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Archive for April, 2011

5 Tips for Getting The Most Out of a Conference

April 27th, 2011

In honor of my departure of SOBCon tomorrow, I thought I’d share some ways to get the most out of an event of this kind.

Whenever I go to great events, I hear a TON of great ideas. And if I’m not careful, I’ll fall into overwhelm, get stressed out and not implement anything I learned.  So these tips are really about maximizing the takeaway on the great tools, strategies and ideas that are so freely shared in a conference environment.

By keeping these 5 tips in mind, I feel less stress and move into action a whole lot faster when I get home. I hope they will help you, too.

(And I could write a whole article just on getting the most out of the relationships that begin at events like these, but I’ll save that for another day.)

5 Tips For Getting the Most Out of a Conference

  1. Choose 2, maybe 3, or the very best ideas you heard. I know it is hard to choose, but focusing your energy is all about making choices.
  2. Talk to colleague or friend about how you might implement these ideas. How exactly do you believe these ideas will work for you? Be specific as you talk about implementing these ideas in your business.
  3. So that you can laser focus, choose the very best idea and implement it first. Trying to do too much at once will dilute your efforts and leave you feeling worn thin.
  4. To help you choose, look at your top three ideas and ask yourself this question: “What is closest to the money?” One idea will probably leap out at you. (Above all, I want your business to be profitable!)
  5. Most important, give your new idea time to take hold and yield results. Nothing feels more frantic and exhausting than constantly changing course (it is also confusing to your tribe).

There you go! Five easy tips to keep the momentum and creativity of a conference alive in your business without feeling stressed.


What We Want From Leaders

April 25th, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership lately. What it is. And what it isn’t. And as I’ve pondered I’ve tried to piece together the most important qualities I want to see in a leader.

It’s really easy to accept someone as a “leader” just because they say they are. But that’s a pretty easy road to take. To consciously acknowledge someone as a leader is to grant that person a great deal of trust, respect and, at times, even power. And that takes a lot more effort and discernment.

So what is it that we want to see in those who lead us?

Because I know the tribe I am lucky enough to communicate with on Twitter and Facebook is WAY smarter than I am sitting here alone with my little brain, I decided to pose the question there/

“What do you consider the most critical quality in a leader?”

The responses came in fast and furious so clearly it’s a topic people want to talk about. Below are most of the responses I received. And I hope that you will add your thoughts in the comments.

carolynellis @SarahRobinson Walking their talk – integrity. Speaking from the heart. Listening to understand, not to fix 🙂

lina003 @SarahRobinson Integrity, Positive Self-Image, Leading by Example, Servant Leadership
Emily_Friedrich@SarahRobinson honesty, trustworthy, has the team’s back
STEELMARKBus@SarahRobinson Integrity and willingness to listen.
Cottonaggie @sarahrobinson Having a servant’s heart.
etherjammer @SarahRobinson A combination of conviction and compassion.
JanetSlack @SarahRobinson Leadership qualities – integrity (doing what U say U will) & moral courage 2 do the hard stuff.
ElysiaBrooker@SarahRobinson someone who has real world experience behind what they teach and lives how they preach.
AmyKesselcpc@sarahrobinson Empathy. Vision. (Close tie)
KidsAreHeroes@SarahRobinson To make everyone under their leadership a success.
a8forwomen @sarahrobinson a leader is wise, surround him/her w solid team, knows weaknesses, is strategic and makes decisions

timsterr @SarahRobinson ability to hold a candid, meaningful, and productive discussion on a personal level made possible by mutual trust & concern

daniellemmiller@SarahRobinson Emotional Intelligence re: Leadership

DooneyPug @SarahRobinson Open-mindedness, strength, humility, confidence, courage, Will to listen, faith, heart

manamica @sarahrobinson most important quality in a leader… follow-through as in, does what she says, practices what she preaches…

Journeywoman@SarahRobinson 1st and foremost a good leader must 1st believe in themselves.
greghartle @SarahRobinsonThe ability to inspire.
prettynetwork @SarahRobinson: Integrity.
jenbrentano @SarahRobinson willingness to ‘get in the trenches’ when necessary
PaceSmith @SarahRobinson Caring. If a leader cares (about the outcome, about their followers) then all else follows.
sandalwoodpics@SarahRobinson the ability to communicate, inspire, and help people stay focused & on track.
perricollins @sarahrobinson Not being afraid to admit they were wrong or that someone else’s idea was better.
CoachGogo @SarahRobinson True self-awareness & clarity
lryanis @SarahRobinson Good Communicator. Key to motivating and empowering others.
TheOnlineMom@SarahRobinson a leader’s private and public conversation is exactly the same

k8dotcom @SarahRobinson someone who sees big picture, helps you see big picture, and helps you define & feel good about doing your part.
dewaynepope@SarahRobinson Integrity, honesty, vision, ability to communicate, openness to other’s ideas, ability to make decisions, lead by example

Gali Conklin Offering consideration and credit to others’ ideas and insights~Respectful Collaboration.

Lori Walker Cummings To know the difference between confidence and arrogance…

Rachel D Miller To lead while still being a part of the whole/team.
Al Smith Listening, then applying, and finally Influencing
Peggie Arvidson to empower others to find their best strengths and show them how to use it in pursuit of thecommon goal.
Mohit Pawar If I were to add one more …. finding people more capable then herself to come on board..
Mark Sherrick the best quality a leader can have is the ability to train his/her replacement and give them the qualities they need to be a success.
Terry Greenhonesty … if a leader can’t be honest, than he can’t be trusted.
There’s so much to learn from all of this shared wisdom. So much conversation to be had.
Most of all, I think the list above gives us excellent insight into what it is, exactly, we want from those who lead us. If we are leaders, take notes. If we are looking for those who will lead us, take notes.
What qualities would you add to the list? Please post them in the comments. 🙂
I also wanted to let everyone know there is ONE seat left in my Summer Mastermind (no this isn’t some dumb false scarcity number. I can take eleven people and ten have stepped up.) If you want to move you and your business forward while enjoying some delicious summertime goodness, grab the last remaining seat here:


Want to Get Ahead? Start With Nice Manners.

April 18th, 2011

You’ve heard it one bajillion times – “Nice manners open doors.” 

(And if you had a mother like My Mother The English Teacher, you also heard “Table manners exists so people can stand to watch you eat.” But I digress.)

And as we move more rapidly into the Relationship Economy, I firmly believe nice manners will be the thing that separates those who move ahead quickly and those who flounder around wondering why no one is paying attention to them.

One of the critical skills I work on with my clients is building and strengthening our connections and relationships with people. And we talk a lot about how to draw people toward us in an inviting way.  Nothing does this faster than nice manners.

“Nice manners aren’t about you. They are about putting other people at ease.” – My Mother The English Teacher.

Let me ask you a question. Whom would you rather do business with? Someone who makes you feel at ease or someone who isn’t interested in how their presence makes you feel at all?

That’s what I thought.

To help us all sharpen up our ability to put others at ease, I thought I’d share a list of manners we are working on with the Young Turk that I cut out of Parents Magazine – along with my notes on how they apply to the business world we are in.

Tuck the list in your pocket the next time you go to a meetup, tweetup, event or other gathering of real live human being. Post them on the wall to use in your online interactions.

Manners Every Kid Needs By Age 9
by David Lowry, PH.D.

1) When asking for something, say “Please.” You wouldn’t believe how often this doesn’t happen.

2) When receiving something, say “Thank you.” See above.

3) Do not interrupt grown-ups [or anyone else for that matter] who are speaking with each other unless there is an emergency. They will notice you and respond when they are finished talking. Interrupting reveals an “it’s all about me” state of mind. Understandable in children. Not so much in grown-ups.

4) If you do need to get somebody’s attention right away, the phrase “excuse me” is the most polite way for you to enter the conversation.

5) When you have any doubt about doing something, ask permission first. It can save you many hours of grief later. (And yes I know the adage, “It is easier to ask forgiveness than to seek permission.” However, if it involves/impacts someone else, ask.)

6) The world is not interested in what you dislike. Keep negative opinions to yourself, or between you and your friends, out of earshot of adults. <ahem> yeah…I clearly need to work on this one…..:-)

7) Do not comment on other people’s physical characteristics unless, of course, it’s to compliment them, which is always welcome.

8) When people ask you how you are, tell them and then ask them how they are. This applies to us both online and in person.

9) When you have spent time at a friend’s house [or at a live gathering or guested on someone else’s blog] remember to thank his or her parents [The event or blog host in our case] for having you over and for the good time you had.

10) Knock on closed doors – and wait to see if there’s a response – before entering. Respect others need for privacy. Before barging at someone with what you want, tap on their “door” and ask if they have a minute.

11) When you make a phone call, introduce yourself first and then ask if you can speak with the person you are calling. In other words, don’t assume everyone knows who you are.

12) Be appreciative and say “thank you” for any gift you receive. In the age of email, a handwritten thank-you notes can have a powerful effect.

13) Never use foul language in front of adults. Grown-ups already know all those words and they find them boring and unpleasant. Or as My Mother STILL says to me “if you all you use is swear words, people will think you don’t have a decent vocabulary.”

14) Don’t call people mean names.

15) Do not make fun of anyone for any reason. Teasing show others you are weak and ganging up on someone else is cruel.

16) Even if a play or an assembly is boring, with through it quietly and pretend you are interested. The performers and presenters are doing their best. (Or quietly excuse yourself. Nothing is ruder than talking and making racket while someone is making a presentation.)

17) If you bump into somebody, immediately say “Excuse Me.”

18) Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and don’t pick your nose in public.

19) As you walk through a door, look to see if you can hold it open for someone else. I think of this as “who can I help get where I am?”

20) If you come across a parent, teacher or a neighbor working on something, ask if you can help. If they say “yes”, do so – you may learn something new. As I teach my clients, if you want someone’s help on something you are working on, help them with something they are working on first.

21) When an adult asks you for a favor, do it without grumbling and with a smile. I’m not advocating actually doing every favor you are asked for, but if it is possible for you to do it, consider saying “Sure!” with a smile on your face.

22) When someone helps you, say “thank you.” That person will likely want to help you again.

23) Use eating utensils properly. If you are unsure how to do so, ask your parents to teach you or watch what adults do. (If you need to know why this matters, scroll back to the top of this post and see what My Mother The English Teacher has to say.)

24) Keep a napkin in your lap; use it to wipe your mouth when necessary.

25) Don’t reach for things at the table; ask to have them passed.

So there you are. Twenty-five manners that will open doors.

Would love to hear your thoughts about this whole idea. Are nice manners necessary? Do people who know how to behave in a way that puts others at ease get ahead? Or do the “rude, crude and boorish” (bonus points for guessing who loves to say that) get ahead because it is sensational?

Can’t wait to read your comments!

Here Comes the Summer!

April 13th, 2011

Can’t write this post without playing one of my all time favorite summer songs:

Here Comes the Summer

On Sunday night, I began the process called Planning the Summer. It involves 5 calendars, 4 highlighters, 1 really good pen, one credit card and lots of juggling.


Because I am putting together the Master Summer Plan for Team Robinson. Who is going to be where, when. Not an easy feat when I also have to factor in my business schedule and Turk Senior’s business schedule.

Which is why I’m starting the planning process now.

See, I’ve waited to plan. I’ve even not had a plan. I never, ever want to live through that train wreck again.

So, I plan it all out. When I will work. When Turk Senior will work. When we will carve out huge chunks of time to play as a family. What gets written down, gets done. And this is never more true than during the crazy, hazy days of summer.

And here’s the other thing I’ve learned over my years of coaching. LOTS of entrepreneurs slack off big time during the summer. And then play catch up for the rest of the fall.

If I stay on top of my game, I’m ahead of the game come September.

But I’m so not interested in sitting inside and working while the sun is shining and the swimming pool is calling my name. That is NOT why I own my own business.

So, I make a plan.

What’s your summer plan?

Question Everything

April 11th, 2011

Here’s the thing: most anyone you ask would agree that they absolutely, positively, without a doubt want to escape mediocrity. I mean, it’s a no-brainer, right? Who would say “No – I think I’ll settle for mediocre. That’s working for me.”?

And yet, that is exactly what many people do, day in and day out.


Because escaping the gravity pull of the mediocre is hard. Really hard. And, in general, human beings shy away from the really hard.

But, if you still want to raise your hand for this adventure, here’s the very first thing you must be willing to do:

Question Everything.

What do I mean by everything?

– Question the stories you tell yourself about what is and isn’t true.

– Question the ideas that you believe to be 100% accurate.

– Question the goals you’ve set and make sure they are yours and not someone else’s.

– Question everything you’ve learned and accepted as infallible.

– Question everyone who sets themselves up as a leader or a teacher.

– Question the business ideas that are believed to be “the gospel”.

– Question anyone and anything that ever makes you feel less than.

There are lots of other stuff to question, but this list should get you started.

You many chose to ask your questions privately – just you and you. You may choose to ask them out loud with a select group. Or you may choose to ask them on a big scale.

If you do chose to ask them out loud, be polite, never assume you are 100% correct and always leave room for different opinions. That is sort of the point of asking questions, right?

I want to prepare you for something, though. (No one prepared me for this, so I want to spare you the shock.)

If you chose to ask them out loud, some people will not be happy about the fact that you are questioning. Question-askers mess with the status quo and that makes many people uncomfortable. Especially if your questions a) make them start to question b) requires them to consider changing in any way.

We are creatures who enjoy comfort and predictability. We don’t want anyone spoiling that by rocking the boat. So if your questions involve other people, expect push back. Sometime hard push back.

If you are asking your questions out loud and they rattle cages, expect some people to suddenly go radio silent on you.  Like I said, those who ask questions can make some people uncomfortable.

The upside is that there will also be people who will encourage you to ask questions, support you as you seek out what is true, even walk along side you to make the journey more fun.

Asking questions is a tough road. It forces us to wake up from The Matrix and carve out our own reality. The great news is that it forces us to wake from The Matrix and carve out our own reality. 🙂

What say you? What are your thoughts and experiences about questioning everything?

Online Relationships Can Transform Your Business. Really.

April 6th, 2011

Earlier this morning, I put a call out on Twitter and Facebook for real-life examples of how relationships that began in those spaces evolved into something that changed a business and/or a life.

I asked because I am INTENSELY interested in the power relationships have to completely shift a person into high gear. And I could talk about it forever, but that would get rather dull, now wouldn’t it?!

Giving you REAL examples from REAL people with REAL businesses is a much more interesting picture. So, here are the responses people shared with me:

lisarobbinyoung@SarahRobinson In 2009 alone, $30k revenue directly from twitter. Still tabulating 2010, plus awesome relationships, connections, etc.
katjaib Impact of social relationships @SarahRobinson? For me, 7 new coaching clients in 1 month… all via twitter, no promo, no website.

Jennifer Linnell Fong I got my first speaking gig on Twitter, which led to my entire business!

jenlouden @SarahRobinson teaming up with@spiver &@pattidighto do writing workshop – next one this fall.
daniellemmiller@SarahRobinson meeting and connecting w/ShannonCherry was truly biz (& life) changing 4 me; she helped me figure wth I was doing, she’s been a mentor, friend, colleague, sister and cheerleader.
genuinechris@SarahRobinson… <—check that out. ;-). that’s your last call. ;-).
AmyOscar @SarahRobinson I found authors and editors and friends here on Twitter. Each has touched my life in some way. Some profoundly.
FrankDickinson@SarahRobinson I met@DannyBrown here. I know write for his For Bloggers By Bloggers = transformational for me and my biz.
Lori Burford Sauerwein I met Jen Fong and she in turn helped my company develop and execute our social media strategy.
lindaAWI @SarahRobinson Made valuable friend-have met F2F & he’s an awesome mentor who is being gr8 friend as well as wise advisor!
andreapatten @SarahRobinson Ths is where I found @TheGoldenRuleVA ~ Best assistant (virtual or otherwise) ever. Creates systems tht allow me freedom
DaffronMkt @sarahrobinson Jodi’s Law NY Times article due to relationships here! 12for12k is helping me launch our first fundraiser@dannybrownrocks
and what he’s doing to improve other’s quality of life. It’s organic and feels like something even I can do!
sandalwoodpics@SarahRobinson our chat last week helped encourage me to not give up on my dream of being a photographer despite challenges in front of me.


Pretty awesome, isn’t it? So many businesses and lives changed by relationships that started out online. Who’d a thunk it?!

The problem is lots of people have a ton of friends and followers online, but they have no idea how to easily take them to the next level.

Because this idea is so rich, I am holding a conference call to talk more about it. AND I’ve asked some business owners I know (Not big famous name people. People who just run really great businesses) to stop by and share their best online business relationship building tips.

The Business Power of Online Relationships Call

The Call is over – but here is the recording!!

AND – my powerful course “Building Meaningful Online Relationships (that support your meaningful work)” closes TONIGHT (Friday, April 8) at 11:59 pm EST. Click here to grab your seat before they go poof!

The Business Power of Online Relationships Call


Talk then!!


April 4th, 2011


First, I want to say a heart-felt thank you to everyone who commented on last week’s post, Bewildered. Friends old and new stopped by to share incredible thoughts and wisdom. This post sparked two things 1) other people’s posts sharing their thoughts and viewpoint on their blogs and Facebook pages and 2) some controversy (not really surprised by that).

When this kind of thing happens, I ALWAYS check in with my friends (who happen to be colleagues) so that I stay centered and grounded, ready for whatever comes next. Without them, I would be like a pinball in a pinball machine, pinging around, rocketing in whatever direction someone or something pushed me.

Which brings me to the point of today’s post.

As your online career advances, one of the most vital resources you MUST have to hold steady and do your meaningful work is a group of what I call Co-Conspirators. (I wrote an article in my newsletter, Escape Notes, not too long ago about some of my co-conspirators. Not a subscriber? You can fix that here.)

The very best group of co-conspirators brings together a great mix of perspectives. My group contains people who’ve been in business along side me since the beginning, peers who are experts in their fields who started off as casual associates and are now dear friends, former business coaches, and people who are viewed as top experts who’ve walked this path ahead of me and know way more than I do.

This wide variety of perspectives is incredibly valuable to me whether I’m dealing with a bit of controversy, vetting a new business idea, or looking for a partner-in-crime for a project I’m working on. Not a day goes by that I don’t communicate with at least three of my co-conspirators about something.

And no, it’s not always about me. Part of the secret to the relationships is that I give support, ideas and energy to their meaningful work just as they give to mine. It’s symbiotic.

It’s also the stuff of life and business transformation.

If I can recommend one single thing you can do to take yourself to the level you know you are meant for, it’s build your circle of co-conspirators. Intentionally seek out and establish those relationships.  Check in regularly. Ask how you can help. Find ways to work together and support each other.

It will make all the difference in the world. Promise.

And if you need some help and direction on building your group of co-conspirators, check out my latest course, Building Meaningful Online Relationships (that support your meaningful work).  Hurry, though. Registration closes THIS Friday, April 8.