Thursday, May 26, 2011

High EQ equals Higher Tips for Wait Staff

The Harvard Business Review had an interesting story today – a new study shows that waitresses who stand closer and relationship with their customers get bigger tips – more than 20% larger tips, to be exact!

Now this isn't really an earth-shattering finding – makes perfect sense – but still the proven statistics are interesting. Standing closer to your customers, smiling, introducing yourself – all of these are forms of a well developed Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and demonstrate an ability to create instant rapport with others.

Here's what Harvard shared today:

Waitresses can increase their tips 22.6% by standing
0.6 meters closer to patrons (0.15 meters away versus 0.75 meters), according to Celine Jacob and Nicolas Gueguen of the University of Southern Brittany in France. 

The researchers say close proximity is one of four nonverbal ways for waitresses to boost tips, the others being smiling broadly, touching customers briefly on the arm or shoulder, and squatting next to the table when introducing themselves.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Starbucks Gets 10x More Traffic to Facebook than Website

In the Be Your Own PR Agent course I teach at ChoiceCenter, we talk about the need to integrate social media into your marketing and PR campaigns. Loved this story today revealing that Starbucks averages 19.4 million monthly visitors to its Facebook page verses just 1.8 million to its website. Social media definitely can't be overlooked whether you are a small or multi-national company.

Is It Time to Shut Down Your Website?
By David Rogers | May 9, 2011

Just last month, the U.S. State Department announced that it was shutting down, the website launched to provide cultural and policy content to the world. Instead, the State Department will focus on using social media to get out its message. The aim is to communicate in a more interactive way with today’s networked audiences around the world—like those blogging Egypt’s revolution from Tahrir Square or documenting Syrian unrest on YouTube.

Shutting down your website to communicate solely through social media channels might seem like a crazy idea for any large organization. But then again, there is some logic to it. The Wall Street Journal reported that Starbucks receives over ten times as much traffic to its Facebook page (19.4 million unique visitors each month) as to its corporate website (1.8 million). For Coca-Cola, the divergence is even starker: 22.5 million visitors on Facebook vs. just 270,000 to its website—over 80 times as much traffic.
A decade ago, the corporate website had become the new “must-have” communication tool. But now, as web users spend increasing amounts of time on social media, traffic to static corporate websites appears to be on a decline.

Facebook vs Website Traffic for 2 Brands
But before you rush out to pull the plug on your own web site, it’s worth considering the benefits of each approach.

Benefits of Social Media
1. Inherently interactive. That’s where the term “social” comes from. Unlike a static HTML website, designed to read and click, social media like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are designed around sharing, responding, and interacting.
2. Where people are spending time. With over 500 million active users on Facebook, most Web audiences are spending more time there than browsing company sites. Just be sure that’s true for your own demographic (e.g. Facebook is a nonstarter in Japan) and your own industry (most users still do not use Facebook for learning about b2b topics).
3. Easy to acquire. Clicking a “like” button on Facebook or “follow” button on Twitter is a lot easier than filling in the sign up form on a web page. So it’s no surprise that many companies find it easier to build a large following on social media platforms.
4. Virality. When your audience interacts with you on social media platforms, it is instantly visible to their own friends and contacts. This digital “word-of-mouth” can be one of the most powerful tools for reaching new audiences.

Benefits of Your Own Website
1. Control the design. Have you ever tried designing a page on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube? The experience is like trying to swim with one hand tied behind your back. Having your own website allows you complete control, which may be essential if you have a lot of content or options that you need to organize for different audiences.
2. Own the data. Social media platforms are owned by the companies that run them, and, as such, they are the only ones holding all the data on your customers and your interactions with them. On your own website, you own all the data.
3. Targeting and personalization. Owning data and controlling design allow for much more targeted interaction with your customers than is possible on social media platforms. If you know which emails a customer in your database is clicking on, you can ensure her follow up emails, Web landing pages, and ecommerce experiences are much more suited to her particular interests.
4. Reach all your audience. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, or other services which might reach large segments of your customers, your own website is available to 100% of them. (That is, as long as your website has been optimized to work on a mobile phone.)
So, unless you are so small (e.g. a one-person enterprise) that you lack the resources to maintain both a Facebook page and a website, you almost certainly need both. (Even the State Department still kept its main website after shutting down

Fresh Approach Needed
But as you hold on to your familiar company website that’s grown a little musty over the last decade, be sure to give it a fresh look. Are you using the unique design capabilities of a stand-alone site? Are you capturing and leveraging data? Are you interacting and building a database with your most loyal customers who care enough to do more than press a “like” button for you? If not, your website needs a revamp to be worth keeping it alive for next year.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Article shares What Keeps Good Relationships Together Long-Term

Read this article on Yahoo! today about how developing your Emotional Intelligence in a relationship can make it last, and conversely, how a low EQ can destroy it. Enjoy. 

Lessons from the Love MastersSometimes, understanding how love works feels more like rocket science than romance, especially when Cupid’s actions defy explanation and you feel like you need an advanced degree just to get farther than three dates with somebody new.

Happily, scientists at the Relationship Research Institute in Seattle have made it their job to rigorously study relationships of all types to help others understand what makes some of them successful — and what causes other relationships to fail. Using the RRI’s predictive research can help you make better decisions about dating.

The RRI was founded in 1998 by University of Washington psychologist Dr. John Gottman to serve a home base for his 35 years of research covering human relationships. Gottman is the author of many books, including The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships. After decades of studying various romantic couplings, Gottman used his findings to develop the “Sound Relationship House Theory,” which distills the behaviors he observed in couples who enjoyed satisfying, healthy relationships.

“We call these couples the ‘masters’ of relationships,” explains Renay Cleary Bradley, RRI’s director of research. “The masters have taught us many things about what couples who are in healthy relationships do, and what couples who would like to be in healthy relationships can do to build and maintain those relationships that last a lifetime.”

Bradley advises being on the lookout for the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” for daters:
  1. Criticism
  2. Defensiveness
  3. Contempt
  4. Stonewalling (shutting down communication)
“Research from our lab shows that couples who have a tendency to elicit these behaviors during their interactions are more likely to get divorced,” she says. That’s why it makes sense to look for these red flags when you’re interacting with a current or potential love interest.

Friendship and sharing
It sounds like a schmaltzy greeting card, but RRI studies show that the foundation of the successful relationship “house” is built on friendship and sharing both fondness and admiration for each other. “To maintain a healthy, happy relationship, couples of all types — whether they’re dating or married — should try to establish a close friendship and be willing to accept influences from each other,” Bradley says. And not simply because you’ll be spending a lot of time together, suggests Marla Martenson, a matchmaker and dating coach in Beverly Hills: “When you’re accepted for who you are and appreciated and respected, trust builds and the relationship flourishes.”

Using RRI’s research, look for these key elements in your interactions with your love interest:
  • Each of you is genuinely interested each others’ day-to-day lives, dreams, goals, likes/dislikes, and so on.
  • You ask each other open-ended questions, prompting for more information and details.
  • You show signs of affection like smiling, laughing, touching, holding hands, etc.
If one of you isn’t engaging in this kind of behavior, it’s probably a sign that you don’t need to keep dating. Why? Because you’re not exhibiting signs that you actually like each other!

Positive communications
Interacting positively is also a crucial component of any successful romance. “The masters of relationships show their fondness and admiration for one another, even when they disagree,” Bradley notes. “Our research shows that stable relationships have a 5-to-1 ratio between positive and negative communications.” And guess what — that includes fights! So when you and your partner aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on something, try:
  • Approaching the conflict calmly and with empathy.
  • Talking about your feelings, not the other person’s actions.
  • Avoiding making accusations.
Here’s an example from Carl Sheperis, director of doctoral programs for the School of Counseling and Social Services, Walden University: “If I say, ‘I was disappointed that you didn’t call when you were going to be late,’ then I’m describing my own feelings and experience. However, if I say, ‘You are always late and just don’t care enough to call,’ then I am criticizing my partner. The latter is much more likely to spark an argument.”

If there’s more negative than positive going on in your relationship, it’s time to bail. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life with someone who treats you this way. After all, notes Thomas Edwards, dating and lifestyle coach and founder of The Professional Wingman, “To maintain any relationship, both people have to put in the effort to make the other person feel safe, happy and most of all, loved.”

When applied, RRI’s predictive research can help you avoid bad relationships and build great ones. “Our research shows that both couples and individuals can learn the skills needed to build a sound, stable ‘relationship house,’” Bradley says. “Struggling singles searching for the right person can start to build these skills now — even without a partner. This will enable you to use these skills right from the start so that all potential relationships will automatically begin on the right track.”

Margot Carmichael Lester, a freelance writer based in North Carolina, also writes for Florida Weddings and Hemispheres and online for, and others.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Honoring Leaders Around the World Standing for Freedom

Today I am honoring the leaders around the world who are standing for freedom, and asking: What does freedom mean to you?

Is it living in America with all its privileges, inalienable rights and opportunities? Is it inner liberation- from fear, doubt, anger, guilt, resentment, pride, image, prejudice, apathy and self-focus? Is freedom the sum of a thousand daily liberties we take for granted? Clean water & nourishing food? Voting?

Having a driver’s license or a passport and traveling freely? Enrolling in a personal development course, or college? Wearing a miniskirt or a yarmulke? Shifting religious beliefs, occupations or hair color? Saying No, or YES, and…Falling in love with WHO we choose, as often as we desire?

Half of the world has no idea what it means to live in choice.

How fortunate we are, I am.

Post a comment and share what freedoms you're grateful for today.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

POW Shoshana Johnson (LV77) will host Booking Signing March 15 at ChoiceCenter

I am thrilled to share that Shoshana Johnson will be joining us at ChoiceCenter on Tuesday, March 15, at 7 p.m. to share and sign her new book from Simon and Schuster called "I'm Still Standing."

Shoshana is a graduate of ChoiceCenter's LV77 – one of the first people I enrolled and wanted to share this coursework with when I was in Leaderhsip in LV74. So the fact that she's a graduate and a good friend of mine makes her appearance extra special for me. 

I met Shoshana on September 13, 2003, just months after she was rescued by U.S. Marines in Operation Iraqi Freedom. On March 23 of that year, she was on deployment with the Army, serving as a Food Service Specialist when her convoy was ambushed in the city of an-Nasiriyah. 

Shoshana was shot in both ankles, and captured and taken as a Prisoner of War with 5 other members of the 507th Maintenance Company. 22 days later, Marines conducted house raids in the city of Samarra, Iraq, and successfully rescued Shoshana and the five other men.

We look back at how we met and both just feel like fate intervened in its mysterious way. Of all places to cross paths, we met at a DeLaHoya fight at MGM Grand. Executives are often asked to provide additional security support at high-profile events, and I was working the door at our VIP party when Shoshana's father came up and asked me for assistance. He said his daughter was in a wheelchair and needed to change and the bathrooms were overcrowded. He wondered if there was a quieter place with less traffic for her to go.

I took them to the back offices of the Grand Garden Arena and when she emerged, Shoshana was wearing a perfectly pressed, olive green uniform with lots of brass bling. I remember being amazed at how polished she looked. I escorted her family to an usher who took them to their seats, then returned to my VIP post where I could watch the fight on a monitor. 

As the announcer called for the crowd to stand for the National Anthem, he requested everyone rise to honor America's First Black Female Prisoner of War.  I remember my eyes getting wider, realizing this was the woman I had wheeled behind pipe and drape just minutes earlier. 

I felt an overwhelming sense of pride in being an American. It's one of those deep patriotic moments you never forget, like the first (or 50th) time I heard the National Anthem being sung before a crowd of 80,000 at Candlestick Park to start a 49er game, or put my hat over my heart in Yankee Stadium as the Blue Angels flew over to kick-off the World Series in October 2001. It just touches you at your core, and you can feel your gratitude for the freedom we enjoy manifest in the corner of your eyes. 

In that moment, I was honored to have connected with this hero in a small way, and never imagined we would form a friendship that would deepen the next seven and a half years. I didn't expect to see her again, but then her father stopped me as they were coming out of the fight. They were invited to attend the HBO after party at FiAMMA and wondered if I would provide directions.

I think all Shoshana and I talked about were boys on the "ride" to the restaurant, but something in that conversation clicked for us – one of those moments when you know you've found a kindred soul that will be with you on life's journey for a long, long time. I won't bore you with the rest of the story, but Shoshana invited me to dinner with her family the next evening and the rest is history. 

We've been good friends ever since, and it's been extraordinary to watch her blossom - first from wheelchair to fully-upright club dancer as she recovered from her bullet wounds, and then from wallflower to advocate – the voice of our veterans who serves on Congressional Committees to ensure quality medical care for those injured in the line of duty. 

What I love about Shoshana is that she is an American hero while simultaneously being Every Woman. She serves on Special Olympics committees and gets honored as a Glamour Magazine Woman of the Year while being a phenomenal single mom on the dating scene who attends culinary school every day to fulfill her dream to be a pastry chef. She fits in speaking engagements around the country with her Larry King, CNN and MSNBC regular appearances as a military commentator while volunteering to be the chauffeur for her mom's sisters and cousins at their family reunion. 

Shoshana is just one of those beautiful people that something extraordinary happened to for a reason – because she is a light that can illuminate a bigger world for those who come behind her. When you read her book, you'll understand what I mean. She's just your average girl, who has taken what life has handed her, and allowed those circumstances to call her forth to a larger, world mission. She goes about her work as an advocate for soldiers quietly, but always while sharing a smile that is as big as her heart. 

I can't wait for you to meet her and to spend an evening getting to know her at the signing for "I'm Still Standing." (You can watch a video preview by clicking here.) And it's just not me who has been bragging about this book since she sent me a type-written copy to edit and comment on a few years ago, but the NAACP has nominated her for an Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in the Biography category. 

She is competing against Nelson Mandela, Condoleezza Rice, Jay-Z and Ray Charles Robinson, Jr. The awards ceremony will be held March 4, 2011, in Los Angeles. (Watch for our girl in a stunning black dress she just ordered on the internet!)

Shoshana has been kind enough to share her life with me for more than 7 years, and I am excited to share her with all of you on March 15. Don't miss your opportunity to join us that evening. I promise you, too, will experience that pride in being an American in a new way by the end of the night.

See you there!


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Be Your Own PR Agent Course nets Publicity for Student 11 days after taking class!

One of the things we're committed to at ChoiceCenter in 2011 is offering one and two-day courses that expand specific skill sets. We kicked this off in December 2010 with an Abundance and Prosperityworkshop on how to create your financial roadmap for this week, this month, this year and 2, 5, and 10 years out. We followed that with a class I wrote and delivered on January 15 and 16, 2011, called "Be Your Own PR Agent."

In the course, students actually wrote their own stories and press releases and learned how to distribute them to media outlets and news wires. I am proud to report that 11 days after graduating, Jason McCormac (LV49 Leadership) had his first story published this week!

Jason has a pretty cool business. offers concierge party services to college students around the world, and anyone interested in how to get on the list and avoid the lines at Vegas' hottest night clubs.

In class, Jason wrote a "how to" piece on why Vegas is THE Spring Break Experience of a Lifetime. He got feedback from myself and others on edits, then used what he learned about key words and SEO and bam – published his very first release (and referred to Jason as a "seasoned party pro" – pretty cool). The story has since been posted on various blogs about Spring Break and Tweeted about by dozens, expanding the reach of one simple story.

I am predicting student Georgia Alexis will have the next success to celebrate from "Be Your Own PR Agent." She is launching a new Greek dating website in February called "Fall for a Greek" and developed a strong editorial calendar in class as part of her PR launch campaign.

ChoiceCenter's next Be Your Own PR Agent course is April 9 - 10 in Las Vegas. For more info, click here. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Failing Your New Year's Resolutions Already? 6 Tips to Stay on Track

The second and third weeks of January are the truth tellers for whether we'll be achieving those ever so popular New Year's resolutions. Does this sound familiar? Are you sleeping in instead of hitting the gym, throwing out the patch for a pack of cigarettes, and telling yourself next year will be a much better time to get started? Perhaps you're using the classic deflection technique and saying: "Those goals weren't that important to me anyway."

Why not resolve to break the cycle of failure this year and make 2011 your best ever. After 13 years of coaching people to live their dreams at ChoiceCenter, we've got "6 No Fail Tips for Achieving Your New Year’s Resolutions?” to share with you today.

And in case you don't read this entire blog, we'll mention the big secret upfront – the biggest mistake people make is failing to create a structured accountability system to stay on track. This simple step can mean the difference between creating the life you want and living in a perpetual ‘Groundhog Day’ of missed marks.

If you're ready to break the cycle and achieve your 2011 dreams, here's so sure-fire support:

Step 1: Visualize your Goal as if It’s Already Happened.

Most resolutions fail because they are trendy and fun, and people never connect them to the bigger picture vision for their life. For example, in order to get serious about losing weight and producing results, you first need to connect to what’s truly at stake with your goal. This happens when you clearly define the benefits a healthy lifestyle will bring to your quality of life. This might involve envisioning more years with your children and loved ones, less pain from back and body aches, greater mobility, or increased stamina during intimacy. Close your eyes and see yourself at your ideal weight, playing soccer with your kids, feeling confident in the bedroom, or living pain-free.

Step 2: Make a List of Action Steps to Achievement:

Brainstorm all the things that need to happen for you to realize your goal. If you’re opening a new business, write down actions such as: file incorporation papers; create a business plan; make a capital budget; apply for an SBA loan; build a website; lease office space, etc. Be very detailed. No step is too small when creating your roadmap to success.

Step 3: Assign Benchmark Dates to Your Actions:

Once your list is complete, show it to someone who is accomplished in that field. Be sure to choose someone with sustained success – a person who has quit drinking and stayed sober for 10 years, maintained a 50lb. weight loss for 5 years, or kept a business thriving in a challenging economy. Have this expert add actions that are missing, and support you in ranking them into an efficient, weekly “to accomplish” list. Transfer each week’s “to do’s” to your calendar. Set alarms in your phone to remind yourself when deadlines are approaching.

Step 4: Create Small Wins to Celebrate Often:

Most resolutions fail because we give up before we achieve the goal. No one wants to wait 6 months to celebrate elevating their credit score, or saving $2,500 for a vacation. The human psyche thrives on instant gratification, so give it what it’s craving! Celebrate with friends, family, kids and co-workers when you hit your weekly goals. Send out an email, post on your Facebook, write on your blog – “I joined the gym today!” “I scheduled my first date with an on-line match!” “I registered my domain name this afternoon.” Not only will you elevate your confidence in believing you can achieve your goals by sharing your short-term wins, but the feedback and encouragement you receive from others will inspire you to stay focused.

Step 5: Set-up a Reward System for Major Milestones:

In addition to celebrating small wins, create an incentive to look forward to when you hit major milestones. Reward yourself with a new outfit when you lose the first 10lbs. Buy custom running shoes when you complete 3 miles. Host an author’s reading party in your living room when you finish the first chapter of your novel. Creating a calendar of rewards provides incentives to drive your results.

Step 6: Find an Accountability Buddy or Hire a Personal Coach:

Remember the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. This is the tool most people have missed all their lives in keeping their resolutions. They don’t put into place a structured system to hold themselves accountable by creating a buddy or hiring a coach. This is simply the must-not-skip step for success. It’s like buying insurance to guarantee you will not fail.

If you can afford it, your best insurance policy is to hire a professional business or life coach. Just like a world-class athlete, you are hiring someone to challenge you to get outside your comfort zone and have you look deeply at what’s working and not working each week.

If a professional coach is too pricey (Coaches can run anywhere from $50 to $1500 an hour – although what price would you put on achieving your dreams?), create an Accountability Buddy – a friend or co-worker you trust to tell you the truth, not sell out when you’re slacking off, and celebrate your milestones like their own. Set up a weekly checkpoint meeting that you agree not to break. Come prepared with your goals list from the week prior. Celebrate what you accomplished and clear off what kept you from succeeding if you have missed marks. Share your game plan for course correction, if necessary, then declare what you will accomplish the next 7 days. Repeat until your goals are achieved.

Like an athlete, when you hire a life coach they support you in reviewing the game film of how you perform each week. Your coach can see things you can’t, and by suggesting small corrections, can improve your performance, leading you to achieve your resolutions once and for all.

So what action will you go take today to stay on track to achieve your New Year's resolutions? We've got one final tool to support you. We offer an annual free download of ChoiceCenter's 12-Month Review/Preview to coaching clients and Leadership students. For reading this blog all the way to the end ... we're sharing it with you too!

In service,

Corrine and Robyn