Vegas and Networking?

Walking the Strip in Las Vegas can be very interesting, especially at 3:30AM. However, I don’t know about you, but I hate the dudes in the neon shirts who try to get your attention by clapping their brochures which promote some of Vegas’s finest “massage” therapists. It is doubtful this style of promotion actually builds business. So you may be asking; “What’s this have to do with networking”? Fact is, we all have seen the “business card networker” at nearly every networking event we’ve attended. They walk up to a perfect stranger, flash their business card (much like the guys in neon shirts), and nearly force us to take it. They then mumble something that is totally unimportant and they move on to the next “victim” of their time wasting actions.

It’s pretty easy to not be “that guy!” But here are a few tips that might help you with your networking at future networking events as you try to “connect” with new folks:

Establish Your Priorities: Know exactly what you hope to get out of this particular networking event or face-to-face meeting. More importantly, be sure to help the person/people you meet to get something they are looking for. Once you help them get what they’re looking for, they will be much more open to helping you.

Have a Plan: This can truly be anything. It all depends on your brand and what you want others to know about you, your products and services, or your organization. You might want to meet 3 people with whom you want to develop a relationship, or perhaps you will want to gain support for a certain need in your business, like website development, Social Media coaching, teamwork, resume building, et cetera. Just be sure your goals are clear and you have a defined plan.

Be a Connector: Here’s a flash—-It’s not all about you! Make it a goal to introduce at least two people to each other who you think can likely help each other. They will remember you and that is quite likely one of your goals.

Focus on the Future: Dwelling in the past doesn’t help anyone. Talk about what‘s happening in the future and how both of you can help each other achieve great things. There is altogether too much negativity these days…leave it out in your car. Think possibilities!

A few other don’ts include, but are not limited to; don’t just hear…listen. Don’t sell…help. Don’t tell…ask.

Partner with a Friend: Here at The CPO Institute, we encourage Partnering in many ways. What we are talking about here is working with a friend before the networking session to set your individual priorities, plans and goals. Share them with each other, try to introduce each other to at least one perfect stranger with common goals or interests, but don’t simply hang out together. Following the event, it’s a great idea to review how things went for each other. Share who some of your best contacts where and what your follow-up strategies are.

Follow Through: All too often, people don’t follow-up on the valuable contacts they make at networking events. If you meet someone you want to generate a business relationship with, find out if they are into Social Media and which ones. Be sure to get their contact info and follow-up with a phone call, email, note, and/or friend them on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Bottom line, don’t be that guy in the neon shirt! If you want to inform people of you and your “Personal Brand” you must have a plan, help others get what they need, and work with a Partner to get the best results from a networking event and to connect with others.

Did you know you can follow TJ Wisner on his new Facebook Page…see you there!

Six Keys to Self-Confidence

A young lady approached me after a recent customer service seminar and expressed a need to improve her self-confidence. She believed her career prospects were limited by her personal insecurity. Furthermore, she asked if the Partnering Process would work for her. As those of you who are regular readers of this publication know, Partnering can help any two people become more successful at whatever they want to do. The good thing is that she is aware she needs to improve and has the desire to improve. So I, of course, told her to use the process and focus her plan on these keys to enhancing self-confidence.

Leave the past behind. Don’t get hung-up on past failures and disappointments. Often people rehash past failures and predict they will fail again. The question everyone needs to answer is: What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail? A person cannot redo what they did yesterday, however, they can change what they will do tomorrow.

Remember the wins. As people progress towards their personal improvement goals, they need to look at the little successes and celebrate them. Obstacles will impede progress, as they are overcome, they will encourage greater confidence. It’s a good idea to keep a daily journal of accomplishments to visit when it feels like little progress has been achieved. It is experience, both good and bad, that builds confidence.

Gain knowledge. One of the best ways to bolster confidence is to equip oneself with knowledge. The more knowledge acquired… the stronger the self-confidence. Learn more about the profession you have chosen, more about your company’s
products and services, more about the people that surround you, more about your customers, and more about people in general.

Hang with the eagles. It’s probably easier to soar like an eagle when surrounded by nothing but turkeys. However, if a person spends time with people that are more confident than they are, it is quite likely they will improve their own self-confidence.
Like many folks, my scores on the golf course are better whenever I golf with players that are superior in skill. Maybe I concentrate more. Maybe I focus on my game more. Or maybe I just try harder.

Go for the low hanging fruit. When building self-confidence, look for opportunities to succeed. In the planning process, set attainable short-term goals to help boost confidence. It is important to steer away from uncertainty. For example: a person that wishes to enhance their presentation skills and overcome their fear of speaking might want to do some one-on-one presentations before trusted friends. The second step might be to join Toastmasters or enroll in a Dale Carnegie class. After developing their skills, then they may ask if they could do more presentations before customers or leadership teams.

Start each day off well. I will be the first to tell you this sounds a little ridiculous, but it works. Begin each day with positive affirmations about how confident you are becoming. And believe it! Literally look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that your self-confidence is improving. These positive declarations will reinforce the other actions you have taken to enhance your self-confidence.

The Earl of Chatham, William Pitt, in 1766 said that “confidence is a plant of slow growth.” Self-confidence cannot be attained easily or rapidly. It requires determination, a well thought-out plan, and a Partner to provide support, feedback, and encouragement. Share these six keys to enhancing self-confidence with others who may grow and improve through Partnering To Success.

Selling Tip #17-Embrace Change

Less than 25% of American’s are fully engaged in their work. Even less are engaged in personal performance improvement.

Look, there are three ways you can improve your ability to sell a product or service, they are: strengthen your strengths, strengthen your weaknesses or wait for the competition to drop the ball. I strongly recommend you avoid option number three. As I often say…change is not only likely…it’s inevitable. The only way to really improve your performance is to change.

If you don’t like your current state, change it. If you can’t, change your attitude or aptitude. Once you BYOCPO-Be Your Own Chief Performance Officer, you will sustain and improve your performance. Something needs to change for things to get better.

If you want to build stronger customer relationships…embrace change. Make performance improvement a personal goal, create a detailed plan and get an accountability Partner to help keep you on plan.

That’s what it takes to BYOCPO- be your own Chief Performance Officer. Get fully engaged and you will get better results. Learn more to earn more!

Death of a Salesman and Xylophonist


Back in the mid 1950’s my father was a professional salesman. He taught me that Sales was all about being competitive, caring and competent. These attributes helped him be very prosperous over the years.

As a good Christian, my father believed that helping others was not only a noble goal, but a responsibility of everyone. With his guidance, I began helping others as a Cub Scout. Doing good deeds quickly turned competitive. The Cub Scout’s award bronze, silver and gold arrows for various activities that support their mission and receiving arrows was like winning the Olympics for me. Winning these arrows became THE competition for me. At first, my goal was to win more than Tommy Teachout and then it shifted to literally fill my shirt with the little arrows. Dad taught me to believe that competition was good and healthy. Just as long as winning didn’t come at the expense of another.

Dad and me in Yellowstone!

As a good father, my dad believed helping others was one of the best attributes a salesman could have. Like my father, I have been a salesman all my life. At a very young age Dad taught me that selling wasn’t about persuading and convincing, but about truly caring for your customer. He always said that if you offer the customer something they need, they will buy it. He also believed that true salesmanship helps the customer understand that they need what you are selling. Dad truly believed that, bottom-line, if they REALLY don’t need what you are selling, care enough to walk away. (But keep them in the Rolodex)

As a leader, my dad believed helping others grow and improve was a critical component of good leadership. Not unlike the young sales people that worked for my father, when we were young, we kids were expected to continuously improve in everything we did. Be it on the athletic field, in the church choir, or our given professions. We always needed to improve.

As a young man, my first commission sales job was selling shoes. I recall one time early on, when I complained about needing to take so long to locate shoes in the confused and cramped “Backroom” that it was hurting my sales. Dad simply told me not to worry about trying to change the system, but to focus on learning the system and deal with it. I did and in no time I was earning more than the full-time employees in only 20 hours per week.

My dad loved music.

He played the Xylophone in church and sang in the choir nearly every Sunday until just a short time ago. His competitiveness came out in everything he did. He wanted to be the best father, husband, salesman and Xylophonist. And, as I recall…he was. Of course, now that I think about it, I never actually knew any other Xylophonists.

Don’t get me wrong. He wasn’t great just because he was competitive, but because he truly cared. He cared deeply about his children, his clients and the congregation.

Finally, Dad was a role model when it came to having and maintaining a high level of competence in everything we did. He not only expected us to continuously improve, but he did it as well. I recall one Saturday evening when I wanted to go out, but dad couldn’t take me because he was practicing the Xylophone for the next day’s service. Now keep in mind, I had heard him flawlessly rehearse that same song what seemed like hundreds of times. He knew that his perfect practice would result in a perfect performance. On the other hand, I just wanted him to take me someplace where I could continuously improve my relationship with my friends (girlfriend) I’m sure. That Sunday morning, as I watched the congregation enjoying my father’s music, I realized just how important competence was in maintaining highly effective levels of performance. Not just in music, but in everything we do.

My father passed away at 5:26PM today 5-26-09.

As I reflect on his life from my perspective and what he meant to me, I am grateful to have learned how to nurture a healthy level of competitiveness, a deep sense of caring and an appreciation for competence in every aspect of my life. Dad has often expressed how proud he was of his children and grandchildren. He was also very proud when I left Corporate America to embark in a business of helping others improve their performance and their lives. In fact, he left a voice mail message for me just a couple of weeks ago telling me how proud he was of me and all the kids. I saved that message, but I can’t listen to it right now. Oh, but I will!

In closing, one element I often use in my presentations is to challenge the audience members to think of only one word that they would want on their gravestone. One word that describes who they are, who they were or what they did. Just a few of weeks ago, when Dad was still alert, I asked him what his one word would be. My competitive, competent and caring father said his word is…


Thanks for always believing in me Dad!

Love, your competitive, competent and caring Son…TJ

What is your Mission?

Do you have a Personal Mission Statement?
Are you guided by a set of deeply held values?
Do you know where you are going in life?


Here at The CPO Institute, we encourage our clients to create a written Personal Mission Statement that does the following:
Defines the people and things you
deeply value in life.
Describes who you really are.
Explains what you want to do, be, or have.
Outlines where you want to go in life.
States how you plan to live your life.

Your Mission statement should be short, 2-5 sentences and is created with both your head and your heart. As Zig Ziglar once said: “People often fall short of their goals by 18 inches. The distance between their head and their heart.”
This “Mission” should help guide you when faced with difficult or conflicting decisions.
Stay true to your mission, stay true to thyself, but Don’t Just Do It!
Be Your Own Chief Performance Officer.

Why the fish?

Okay…several people have asked why I have a picture of fish swimming toward me on the front of my blog.
For those of you who have been fortunate enough to hear my “Don’t Just Do It” speech, you know that several years ago I nearly drowned in the ocean. Not to minimize the terror I felt at the time, it was somewhat of a “life-changing” event. At that moment, I came to realize that our lives must be managed like a business. Thus the BYOCPO concept.
The picture of the fish was taken several days later. It’s as though they are laughing at the guy who nearly killed himself while snorkeling.

Life is too important…Don’t Just Do It!

Plan for your convention

This last weekend I attended the National Speakers Association national convention in NY City. The people that organized the event did a great job and they provided detail overviews of the various sessions and breakouts…and there were plenty to choose from. Here’s the point! As people received their registration package they immediately went to tables and began to plan their itinerary.
Call me anal, but weeks before the event I have reviewed the on-line version of the program and had “planned” my entire event, based on my personal objectives. These folks could have planned out their schedules as well and I thought to myself, why put pressure on yourself…plan ahead.
BUT, I was amazed to observe people scouring their programs to determine which session they would attend…between sessions. In other words, no planning at all.
In Conventions as in life, it is wise to…”Don’t Just Do IT!”

Gotta Start Someplace

Having just returned from the National Speakers Association Convention in New York City…it’s time to get to work. One of the break-outs I attended was with none other than Tim Ferriss of “The 4-Hour Workweek” book fame. As a speaker, I always tell people to make a plan of what to implement while attending conferences and such, well one of mine is to dive into the world of blogging. Any ideas on what I need to do here? Tim, I know you’d be proud!