What To Do When Things Go Wrong

What To Do When Things Go Wrong

Dear L Think Crew:

You’ve put a lot of hard work and planning into preparing for today. You are excited about the opportunities that this will bring your career or personal life. Everything has to go just as planned or scheduled to ensure you don’t lose focus. And then disaster strikes! You forgot a key document, a family member says something terrible, or you have toilet paper dangling from your pants in front of an important group at work. Now what?

As Murphy’s Law states: ‘If it can go wrong, it will!’ But there are some techniques you can use to help you cope when things don’t go as planned.

Pain Is Part of Growth
When we are being pushed by external factors in new directions, it can be incredibly painful. In the moment, we may not realize that we are being forced to re-evaluate our perspective, expand our viewpoint, or just grow in an area that we may not be comfortable with. Embrace this struggle, be patient, and learn from this experience.

This Too Shall Pass
Remember that we all pass through each moment in life with the ability to embrace the opportunity to make a difference. If things are going well, enjoy it. If they are not going so well, learn what you can, but realize that this moment too shall pass. Remember to smile and laugh through the journey.

Your Scars Are An Achievement
When you go through a painful process or learn a difficult lesson, there may be emotional scars left over from this experience. Many times it can be easy to worry or be fearful about this scarring. Instead, embrace it as an achievement or milestone that you have passed. You will be sure not to repeat it.

Be Happy, Be Yourself
It is easy to forget that we only have one opportunity to live our lives. Others may be having a bad day, feeling under the weather or just like to drag other people down into their negativity, but don’t give into this. Be happy, be yourself, focus on your goals. Be enthusiastic about the moment and smile, while others worry and frown. You can’t control other people’s feelings, but you can control your own.

Repeat A Mantra
To stay centered and focused when things are not going well, repeat one of these four mantras inspired by the Tiny Buddha blog:

*Keep your head up and your heart open
*Go slowly
*Don’t sweat the small stuff

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What I Learned From Wild Wealthy Women What I Learned From Wild Wealthy Women

What I Learned From Wild Wealthy Women

Dear L Think Crew,

Mandraa TV recently held their launch event by inspiring ‘Wild Wealthy Women’ Seminar held on March 1, 2015 in Scarborough, Ontario. Founder and entrepreneur Sumu Sathi focused on inspiring female leaders in social entrepreneurship. I felt empowered by this event and I wanted to share some key messages from the keynote speakers to inspire you on your path towards leadership and entrepreneurship.

Dare To Dream
Lita Mae Button, also known as Bad Ass Button (@BadAssButton), shared her personal struggles to find her true calling in life – professional boxing. She stressed the importance of daring to dream to ensure that the best thing you do in life is succeed. You cannot match the feeling of empowering yourself. You must foster a mindset of fearlessness to ensure you keep pushing forward through any obstacles that might appear in your way. Lita’s mentioned five D’s to her success: Dedication, Drive, Determination, Desire and Discipline.

You Are What You Believe
Leyla Razheghi, Business Strategist with DivaGirlPreneur (@DivaGirlPreneur) inspired us to focus our talents so we can build our empire. People don’t buy what you do, but why you do it. What you do simply proves what you believe. To build your empire, ensure that you focus on finding your passion, living a life of excitement, finding a network of positive and passionate people who are willing to invest in you, network yourself, be persistent, take risks, trust your gut, and above all build a community to give back.

Network Like A Pro
Manjula Selvarajah (@manjaselva), engineer turned journalist, has truly demonstrated professional success in her multi-faceted career. During her interactive workshop, she shared her keys to success – effective networking. To help change our perspective on networking, she encouraged us to expand our posse beyond our current community and company. At networking events, focus on what you can do for other people with no expectations in return. Have one specific career goal per event, but also have fun and become a connector. Start small, make meaningful connections by thinking about what you can offer the other person, create a system to help keep track of and connect with key contacts, and invest in doing a little networking every week. Finally, focus on giving and sharing what you know without fear.

Seek Knowledge To Succeed
Ruby Latif (@rubylatif), also known as Toronto Mayor John Tory’s secret weapon, empowered us with tools and resources to help us become better leaders and entrepreneurs. As a business and political consultant, she is passionate about grassroots community engagement and creating connects with diverse communities in Toronto. Her key tips included: reaching out to Enterprise Toronto, Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE Business), Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), MaRS, and Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) to learn more about starting your own business.

Savour Your Food
We had the opportunity to sample some delicious food and savour our drinks in our workshop. The food and drinks were provided by:

*Chanile Vines from Vinesplay treated us to tips on how to savour our wine,
*Esther Williams from The Frosted Cake Boutique, and
*Chef Ramanaa from Shiraz Gourmet showed us how to add some Tuscan-flavour to our Italian food with fresh ingredients and an eye to detail.

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What I Learned at PodCamp Toronto 2015

What I Learned At PodCamp Toronto 2015

Dear Readers:

Founded 9 years ago as BarCamp, the original concept behind PodCamp Toronto was to have anyone sign up and talk about any topic on a designated day. This simple concept has evolved into an annual two-day unconference on digital media, podcasting, videos, and marketing at Ryerson University known as #PCTO15 in the Twitter-verse. I had the privilege to attend this year’s event in February 2015 and I wanted to share some key findings from my experience.

Your Strategy Is Your Success
Many times, entrepreneurs think that they can post whatever they like on social media and the customers will come. This is the wrong approach! Focus instead on developing a marketing strategy by following these steps: research our audience, find insights with conversations and testing your product, develop an idea on how your product / service can add value to your customers’ lives, then execute your idea with objectives and tactics. Finally measure everything, adjust as needed. Rinse and repeat.

Know Your Audience
It doesn’t matter what medium you use, you must understand your audience – who they are, what they want, where they are. If you’re on social media, this involves conducting research through social listening (think about tools such as SocialMention or HootSuite), face-to-face conversations with your potential or current customers (think about customer validation), and surveys. Ask yourself: What are my future and current customers asking? Why are they going to this particular social media site? What are they looking for? Focus on delivering value and addressing this need when you find out the answer.

Corporate View Of Social Media
Many companies are uncomfortable with the fast-paced and unmoderated nature of social media. Anyone can say anything about a company and this may have negative consequences for a brand and its market share. Case in point is McDonald’s attempt to engage customers in conversation with two hashtags #mcdstories and #meetthefarmers. Instead, the public reached out with negative stories about food preparation and working conditions for employees on Twitter.

Content Marketing Is Alive
Social media and content marketing go hand in hand. To engage your users, you must produce quality, relevant, and interesting content that will add value to their lives. Don’t be boring vanilla, be a spicy jalapeno! Ask: Will this content make a difference in the lives of my users or customers? If not, then you may want to rethink your angle.

The Rare Breed of PodCamps and Unconferences
The concept of free unconferences that allow a community to share ideas on any topic is a dying breed. There are very few PodCamps or unconference models left in Canada or Toronto. If you can, show your support for PodCamp Toronto by tweeting using the hashtag #PCTO15 or #PodCampTO, talking about this event with your network, and attending next year’s event. You can bookmark their official website or just follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

What I Learned As A Contestant In Toastmasters Public Speaking and Evaluation Contest

What I Learned As A Contestant In Toastmasters Public Speaking and Evaluation Contest

Dear Readers,

Recently, I decided to enter a speaking and evaluation contest at my District 60 Toastmasters club. I was curious to learn more about the world of public speaking and how it would feel to be in friendly competition with my fellow club members. I am proud to announce that I placed first in the Evaluation portion and second in the Speech portion of the contest for my area. To help others, I’ve decided to post some of my insights and key learnings from my experience.

Give Your Best Possible Evaluation
The speaker in the contest has spent a long time preparing their speech and may be nervous during the delivery. It is important to give your best possible evaluation by thoughtfully preparing your statements, understanding the criteria for evaluation, and being respectful during delivery. During this contest, the evaluators were being judged in four areas: analytical quality (clear, focused), recommendations (positive, specific, helpful), technique (sympathetic, sensitive, motivational), and summation (concise, encouraging).

Focus On Your Opinion
The evaluation of another speakers performance should reflect your own personal reaction and opinion. When evaluating, I like to focus on how effective that person’s delivery and content was, how they made me feel during the speech, and where I thought they might be able to improve during future speeches.

Use The Sandwich Technique
When evaluating a speaker, I always strive to find a middle ground between commenting on effective areas of the speech and suggestions for improvement. I want to encourage the speaker to continue their journey in improving their public speaking skills and this requires balance in feedback. The ‘sandwich technique’ allows you to provide feedback on an effective area of the speech, then focus on an area of improvement, followed by another positive statement.

Provide Specific Suggestions
When focusing on the areas of improvement, I have found it helpful to provide specific examples of where the speech can be tweaked, along with recommendations on how this can be done. For example, if a speaker was talking about drinking water but was monotone in delivery and used no hand gestures, you may be able to recommend a few hand gestures to compliment a strong delivery of the phrase or the emphasize a point.

Want To Attend A Toastmasters Contest?
Check out the upcoming Division H International Speech and Evaluation Contest on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 7 pm. Registration is FREE, but seats are limited. Register by clicking here.

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Networking – Tips To Overcome That Awkward First-Time, In-Person Experience

Dear L Think Crew:

Imagine walking into a room full of people. As you look around, you realize to your dismay that you don’t recognize anyone. Oh no! Now, you will need to introduce yourself, make a good impression, find something interesting and memorable to talk about, all by yourself.

Networking: What Would You Do?
Some people would walk out. Others would stumble through the next hour by walking around either looking lost or making awkward conversation in smaller groups. But, there are a few that would effectively and successfully work the room to their advantage. How can you replicate their success? Let’s find out!

Come With A Purpose
Many people find it helpful to research the event that they will be attending in advance to research the venue, people attending, dress code and expectations. While conducting this research, you might as well think about your purpose and objectives for attending the event.

For example, you may want to attend a business networking function to build your contact base within your industry. Your two objectives are to make three new contacts so you can exchange and learn from each other, and further develop your networking skills.

Start The Conversation
Not sure what to say to make a fantastic first impression? Look for someone who is solo or in a small group, approach them and introduce yourself. Use your fantastic memory of current events or relevant industry topics and ask for their insight and opinions.

Focus On The Other Person

When you run out of topics of conversation, try to recall an interesting point that other person made and then elaborate on it. By turning the focus on the other person, you will be seen as thoughtful and you may find new insightful topics to engage it. For example, if the other person had mentioned a new trend they’ve witnessed in their project, ask them to elaborate: “Tell me more about this.” or “Why do you think this is happening?”

End Your Conversation On A Positive Note
Do you run into situations where the conversation seems to drag on and you’re not sure how to gracefully exit? Well, you can wait for the other person to stop talking, make a positive final statement that shows engagement and your interest in networking, and then move onto the next group. For example, you can say “I would like to hear from you on how XYZ project goes. Have you seen David? I’m interested in speaking with him before I go this evening?”

What do you do to make your networking effective?
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