As I was leaving my Pilates class today, a friend and I started to talk about life. We were sharing how much we love the Sunday Pilate’s class that Lois teaches and how motivated we felt after class. Lois is not only a good teacher; she has what we call, “a great soul.” Life is important to her.
My friend said she felt she had an “obligation to be positive and enjoy life.” I laughed and said, “That sounds like another job and I don’t know if I want one.” We laughed and she went further.
“I think about the present and don’t go to the future. This way, I always invest in whatever the moment brings. I want my children to understand how important the present is. “What do you think?” she asked. Is it important to live in the present?
First I shared the story about my next door neighbor who was absent at our “porch” get together last night. When someone asked where he was, his wife said he was sulking because he had a birthday the next day. Apparently he had a melt down and went to bed. I thought, is that a luxury or a disease? Why do adults get depressed on their birthdays? Kids don’t.
(Wow, what a great conversation we are having in the “Y” parking lot. This will make today worth remembering. )
I, like many, often fight to live in the present. It’s easy to think ahead to next week; friends I’m going to see or my Sunday Pilates class. If you reflect on it, today is the day you looked forward to last week. I told her if I don’t stay with today, it has very little meaning. It’s like devaluing the day, and I forget to put my effort into enjoying the day and making it wonderful. When we don’t look forward to something—when we don’t enjoy it—we aren’t very present in that current moment. It’s like life is just passing by, and we’re just waiting for it to pass so we can get on with the more fun or interesting parts of each day. Isn’t it a terrible way to use up a precious day?
We all know what it’s like to lose someone we love or something that was important to us. If we invest in the present, we will know we’ve loved the best we can and something great is bound to come out of it. We just have to make it happen.
It doesn’t matter how simple or magnificent the day is; it may be just enjoying the rain.
If we’re lucky, today will come so why not make it the best day ever? When you think about it, life is just a series of experiences linked together by our thoughts about them. Like a string of pearls, they surround our being.
Let’s focus on having them free rather than strangle us. Okay, she did say let’s go kayaking after one of our classes. Just having the conversation was good; we do need things to look forward too.
If you do the best you can for today, you’ll never be disappointed in yourself. Need some cheering up? Check out my book, “Birds Don’t Get Stuck in Flypaper.”
Lisbeth Calandrino has been providing business strategies to the floor covering industry for over twenty years. Her training focus includes Powerful Sales Closing and Communication Skills, Customer Service Training and Social Media Marketing. She authors a column for Floor Focus and is Associate Publisher for Fabulous Floors Magazine.
Some people are naturally charming.
We are naturally drawn to people who are polite and make us feel important. Being charming is a nice trait to have in both our personal and business life.
My dad was charming. You always felt important in his presence; he would smile, touch your arm, or give you a hug if appropriate. One thing about him, he invariably made eye contact with this huge smile on his face. His smile made his eyes light up.
“Smiling with your eyes, or “smizing” is called the “Duchenne smile.” This is named after the French physician Guillaume Duchenne, who studied the physiology of facial expressions in the nineteenth century. The Duchenne is considered a “real smile.”
A child in my kindergarten class once told me a smile was when the corners of your mouth touch your eyes.” She may have been right.
It’s said that learning how to give a ‘real smile’ will change your life! It sends a warm and friendly greeting to the other person. I haven’t done any research, but a Duchenne smile takes practice. The key is to get your eye muscles to be involved! Check on YouTube to see how to deliver that ‘real smile.’
I don’t want you to think that being charming is a “fake state of mind.” On some level, we all want to be liked and can build rapport. I have a next-door neighbor who is always saying that ‘no one likes her.’ She never talks to anyone, unless they talk to her and is suspicious of why they don’t invite her to their parties. One of the keys to being liked is showing people that you really enjoy them. In my neighborhood, all she would have to do is say hello!
Some people a “genuinely like other people and know how to show it.” If you’re not comfortable building rapport, here are 7 tips for you.
Greet people as if they’re famous! I love this. It means you’re glad to see them. If you have a friend who suggested you meet, that’s even better. This can just make the meeting more fun.
Assume that people like you. I have found this to be very useful. Instead of looking for cues, why not just approach them and show them you’re interested? Even if it’s a conversation about the weather, start talking and see where it goes. Don’t forget that smile!
Show them you’re interested in them. If it’s a business meeting, and you know who will be there, go on social media and find out about them. Linked In can certainly give you information about their business profile and Facebook or Instagram will tell you more about their personal interests.
Be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to share personal information about yourself. Being vulnerable always brings down one’s guard and makes people feel closer. I don’t mean sharing information on your business; I’m talking about something that’s happened in your personal life. For more information on being vulnerable, just click the link.
Be yourself. There’s the face we wear for business (what we want people to think about us) and the ‘real us.’ Don’t be afraid to share some of the ‘feeling you’ if you want to start to build a long-term friendship.
Can you pass the waiter test? If you want to know what someone is really like, have dinner with them. How do they treat people when they think someone is beneath them? To they have the same manners. Do you remember your manners? You know, the manners your mother taught you. No one gets a pass on being rude to the server.
Be great with names. I will do a seminar and sometimes there are hundreds of people; I try my best to remember their names. I’ve found taking pictures with them, and then tagging them on social media really helps. I look for them on LinkedIn and Google. I think learning people’s names is really an art.
make the cut. His reaction? “If you hang around the barbershop long enough, you’re bound to get a haircut!”
Cute right? Denzel had to hang around plenty of shops before he got his. One thing that scared him professionally was he couldn’t sing. He failed many times while waiting for that haircut, and then it happened.
Famous baseball player Reggie Jackson struck out 2600 times during his career. In fact, he amassed the most strikeouts in the history of baseball. Jackson also hit 563 home runs during his career and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Following in the footsteps of The Babe, he also had a candy bar named after him in 1978.
This year, I visited the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Meyers, Florida. I still find it hard to believe that Thomas Edison actually made one thousand light bulbs before one actually worked. Edison said every failure brought him closer to success. Obviously, he wasn’t afraid of being called ‘stupid’ because isn’t that what we’re afraid people will call us? Maybe that’s where the ‘fake it until you make it’ came from. The key is to get over being stupid, obviously stupid is a good thing.
Wow, what an attitude. Edison spent his entire life trying to synthesize rubber. He imported plants and trees from all over the world before finding one that was capable of producing the needed product. By the way, I don’t think he ever got a haircut.
I watched Denzel Washington give his commencement address to the 2017 Penn State graduating class. Denzel said there was nothing as frightening as giving that speech; he had never seen so many people watch him. Most watch him in his movies when he’s not in the audience.
The message, of course, is that we will all fail. And every time we fail, we will be closer to success. This is a great message for all of us. Seth Godin wrote a wonderful book entitled, “What to do when it’s Your Turn—and it’s Always Your Turn.” If it’s easy and fun and guaranteed to work of course you can do it.
How often do you say yes or do you spend so much time thinking your turn is gone? How many times have you thought about going to a movie but didn’t go because the coming attraction didn’t appeal to you? We want reassurance that the movie will be good before we go.
If you are willing to always be ‘up’ for your turn you will have your opportunity to make a change in this world and to realize your true potential.
Here is the link to the YouTube video of Denzel’s speech. It is only 22 minutes long and well worth listening to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAv_Bxrkwkk
Lisbeth Calandrino has been coaching business owners and salespeople for over 20 years. For more info. on Lisbeth, check out her web site, lisbethcalandrino.com, or email her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.
The thought of an elephant in a phone booth brings up an interesting visual. I know you’re thinking how did he get in there and what does it mean? What we’re actually talking about is the bowing industry. I recently spoke with a talented marketer, Fred Kaplowitz who spent much of his life gentleman who has spent much of his life moving the bowling industry forward. I ask Fred if he would give me the scoop on bowling and in the bowling industry.
What makes this even more interesting is the challenged faced by this industry has been faced by other business; some that have not been so lucky.
The earliest known forms of bowling date back to ancient Egypt. Remnants of balls used at the time were found among artifacts in ancient Egypt going back to the Egyptian period in 3200 BC. Balls were made using the husks of grains, covered in a material such as leather, and bound with string.
Today, bowling is played by 100 million people in more than 90 countries including 68 million people in the United States.
But bowling hasn’t always been this popular.
After a growth spurt following WWII through the late 60’s and early 70’s, bowling started to lose its appeal and many bowling centers began closing. Some closed because the value of the real estate was very high and land developers were offering high prices. Others closed because the cost of modernizing their centers and bringing into the modern era was more than they could afford…and the owners were getting too old to want to take on more debt. Others closed, simply because the market was overbuilt. By the late 90’s, only 4,000 USA bowling centers existed; down from more than 8,000 centers in the late 60s
So how did bowling remain popular, reinvigorate itself and become relevant to the millennials, to families and to seniors?
Let’s start in the late 70’s when I joined an organization called the National Bowling Council, the promotional arm of the sport. I had been recruited from a major advertising agency and offered a relatively lucrative contract to become the first Marketing VP of this fledgling organization founded by the sanctioning bodies of bowling at the time (The American Bowling Congress (ABC) for men and the Women’s International Bowling Congress (WIBC) for women along with the major manufacturers, Brunswick and AMF, and the Bowling Proprietor Association of America (BPAA).
While these 5 organizations funded the Council, they each had different agendas. The sanctioning bodies wanted more “league bowler membership”; the manufacturers wanted to sell more bowling equipment, and the proprietor association wanted more customers.
It was quite a quandary in which I found myself. The future of bowling was discussed at Council meetings, committee meetings and almost everywhere I went, industry executives were asking what the future was. Everybody has an opinion, but there were few facts. So one of the very first big ventures I undertook was to uncover some facts, do some research of existing league bowlers, casual bowlers, non-bowlers and try to find out why they did or dint bowl, what they really thought about people who bowled or didn’t bowl and what would it take to get them to bowl more. At the same time, I conducted focus groups with major advertisers and package good companies as well as media people to find out what they too thought of bowling.
After about six months of due diligence, I presented my findings and recommendations. When I was finished, the room remained quiet as 12 high powered executives sat in stunned silence.
Then the President of Brunswick and, at the time, the Chairman of the Council said,
“Fred, I don’t know how you did what you did in the past six months, but you have just painted an extraordinary strategic change for this industry. Each of the members of this organization will have to take a long and hard look at them, if your research and recommendations are valid and how we will have to look at our industry in a different way.”
I was soon bombarded with questions about my research methodologies and if my sample size was correct and on and on. I had thought of all of these questions and was smart enough to have the research people at all of the 5 organizations involved in the research process; checking my work and recommendations every step along the way. I had defused what could have been a very difficult (and very political) internal issue.
What did I find out – now remember this is the late 70’s:
- Bowling’s image at the time was one of a blue collar sport; Archie Bunker and Ralph Kramden, as well as Fred Flintstone, were the characters most associated with bowling across almost every researched segment, except for the league bowlers who classified themselves as “middle class working men and women.” And “no Ralph Kramden.”
- Baby boomers (then 18 to 35) accounted for 72 million Americans or about 35% of the population once liked bowling and did it frequently as a child or young teen, but now they viewed bowling as “old, not modern, bad food, unclean and not the place they would want to go with a date or a spouse.”
- Non-bowlers and casual bowlers did not want to join a league because it meant a commitment of 36 weeks, cost too much money and they felt they weren’t good enough. Further, they felt that when they wanted to bowl, the bowling center near them never had available lanes because “Ralph and Archie” were always bowling there, swigging beer and smoking cigarettes; and the boomers were the first group to think about healthy options.
- Most people didn’t feel they could bowl well enough to have fun, so in their opinion, it was “why bother doing something if I’m not good enough at it.”Advertisers and media people felt that bowling was too downscale to associate their product and unless it was beer or cigarettes and maybe a cereal brand, batteries or pizza; they saw no relevance for their brand.
- Most people viewed bowling as “old, not modern and not exciting.”
We went to work. Over the next 25 years, I was a one-man band, picking up followers along the way, changing jobs to work for Brunswick as VP Marketing, then as Marketing VP for a major bowling center chain (Bowling Corporation of America) that owned 63 bowling centers across the USA and then as an independent marketing consultant, coach, speaker and educator to bowling industry executives and proprietors.
Here was my mantra:
- Manufacturers had to provide exciting products that proprietors could buy at reasonable prices and get a satisfactory ROI that would excite the consumer to try bowling and then get him/her to come back. This led to the introduction of the automatic scorer, the laminated lane. Glow bowling lights and fog systems, and black lights that would illuminate the carpet, the lanes, and the sidewalls!
- More new products were to follow with softer couch style seating, private banquet, and party rooms, real cafes and restaurants, better and more exciting food offerings. Adult beverages that were more sophisticated than just “a shot and a beer.” Music, music and more music. Bands were introduced at bowling centers. Portable stages were built for the bands and comedians that would occasionally perform.
- Proprietors had to learn to market their bowling center. They had to learn about the media. Later they had to learn about websites, social media marketing and what the hell “a twitter”. They had to STOP doing only PRICE promotions and calling it marketing. My job was to educate them on what marketing was; to teach them how to plan and then how to implement and modify their plan, as needed, for the best possible results. At the same time, I had to train these folks on what customer service was, what good customer service was and that excellent customer service is an expected aspect of consumer expectations.
- I had to teach them about attracting families via birthday parties, how to use direct mail (back then) to reach households with children between the ages of 6 and 12 years of age who were having birthdays in the ensuing months and how to reach them, and further, to develop a mailing list, which eventually morphed into a database with email addresses and cell phone.
- I also built fundraising packages and corporate party programs that included more than just pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers and taught them how to promote the programs, measure results and make changes on the fly.. We demonstrated to them how to get corporations to book parties; get manufacturers to build automated reservation systems and trained employees on simple items such as phone answering etiquette.
- We also predicted that the traditional bowling center, if it was to survive long term, needed to evolve into a family entertainment center that included other venues like video game rooms, climbing walls, laser tag, bumper cars, and virtual reality booths.
- Manufacturers were constantly encouraged to research consumer needs and tastes for new attractions that can be added to the basic game of bowling such as “colored lanes, bumpers that pop up when younger children bowl to help them get a score as opposed to throwing the ball into the gutter, which in the past discouraged them from wanting to bowl.
- The membership or sanctioning bodies have taken years to consolidate and eliminate waste by forming one organization called USBC, the United States Bowling Congress. This organization concentrates more on educating and training younger people, offering scholarships and getting bowling into over 1,000 high schools and colleges today than ever before while still performing their duties as being the sanctioning arm and rules maker of the sport.
- While league membership in traditional 36 week leagues has fallen dramatically, the offerings of new products which we introduced in the early 80’s such as 8 week leagues, split season leagues, “bad bowler” leagues”, “have a ball leagues” and other premium leagues gave the non-bowler and the casual bowler a choice of buying different bowling “products”; thus more participation and more frequency by the existing bowler.
Many of the changes that are happening today were predicted 40 years ago and all because someone was curious enough to get the facts, to go to the source – the customer – and ask a few questions. This process has been repeated many times over the years. Certainly, my team has done it as well as manufacturers, proprietors and membership organizations.
They have all learned that it is better to ask than to guess. Better to have a marketing mindset, than flying blind. Today the industry is more marketing savvy than ever, healthier than ever and looking for new products and services to offer the consumer.
I am very humbled and gratified to have been a major player in this industry’s transformation.
Lisbeth Calandrino.com writes a weekly success blog for the Albany Times Union. She can be reached at Lcalandrino.com.