Articles

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By Pat Hammond

Have you ever been to a national convention? Workshops and talks by renowned experts, hundreds of vendor booths, cocktail receptions, and awards dinners. Forty hours of activity crammed into two or three days. You eat, drink, and skip sleep and by the time you get over the jet lag, it's time to go home.

Yeah, it can be fun to get out of town on the company dime, but what do you really get from it?

Twenty years ago it may have been your one chance to hear an industry leader introduce a game-changing theory, but we live in the era of TED Talks and webinars. Not only can you hear the lecture on demand from the comfort of your own office, you have a much better chance of asking questions and connecting to your industry hero online than you do in a room filled with 500 people.

So what is the point?

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By Pat Hammond

Let me start by saying that photo anxiety is real and it has very little to do with vanity.

Sure, there are some who use the experience to fish for compliments or treat it as a look-at-me moment, but for many people, just the thought of having their picture taken or seeing a photograph of themselves can be stressful to the point of depression, debilitating anxiety, and even panic attacks.

And yes, I do know this from firsthand experience.

People think I'm being disingenuous when I tell them I really, really don't like having my picture taken, and I get it.

I'm a very confident person. I have no problem walking into a room full of strangers and starting a conversation. And I frequently draw attention to myself with my offbeat sense of humor.

You'd think I would be the first person in line for a photo op, but you'd be wrong. I have extreme photo anxiety. My camera issues sometimes lead to panic attacks and have resulted in me passing on business opportunities because I couldn't handle the idea shooting videos and having my picture taken. 

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By Michael Geneseo

So… the editor you emailed didn’t immediately and excitedly promise a reporter in your office by noon to take photos of your new branch opening/promotion/check presentation/fill-in-the-blank.

Or worse, maybe you got the fade away. It goes like this:

You: Hey, did you get that press release I sent you?

Editor: … Oh, yes. … Yes. We did. Thanks.

You: OK. So…

Editor: Yeah. Yeah. I’m going to see if I can get a reporter on it. If not, maybe I’ll put it in the business briefs next week. Thanks.

*CLICK*

A day, a week, a month goes by and you scan the paper wondering, “where the heck is it?” That’s the fade away. It’s the same reaction high schoolers get when they send flirty texts to a crush.  Editors are the news equivalent of the class crush… and they get a lot of email begging for attention.

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By Pat Hammond

Never Miss Another Paranormal Tour!

I'm going to be honest, this tip is a little cheesy, but after talking to a few people who use Google Calendar for their website, I realized it's one of those things that is so obvious a lot of people overlook it.

If you have a favorite website, like Out of the Box Tours or Queen City Buzz, that uses a Google Calendar to post events, and you want to stay on top of new events without having to go to the website every time, all you have to do is click the "Google Calendar" button in the bottom right corner of the calendar.  

Google does a good job of hiding things in plain sight, but if you click on the Google text logo it will open a pop-up window asking if you want to add the calendar.

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By Pat Hammond

Stop Dreading Your Next Presentation!

Who remembers doing show-and-tell in kindergarten?

Everyone hated standing in front of the class, but we all had to do it and if you were really lucky, showing off your cool new toy gave you some serious street cred on the playground.

By the time first grade rolled around your were happy to bury the memories of show-and-tell hell.  And they stayed hidden in some dark corner right up until middle school when the teacher introduced a whole new level of torture known as the speech.

Instead of standing in front of a room full of six-year-olds who were generally interested in hearing about your new Pokemon card, you had to look cool and sound confident in front of a group of people whose judgment could seriously affect your social status for the next six years until you could escape to college. That's when the real stress began.

You realized that public speaking wasn't a one-and-done.

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By Pat Hammond

Networking Challenge

Join us for Coffee Buzz Networking, 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM on Tuesday, February 7th at Aroma Joe's Coffee, 2 S. Beech Street, Manchester.

In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm challenging you to a game of Networking Cupid.

The goal is to make a match and give a referral to two people in your network. I'll even make it easy for you.

If you can't think of anyone you can connect then give an atta boy or testimonial.

Your network needs to be nurtured if you want it to grow, so take a few minutes this week and share some networking love. Trust me, a few minutes of effort will lead to stronger connections, better referrals, and more sales.

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By Pat Hammond

Love it or hate it, the fact remains the same, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, typically referred to as Obamacare or ACA, has created a lot of headaches for sole proprietors, and with this year's tax penalty for not having ACA-compliant insurance at 2.5% of your household adjusted gross income[1], those headaches have gone from being a gentle throbbing in your temple to an ice pick in your brain.

  • Premiums
  • Out of pocket costs
  • What is covered?
  • What has to be covered to avoid tax penalties?
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By Pat Hammond

Those toothpaste commercials were right...

Way back in the day, when I worked for the City of Manchester I noticed that if I smiled at people they yelled at me a lot less and started smiling back at me.

Just so we're straight, people would come in off the street and start yelling about things that neither the city nor I had any control over, this was not a personal response to me or a reflection on my (superior) customer service skills.

"Breathe, breathe again, smile and relax"
- Thich Nhat Hanh

The results from the smile test were so compelling It inspired me to write a poem called SMILE and start using the simple act of smiling as a way to relax, diffuse unpleasant situations and boost my own day.

In this week's podcast I am going to share the hows and whys of embracing the silent power of a smile.

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By Pat Hammond

It's no longer a matter of if...

Norm Gentry is what I would describe as a calm man who faces challenges with a smile and an enviable amount of patience, so when he came to last month's Coffee Buzz and said "I need you to to get the message out," I took him seriously.

Gentry is an IT guy whose company, SBTI Technologies, provides computer repair/maintenance, system backup, network and resource management, virus recovery and just about every tech service a small business owner needs. He's been in the business since Windows was new and he's tackled pretty much every tech problem a business owner is likely to encounter and lately he's been seeing more and more people coming to him with ransomware problems.

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By Pat Hammond

Even the people we look up to have those moments...

Poser, faker or fraud. No matter what you call it, there comes a time when we all look across the conference table and felt like an impostor.

No matter how much experience, skill or education there comes a point when we meet someone or come across a work situation that makes us feel like we're lacking some essential quality that distinguishes as a qualified professional.

Trust me, it happens to everyone.

On this week's episode of Kickstart Monday, I am sharing my top three tips for overcoming Impostor Syndrome.

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