What Makes a Great Event for Marketing Your Business?

What Makes a Great Event for Marketing Your Business?

As I work with small and medium businesses, many are using events to help drive business. The events vary in type, size and purpose. Some events are designed to introduce new products or staff, while others are designed to increase awareness of the company’s capabilities. Once you know your desired outcome, follow the recommendations below and you can host a results producing event for your organization.Event Marketing by J.R. Atkins

For the event to be successful at producing results, use the three C’s: Content, Cocktails & Connections

Content, as in Social Media, is the primary driver of results. What will your guests hear, see or do at your event? The more your guests are involved, the greater likelihood that your event will create a lasting impression. Some examples of content: a noteworthy speaker, not necessarily the CEO, such as a customer or a professional presenter who can talk about you and your company so you don’t hype yourself. Have entertainment such as a musical combo playing quietly, or a comedian warming up the crowd before your speaker. Remember you want to inform and entertain the audience.

Cocktails or unique beverages such as flavored tea will help ease people into conversation. When your audience is freely talking they are usually enjoying themselves. Warning – Make sure you have a good sound system for your presentation as people often continue their discussion during your presentation. No one enjoys or learns from a presentation they cannot hear.

Connections are the second driver of results. The people we meet impacts our business and personal lives. Think of inviting “noteworthy” people for your guests to meet or connect people who should meet one another. Then tell them in advance you would like to introduce them at the event.J.R. Atkins recomend Events to grow your business

Once you have planned your event, the next task is to fill the room and to do this use the letters “ALV” or Awareness, Location and Value.

Awareness can best be understood by asking yourself “How many people know about my event.” How will you make others aware? A few suggestions to consider: Mail an invitation. Yes, “snail mail” still works. Email, 2 to 3 times leading up to the event. Send the first one at least 3 weeks out so people can “save the date.” Online tools such as Websites, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and MeetUp are good tools to get the word out. If your event is on a larger scale you may consider advertising in local journals or trade publications that your target audience reads.

Location in itself can be a deciding factor in your audience choosing to attend your event. A new venue such as a hotel, restaurant or bar can be a big draw. Many business people don’t get to the hot clubs unless there is a special event. Plus, clubs and bars often have very light or no traffic in the hours at the end of the workday.

Value, as perceived by the invited guests, is critical to saying yes to the invitation. Value is often seen as being entertained, being held in esteem to or honored, or a feeling of being special. Another way value is viewed is “how will this help me or my business.” If the invited guests see value in attending your event, then they are more likely to go. Value can be created via the program, other guests and your presence.Professional speaker J,R. Atkins

Lastly, a few comments about “How To” and cost. If you are new to event planning, get help! You can find event planners that cost you nothing and others that charge a substantial fee and deliver startling results. Look online for best practices in event planning, write out the details with a time line, involve your staff and for peace of mind, give yourself plenty of time.

I look forward to hearing and reading your comments on using events to drive business results. You can share them by email, blog, or phone at 214-707-1705.

Events Worth Considering

06-29-30 DFW Rocks Social Media with J.R. Atkins
06-30-30 DFW Rocks Social Media
07-02-13 Fostering a Tech Startup Culture
07-04-13 Concerts at the Arboretum
07-08-13 Rena Pederson, The Burma Chronicles
07-09-13 Social Media & Your Career with J.R. Atkins
07-10-13 Facebook Basics with J.R. Atkins
07-11-13 DFW AMA Meet & Greet
07-11-13 Rolling Stones Cover Band
07-16-13 Learning from Iraq
07-17-13 Digital Dallas ~ Digital DUMBO
07-17-13 Film Screening: Not My Life
07-20-13 5th Annual Little Black Dress Event
07-24-13 LinkedIn Basics with J.R. Atkins
07-30-13 Last Tues Happy Hr @ The Ritz

Every Sunday 8:30 pm Perspective Pulse with Ashley Berges & J.R. Atkins on KLIF 570 AM and the iHeartRadio App.


The Value of Quiet Time

Throughout my life, I have sought to balance the stress of life with a few minutes of quiet time. A recent week full of events, work and personal commitments caused me to take a closer look at the value of quiet time.

Author J.R. Atkins on the important of reflectionThink & Reflect Quiet time allows me to think about my life, activities, issues and opportunities and attach or remove meaning from them. When one project ends, what did I learn and how did I benefit from the project; how will I utilize those lessons in the future? When I get angry at someone or something, my quiet time allows me to re-think my role in the anger and the effect of the anger on my life.

Guidance It is during my still quiet moments that I seek guidance for my life; where I listen for messages, contemplate issues and prepare for action. Once I perceive guidance, I feel more comfortable about my plans and activities.

Prioritizing There are so many ways we can spend our time, money and resources, how do we choose what to do and when to do it? My quiet time allows me to think about priorities and make adjustments. After all, you can get more money, but you cannot get more time.

Author J.R> Atkins speaks on VisionReviewing Goals Occasionally I’ll look at my written goals, visions and beliefs. I write these at the beginning of the year as a sort of annual plan for my life. It covers mental, spiritual, financial, physical, emotional, recreational and relational goals. Each time I review these plans I make notes, adding and deleting to the plans as life dictates. Through my quiet time I get to be honest with myself as ask “are you doing and being the kind of person you say you want to do and be?”

Feed the Vision It is in our quiet time in which we get to imagine our future as we desire it to be. In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill writes of the power of our desire and determination and how we can have whatever we want in life, if we simply use our minds.

Reading Good Books I enjoy reading fiction and it can feed my mind but when I speak of reading good books I’m speaking of reading non-fiction; biographies, history, current periodicals and more. I suggest that together, reading and reflecting, can create powerful results in our life and for reflection our brains and Author J.R. Atkins recommends think & grow richbodies need quiet time

Do you take time for peace and quiet in your life? I’d like to hear your ideas about how quiet time affects you. Do you have a special place, a chair, inside or outside, maybe a garden? Do you meditate as a part of your still quiet moments? Please call, email or add your comments to my blog at:

Events Worth Considering

06/01   Saturday at the Warwick Melrose
06/02 Perspectives Pulse on KLIF AM 570
06/04 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/05 Inside the CIA with Author Jason Matthews
06/06 DFW AMA Dallas Meet & Greet
06/06 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/08 Family Day at Meadows Museum
06/09 Perspectives Pulse on KLIF AM 570
06/11 How Social Media Helped RG III Win the Heisman
06/11 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/13 Social Media: What’s Working, What’s New With J.R. Atkins
06/13 Dino Patti Djalal, Ambassador of Indonesia to the U.S
06/13 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/14 Men’s Steak Night with John Quinn
06/16 Sailing: Dallas Race Week 2013
06/16 Perspectives Pulse on KLIF AM 570
06/17 From Social Media to Mobile Apps with J.R. Atkins
06/18 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/19 Social Media for the Over 50 Crowd by J.R. Atkins
06/20 TeXchange Summer Social @LoneStarPark
06/20 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/23 Perspectives Pulse on KLIF AM 570
06/25 Last Tuesday Happy Hour at The Ritz Carlton
06/25 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/26 Social Media for the Over 50 Crowd by J.R. Atkins
06/27 Concerts at the Arboretum
06/29 Social Media in DFW~2013 with J.R. Atkins
06/30 Social Media in DFW~2013 with Others
06/30 Perspectives Pulse on KLIF AM 570


The Dallas Startup Scene

Author of Success Simplified J.R. Atkins is a fan of Startup DFWMy friends and I often lament because Dallas does not get the attention and press for a Startup community like Silicon Valley, Boston or event Austin. One reason could be because we are so spread out and another could be because not enough people know what is going on in the Dallas Startup community. Over the last few years I have been consulting on a few Startups and have observed many Dallas startups, so I thought I would mention a few sources for information, funding, incubators and current startups.

In March, I traveled to South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, to specifically observe the Startup activities. One floor of meeting rooms in the Hilton Hotel was dedicated to Startups and on Thursday night before SXSW began there was a “Startup Crawl” or a tour of some 50+ Austin based Startups. I’d like to see us do this in Dallas but we’d need buses to haul us around town.

While in Austin, I got to know the people with “Startup America” a kind of clearing house for information and resources for Startups. We have a local group called Startup Texas that is part of the national group. As it grows we will see more localized “chapters” such as Startup Dallas.

Tech Wildcatters has been named one of the Top 15 Incubators/Accelerators in the US and serves as “a mentorship-driven microseed fund and startup accelerator.” Tech Wildcatters companies receive $10K per company and an additional $5K per founder, up to a total of $25K. You can learn more at the FAQ section of their website. A few of the Startups that have been through the program include Proxomo, MemoryReel, and RentSavey.

J.R. Atkins consultatn to Startups for Marketing likes TechCocktailsTech Cocktail “is a literal “cocktail” of emerging technology and startup events, news, resources and reports for the entrepreneurial minded, tech enthusiast.            “ In May, Tech Cocktail came to Dallas and hosted a Startup showcase at Tech Wildcatters. Here are a few of the Startup companies I visited with at the event:

Rethink Books “is a technology company focused on helping readers buy, interact, and share more books.” Or as I like to say, as you read a book on a tablet, you can interact with others on your social networks, the author or other readers; a real interactive experience. I met the co-founder Jason Illian in 2010 at a kick-off event at the Park Cities Club and have been watching the company and platform grow and mature. The product is solid and the publishing industry is slowly coming around. This is a good company to keep your eye on.

Blurtt is an iPhone App that allows you to share pictures with funny captions. Or put another way, Blurtt helps you add images to your messages to better express yourself. I met the co-founder, Jeanette Cajide, in 2010 and have watched the App go from concept to full function. Check out the Tech Crunch interview with Janette.

Mobile App Consultant J.R. Atkins likes the Meta Watch platformMeta Watch is a watch “platform” that can connect to any Bluetooth enabled device. It has a similar appeal as my iPod Nano I wear in a LunaTik watchband. The difference, the Nano does not have an open API and you have to press a button to see the time and other functions. Meta Watch highlights the “touch free” access to time and more. Meta Watch is also a development system that allows developers to quickly and easily extend the interfaces of devices and applications to the wrist. CEO Bill Geiser is proud to point out the Meta Watch works with both iOS and Android mobile phone platforms.

Clubster is a social networking platform for private clubs. This timely App serves the elite and private person very well as they too want to share and communicate using social media but they do not want the details of their life spread beyond their intimate friends and associates. COO William King says they have set up several clubs and are looking for more.

Climapak, by Kewl Innovations, is a portable temperature control device for carrying insulin. As a diabetic, I know how hard it is to be compliant with your insulin regiment when you need to carry insulin with you all the time. The heat and cold can ruin the insulin. Founder and Chairman, Mike Wilkinson, saw the need and was committed to bring the product to market.

Qwigg is a social sharing site designed with the restaurateur or retailer in mind. It is so simple to use: snap a picture, post a price, and share on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. When someone comes in for the advertised special, complete the transaction. Simple and effective. In time, the restaurateur or retailer can see metrics and track the effectiveness of different specials. Co-founder Jack Wrigley’s  goal is to start with a tool that is simple and delivers results for his customers. “Once they see the results, they are willing to learn more about the details; until then, they are too busy running their business.”

Fancorps is a word of mouth marketing platform using social media. It works for big or small companies and brands. “Fancorps brings structure, performance tracking & actionable guidance to today’s stream of social media, which has become even more important than traditional marketing.” CEO and co-founder G.I. Sanders  tells me that “Fancorps has been used across all facets of social media, for focus groups and survey feedback, consumer product reviews and recommendations, live events, and virtually anywhere else a valuable impression is needed.”

Social Media speaker J.R. Atkins like BookShout book platformGravity Centre “is a place for Entrepreneurs in the Dallas Metro area to have the tools necessary for success, and to enable an ecosystem of incredible Startups that are impactful and relevant globally.” You can rent permanent spaces for full-time residents are available or flexible office spaces are available for the drop-in types; gain access to world-class technology, devices and resources that will help your Startup and product become successful. Jennifer Conley, the Director of Operations, says “Gravity Center community is made up of early-stage startup companies, innovators, investors, mentors and Universities. Housing more than 20 startups since its opening, the incubator has produced a significant number of entrepreneurs and developers who actively participate and engage with key sponsors.”

Co-Habitat Dallas is a co-working space for developers, creatives and entrepreneurs. As co-founder Blake Burris puts it “We’ve got great coffee, Wi-Fi, a variety of workspaces and best of all, a vibrant community of creative thinkers, coders, designers, and entrepreneurs.”                                                                                                                               

Events worth Considering


The Rise of Global Business

Are you engaged in Global Business? According to USLegal.com “Global business refers to international trade … a company doing business across the world.” With today’s technology, open access to information and contacts via Social Media, every business can engage in Global Business.

Looking back on history one can see how the lack of technology and relationship slowed an organization’s global expansion. Many companies were limited to their local geography to conduct business but today, most barriers have been removed or reduced. Let’s take a look at a few:

  1. Transportation – As the cost to drive, fly or ship people and goods decreased, more organizations could reach beyond their local borders.
  2. Communication – The Telecom boom of the 1990’s expanded capacity to talk and send data cheaply anywhere in the world. Then came Video, Skype, and Smartphone expansion. With our Smartphone we can access anyone, anywhere, anytime.
  3. Author, Speaker, Consultant J.R. Atkins references the World is FlatInformation Access – Thomas Freedman writes about the “Uploading” (flattener #4) of information in his book The World is Flat. We now have the information of the world in the palm of our hand. “Not knowing” is no longer an excuse.
  4. Relationship Access – With the development of Social Networks it is easier to identify, connect and build relationships with people of other lands. Prior to my last trip to the Middle East, I was able to set 5 meetings with new contacts from LinkedIn and Facebook. After meeting them in person, we continue to build our relationship through email, Skype and Facebook. See a related article by Alana Muller President of Kauffman FastTrac, created by the Kauffman Foundation.
  5. More ways to get Paid: EBay (Entrepreneur), Amazon (Wikipedia), PayPal (Overseas selling guide), and Square (comparison by HubPages) provide 4 additional ways to exchange value for currency and the cost of these transaction has decreased as well.
  6. Where is Value built: During the industrial revolution, value was built in the factory. Today, value is built with the licensing of Intellectual Property (Inc.), on-line, in the cloud, with virtual relationships, using technology and by knowledge workers.
  7. The Rise of the virtual organization: Co-workers no longer have to be in the same room, building, floor, city, county, country, or time zone. This means that your next great hire can come from anywhere and this may help you uncover global markets as well. Why not hire a developer in a country that you would like to expand? A good example of a virtual company is 37 Signals, maker of such products as Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack & Campfire (I like the outdoor names). They have succeeded as a virtual company where other non-virtual companies have struggled (i.e. Microsoft)

Still, with technology and access, you may be concerned about your own Cultural Awareness. Someone’s cultural awareness is their understanding of the differences between themselves and people from other countries or other backgrounds, especially differences in attitudes and values. Here are three ideas I have used to improve my own cultural awareness:

  1. Someone from there is already here – I look for foreign nationals, refugees, foreign dignitaries and others who have recently arrived from another country I am seeking to learn about.
  2. On-line help – Before traveling to the West Bank of Israel, I watched 28 videos from TEDxRamallah.
  3. Go and see – It is cheaper and easier to get to other countries than it used to be. Go and see for yourself.
  4. Get professional help – I have engaged university professors (Dr Robert Hunt) and other professionals (CI Cultural Intelligence) to help me overcome my own misconceptions.

My perception is that any business can have a global outlook if they choose. A hair salon can become globally oriented by saying so on their website, building relationships with global travelers and opening up communication channels such as Skype. What about your business; can you be a Global business today? Instead of a mammoth multinational corporation could you be a micro global business?

I look forward to reading your thoughts on the comment section of my blog (see below).

Resources

Events Worthy of your Consideration


Changes in Worker / Business Models

The cover story on the February issues of Fast Company Magazine discusses Generation Flux and addresses the changing work model; specifically to be successful Dallas Marketing Concultant J.R. Atkins disucces Gen Fluxwe must learn to thrive in chaos. They describe Generation Flux as “… less a demographic designation than a psychographic one…a mind-set that embraces instability, that tolerates–and even enjoys–recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions.“ One of my favorite quotes in the article comes from the CMO at GE, Beth Comstock, who says “our traditional teams are too slow. We’re not innovating fast enough. We need to systematize change.” This is validated by the success that small nimble companies are having in the area of Social Media and Mobile App Development. I hear terms like lean start-up, pivot, and crowd sourcing associated with new companies, not the Fortune 1000. This got me to thinking. Is the traditional, large corporate model losing its footing as “the way to do business” or “the ideal kind of company to work for.”?  Below I have identified a find few other trends and shifts in business and employment models. I welcome your observations and comments.

Trend #1 – If you are over 45, someone can do your job cheaper. Since wisdom and experience do not show up on the corporate balance sheet, it’s easy to look at this group as an unnecessary expense; their salary and benefit packages cost too much. Many in this group have been laid off and will not find the same job in another company. They will be forced to learn new skills and work for an SMB – Small Medium Business as the large corporate structures retool and redefine themselves with a younger workforce. (See “Age Discrimination”)

Trend #2 – The 24 hour work day. With proliferation of technology and low cost global communication it is getting easier for people to do their critical work duties far beyond 8:00am Eastern time to 5:00pm Pacific time. As a result, business culture will shift from rewarding those who put in extra hours for the “team” to those that can get better results in less time. When it is easy for anyone to work 12+ hour days I hope we quit wearing it like a badge of honor. The badge of honor goes to the people who get more results with less time. Besides, putting in long hours is an idea associated with the industrial era, not the knowledge era. (See “Sleepless in Silicon Valley”)

Trend #3 – Value for multiple jobs on your resume. Do you recall being warned not to “job hop?” This has changed to where employers look for skill building that may take the form of several different companies on your work history. According to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics, “the median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.4 in January 2010.”

With this trend, I hope we see a change in employer language and expectations about “permanent positions.” What is a permanent position in today’s climate; 3 to 5 years? Who are we kidding? How can an employer say “we’re looking for someone for the long hall” when they know they need someone now and have no idea what the future holds.

Professional Speaker J.R. Atkins recommends Linchpin by Seth GodinTrend #4 –Become a Linchpin. In his book Lynchpin, Seth Godin describes changes in the corporate business model as the industrial age gives way to the digital age. He tells us that the person that is most employable is either an artist (creative), innovative, a connector of people or a combination of the three. With these skills you are often the key person (linchpin) on projects as you are indispensible. Leadership comes to you for the big important projects because you are very valuable (and you get results).

Trend #5 – I am responsible. For my healthcare, retirement, career path, and continuing education. How will we prepare the workforce for this? Some will take to it, but many others will need help. What kind of new business model will spring up? Or, do we have an existing model to fill the gap? I see staffing firms as a part of the solution. These firms can help many of us get the next project as our current project winds down. They can also be a source of benefits such as healthcare, retirement, paid vacation and continuing education. If we are not associated with a staffing firm then we must think like a contractor and always be looking for our next project within the company.

Events worth Attending

3/1/12 Tech Execs Discuss Steve Jobs Biography

3/2/12 Social Media & Leadership

3/2/12 Cultural Intelligence for Leaders

3/6/12 HBO Premier “Game Change”

3/8/12 Angel Investing Trends

3/8/12 The Coming Invasion; Drug Wars

3/9-3/12 South by Southwest Interactive

3/11-6/17 The Age of Impressionism

3/13/12 The Rivalry between Biz & Gov

3/20/12 Career Pathing in ’12 & Beyond

3/21/12 Membership in the Digital Age

3/21/12 SXSW Recap @DigitalDallas

3/22/12 Creatives in DFW Event

3/23/12 Dev Your Biz Social Media Strategy

3/27/12 Mobile Apps, the Next Big Wave

3/27/12 Last Tuesday @ The Ritz

3/31/12 Membership in the Digital Age


Is your Marketing Approach like a Leaf Rake or a Leaf Blower?

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins discusses The Leaf Rake Approach to MarketingMarketing to prospective clients has changed greatly with the proliferation of online tools such as websites, email and most recently, social media. Prospects can turn to so many sources for information about you, your company, and your products or services. A recent day of yard work prompted me to explain the shift in marketing to a colleague as being “more like using a leaf blower then a rake.”

The Leaf Rake Approach

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins recomends ACT for Contact or Customer Relationship Management Prior to the proliferation of on-line tools, I collected contact information from prospects such as their name, address, phone number and fax number and stored them on 3×5 cards. In the early 90’s I started using ACT, a Contact and Customer Relationship Management system, or CRM, to keep up with prospect information and to schedule phone calls, meetings, and direct mail campaigns. Armed with this information, I could mail, call, and fax prospects about my products and services. This shows the emphasis on collecting contact information, much like raking leaves into a pile.

The Leaf Blower Approach

Today, I take a different approach that is more like a leaf blower. As I meet prospective clients, I connect with them on-line via email and or social media. I have shifted from collecting and hoarding data, to giving and sharing data. In other words I blow information into the wind and wait for those who are interested to reach out to me.

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins explains The Leaf Blower Approach to MarketingSocial Media is a great tool for “Leaf Blower” marketing. Once a connection is made via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, a blog or YouTube, the prospect get’s to choose if they would like to follow you and if so, they can choose their preferred method of communication. Some prospects will discard the information you share, others will collect it and save it for the future, and some will find if valuable and share it with others, while some will act on it by reaching our my email, social media or phone. The main idea is that the prospects who are interested in you and the content you publish will “follow you” and when they are ready to buy, they will reach out to you.

Yet, there is a key point with this approach. It requires the marketer to publish content that is interesting, valuable and giving in nature. This kind of content will be shared with others and your message will take on the viral affect where it gets passed around to others very rapidly.

When using the “leaf blower” methodology, your goal is to draw prospects to you by “blowing out the information” and letting those that are interested come to you.

You probably need both

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins share the Big 5 off Social Media modelTo be effective in my yard work, I need both a leaf rake and leaf blower to get the job done. In business, we need both approaches to market effectively. We should use the leaf blower approach to share good content through a website, email newsletter, LinkedIn, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, a Blog and a YouTube Channel. Then, we can identify those prospects that have an interest in our content and target them with direct mail, email blast and direct selling content and methods.

By using both approaches we can continue to grow our business while allowing the prospect to connect with us in the way that works best for them. My hope for you is that you “rake in the money while blowing away the competition.”

March Events

3/9/11 Social Media Club of Dallas Presents SXSWi Pre-Party & Chris Treadaway

3/11/11 Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Mendelssohn’s Elijah

3/12/11 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade

3/13/11 The American Choral Directors Biennial National Conference

3/13/11 SXSWi – South by Southwest Interactive

3/16/11 AIGA DFW Presents Local App Developer Success Story

3/23/11 Digital Dallas – A SXSW Recap

3/25/11 DFW AMA – How Next Gen Network Capabilities are Game Changers for Telecom Marketers

3/28/11 Dallas iPhone Developers/Entrepreneurs Meetup

3/29/11 Social Media & Your Career @ Career Jump Start


Perspective on Travel & Business

I enjoy doing business as I travel. The idea of rising above the stress of business to see the sights of a foreign land, to enjoy a good meal and relax by the pool are attractive. So I offer you the following thoughts on travel and business.

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins taveled to Jerusalem

1.       Perspective

I like the perspective of getting away from home, office and town. Sometimes a trip of only 100 miles away can make a difference in how you see your current situation. Any time I travel I come home appreciating what I have. This is especially true when I travel abroad. When my wife and I went to Israel in January, my comment upon arriving in Dallas was “We are affluent, on our way to wealthy, according to global standards.” I take for granted our infrastructure, the rule of law, individual rights and all the wealth America has at hand. 

2.       Meet others who are doing things

It’s fun to meet people from other places both in the U.S. and abroad. Have you ever been someplace and met someone from your home town? I get excited to meet them since we are away from home. I’m sure if I met them in line at the store at home it would not carry the same level of excitement.

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins recomends the book: What they dont teach at the Harvard Business SchoolI remember Mark McCormack’s book, “What They Don’t Teach You at the Harvard Business School” where he suggested that you fly in First Class because of the people you meet. There is still some truth in this today, that the people who fly are doing something bigger than themselves, something important or something new. I like to meet these people and keep in touch via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. With Social Media, it is so much easier to have a global perspective.

3.       Time away from business productivity

As much as I like the perspective I gain through traveling, on a recent trip to Atlanta it dawned on me that I need to earn a premium on my time when I travel.

Let’s say you place a value of $100 per hour on your time. That would mean in a typical day of work from 8:00-12:00 and 1:00-5:00 you would create $800 of value. This is assuming that you are in one place creating value, like your office, and take just 1 hour for lunch. If your commute is 1 hour each way, you spent 11 total hours creating $800 of value or about $73 per hour.

Now let’s look at a day of business travel where you leave for the airport at 5:30 for a 7:30 flight and land at 9:30, drive to the business location arriving at 11:00, and work for 1 hour, take a 1 hour lunch, then work again from 1:00-5:00, hop on a plane home at 6:30 arrive in your home town at 8:30 and get home at 10:30. In this day you have created 6 hours of value in an office and let’s say another 2 hours of value working on the plane for a total of 8 hours. This would mean that you spent 17 hours creating $800 of value for or about $47 per hour.

This is how I got the idea that I need to earn a premium on my time when I travel. I also need to stay longer in one place while I am there, to spread the travel time and cost over more billable days.

The other solution is to travel less and do more through video conferencing. There are many tools in a wide array of price ranges, from free services, like Skype, to premium services like Cisco Unified Communications platform.

 4.       Time away from family and friends

A little travel might cause you to appreciate your friends and family a little more, but I submit that the more you are away, the more your relationships suffer. Telephone, email, social media and video can make a positive impact on being away from loved ones but nothing takes the place of being there. So before we hop in a plane, train or automobile, we need to make sure it is a worthy trip. (Work Travel & Family Research Project at Texas Tech University)

 What have you learned through Travel? I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.

 Dallas sociala media speaker J.R. Atkins attends the Social Media Club of DallasFebruary Events

 2/16 – DFW American Marketing Association Luncheon

2/17 – Social Location Marketing with Simon Salt

2/19 – Saturday at the Warwick Melrose with Ambassador Akbar Ahmed

2/28 – Dallas iPhone Developers & Entrepreneurs MeetUp


Work Space

What is a work space? I take it to mean a place, where work gets done. But what does it take to get work done? Consider the environment, from lighting, to decorations, to sound, to light, to co-workers and fellow tenants. Almost anything that can and does contribute to you producing your best. Yet, as I visit with clients, I see a wide variety of work conditions.

My favorite work space exists at one of my clients locations, [x]cube LABS, where I am performing work “on-site”. I am filling an employee-type role, working “full time” to generate the deliverables for the project.

 Dallas Social Media Speaker helps the xcube LABS team

The company occupies space in an Art Gallery/Studio environment. At the front of the building, there is a successful art gallery, Marty Walker Gallery, with artist studios occupying the rest of the building. As my client is in the design business, they chose to rent space with other artists. This is very different for me. I’m used to the glass and steel structure of “Class A” office space and I found this new environment both refreshing and productive.

Here are topics I consider to contribute to being your best and producing your best.

1. Creating & Thinking: This is what many of us get paid for. Anyone can just do a job but to progress in your role, it’s your thoughts and creative contributions that count.  So, create a space that is conducive to creative work and thinking. Is your desk cluttered or clean, do the items on your desk contribute to or detract from your thoughts? What about the walls, lighting, plants, music, a candle burning, your chair… If your work space is not conducive to your creating, then change it. If you cannot change it enough, find a place at a park, a library, a book store, a zoo, or an art gallery that is conducive to your creative process.

2. Resources & Tools: Whether it is a computer, books, a white board, a tablet, colored markers, or a musical instrument, find the tools and resources you need to be productive and make sure you have them at your finger tips. We get distracted and off task when we have to hunt down our tools.

3. Others: Sometimes we need to collaborate with others to produce results. Other times, someone can block us from producing results. Don’t let anything stand in your way of being the best you can be. Go the extra distance to seek those you need to collaborate with. I will schedule lunch with certain people and take notes while we are together. Later, these notes form ideas for projects, blog posts and speaking points.

4. Measurement: How do you measure your results? Of course we can use money, as it is the measure of the market place. Our annual income is in direct proportion to how the market is valuing our contribution. Another big measurement for me is satisfaction. Am I satisfied with my life, my growth, the work I am producing and the people in my life?

5. Mobile Work, on the go, hot cubing: Many of us are working mobile. This can mean working from home, on-site for clients, in the office some, traveling or hanging out at Starbucks. “Hot Cubing” is like Hot Bunking in the Navy. Your work space is being used by a co-worker when you’re not in the office.

All of the above mentioned forms of working can create stress, (and detract from your productivity), or you can turn this variety of locations into a strength. By being able to work away from an office you can seek out those creative spaces mentioned above. Do you take any pictures with you for your traveling work space? My desk top on my laptop is a slide show from my last trip to the BVI. This gives my space a home like feeling where ever I work.

6. Fragmentation: One of the biggest killers of productivity is interruptions. They can take the form of email, social media, Skype, cell phone, office phone, people walking into your office, outside noise, smells …almost anything that keeps you from being your best. Sometimes I turn off my devices and set aside a specific amount of time to contribute focused time to a task. I also have to write myself a note to turn the devices back on when I am done.

What Really Matters is that you are happy, challenged, growing and have a sense that you matter, that people value you as a person and your contributions. When you can pull this off and make a good income, then you have “arrived”.

Upcoming Events

01/04/11                     Aggie Business Luncheon, Dealing with Change

01/06/11                     DFW AMA Meet-N-Greet

01/08/11                     Art Show: Lee Mascarenhas at Craighead Green Gallery

01/10/11                     Social Media & Your Career, Ft Worth Career Network (J.R. Atkins presenting)

01/11/11                     Social Media for your Business, Summit Networking Group (J.R. Atkins presenting)

01/14/11                     Israel iPhone MeetUp

01/24/11                     Dallas iPhone MeetUp

01/25/11                     The Last Tuesday Happy at the Ritz-Carlton Dallas

01/27/11                     AAF Dallas Happy Hour

01/28/11                     World Affairs Council: Ambassador Marcc Grossman


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