About John Erdman

John is a decisive executive trainer and speaker with broad skills and extensive progressive experience. He has worked closely with top management and boards in numerous settings. He has outstanding ability to deal effectively with difficult situations and personalities achieving both teamwork and mutual goals. He is an articulate, ethical and persuasive leader who inspires others to better performance positively impacting bottom line profits. John is a positive team player and a resourceful problem solver; with a proven reputation for succeeding where others have failed. John on Google+

Let Your Light Shine to Reach Your Potential

It has always mystified me how some people never get done what they had planed on doing in life.  They get caught up in what is known as paralysis by analysis and never get really started living.  The old Chinese Proverb that says “A journey of 1000 miles begins as a single step”, is so true in reaching our potentials.

I read a story the other night that really makes my point.

A few nights ago a peculiar thing happened.  An electrical storm caused a blackout in our neighborhood.  When the lights went out, I felt my way through the darkness into the storage closet where we keep the candles for nights like this.  Through the glow of a lit match I looked up on the shelf where the candles were stored.  There they were, already positioned in their stands, melted to various degrees by previous missions.  I took my match and lit one of them.

How it illuminated the storage room!  What had been a veil of blackness suddenly radiated with soft, joyous golden light!  I could see the freezer I had just bumped with my knee.  And I could see my tools that needed to be straightened.

“How joyful it is to have light!”  I said out loud, and then spoke to the candle.  “If you do such a good job here in the storage closet, just wait till I get you out where you’re really needed!  I’ll put you on the table so we can eat.  Or I’ll put you on my desk so I can read”.  I took down the lit candle, “I think I’ll put you in the living room where you can light up the whole area.”  (I felt a bit foolish talking to a candle—but what do you do when the lights go out?)

I was turning to leave with the large candle in my hand when I heard a voice, “Now, hold it right there.”

I stopped.  Somebody’s in here!  I thought.  Then I relaxed.  It’s just my wife teasing me for talking to a candle.  “OK, honey, cut the kidding,”  I said in the simidarkness.  No answer.  Hmm, maybe it was the wind.  I took another step.

“Hold it, I said!”  There was that voice again.  My hands began to sweat.  “Who said that?”  “I did.”  The voice was near my hand.  “Who are you?  What are you?”

“I’m a candle.”  I looked at the candle I was holding.  It was burning a strong, golden flame.  It was red and sat on a heavy wooden candle holder that had a firm handle.

I looked around once more to see if the voice could be coming from another source.  “There’s no one here but you and me,” the voice informed me.

I lifted up the candle to take a closer look.  You won’t believe what I saw.  There was a tiny face in the wax.  (I told you you wouldn’t believe me.)  Not just a wax face that someone had carved, but a moving, functioning, fleshlike face full of expression and life.

“Don’t take me out of here!”  “What?”  “I said, Don’t take me out of this room.”

“What do you mean?  I have to take you out.  You’re a candle.  You job is to give light and joy to others.  It’s dark and scary out there.  People are stubbing their toes and walking into walls.  You have to come out and light up the place!”

“But you can’t take me out.  I’m not ready.” The candle explained with pleading eyes.  “I need more preparation.”  I couldn’t believe my ears.  “More preparation?”

“Yeah, I’ve decided I need to research this job of light-giving so I won’t go out and make a bunch of mistakes.  You’d be surprised how distorted the glow of an untrained candle can be.  So I’m doing some studying.  I just finished a book on wind resistance,  I’m in the middle of a great series of tapes on wick build-up and conservation—and I’m reading the new bestseller on flame display.  Have you heard of it?”

“No,” I answered.

“You might like it.  It’s called Waxing Eloquently.”

“That really sounds inter—” I caught myself.  What am I doing?  I’m in here conversing with a candle while my wife is out there in the darkness!

“All right then, I said.  “You’re not the only candle on the shelf” as I blew the candle out!

As Max De Pree said, “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”

<strong>So step out and begin letting your light shine.</strong>

CEO Roundtable

Date: July 20th, 2012

Location: Kirkland Public Library 3308 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland WA

Time: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM (Meets Monthly)

Registration: www.ideal-companies.com

This is a roundtable discussion of business issues faced by business owners, CEO’s and motivated entrepreneurs, including solo entrepreneurs and small business professionals. Each attendee will have the opportunity to highlight an issue they face in growing their business. Other attendees will offer their input based on their own knowledge and experience. This event is a very dynamic form of the mastermind. Please come and participate in this learn and share event.

Be an author in Google

Last week, at the Tuesday’s with Deborah meeting, I brought up the new ability to be listed in Google as an author. Several people asked me how to do that. If you go to the following link on Google information about how to create authorship is available for your use:

https://plus.google.com/authorship

The nice thing about this is it when somebody Googles you or an article you wrote your picture will come up it will save by your name and it’ll have an additional link that says more by your name. It keys off your Google plus profile.

Hopefully this is helpful.

The Dance

Welcome to the dance! Many of the networking groups available today have a technique called the dance. The dance is when two members of the networking group get together and spend about an hour getting to know each other. Each person takes about half of the time and talks about who they are and what they need as far as referrals. This generally gives the participants a good insight into the other person and they are able to refer them to much higher level.

I like to take the concept of the dance a little further than just a networking technique. Over the years I have met and danced with the number of people. A lot of those people became good friends and the rest good acquaintances. I believe this technique is something that most people should do on a regular basis. Invite somebody that you want to get to know better have a cup coffee, and interview them, get to know them, and share a little of yourself with them.

This last Saturday, I had a dance Liz Tidyman. We set about an hour, at Tully’s, to share a cup of coffee and a few stories. As they say time passes when having fun, so three hours later Liz and I were still chatting. It was a delightful time, we talked about the three forbidden topics – sex, politics and religion. We also talked about our time in scouting, schooling, business and life in general. During our discussion, I got to know Liz an entirely different level than our time in Tuesday’s with Deborah. She is a wonderful, intellectual and caring person. I’m glad we had the dance!

My recommendation to all of you is welcome to the dance. Pick a person who you’d like to get to know better, set a time for cup coffee, and enjoy the dance.

Networking – The Best Promotion for Successful Business

Over the years I have found that a large percentage of business is found through networking!  Needless to say, effective networking is vital to your continued business success.  Rarely does business just “fall into our laps.”  Instead, successful business partnerships are created when we target potential customers, establish communication and cultivate long term relationships.

It has always mystified me when I hear people say they never received any business from the events they go to.  When closely questioned, they admit to just attending events hoping that they will “strike it rich”.  To win at networking you first have to master the basics of networking, the first step toward connecting you with other people.

There is no magic wand or group that will give you networking results only opportunities for those results.  Below are the top secrets for networking.  Feel free to adapt these basics to your own approach, and develop a networking style that feels most natural and honest to you.  You will be networking like a professional in no time!

The Top Secrets for Networking Success at Association Functions

Before the Meeting
“I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” – 
Abraham Lincoln

  • Develop a memorable introduction for yourself. This is what we call your elevator speech.  In 5 to 45 seconds tell what you can do in terms of benefits for the other person.  Something that says to them that here is someone I need to listen to.  “Hello, my name is John Erdman and I help companies avoid becoming the “best kept secret in town!”
  • Put business cards only in one pocket of your jacket.Leave the other pocket free to put in the business cards from your new contacts.  This way, you will look prepared when you pull your card out easily from one pocket instead of fishing through a pile of cards.  As nothing is more unprofessional looking then someone digging in pockets and purses looking for a business card and then giving out a dog eared card as the only one you can find.
  • Check your appearance (also your breath). You only get about ten seconds to make a first impression.  You can only do your best when you feel your best.  This does not mean that you never network unless you’re looking and feeling great but if you have the choice …..Why take a chance?

During the Meeting
“If a man is brusque in his manner, others will not cooperate…If he asks for something without having first established a proper relationship, it will not be given to him” 
– I’Ching: Book of Changes

  • Smile! Be friendly and show enthusiasm. No one wants to chat with someone who looks like they have been sucking on a vinegar bottle.  Enthusiastic people inspire other people to do great things.  People are drawn to pleasant people.
  • Ask questions and above all, listen to answers. Most events are also a social function.  Give and get information.  Ask other participants how long they have been involved in their occupation, what other groups do they belong to, or if they have heard the guest speaker before.  Find out what interests them and keep on that subject.  The key is the listening part of this pointer.  When you listen your way in, you don’t have to talk your way out.
  • Do not sell…Do not sell…Do not sell! This point cannot be emphasized enough!  Networking is a means of giving and getting information; it is a mutually beneficial exchange.  It is not a one-way street for you to make sales.  It is not making one party feel intruded upon at an event that was intended to be fun.  This is a great opportunity to find out about a person’s interests in a relaxed atmosphere, and to let them know how you can help them in the future; but do not try and close the deal at an event.  There is a time for everything, and this is not the time to sell.
  • Treat the event as your opportunity to make friends, not clients. It can take little or no time or effort to make a friend, but can take years to make a client.  Friends are much more likely to use your services over your competition and are likely to be repeat customers.  You get the added bonus of creating lifelong relationships and having fun.
  • Hand out your business card wisely. If it is not suitable to the conversation, or if you have not even really had a conversation, keep your card in your pocket.  Use your business card as a means to follow up on a personal exchange and as a way for that person to remember you.  Make sure there is a reason to give them your card.  Add value to the card by ensuring that there is a reason for it.
  • Moderate your eating and drinking. Amazing as it may sound, the more you indulge, the less intelligent you seem.  If you plan on drinking more than a glass or so – do it at another location where you are not networking.  Good manners still matter a lot, especially when you are making a first impression.
  • Sit with someone new. People are drawn to sit with the people they know and are most comfortable with at events.  If your goal is to meet new clients or forge new relationships, sit with someone you don’t already know.  This will give you 30 minutes to one hour to network with a potential new client.
  • Slow Down.  Don’t try to break the world record for how many people you can talk to in one hour.  Holding a memorable conversation with five people will almost always benefit you more than simply saying hello and handing out your card to sixty people.
  • Make eye contact.  Looking off into the horizon or down at the floor will tell the other person that you are talking but you are not listening and don’t care.  Don’t look like you are trying to scope out the next sale.  Making eye contact will show you are listening and that you care about what they are saying.

After the Meeting
“Man who waits for roast duck to fly into mouth must wait very, very long time”. 
Chinese proverb

  • Follow-up with contacts you have made. So many people meet and network with someone but then never get back to them.  Listen to what they want and need, then in the next few days show them how you can make it happen.  If you told them about a new product they would enjoy, send the information immediately with a hand written note.  Did you see a magazine article on that product the other person was talking about?  Mail it to them with a personalized message.  Such small courtesies are remembered for a long time.

Remember, the follow-up contact you make after the meeting is just as important as the initial encounter.  Treat the potential customer or client as you would like to be treated, and you will definitely be on the right track to increased sales.  In order to successfully network your business you need to always be aware of the old railroad crossing saying – Stop, Look and Listen then Proceed.  Practice networking skills and your business will boom.

 

Facts You Just Need to Know

Did you ever wonder how the average person spends their day? Well here is a breakdown for you:

  • Personal care – 47 minutes
  • Caring for other household member – 32 minutes
  • Caring for non-household member – 13 minutes
  • Organization, civic and religious activities – 20 minutes
  • Eating and drinking – 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Household activities – 1 hour 48 minutes
  • Purchasing goods and services – 45 minutes
  • Leisure and sports (excluding watching TV) – 2 hours 27 minutes
  • Education – 29 minutes
  • Watching TV – 2 hours 44 minutes
  • Other activities – 20 minutes
  • Work and work related activiites – 3 hours 32 minutes
  • Phone calls and email – 12 minutes
  • Sleeping 8 hours 40 minutes

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (Note numbers are rounded)

How does your day add up?

CEO Roundtable March 16th

Date: March 16th, 2012

Location: Kirkland Public Library 3308 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland WA

Time: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM (Meets Monthly)

Registration: www.ideal-companies.com

This is a roundtable discussion of business issues faced by business owners, CEO’s and motivated entrepreneurs, including solo entrepreneurs and small business professionals. Each attendee will have the opportunity to highlight an issue they face in growing their business. Other attendees will offer their input based on their own knowledge and experience. This event is a very dynamic form of the mastermind. Please come and participate in this learn and share event.

CEO Roundtable February 17th

This is a roundtable discussion of business issues faced by business owners, CEO’s and motivated entrepreneurs, including solo entrepreneurs and small business professionals. Each attendee will have the opportunity to highlight an issue they face in growing their business. Other attendees will offer their input based on their own knowledge and experience. This event is a very dynamic form of the mastermind. Please come and participate in this learn and share event.

This is a monthly event and generally meets on the third Friday of the month.  We meet at the Kirkland Library, 308 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland, WA.  Time is 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.  Register at www.ideal-companies.com.

Earning Trust (part one)

“Do I trust people”?  Others may ask many questions about you, but this is a key one.  Trust lies at the root of building good interpersonal relations.  Research into human relations proves that if trust is present, weaknesses tend to be overlooked and mistakes tolerated.  Some people are trusted, and some are not, it depends on how they behave.  Trust is grounded in four very concrete and specific behaviors: Acceptance, Integrity, Openness, Reliability.  The presence of these four behaviors lead others to say: “I trust you”.  If you put these four behaviors into practice, you’ll be trusted.  If you don’t, you won’t.  Simple as that.  Let’s look at each of the four in turn, to get the whole picture.  Each Behavior will be a separate post.

Trust requires acceptance.  If I sense you accept me as a person, I’ll trust you.  That means I must sense that you feel it’s OK for me to be me, you don’t pass judgment on me, you don’t put me down and you don’t treat me as an “it” by trying to manipulate me, treat me as an inferior or by just criticizing me.  You accept me as an individual with my thoughts, feelings, interests, differences and my imperfections.  You don’t have to agree with me, but you do have to accept me.  If I sense you don’t accept me, I won’t trust you, because I’ll wonder if you are trying to use me, or deal with me only as a means to your ends.  If you behave in an accepting manner by taking me as I am, treating me as a worthwhile person, showing respect for my personhood and not judging me, then your behavior will lead me toward trusting you.  Acceptance is necessary to earn trust.

Continue to Part 2

Earning Trust (part two)

If you have not read the whole series, this link will take you to the start of the series.

Trust is grounded in four very concrete and specific behaviors: Acceptance, Integrity, Openness, Reliability.  The presence of these four behaviors lead others to say: “I trust you”.  If you put these four behaviors into practice, you’ll be trusted.  If you don’t, you won’t.  Simple as that.  Let’s look at the second of the four behaviors.

Trust requires integrity.  If I sense you are being straight forward with me, I’ll trust you.  That means I must see you as being honest with me.  I must perceive that you mean what you say and say what you mean; that’s having integrity.  If I sense that you are telling me one thing and feeling the opposite, trust goes down.  If I don’t see and feel your integrity, I won’t trust you, because I’ll be in doubt about what you really mean.  Feeling that I can’t count on you to tell me the truth.  If you behave in a honest way, saying what you mean and meaning what you say, then your behavior will lead me toward trusting you.  Integrity is necessary to earn trust.

 
Continue to Part 3