My Purposeful Reflection

While watching a YouTube video last night, I heard an Internet Marketer express his vision in a way that made me think of a recent discussion with guests on my radio show. (In case you didn’t know, I am host of BOLD TALK BUSINESS RADIO, which airs on AM 1300 WMEL in Central Florida and streams worldwide at

YouTuber and Internet marketer to the music community, Lee Beattie had said in his online video, “My Why is to educate a macro community that funds a micro community that feeds a community. His words summed up the conversation a small group of us began in the conference room at WMEL Radio after our 03.28.15 show.

My own mission is to educate and inspire people to acknowledge their own potential for growth, success and satisfaction in life and work. Over my life, I have learned that outer success is deeply linked with people’s view of themselves and the world around them.

Almost 15 years ago, I became conscious of my desire to help people feel good about who they are and what they do, regardless of their circumstances. My work since has centered on sharing tools for making that happen. Just as art triggers emotions because the creator’s expression mirrors an emotional landscape and responds to the artist’s sense of the communities around them, the same can be said of technical innovators who beat to the drum of community and consumer needs. Simply put, thoughts and beliefs fuel our feelings and our feelings influence what we do. It helps to be conscious of how that works. My goal is to help people become more mindful of thoughts and feelings so they develop the kind of inner mastery that empowers their outer success.

During my post-radio-show conversation with investments attorney Russell Weigel (author of Capital for Keeps: Limit Litigation Risk While Raising Capital and Preston Tesvich, co-developer of Hiro (a Bluetooth beacon for finding lost keys) and director of business development for JayCon Systems, I suggested the importance of encouraging critical thinking when divergent groups try to collaborate. Over the years, I’ve worked on many committees comprising diverse viewpoints, varying group dynamics, and varying degrees of group success. My observations show that the key predictors of success have largely been shared sense of purpose, agreement on strategy and people committed to the heavy lifting. Powerful change requires real work. That work also requires cultivation of inner and outer resources for success, especially what I call conscious communication—clear, consistent, focused, intentional communication—that leads to desired win-win outcomes.

If you are considering a collaborative venture—a business or personal relationship, an investment, or a community partnership—start by exploring where and how your purpose, resources, connections, and approach to life intersect. Also understand that in a collaboration, each party must bring valuable resources to the table. Consider the value you bring and the value you expect from others. That will help you determine the best way to collaborate for win-win-win outcomes. Also be sure that the projects you decide to work on make sense in the ecology of your own life and business. Time and money invested are limited commodities.

SpaceFlight Insider Launches Success in a Changing Online Market

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jason Rhian, senior editor and founder of Spaceflight Insider, an online journal covering the space industry. While space is his game, marketing is mine, and I found his unique approach to media marketing in a changing advertising environment quite novel. Read on to learn how he does it …

Spaceflight Insider, a relative newcomer to the space industry media scene, hit the ground running. While operating on a shoestring budget from a handful of supporters, the team got creative. By freely sharing high-quality content for almost a year, Spaceflight Insider has captured increased attention, and the publication’s focus on editorial integrity over advertising sales has lent credibility to the operation. Because Website traffic drives online success, directing visitors to the site became the team’s primary strategy, and the social-media savvy team got cranking.

“We are gaining new visitors everyday,” said Jason Rhian, senior editor and founder. “We’ve now get several hundred thousand unique visitors every month who are viewing our content, and that excites sponsors who gain visibility along with us.”

“We found early on that the traditional advertising model was dead, so we looked at how we could drive value for sponsors,” said Rhian. The team turned to novel revenue streams for an online publication. Instead of charging for direct advertising space, they bill for outside services, such as audio-visual production, newsletters, and photography stills that sponsors want for their own businesses. The sponsors pay for those specialty services, and in turn earn a spot on the SpaceFlight Insider website.

From the start, the revenue concept presented concerns for Rhian: He believes that as a journalistic outfit, Spaceflight Insider is obliged to remain unbiased, so the company is sometimes forced to decline posting otherwise interesting news and feature articles if the content could be viewed as promoting sponsors who sign up for services.

“Some outlets have abandoned their duty to stay unbiased and have knowingly entered into direct conflicts of interest,” Rhian said. “We have told our sponsors flat out that we will not violate core journalistic tenets to garner sales.”

Another challenge was the pricing itself. “To get off the ground, we started by charging about a tenth of the cost of what our services actually retailed for,” Rhian added. “While this pricing strategy took more time to build revenue, it helped us get in the game. It also gave us a chance to gain our footing and demonstrate what we could do.”

The company’s efforts have worked. “We now have a very pleasant relationship with, for example, Space Florida, Flexure Engineering, and the Florida International Business school, and other companies such as Space Shirts in Merritt Island, FL. We help get them what they want. If they need us to, we’ll go out and shoot stills and video for them, or assist with another project. We ask our sponsors to pay a reasonable flat rate for whichever media products they need. This approach has turned into a win-win for our sponsors and for us. We believe the Spaceflight Insider business model will prove profitable in both the short and long terms,” Rhian told me.

So my friend, you now know how Spaceflight Insider generates business in challenging times. The company discarded an age-old revenue model in favor of a new path. Are you inspired to think beyond the box, too? If so, let me know what you will do to shift the marketing odds in your favor. I look forward to hearing from you and will consider posting your success story here at, too. Keep me apprised of your news. Best of luck!


JASON RHIAN, FOUNDER AND SENIOR EDITOR OF SPACEFLIGHT INSIDER departed a career in law enforcement to pursue his dream of bringing the story of space exploration to the world.

Take Off the Boxing Gloves and Communicate Instead

© Dario Diament | Dreamstime Stock Photos

TAKE OFF THE BOXING GLOVES AND COMMUNICATE FOR A WIN-WIN. Photo Courtesy: © Dario Diament | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Do you wish you could find an easier way to deal with difficult people and conversations?  If so, let’s acknowledge that it can be hard to be diplomatic when emotions run hot and opinions differ. When you feel strongly about something, you may want to demand answers to the questions on your mind. But demands in tense times may not get you the real outcome you want. To keep all parties honest and engaged in discovering mutually rewarding solutions, you need to cool down, get strategic and take off the boxing gloves. Consider this ..

When opinions differ, most people get into “I’m right, you’re wrong” thinking. What starts out as a discussion turns into to an argument. The people involved also may start to feel, “I’m good. You’re bad.” Those feelings don’t bode well. The good news is we can learn how to manage difficult conversations and differing opinions so that both (or all) parties feel heard and satisfied. Want to learn how? Read on.

Arguments often escalate because couples—or business partners, teams and usually cordial colleagues—become confrontational in their words and behavior. They may become accusatory and offensive. People who confront others may use put downs. They may ask leading questions in critical tones that implicate the other person or group. Confronters may get snarky and their comments may flow with sarcasm. Avoiders may withdraw and give up on trying to get their own thoughts across.

So, what do you do?

First, when you hear your brain spilling over with negative thoughts and you find yourself jumping to conclusions, first step up and yell “STOP” in your head. That simple cue will give you the pause you need to think logically about how to get the results you want. It will give you time to shift to solutions thinking and find the positive energy you have somewhere inside. It also will give you time to consider what the other person really wants, needs, and is trying to say. After all, when you understand the other person’s viewpoint, you will have an easier time connecting with them and opening their eyes to your view and ears to your thoughts.

Yelling STOP is also a terrific way to break out of automatic negative reactions to trigger situations, such as not getting what you want, feeling disrespected or misunderstood.  Reminding yourself to stop will empower you to slow down. As you do, you can breathe deeply and give rise to the kind of positive energy and language that will attract others to you, rather than shut them down to different perspectives. You can also concentrate on putting out energy, body language and words that others will want to emulate and match.

Take time to find the right words before speaking them. Instead of direct confrontation, try a more subtle approach. Start by padding your questions with permissive requests, such as:
• Would it be possible to talk about this?
• Could you consider this thought …
• Is this a good time to talk or would you rather plan to talk later?
You might try saying something like, “Would you mind if we talk about it? I know you’re angry (or upset).”

When you make an effort to sidestep comments that would simply trigger more negative reactions, you increase the likelihood of finding a better solution.

Another strategy is to notice and use your tone of voice to everyone’s benefit. To diffuse a confrontation, try  a gentle voice and permissive language: Please tell me what is on your mind … Please let me know what you are thinking about this? … May I ask you about …. ? When you use gentle language, you won’t appear weak; you will appear caring and receptive to the other person’s point of view. Be aware that the other party wants to feel validated, heard and understood. (Same as you!)

Take time to think about what is triggering your body language, and choose a thought that will communicate your desire to work problems out. To avert a confrontation, become aware of your body stance, hand gestures and eye movements. Does your body language reveal that you are open to suggestions or closed to ideas and ready to explode?

Last but not least, consider your overarching purpose. Most arguments are not disagreements over where to go. People may want the same things, but disagree over how to get there. To get back on track, look for common ground. Focus your conversation first on common goals and then work together on a strategy for achieving them.

How do you get there? Learn to express your thoughts and feelings in a caring and respectful way. Decide what you absolutely must have to feel satisfied and what you are willing to compromise about. On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is a particular point to you? Also consider what a win-win would look like for all parties, and try to find a way for everyone to get their needs met—simultaneously—whenever possible.

For more help with business or personal discussions, ask Donna or please visit for more information. Also watch for information on the launch of the Success Crossing e-Learning platform, where you will be able to deepen understanding of the issues discussed above and practice skills needed for BOLDTalk.

A Few Thoughts on Friendship

Enjoy these thoughts on friendship. They come from a little book titled, Friendship, a Special Gift for a Special Friend, published by Parragon. A friend gave it to me for my birthday.

“The bird: a nest. The spider: a web. The human: friendship.”
— William Blake, British poet

“A true friend is someone who thinks you are a good egg, even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.”
—Bernard Meltzer, radio host

“Few delights can equal the mere presence of someone we utterly trust.”
— George MacDonald, British author and poet

“True friendship comes when silence between two people is comfortable.”
— Dave Tyson Gentry, author

“A friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart.”
— Unknown

“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.”
— Aristotle, Greek philosopher

I am grateful every day for my friends.

Looking for Publicity?

“Worry not that no one knows you. Seek to be worth knowing.”

Clients and colleagues often ask me how to attract attention to their business. Here are a few tips for getting the publicity you may be craving. You’ll find additional tips in my book, Marketing Demystified (McGraw-Hill, 2010).

Tip 1 – Focus First on ValueWant to know where I found a particular gem of PR wisdom? Inside a fortune cookie. That’s right, smack dab in the middle of a Chinese restaurant. And, I knew that cookie was truly meant for me — a PR Person — when I read the gold inside. The little white slip in my hand advised me to “Worry not that no one knows of you. Seek to be worth knowing.” It doesn’t get more profound than that. So, as soon as I read it, I knew I would share that bit of wisdom with my web community, friends and clients.I hope you love the essence of that message as much as I do. It gets right to the heart of marketing and public relations as it calls us to create value for others. What better way is there to become known, earn a great reputation and serve the world?In today’s cluttered, time-starved, media world, delivering value is the best way to differentiate yourself. Garnering public recognition for your work, accomplishments or special causes starts with delivering value. But it doesn’t end there. If people don’t find out how valuable you are, you may as well be shouting underwater as big waves tumble over. You go glug-glug, but no one notices. First, ensure value, then spread the word.

Tip 2 – Craft a Compelling Message

Behavior is shaped by beliefs. Decide what you want people to believe about you, your product, service or firm. As you do, also consider the benefit to people in believing that. How will it serve them? How will it serve you? That reminds me: more than 20 years ago, when I turned in my first newspaper article, my editor looked up at me and asked, “So What?” As a novice reporter, I had written a grammatically correct, historically accurate account of the news. I was proud of my writing, but I quickly learned that it didn’t command attention. I did what I had been taught in school. I wrote for a crescendo. But news writing is about immediate impact. When you craft your message, go for the gold up front. Get right to the point.

Tip 3 – Think Like a Reporter

Reporters look for the new and different, as well as the meaningful. To get a sense for what writers in your targeted media are after, read what they are writing about and learn what interests them. Can you help a reporter expand on a series, write about a related item, or meet a deadline? Do you have a thrilling insight or tip that can help them win a Pulitzer? (Well, one can hope!) As competitive as it is to get into the news, summer may be just the right time. When people, schools and businesses take vacation, news items slow down. This offers an opportunity for creative pitching, especially if you can offer something seasonal, or if you are thinking ahead for back-to-school or holiday stories. When pitching your story, be prepared with several angles, so when a reporter asks, “what else have you got?” or “why is that significant?” you will have a powerful answer. Plan in advance; don’t wait until the last minute. And always submit calendar notices at least two to four weeks ahead of anticipated publication dates. Check the media deadlines so you won’t get caught short.

Tip 4 – Don’t Wait for the Press

Write and post your own news release on the Web. Make a video to spread on YouTube. Write your nws on a blog. The Internet becomes a more powerful communications medium every day. Jump in and create PR waves that others can surf. Writing selectively on blogs of interest will help you get your name and perspective out there. Developing your own website or blog can provide a worldwide podium. (Be sure to search engine optimize your web pages if you want people to find your news.) As you get used to blogging, you’ll refine your messages. If you blog often, you’ll begin to build a content powerhouse. Write news releases  that you can post on your own website for public consumption. While you are doing your own think, make time to send press releases out. You can email them yourself to your favorite news editors, or use a wire service. Also remember to submit your news to e-zines, company newsletters and friends.

Tip 5- Know the News

A great way to get into the news is to know the news. Watch, read and listen to what is happening around you. Think about where your story fits in. Pay attention to which reporters cover topics in your bailiwick. When doing outreach, choose reporters and publications with an interest in your subject. To maximize results, ask a professional for help.

If you have PR questions or concerns, please contact me. Email your question to:

What Do People Believe about Your Brand?

From the recognizable mark or logo associated with a company to the elaborate sequence of actions that engender emotional and behavioral responses, brands are built from the inside out. Why bother with branding? Because your branding efforts reflect your thinking, values, and commitments to employees, consumers, investors, community members, strategic allies, and other stakeholders in your business enterprise.

Brands are built in many ways — on concepts, missions and beliefs; through taglines, messages, expertise and experiences; via advertising, markets and marketing strategies; through internal relationships with employees and external relationships with customers, the community and the media; and through products, reliability and consistency. We can help you build your brand.

Tips to Drive Your Brand Value

Differentiate and empower your brand stories. Decide what makes your company, products and/or services special. Study your competitive landscape and see where you fit. By learning what’s missing in the market — or in the communications of your competitors, you may uncover an opportunity that enables you to capture top-of-mind status in a particular market or category of interest to consumers. Remember that less can be more. Smaller niche markets may be more loyal and easier to connect with than massive markets that you can’t reach with your budget. Continue reading