5 Questions to Up Your Brand Power

Mary Foley Energize Your Career

As an entrepreneur, do you want a powerful brand and think it’s mainly about amazing images on your website, social, and print materials? Think again. One thing I definitely learned being part of a small, unknown computer called Quantum Computer Services transform itself into arguably the first company to bring the online experience to the masses – AOL – is that brand is way more than a a recognize logo.

Proof is in results. During my 10 year career there, Quantum Computer Services became the brand AOL, a $7 billon dollar company with 23 million members and a wide lead in the top spot.

When I jumped the Corporate America ship and became an entrepreneur, I took everything I learned about branding and applied it to my new business. Here are five key lessons and questions about creating a powerful brand for your own business:

1. Every company has a brand. The question is, “Is it working for you?”

Creating a brand isn’t just for the big companies; it’s for companies of all sizes. We’re all fighting for attention from our target customers. If you don’t create a brand, then you risk not being remembered and not being emotionally attractive. Both are a prerequisite for sales.

Ask Yourself: What is my brand? Is it working for me? Am I willing to make changes if needed?

2. Your brand must evoke a strong emotion.

Neurologist Donald Calne said, “The essential difference between emotions and reason is that EMOTION leads to ACTION while reason leads to conclusions.” Customers buy from emotion and back it up with their head.

Ask Yourself: What emotion does my brand evokes? Do I know how others experience my brand? (Psst! Ask at least 10 people.) Is that the emotion I want my brand to evoke?

3. Your brand isn’t a logo. It’s everything you offer, say, and do.

A brand is an experience with many facets. There are a ton of ways a person can interact with you and your company, for example, marketing materials, business card, website, personal appearance, quality of your product or service, how someone answers the phone, voice mail message, e-mail, and customer support.

Ask Yourself: What are all the ways a person can interact with my company or brand? (Psst! Make a list.) Is each interaction supporting or derailing the emotional experience I want my brand to create?

4. As a one woman show, YOU are your brand!

87% of all women owned businesses have one employee – the woman herself. Who you are and what you do affects everything about your business.

Ask Yourself: What about my brand is “just like me”? Do I support my brand experience in how I dress, speak, and interact with others?

5. Your brand needs constant tweaking.

You have to start somewhere. So, you launch your company and brand, see what works, and you keep adjusting. What ultimately matters is what the customer thinks and feels.

Ask Yourself: Have I given much thought lately about the brand experience I’m creating for my customers? What’s one thing I’ve heard again and again from customers that I need to change about my business?


3 Magical Productivity Ideas to Give Your Wand Some New Mojo

Mary Foley Energize Your Career

Is your personal productivity in the tank from the daily deluge of email and requests? Tempted to leave everything unanswered and start over somewhere else? You’ll be good for a week, maybe.

A savvy gal Amy shared with me that she was about to start the new position. But she had a big dilemma:

“My new position involves managing and tracking a LOT more activities. My email inbox has grown beyond my comfort and I want to implement some good strategies to start my new position positively, to being organized and to go full speed ahead.

Any advice, like going to my local office supply store to see if they have some type of magical notebook?”

Oh, if only there were a magical notebook! Whoever creates that product will save the world by increasing every hard working professional woman’s productivity, efficiency, and, most importantly, her sanity.

Until then, here are 3 ideas I shared with Amy to create her own magic. Not very glam, but they work. They can give your wand some new mojo, too!


You Will Never Have Enough Time Until You Do These 2 Things

Mary Foley Energize Your Career

You Will Never Have Enough Time Until You Do These 2 Things

Did you run out of time today? Again? Ugh, it seems you never have enough time.

You begin your work day with full intention of being productive and before you know it your boss asked you to take care of something, your co-worker needed information for her 11 am meeting, a client called with an emergency, and your chatty colleague just had to tell you all the details about their weekend hiking trip. The day is over and your list is hardly done. It might even be longer!

Understandable, responsive, and entertaining, but you are left with a lingering to-do list and a really loud sucking sound from the time vacuum cleaner.

Productivity experts offer helpful suggestions such as managing your e-mail and social media, using productivity software, and getting organized. These can be useful tactics, but they can also be useless. You will never have enough time until you consistently do these two things.


Are You Guilty of These 5 PowerLESS Behaviors?

Mary Foley Energize Your Career
Are You Guilty of These 6 PowerLESS Behaviors?
Image by Fotolia

Are you struggling to get the respect and credit you deserve?  You may be guilty of powerLESS behaviors. Every day at work and in life, women do simple verbal and no-verbal behaviors that erode their personal power without realizing it.

Here are 5 of the biggest offenders:

  1. You don’t look directly when speaking or listening.  You may have the tendency to glance at people’s eyes and quickly look away. But your eyes speak volumes.  Instead, when talking look directly in people’s eyes and hold that pose.  When listening, do the same.  The person speaking will notice and be positively influenced by your interest
  2. You end sentences with a question mark? Many women bring their voice up at the end of a sentence, making it feel like a question and that they are unsure of themselves. Don’t make others wonder if you’re competent.  Focusing on ending sentences with a drop in your voice. This communicates you’re making a statement with confidence. Don’t you think? (more…)

Instantly Increase Your Event’s Value with Easy, Fun, Powerful Networking

Mary Foley Energize Your Career
Instantly Increase Your Event's Value with Easy, Fun, Powerful Networking
Image by Fotolia

Every meeting planner knows that powerful networking can instantly increase an event’s value. But more often than not, they feel like Grace who was planning an association’s annual conference.

She told me “We need to do a better job with networking. That’s what people said they want more of and I’m not sure how.”

It’s a frustration I hear again and again. You include networking time into your agenda, but people complain they didn’t make valuable connections.

Truth is, it’s the attendee’s fault. You created the opportunity, but their reptilian brain kicks in. They don’t introduce themselves because the whole networking process feels awkward, stupid or speechless. 

The solution: Add a structured, facilitated experience that takes the work out of networking and makes it easy, powerful and fun.

A facilitated networking session instantly increases your event’s value and you are a superhero!

[bctt tweet=”A facilitated networking session instantly increases your event’s value & you are a superhero!” username=”BodaciousMary”]

Here’s how:

  1. Determine where a structured, facilitated networking session best fits into your event flow

Beginning? Middle? End?

A networking session near the beginning taps into people’s curiosity to discover who is in the room and can set the stage to keep meeting new people throughout the event.

A networking session part way though the event is a great strategy when the group needs an energy boost, like after a meal or day 2 of a 3 day event.

Or, a facilitated, powerful networking session at the end can be a fun way to wrap things up.

  1. Decide how much time

Meeting just one new person doesn’t cut it. Attendees need to have a 5-7 minute conversation with at least 3 new people for networking to be valuable. That’s why you need at least 45 minutes for a structured networking experience.

Sixty minutes is even better. With additional time you can add a short networking how-to, additional conversation rounds, and a group debrief of what happened.

  1. Pick an experienced facilitator

The magic of structured networking is that the facilitator gives everyone the path and the permission to meet one another. This immediately takes air out of the awkward balloon.

It’s important to select someone who has facilitation experience. Hire a professional facilitator or utilize the skills of a keynote speaker, trainer or consultant who is already presenting at your event.

The most effective facilitator sets a positive tone by reminding everyone of the importance and power of meeting new people, provides how-to networking tips, and creates a process with at least 3 conversation rounds.

A big bonus is when there is time for the facilitator to bring the networking session to a close by having a few individuals share something interesting or unique about a person they met and how they felt about the experience.


Quit to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Mary Foley Energize Your Career

Quit to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Making New Year’s resolutions is easy.  Keeping them is hard.  More than 21 days hard. Maybe you should quit a bunch of stuff that’s not working instead.

Fact is, the belief that it takes 21 days to create a new habit is a myth.  “The 21 day myth may well come from a book published in 1960 by a plastic surgeon” says psychologist Jeremy Dean, author of Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick.” 

Dr Maxwell Maltz noticed that amputees took, on average, 21 days to adjust to the loss of a limb and he argued that people take 21 days to adjust to any major life changes.”  According to a study, it takes an average of 66 days to create a new habit.  If you’re going for “mastery”, then expect it to take 10,000 hours, which turns into 5 or more years. So, somewhere between 66 days and 10,000 hours and you’re good to go!

Bottom line:  Creating new habits are going to take lots of time. If you really, really, really want to reach your goals, then start quitting.

[bctt tweet=” If you really, really, really want to reach your goals, then start quitting.” username=”BodaciousMary”]

“Quit the wrong stuff, stick with the right stuff, and have the courage to do one or the other” states Seth Godin in his short, powerful tome The Dip:  When to Quit and When to Stick.  Quit the things that no longer work or do enough in your life.  Maybe they used to, maybe at one time you were more interested and engaged.  Now, it’s just a drag.

The book club that’s really a wine club and you don’t drink.

The networking meeting that’s mainly small business owners and now you are working in a large corporation.

The volunteer committee for a loved charitable organization, but the meetings no longer fit your schedule.

Let go. Quit. It’s not only okay, it’s good.  Very good.  For you and for everyone else touched by your involvement.

Not only do you get the time back you need to put towards the new habit you want to create, everyone else is freed up to discover new ideas, new people and create what’s best for their lives right now, too.

Quitting takes courage.  More courage than creating New Year’s resolutions.  Because it feels uncomfortable to change your own behavior and awkward to say no.

I like Charlie Gilkey’s approach to quitting who “recognizes there are some obligations that we have that we really don’t want, but that it’s nonetheless important to see them through.”  So, you see through your commitments without over-doing it, and then don’t renew.

By quitting what’s no longer working in your life and simply zapping your time, you open up space in your heart and head to focus on what you really care about, what you really have the passion to achieve, what you really love. Those are the resolutions worth sticking to, those are worth achieving, and those are worth not quitting.


Another Year Hating What You Do or Loving Life?

Mary Foley Energize Your Career

Another Year Hating What You Do or Loving Life?

Another year is about to unfold. Will you spend it hating what you do or loving life? You get to choose, you really do.

I’ve found that to be successful – really successful – you’ve got to love what you do. Not like it okay. Not do it because you know how. Not do it because you’ve invested so much time and energy into it. I mean LOVE it! The kind of love that makes you want to get up in the morning and get going. Because you believe what you do has meaning, significance, and fulfillment.

If these aren’t words that describe what you do day-in and day-out, then perhaps this year is the time to make a change, to step up to your big, bodacious moment – or BoMo as I like to say.

Ask yourself: How satisfied am I with my career on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being extremely satisfied)?

That’s the question I kept asking during my ten year career at AOL. Year after year my answer was a 7, 8, or higher. But when it dipped, I probed further with three real-deal questions, ones you can ask yourself, too:


Not If But When: 3 Strategies to Thrive on Change in 2017

Mary Foley Energize Your Career

Not If But When: 3 Strategies to Thrive on Change in 2017

If 2016 felt kind of “crazy” – in politics, your career, even personally – what will 2017 bring?

One answer I’d bet on in Vegas: More change.

The entire world is going through huge (and small) shifts that are impacting every part of our lives personally and professionally. It’s not a matter of IF change will happen, but when and how.  And most importantly, how you will respond.

No one has a crystal ball, but this is for sure: You need to have the mindset and strategies to make change work for you rather than against you. Reacting, unequipped, could create a huge personal setback.

[bctt tweet=”No one has a crystal ball for 2017, but this is for sure: You need to make change work FOR you. ” username=”BodaciousMary”]

Will you worry and obsess about things that can go wrong, or will you find new vistas thrilling, knowing full well there will be hazards along the way?

It takes a lot of nerve and spirit to actually thrive on change. Maybe you’re worried you won’t be able to keep up to stay current with your profession. Maybe you’re afraid that the next layoff will include you. Maybe you wonder if you can still find clients.

This is what author William Bridges calls the “emotional wilderness.” Its fear associated with knowing you’re along for the ride, without any clear idea of the final outcome, and very concerned that you may lose something precious along the way. It’s are very natural concerns. Yet, by being strategic and proactive you can make changes work for you rather than against you in 2017.  Here are three strategies how:


3 Short Reasons Why Height Nothing to Do with Confidence and Respect

Mary Foley Energize Your Career

3 Short Reasons Why Height Nothing to Do with Confidence and Respect

Have you ever felt your height (or lack thereof) has hindered your confidence or respect? If so, you’re not alone. Recently while hosting a live event, an accomplished, professional business woman asked:

“I’m the only female on a senior level team. I’m barely 5 feet tall with heels. And I often feel that my value is being dismissed. I can’t suddenly become six inches taller! What can I do to feel more confident and be more respected?

I get it. Being only 5 feet, 2 inches tall myself, it’s easy to feel height-challenged, especially in business situations. One day early in my career I was lamenting these exact feelings to a trusted, female colleague who was dozen years older and much wiser.

“I’m afraid I’m not being taken seriously,” I told her.

I will never forget her response.


This One Shift Changes Everything to Feel Confident in Constant Change

Mary Foley Energize Your Career

When you’re confident you know what to do, how to do it, and have no doubts.  Right?  You are free of fear, worries and uncertainties.  You are self-assured.

There’s just one huge problem. It’s constant change – in the economy, businesses, communities, and more. It’s enough to rock anyone’s confidence. Nothing feels certain. As soon as something seems to settle down or be set, it shifts once again.

Today we need a new definition of confidence.  And here it is. Real confidence in the real world is “I know I can figure it out.”

[bctt tweet=”Real confidence in the real world is “I know I can figure it out.” ” username=”BodaciousMary”]

That’s saying “I believe in myself enough that somehow, some way, step by step, piece by piece, moment by moment, I can make my way, I can navigate through this, I can figure it out. Not necessarily alone. In fact, I will very likely get help. But, I will lead the way to figure out what’s in front of me.”

Here are two pieces of irrefutable pieces of evidence that you have this kind of confidence within your grasp right now: