Is Your Nurture Sequence Doing Its Job?

Email nurture sequence. We all know we need one. We may even have spent time writing them or paying someone else to write them.

The question is, is your nurture sequence doing its job?

The question is, is your nurture sequence doing its job? Click To Tweet

And how can you tell if it is or isn’t?

Measuring the results of our nurture sequence is an essential part of our business, and one that is often overlooked. Even by people who have been marketing on the internet for years!

The first step in measuring the success of your email nurture sequence is to define what success would be, right? I mean, if we don’t know what success would look like, we’ll never know if or when we achieve it!

I mean, if we don’t know what success would look like, we’ll never know if or when we achieve it! Click To Tweet

So, defining what a successful nurture sequence will look like. Let’s start there.

A successful nurture sequence should:

  • Build relationships with your subscribers, even if they aren’t buying
  • Create interest in your product and service
  • Allow you to communicate consistently with your subscribers
  • Let your subscribers feel like they know you, and are connected to you
  • Start a two way conversation between you and your subscribers

There are an almost unlimited number of ways you can do this.  Regardless of how you do it, you need to be friendly. Approachable. Open. And, if you can, vulnerable.

Let your subscribers get to know you. Allow them to see who you are. You are building a true relationship with them. The more genuine you can be, the stronger the relationship you will build.

This doesn’t mean every email or article needs to be a personal expose. Quite the opposite actually. You can build that relationship by being yourself in everything you write. Your readers will be able to tell if you’re faking it.

So if you don’t know something, say so. If you’re struggling or discovering new things, share that too. It’s that transparency and honesty that will build and strengthen the connection you have with your subscribers.

It’s surprising how often I hear people tell me their nurture sequence is designed to nurture people to buy.

And while that may be a part of the goal, it is more a result of the actual goal.

If your primary focus is getting your subscribers to buy, they will sense that. They’ll feel the pressure of the sale and pull away. It will not only hamper your sales, it will get in the way of building your relationship. And that will have long term consequences.

So, the true goal of the nurture sequence is to build a relationship.

Now that you’ve defined what a successful nurture sequence does, it’s time to take a look at measuring success.

Each business is slightly different, so here are a few things you might want to measure to see how your nurture sequence is stacking up:

  • Number of responses to your emails that you get
  • Open and click rate on your nurture sequence emails
  • Total engagement numbers over time
  • Sales (while this may not be your single goal, as I mentioned, it is a result of reaching your goal)
  • List growth and attrition

By tracking these numbers you will get an understanding of how your nurture sequence is working. If people are engaged and feeling connected to you they will be engaging with you on some level. They will want to stay on your list to “hear” a friendly voice. They will respond to you and click on the links that you share.

These numbers are critical to truly understanding how your emails are working. They will help you get a feel for how what your list thinks of you. They will give you a visible measurement of how connected your subscribers are to you.

How often you track these measurements is up to you, however we recommend checking them at least weekly on a basic level, and going deep into your numbers on a monthly basis. If you have a team, weekly meetings can be a great way to stay on top your numbers.

If you are solo, set a time in your calendar to look at your numbers. Make an appt with yourself that you make sure to keep. Block out the time as busy so clients can’t book time during these appointments.

I know, I know. You are nervous about turning down paying client time in favor of looking at your numbers, something you can do anytime.

The thing is, you won’t. Very few people will look at their numbers without a scheduled time to do so. That’s because there always seems to be something more important. Something more pressing.

There isn’t.

There is very little you can do in your business that will make a greater impact than knowing your numbers. It may not feel active, or client facing, but the numbers you are tracking will define what you do with your active time. They will direct your future movements, and will tell you what you need to do the same or differently to create a larger impact.

Now that you have a good handle on your nurture sequence, what it’s supposed to do, and how to tell if you’re successful, it’s time to go do!

Take a few minutes now and block out some time in your calendar. 30 minutes once a week and an hour once a month ought to do it. Set up recurring appointments with yourself and/or your team to review how things are working, and what you need to do more or less of to reach your goals.

The next thing to do is take a look at your measurables and figure out how you are going to measure them. What information will you need access to each week and each month to be able to evaluate your success? How will you access those numbers? Do you have a plan for keeping your measurements up to date?

If not, take some time now and set that up. Set up a way to track your opens and clicks, a method for monitoring your list growth and attrition, a process for keeping track of responses you get to your emails, and of course, a system for measuring your sales.

Once you have the systems in place, and are making sure you track this data on a regular basis, you will be able to confidently answer whether or not your nurture sequence is working. And, more importantly, you’ll be able to identify areas that can be improved and begin to see immediate change.

If you’d like to meet with us to discuss your reporting and tracking systems, and get some great ideas on how you can get more actionable data out of your software, schedule a FREE, NO STRINGS ATTACHED, strategy session with us today.

17 Ways to Repurpose Your Existing Content Without Starting From Scratch

If your blog has been active for a while you likely have so many articles you are losing track. When you hear people talk about the need and value of content marketing it might even tick you off. I mean, you have content. Lots of it!

It’s not a lack of content you are struggling with. It’s actually the opposite!

You have so much content you aren’t sure what to do with it!

Yeah, I get it. One of the sites I manage has so many pages it’s crazy! Last check it had over 500 pages and over 300 posts. But decreasing traffic.

With that much content I think we’d all agree that it’s not a lack of content that is hurting this site. It’s more likely a lack of useful content. Or a lack of content being in a useful format.

Everything we offer our readers needs to be easily consumed. That means it needs to be available in a format anyone can consume and turn around and implement the suggestions.

So, what can you do with all of your content to keep your site fresh, make it consumable by everyone, and not continue to spend your days coming up with more, new and shiny content?

You repurpose what you have!

Repurposing old content is a huge timesaver and can make your site fresh again. It’s a great way of taking the work you’ve already done and finding a way to update it, make it current and give it a new audience.

Below you’ll find a list of the most effective and efficient ways you can take your old content and make it new again.

Do Facebook lives based on your existing blog content. You know that Facebook is giving a lot of weight to live videos, and that great content in your videos will drive engagement, and Facebook serves up posts with more engagement more often. But maybe you struggle with what to talk about. Take a glance through your old blog posts and do a Facebook live on that topic.

Download your Facebook lives and upload them to YouTube. Use YouTube to keep driving traffic to your videos and your website. Optimize the details of your videos, load up the SEO tags, and keep people engaging with your videos.

Build an FAQ from the questions that come in. If your blog has been getting comments and interaction you can take the questions that have come in and create an FAQ page.

Answer questions live on Facebook. Use the questions that come in to drive your Facebook strategy. Choose a day, or two or three, and answer the questions that are coming in live. Let your audience know when they can catch you, and enjoy the live interaction with them.

Give your posts a facelift. Update the title, images and key content to keep it in line with your current strategy.

Websites and business strategies change over time and your posts may be a bit outdated. Remove dated material to make your posts evergreen. Remove old screenshots and replace with updated ones. Then send an announcement of your latest 3 or 4 updated posts to re-engage and drive new traffic to your site.

Create an infographic. Studies show that infographics on sites like Pinterest get 54% more traffic than blog posts.

You can take any blog post with sufficient content and turn it into an infographic. If you’re like me and aren’t the artistic type you can find someone else to create one for you. Sites like Upwork and Fiverr offer tons of options for getting your content transferred.

Add links in your posts for people to opt in to your list. Make your posts do double time by adding offers into the posts themselves. Whether you are offering a product or service or simply the opportunity to opt in to your email list, the fact that you are taking an engaged reader and offering them the opportunity to interact with you more will increase your results.

Take your most popular posts and make them a podcast. Similar to using the content for videos, you can use the same idea to build a podcast. Once you’ve identified the topics that are of interest to your readers you have an advantage…you know what to talk about to get people to listen. Use that information to grow your footprint to new audiences.

Schedule recurring posts on social media. The best blog posts in the world won’t do you any good if no one is seeing them. I use MeetEdgar to make sure my blog posts stay current and in front of my ideal audience. I schedule them once and it rotates through, sharing articles and driving traffic as long as I keep it running. (You can check out MeetEdgar here.  Oh, and if you use this link to sign up you’ll get $10 off your first month!) Turn an old webinar into smaller how to videos. If you had a successful webinar, you can break it up and use it as a lot of smaller videos. Like a tv talk show posts their segments as individual videos rather than the entire show as one, you can use a webinar to create 4, 5 or even more videos that can be evergreen content.

Repackage similar blog posts into comprehensive guides. Once you’ve written several blog posts on the same subject you can pull them together into a single guide. Then you can use the guide as a lead magnet to grow your list, and direct people from your website to download your guide, making sure you get their name and email just in case they aren’t already on your list.

Use data you’ve been tracking to create case studies. One of the most powerful thing people can read are case studies.

The realistic nature, combined with specific data, are very convincing and can be one of the most powerful sales tools you have in your toolbox. If you’ve been tracking the data from your website, you likely already have everything you need to create and share powerful case studies.

Gather multiple interviews together into an Advice from the Masters book. If you’ve been running a podcast, doing webinars with guest experts, or any other form of interviews then you have a treasure chest of content at your fingertips! Gather some of your best interviews and put them together into an Advice from the Masters book. If you are able to get quotes and advice from some giants in your industry, you will have a great book almost ready to publish.

Put existing platforms to use for you. Sites like Quora and Udemy are growing by the day, increasing their market share and getting their content in front of people who are actively searching on topics. Make these platforms work for you by using them to research your topic, then putting your answer, with a link to your blog post, on their platform.

Give Twitter users what they want. Twitter is a fantastic place to share stats and great quotes. Put it to use in your online strategy by sharing the most tweetable content with your audience. Add a plugin like ClicktoTweet to your blog, and make it easy for visitors to share your content.

Turn your blog posts into a tip of the week newsletter. Even the most passionate fans won’t read every blog post. Not because they don’t want to read them all, but because like you, they are busy. Take your blog posts and send out links and tips each week in a newsletter. The inbox is often the best and quickest way to reach your audience.
10X a piece of existing content. Take a successful post you’ve written and 10X it. That means you’ll take the base you’ve already created and maximize its value. Do additional research, add content that can’t be found anywhere else, make it bigger and better than anything else out there. Then share it everywhere! The idea of 10X is really popular, so riding its popularity will help expand your reach.

There you have it. My favorite 17 ways to repurpose and reuse content you’ve already created to build your audience, your list, and your revenues.

You’ve gone to a lot of trouble to create the content you have on your site. You’ve spent time writing and creating, adding images and optimizing for SEO. Don’t let that time go to waste. Maximize it. Get as much out of it as you can, and do it efficiently.

I’d love to hear your ideas. Did I miss anything? Are there any other repurposing secrets that you use that aren’t listed here? Drop them below in the comments. Maybe I’ll add them to an updated list in the future. 🙂

The Famous Sex Ad

Once upon a time my marketing coach Dan Kennedy challenged me to write a “sex” ad for the industry that I served.

Let me describe the risk. I was the founding CEO of a well regarded high-tech manufacturing firm in biotechnology – an extremely conservative industry.  We had a hard-earned reputation to protect.

So it was a definite challenge. I created the ad and after several go-rounds with my marketing people, this was what we issued. It was placed in the directory of the most important trade show in our industry.

We took a full page.

I had to argue with the trade show people to get the ad printed, even though the copy was fairly innocent.

First the marketing results — We drew a larger crowd and got more leads than ever before. It made us famous. Or maybe a little infamous. And we only got 4 complaints.

Second, we proved that “sex” can be used successfully in an ad, but ONLY if the word is justified appropriately in the copy.

Otherwise people will either think you are sleazy or manipulative. And that’s not a good impression to create.

Here’s the ad:

Sex Ad

I’m Sorry It Didn’t Work Out

Here’s a tip you can learn from a client of mine without going through his pain.

Let’s call him “Mike”.

Mike had a deal go sour and it ended up in arbitration. They came up with a settlement that they both signed but the other guy wasn’t keeping up his side.

Mike and the other guy had been old friends.

Their kids went to school together and their wives were on the same charities.

So they saw each other regularly at charity events and school functions. Mike was pretty ticked off, and wanted to blast his former friend at one of these gatherings.

And that reminded me of an experience I had back when I was running a manufacturing plant. Well, actually it was a hassle but now that I look back on it I can see it as a useful lesson.

And maybe it’ll be useful to you also.

It can show you a way to deal with difficult people, and a way not to.

Back to the time when I ran a small high tech company.

A man contacted us and said he had a new idea for a product that we might be interested in making. He wanted to meet me to discuss it.

I agreed to the meeting.

Since we would be discussing his idea and perhaps some of our trade secrets in manufacturing, I sent him our standard non-disclosure agreement.

This agreement allows two people to share secrets, but prevents either side from using them apart from the other party. It’s to stop one side from “going around” the other.

He refused our form and sent us his form instead.

Our attorneys took a look at his form and wouldn’t let me sign it.

They warned me that it contained so many “bear traps” and setups for penalty that it would be dangerous to even talk with this guy if I signed his form.

I wrote to him explaining this. I said that I would be happy to meet with him under reasonable protections, but that his form would penalize me even for using information after the meeting that was common knowledge.

So we didn’t have the meeting. I wished him well and forgot about him.

Later at a trade show, while I was discussing our products with a customer, this guy showed up and made a nuisance of himself. He claimed — loudly — that we tried to rip him off for his idea.

I got hot under the collar, told him in front of my customer that he was “full of it,” and sent him away.

Although I was in the right, my hot reaction chilled my customer. It probably cost me much of the business I might have done with this guy.

I warned my client Mike about my experience.

I told Mike that even though the guy told lies about me at that trade show, my hot-tempered response when I blasted him back had turned off the customer who witnessed my outburst and it had probably damaged a profitable relationship.

What I wished I had said at that trade show was this:

“Hey, I’m sorry you’re disappointed that we didn’t do business – so am I. My lawyers wouldn’t let me sign the agreement that you sent me, and you didn’t want to sign the more conventional agreement that we sent you. So we didn’t meet and no one got hurt. I know that you and I had a disagreement and I apologize for my part in it. I respect you, and would like it if we can part as friends so maybe we’ll get a chance to work together in the future.”

That would have worked out a lot better than my blast did.

And the customer that I had been talking to might have thought, “Wow, Tom’s a reasonable guy even when there’s a disagreement. Sounds like I could work with him.”

In any event, I’ve learned that a sincere “I’m sorry things didn’t work out” isn’t the same as taking the blame for something. It shows respect for the other person’s discomfort and it’s not focused on conflict or making someone wrong.

So I told Mike this story from my own past and he did what I wished I had done.

The next time Mike saw his old friend he took this attitude. He told him that he was sorry they were in disagreement. He said he would like to work things out to both of their satisfaction, since they had been friends and were in the same community.

Mike concluded with, “Just because we can’t do business together doesn’t mean we can’t be good friends and neighbors, does it?”

A friend of mine who was at the charity lunch where this took place told me what happened next.

“The other guy’s face got red,” he told me. “He shook Mike’s hand and thanked him for his courtesy, and said that his wife and Mike’s wife had wanted them to get together before this, and that now he would do so gladly.”

“It’s funny,” my friend said to me. “Mike was the one who apologized, but he seemed to come out of it as the winner to those of us who saw it.”

So consider expressing your regrets sometimes, NOT because you were at fault, but just to recognize that the other party may have some regrets also.

By being honest about your regrets you may open up space for another relationship, if not with that person then perhaps with someone else who sees how generous you can be.

Here’s the big lesson. There are three phrases that only confident people will use freely.


“Thank you”

“I’m sorry it didn’t work out”

Consider where these expressions of respect for others would be appropriate for you. They soften relationships.



The CEO/Cowboy Link

When I was a teenager I wanted to be a cowboy instead of finishing high school. I was sent to work for a friend of my father who owned a ranch up in the mountains. I had no idea that the work I was about to begin would be so close to the job of CEO I had forty years later.

In the early summer we rounded up cattle who had foraged in the high meadows throughout the spring, fattening up and having their calves.

Every day we’d go out and gather the cattle in small groups, collecting them in corrals a couple of hours’ ride from the ranch.

When we’d gathered around a hundred cows and calves, several of us would be detailed to drive the herd back to the central pens at ranch headquarters for branding.

Because I was the youngest, I had to ride “drag”, which meant that I rode behind the herd, making sure that we didn’t lose any of the valuable livestock.

Now you might want to picture this — a hundred head of cattle means that four hundred hooves were trampling the ground directly in front of me.

It was summer. It was dry. And very dusty.

I had to tie my bandana around my mouth and nose so I could breathe.

And visibility was about ten feet. And if we got back to the ranch and the count showed that we were missing any animals, guess who got sent back with a flashlight to find them, instead of having dinner?

So it was VERY important to me that I not let any stragglers get past me .My job was reduced to staring into a dust cloud, watching for a twitching tail to appear.

When I spotted one, I would spur my horse towards the straggler and drive it back into the rear of the herd.

I’ve found much of life (and particularly management) is like that job of riding drag at the rear of a herd of cattle, not being able to see or breathe very well, but focused on seeing my target (goal) as soon as it becomes visible, and pursuing it in the right direction.

I found this to be true of my work as a CEO. In fact, there seem to be many situations in life like this. If you keep your attention focused on the blank future in front, you will be the first to notice your target when it comes into view.

This has proved true whether the blank wall was a sales objective, a lab experiment during product development, as a parent trying to figure out what my teenaged son was up to next, and even when I’m shopping for my wife.

Keeping your vision focused on a target that’s not visible, even when you can’t see clearly means that – when it becomes visible – you’re prepared to go after it.

Sometimes, that’s all the edge you need.

New Year’s Resolutions That You Can Keep

Okay, I’m thinking “What can I possibly say about a New Year? Something that hasn’t already been done by some professional columnist or talented blogger or — Shakespeare?”

Then I remind myself that I’ve seen a LOT of New Years, and have messed up at least as many resolutions as the next guy, have made many “new starts” that chugged to a halt by March or so.

So I’m an expert on what doesn’t work.

As I looked back, I started filtering through all those New Years to find what resolutions stuck out as good ideas with some durability to them.

I have a confession to make. There weren’t many.

What Didn’t Work

A lot of that probably has to do with me. I’m a well-seasoned romantic, which means that I’ve had more than my share of quick enthusiasms followed by embarrassing disillusionment.

So as I enter the “mid-summer” of my life I look back and see that I am sorta lazy and inclined to slip back into old comfortable patterns of behavior.

There are loads of people that I’ve met and admire who are much more disciplined than me. I’ve met people who’re able to get up at six and go running, or write in their journals before dawn, or drink a magic blender shake with seaweed and amino acids before they have their coffee, etc. You get my point.

Not me. The only things that worked with me long-term had to be so easy and slippery that they could make a place in my life without any stretch marks.

What Did Work

And the only way I’ve ever gotten better is to either find a comfortable way to change, or find a way to make something that’s a little uncomfortable so habitual that it eventually becomes easy and comfortable and second nature. Remember, I’m talking about me, a person who is very difficult to change. Your mileage may vary.

I found that little changes just before my day officially began carried the biggest payoffs — followed by little changes in my routine just before going to sleep.

I think it’s because what you do first thing in the morning has the potential to affect your whole day, and what you do just before going to sleep has some impact on your subconscious during the night.

Here are some of the things that have become part of my life, and I believe that they nourish me in ways I can’t even begin to calculate. These patterns just seem to make things better over the long run, over the years.

In The Morning

I’ve found that first thing in the morning I can remember to do a few extra things that I didn’t do before I made a resolution. These are the patterns that have stayed with me for years because they were easy to do and they gave me an all-day payoff:

1. Drink a full glass of water immediately upon rising, and another glass soon after that. You’ve just spent 7 to 9 hours with no water. There’s a big reason to do this simple thing. First, your brain uses a disproportionate percentage of your oxygen and energy. And, while you were asleep your brain was still working and using up energy.  This first drink of water re-hydrates your brain after a night’s activity, and the second drink hydrates your body. It helps to remove toxins and aids in digestion. You will find your energy and spirits stay more “up” during the day, your skin improving, and many experience some weight loss.

2. Stretch. You’ve just spent hours with no activity. After you’ve hydrated yourself, a gentle stretch from head to toes will wake your body and your internal organs. You don’t have to do an hour of yoga to get the main benefits — just a few minutes gently stretching your body to it’s limits will do wonders.

3. Be grateful. While you’re brushing your teeth or stretching or in the shower or even making breakfast, think with gratitude about 3 things in your life that give you pleasure or make you proud. That’s it. Just 3 things that you’re glad about in your life. If you do this, it will give you more joy and energy throughout the day.

Many of my coaching clients used to have old patterns of waking to the same old worries. This is a bad habit without any redeeming qualities, and they’ve reported that this simple “do three things differently” process has changed that pattern. The proper time to address worries is after you’ve taken care of yourself.

You’ll bring a lot more to the party when you’ve started the day well. You’ll have more energy, resilience and you will actually enter your day with more intelligence. If you do just these three things every morning you’ll be astonished at the results within a week.  Give it a try — I think you’ll like it.

There are a couple more things that make the day start right, but if you’re anything like me, doing these three new things will be a handful. And if you stick with it, you’ll be having better days than you had before, and that’s the purpose of New Year’s resolutions, isn’t it?

Happy New Year,


The Relativity of Success

What Einstein forgot…

When Einstein’s Relativity papers were published, the world got a new concept.

Time and space are actually interchangeable!

There is relativity in the way we live our daily lives, too.

I’ve learned that in business, the way that people manage their time and their space seems to go with how much money they make.

Managing Time: Are they punctual? Can they keep a commitment on a deadline? Most successful people that I’ve met and worked with are very dependable. If they say that they will do something, they do it when promised. If I arrange to meet a successful person at a particular time and place, they manage to be there. On time.

Managing Space: Are they organized? Are their important papers and reports available when they want them? Successful people manage to get themselves organized so that they have the time to function. They’re not always looking for something or making apologies because they weren’t able to find something. In general, the successful people I’ve worked with do not have occasion to make may apologies – or excuses.

And now I’ve learned that another element needs to be added to the “Relativity” mix.


I learned this as a result of the experience we’ve just had in moving to a new home.

Our closets were like the clown’s car at the circus – stuff just kept coming and coming out of the shelves, drawers, and corners of our house and garage.

Stuff I thought I’d lost. Things I haven’t had a use for in decades. And we were storing all of these things.

I had to keep going out and buying more packing boxes and tape.

As we got ready for the move and the packing intensified, Vikki’s garage sales and my trips to make donations of our unwanted but useful stuff whittled down the load.

But it still took three trucks to move what was left. I’m really tired of moving boxes of stuff that I don’t really use.

I’ve discovered that stuff owns me – it takes time and space to deal with, and that cuts into my life and work.

It also costs us money. Too many unused things means too much looking for the things that we DO need and use.

I’ll tell you something. It isn’t all gonna find a new home here. We’re going through each box with a very suspicious eye. We’re looking at every sock and tee shirt and book and CD.

We’re asking ourselves, “Do we need this?”

” Now?”

I’m not asking, “Will I need it someday?” because the answer will always be “Yes”.

I’m asking, “Am I willing to store this again in some closet or box or garage, so that I forget I even have it until the next time we move?”

Then, seven times out of ten, that item goes into a box for one of my kids or grandkids, or charity.

We have empty space in our cupboards and closets. We have ready access to the things we need.

And we do not have closets and drawers full of stuff that we don’t use.

It’s a delightful experience.

It really feels lighter. Like we’ve lost weight.

We’re going to keep this feeling. It saves us money and time.

So it looks like the Relativity of Success actually has FOUR elements:




And the Money you save, when you manage the first three elements.



Shootin’ From The Hip

I did a dumb thing the other day. That’s not all that unusual for me, but this one stayed with me for a while and I think something interesting came out of it.

Have you ever whipped out a quick answer to an email and hit the “send” button?

I mean, hit it too fast? And then thought of what you REALLY should have said?

That’s what I did, and it cost me a re-do and an explanation. Minor embarrassment. No biggy.

Here’s what happened. I was going through my emails, trying to answer as many as possible, and I wrote one to a colleague of mine to congratulate him on something he had written. Just a quick note of appreciation was all I intended.

Trouble is, I hit the “send” button just as I was thinking that I hadn’t said what I meant. Even worse, I HAD said stuff that I didn’t actually mean to say. The words just came out wrong.

I really respect this guy, and now I had to go back and say, “Never mind. This is what I was trying to say the first time.” I finished my explanation by saying, “Sometimes the ‘send’ button is just damn too easy!”

Later that night, as I was trying to go to sleep, there was this argument in my mind. I heard a little voice saying to me, “It’s not the ‘send’ button that’s the problem, Tom, the problem is you didn’t even stop to read your email and consider whether that’s what you intended to say. It’s not the “send” button that’s too damn easy, it’s you!”

I vowed that in the future I would reread my emails and consider what the other person reading them might make of what I wrote, before I actually send them.

I went to sleep thinking thoughts about how life is speeding up, there’s too much email in the world, and maybe I ought to reduce my number of email boxes or something.

Still thinking about it over coffee and melon the next morning.

Then I had a really nasty thought. It’s even easier to hit the “send” button when you’re talking! I mean, when you write an email there’s something you can read before you send it. All you have to do is to take the time to do it, and you can send out your best thinking.

It’s different when you’re talking. Once you open your mouth it’s out there, whatever you may have said.

I immediately remembered the last few times someone had misunderstood something I had said to them.

Like my wife Vikki. Or my grandchildren. Or a waiter, or someone on the phone.


You know what? It wasn’t them. I have to admit that when we got to the bottom of each of those misunderstandings, it turned out that they had gotten the wrong impression from something I had said to each of them.


I remember reading somewhere that God gave us two ears and only one mouth so we would listen twice as much as we talked.

Still, what got me into trouble wasn’t talking more than listening. It was talking without saying what I wanted to say.

“So,” went my thinking, “Suppose I treated my verbal communications just like the email. If I wanted to reread my verbal “emails” before I hit the ‘send’ button in my jaw, I would have to think more before I speak.”

I’d have to consider what I was going to say from the standpoint of the person I was talking to – and consider how it might strike them – instead of just saying whatever came into my mind.

Being more thoughtful about what I said didn’t mean I was going to become a stiff robot. It just meant that, before I said something I was going to try to hear it as if I was the other person.

I remember when I was a teenager; there was this old black lady who was a waitress in a coffee shop I used to hang out in when I was a kid.

Everybody in the place loved her and was always asking her advice. Whenever two people were discussing something important, the answer I heard over and over was, “Ask Hildy.”

I couldn’t figure out why she was so important to all of these people. She was just a waitress in a coffee shop, but businessmen and even the owner of the place would go “ask Hildy” what she thought — about a new menu, a new girlfriend or a new job.

I asked her one day why so many people liked to talk with her.

“Well, Tommy” she said. “Every time I start to say something, I just stop and taste the words before I let ’em out of my mouth.”

Hmmm. Forty years ago, before anyone had ever even heard of email, this wise woman knew about checking her messages before sending them out.

In the future, I think I’ll review more than just my emails before hitting the “send” button.


Tom Hoobyar

Brain Burp #987 – The Disappearing Parking Ticket

I guess I was in a bad mood to begin with. My wife and I had had a little misunderstanding in the morning just as I was leaving for my appointment and that never sits well with me.

So I was grumpy when I arrived in downtown San Jose, and then I saw there was no street parking in the area. Great, just great!

All the parking garages were not charging by the quarter hour like they do during the business week. On weekends, they were charging by the day.

So, although I was only going to be in the accountant’s office for thirty minutes, I had to pay the whole day’s fee to park my car. Six bucks!

I fished out the money and paid the Ethiopian guy wearing earphones at the gate to the garage, but I was boiling inside by the rip off of a system that forced me to pay so much for so little, in this deserted downtown on a Saturday morning.

I tossed my wallet, loose bills, sunglasses and parking ticket into the passenger seat and wheeled into a spot near the elevator in the almost empty garage.

I got out of my car and put my things in the proper pocket. Sunglasses in shirt pocket, wallet in hip pocket, bills in right front pocket and parking ticket…

Where was it? I remembered it was pink. I checked to make sure it wasn’t stuck in my wallet. No. Or in among the dollar bills in my front pocket. No. And not in any other pocket either.

Huh. Under the car? Nope. And when I stuck my head into the car and looked around I didn’t see it either. Must have slipped under the seat, where I couldn’t see or retrieve it.

No problem, I thought. I’ll just go back to the guy at the gate and tell him what happened, and get another ticket. I just paid him and I’m sure he’ll remember me.

No luck. I explained to him what happened, he remembered me, but said that he was helpless.

“The rules say you must find the ticket or buy another one”, he said. He seemed indifferent to the obvious unfairness of the situation.

I told him what I thought of his “rules” and left for my appointment.

Twenty five minutes later I was back. I had decided to tear my car apart and find the ticket. No way was I gonna pay another six bucks for a twenty minute appointment!

I took my time with the car. I moved both front seats all the way forward and all the way back. I got down on my knees on the concrete and took a flashlight to look in every crack and crevice. No dice.

I DID find a couple of pieces of gum, an ink pen and two of our grandchildrens’ toys. But no ticket.

“Okay, this is taking more time that it’s worth,” I told myself. “Just accept that maybe it blew out the window or turned invisible. Pay the money and go home.”

I sighed and let go of my frustration. I opened the door and put the flashlight away, then eased down into the driver’s seat and started the engine.

Something above me caught my eye. It was something pink, sticking out from the sun visor over my head. It was the ticket. I had stuck it up there when the guy gave it to me at the gate.

Boy. Dumb Tom. I wondered how much my irritated mood had poisoned my morning, in addition to maybe wiping out my short term memory of putting the ticket up in the visor. The whole episode probably consumed fifteen minutes of my time, and pumped me full of bile.

I drove back to the gate and handed my ticket to the guy. “I’m sorry, Man”, I said, “I feel so stupid. I put it right up here and didn’t see it until I got back into the car.”

“No problems, Mister, lots of peoples do that.” He smiled and said, “Have a good day.” Then he put his earphones back in.

I drove home and apologized to my wife, and told her how my short temper had lowered my I.Q. in the parking garage.

Then I decided to tell you about it.

Who knows? Maybe it’ll save you a similar “brain burp” sometime.



In Tough Times We Need Sharper Tools

I’ve lived through eight recessions and run businesses during four of them. I’ve learned that some people thrive while the majority just panic. You don’t have to roll over for this recession; you can create your own “upturn during the downturn”. Then when the tough times are over, you’ll be stronger and more successful than before!

It’s just going to take more knowledge about human nature – both yours and the other guy’s. How you see the world and how he or she does. What words mean to different people can make thousand of dollars of difference to you.

Which brings us to my interest and expertise in NLP. Why did I take over three thousand hours of training in NLP during the last fifteen years? I did it because I’ve found NLP to be the most useful skill – outside of direct response marketing – that I have ever acquired.

I’ll be writing about Applied NLP (neuro linguistic programming) beginning in 2009. It deals with what really goes on inside our heads, and how we can influence that from outside. I’ll be covering everything from the difference between “this” and “that” (yeah, to your unconscious there REALLY is a difference between “this” and “that”). I’ll be teaching about body language, and about how our brains are at the center of it all.

I call it “Playing The Inner Game”. It’s an easily learned mindset that can change your entire business outlook. It’s especially useful for those who want to be more effective in self-management and in communicating with others.

Wait for it, wait for it…

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