement
  • Content should aim to be mostly upbeat, fun, motivating, and engaging
  • Outlining content themes makes it easy to identify what messages will be best conveyed as photos, videos, infographics, presentations, etc.

Authors Walter and Gioglio remind us to be listening and responding to what is being said about our company as well as learning the most commonly asked questions.  When we know that, companies can better respond to their own target audience.  This means setting goals and developing a strategy.  Our content will adjust in response to real time as we get live social media feedback.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Tumblr

visual storytelling tumblr

 

We have been promoting the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio. This particular blog post will give a sneak peak into the authors comments about Tumblr.

 

For those not familiar with it, Tumblr is a social media channel that allows users to quickly reblog posts (texts, images, links, quotes, music, or videos) by others. Recently, Yahoo! purchased Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Tumblr is for quick visual inspiration and consumer lust. Users can only add comments if they reblog your post.

Tumblr Statistics:

  • 50% of posts on Tumblr are photos
  • Total unique worldwide visitors are more than 117 million
  • 52% of Tumblr visitors are male
  • 46.5% of Tumblr visitors are 18-34 years old
  • 35.2% of Tumblr visitors have a household income of greater than $100,000 per year
  • The average users spends 1 hr. 38 min. of time each month on the website doing nothing, but consuming content
  • The average Tumbler visit lasts 34 minutes

Tumblr Strategies:

  • Follow other Tumblr users and reblog relevant content
  • Post, promote, and participate in the Tumblr community
  • Let pictures tell the story on your Tumblr account, with text being secondary
  • The best time to post is between 7-10 pm EST on Monday through Thursday and anytime on Sunday
  • Use relevant tags so that your images show up in searches
  • Reblog plenty of content from other users
  • Keep a focus on your goals and repost only what is relevant to your message
  • Have a strategy and calendar to keep a steady stream of quality content
  • Keep a good mix of product info, lifestyle posts, and other content to not appear overly commercial
  • Combine visual, text, quotes, audio, and video in your feed
  • Stay consistent with tags and use a handful of “official” tags
  • Keep content fresh and post often
  • View analytics to see what sort of posts drive the most traffic, but still post a variety
  • Spend some time getting to know that platform and the kinds of content that people post

A Tumblr blog can be incorporated directly into a corporate website, which is great for search engine ranking. Businesses can use Tumblr as an overview of what is on their website.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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