Archive for May, 2011



Are You Communicating or Trying to Impress?

“He’s so smart. I can’t understand half of he’s talking about.” I heard that said of a speaker not long ago. I couldn’t disagree more. Good communication takes into account your target audience and tries to create a bridge between the message and the audience it’s trying to reach. Great communicators do now show off how much they know about a subject to the point of overwhelming or confusing someone else. That’s the fodder of insecure, pseudo intellectuals who want to make sure you know they are smarter than you at any chance they get. One of the challenges I face as a consultant is to help my clients to communicate clearly and effectively. The longer we are a part of an organization, a movement, an industry, the more likely we are to create and adapt to our own language, ideas, and set of standards that often miss communicate our…

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Summer Essentials: Sunglasses

No summer wardrobe is fully complete without the perfect pair of sunglasses. Guys, the good news it that there are a lot of different styles that you could wear that are in vogue these days. There’s a resurgence for the third time of the RayBan’s Wayfarer as well as strong come back of the Aviator. But before you choose you frame, here’s a few things to consider: If you have a long face you should stay away from “droopy” frames and go with something of a more horizontal nature. While the Aviator might be making a come back, it might not be a come back for you. If you have a large head beware of frames that are too small for you. They will make your head look even bigger. If your face is round stay away from round frames. You’ll accentuate your “roundness” and will end up looking like…

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The Death of The Advertising Agency

There’s no easy way to say it. The traditional Ad Agency is not going to stay around for long. As the big guys scramble to survive and as the little guys close shop, marketing agencies find themselves in a major shift. Some believe it’s a difficult transition, if not an impossible one under the current way most of these shops are setup. In order to survive agencies must: Stop being dependent on the 15% media buying revenue and print markup.  The days of clients spending hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of dollars on traditional media are numbered. The new media mix is a lot more fluid and fragmented and requires more thinking than a media buyer can do in one afternoon. A direct mail campaign followed by radio and/or TV is no longer the answer for every problem. I’m not certain it’s the answer for any current dilemma. Make technology…

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How do You Prepare Your Messages or Presentations?

How do you prepare for your speaking engagements? Pastors have to prepare a message every week, sometimes two or even three messages in the course of a few days. The pressure is always on to deliver something that will challenge, motivate, inspire and ultimately cause people to move from complacency and the status quo into a deeper relationship with God.  While most pastors believe that God is the One who does the changing and convincing, they are also aware they’re called to be a spokesperson for things that are sacred and cannot abdicate their responsibility to prepare. Recently I interviewed Mike Slaughter, Sr. Pastor of Ginghamsburg Church, and he shared with me in the video below how he prepares the message that he delivers 5 times each weekend. How do you prepare for a message or presentation?

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Half-Hearted Self Discipline Fails to Deliver

Self discipline pays dividends. In my life I have seen self discipline become the difference between getting an A or a C in school, between doing ok at work or getting promoted quickly,  between a mediocre business and a thriving one, between thinking about running a marathon and actually finishing one. Discipline is often the difference between success or failure. But if we are not careful, we can be disciplined and yet not see results. I don’t know about you, but I tend to play mind games with the things that require my full attention to get to the next level. I’m usually willing to be disciplined in the areas that come natural to me, like exercise, but I often have a tough time committing to pay the price and do what’s not an easy task for me, like having a consistent clean diet. In this case, however, the diet…

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Getting Rapture Ready: What to Wear to Heaven

As I try to prepared for tomorrow’s rapture into heaven, I naturally thought of what I wanted to wear to heaven. That’s a big question. Think about it. So I did. But according to some, we would go naked. However, if they are wrong and we did indeed make the trip wearing whatever we had on at the time of the rapture, which I heard somewhere is around 5 p.m. tomorrow, that could be embarrassing.  Trying to understand and visualize such event, I googled the rapture so I could see what it would look like. Here’s what I found: I still haven’t answered the big question: What should I wear? If we go naked, then all bets are off, including our pants and our apparel doesn’t matter. Now if we go up clothed I’m going to wear white. Think about every movie scene shot in heaven you’ve seen. What are…

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The Right Stripe For Your Body Type

Stripes have been a staple in men’s wear for decades. We wear them in suits, shirts, pants, shorts and even undergarments. But not all stripes are created equal. You should know what type of stripe works best for you and why. I see a lot of guys wearing vertical stripes when they should be wearing horizontal. Yes, there is a difference. Here’s a simple guide for guys, it works for gals as well, on how to wear stripes: Horizontal: if you are thin, or tall and want to look wider, horizontal stripes are your friend. Slender, tall frames usually look their best with a wide horizontal stripped shirts. If you are heavy or have short legs, horizontal stripes usually make you look bigger and stubbier. Big or broad guys with short legs should stay away from them. Vertical: If you are short and/or heavy, vertical stripes are good for you.…

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Because Ministry Matters: The United Methodist Publishing House New Site

The best projects are the ones that have a big vision, great impact, tough challenges and stretches everything you have learned to date. The A Group has recently launched a website that meets all of that criteria and then some: . Ministry Matters started as a vision of Audrey Kidd, COO of The United Methodist Publishing House. Audrey wanted to bring UMPH’s vast collection of reference, scholarly, practical and inspirational content along with blogs, articles, video and audio together in a true community-focused destination. The vision was clear and so were the challenges: how to integrate UMPH’s multiple legacy databases and systems with a dynamic, user-friendly and social media-rich interface. That’s where The A Group comes in. From the site’s name selection, branding, user interface development, back end content management system and finally database integration, our design and programming teams work side-by-side UMPH’s content and IT departments in creating…

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Bad Church Hires: What You Don’t Know Can Cost You a Lot

The wrong person in your staff can cause you not only headaches, but a bad hire can be the difference between amazing growth and a church split or even an early retirement from the ministry. Not long ago I went to dinner with a friend who shared with me what could’ve been a staffing nightmare. A charismatic personality and a winning smile, had my friend convinced that this man was the right person for a key position in his church. There were red flags, however. First, our candidate seemed very eager to leave his job. He put his house on the market before he even got an official offer from my friend’s church. He began looking for a house in the new city right away. Things were moving fast–too fast indeed. But thanks to a new HR policy my friend’s church had put in place a few months prior, he…

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Why You Need Contracts

I used to think that contracts, or agreements were a sign of distrust and as long as I trusted the person or organization I was dealing with, they were not necessary. After all, early in my business career, I dealt exclusively with churches and ministries. Boy, I was wrong! So wrong. And I had to learn the hard way. When it comes to putting your resources on the line for a person or organization, you cannot be too careful in protecting your assets. You can lose everything if a big project falls through or if it’s not financed. No matter where you are in your career or business development, good contracts are critical to your success. Here’s a few reasons why: A contract holds you and the other party accountable to a set of expectations and deliverables. No matter how many discussions you had about the project or how many…

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