Monday, June 30, 2014

Public Speaking – Top 3 Tips of All Time!

I speak at many professional conferences and I do different media interviews. Did I take an advanced course in public speaking? No! Am I now comfortable with this task? Yes. However, this wasn’t a born gift or something I loved doing right out of the gate, it took lots of practice.

Tonight, I want to share my top 3 tops for public speaking. I hope you enjoy them.

#1. Cortisol is secreted by your adrenal glands when you’re anxious or stressed. So, how do you get rid of it? Exercise. That’s right, go for a walk or do sit ups about 20 minutes before you have to deliver a speech or a presentation and the anxiety will almost be non-existent.

#2. Set up a goal for the speech. Don’t just think of yourself as delivering a speech. Think about the ROI from the speech- either for you or your company. Next, set up a goal and work throughout the presentation or speech to reach this goal.

#3. Don’t read your slides! People will scan your slides. They don’t want any slides read to them. You are to present and speak to the people, recycling the information in the slide into something that connects with the audience. Simply reading a slide is boring and you will bore the audience.

I’m confident these tips will help you get through your next speech or presentation.

Until next time,
Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, June 27, 2014

Two of the Worst Employees – Ever

It is costly to replace a bad employee. Thus, many employers try to use corrective tools and training to offset employee issues. Well, this doesn’t always work. There are two types of employees that will not mold into honorable staff members simply because of personality traits.

The first is the social butterfly. This person is the talker in the group. He or she spends 20 minutes stopping by offices to chat when he or she should be working. Next up, lunch and then the walk back from lunch and then a stop in the bathroom to chat up someone else…. Their work hours are minimal even though they are at the office 8 hours a day.

The second is the TMI employee, yes- as in too much information. This person (sometimes often the same as the social butterfly) brings drama into the office and creates distraction for other employees from goals, work and even customer service. This type of employee thrives on sharing intimate details from personal life, the juicier the better. Not only are they unproductive, the information they share can make others uncomfortable and but you at legal risk!

If you have employees like the ones noted above- start with corrective action and speak with your legal team about their exit strategy.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Inspiring Team Work

It isn’t easy to get a group to start moving when it comes to work. Everyone usually stares at one another wondering who is going to be the project manager, which is a dreaded position since The Apprentice television show debuted.

Well, no longer do you (or your group) have to worry about team work or group projects. I have some amazing tips to scale massive projects as a group and eliminate in-fighting, etc.

1. Text message everyone the goal. Have them all respond with ‘I Understand and will work towards it.’ Sounds silly? First, you are eliminating any confusion as to what the goal is (yes, people will have to check this as they get deeper in) and 2) you are holding them accountable by asking them to reply. Now, they own the task with the group as their name and number is on a text stating they understand and will work towards the goal. They can’t be lazy and then place blame on the project manager- period!

2. Don’t rely on people to self-assign tasks. Instead, stand up and ask who wants to assign the tasks. If no one, you do it. And assign the tasks with a deadline date and a check-in date. Next, assign yourself two additional check-in dates. I promise you this process works.

3. Encourage people to take risks. If someone else is the project manager, do this on a personal level. Tell everyone they are going to do a great job in a personal way and get them passionate about the project by talking specifically about how their role will make the project glow!

Let me know how this works out for you and your group next time you have to work as a team.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Free Underwear!

For today’s Homeland Security blog, I want to share an article courtesy of the Houston Press. Today, the newspaper had this to say, “If you're in the underwear-selling business, you've got a customer in the Department of Homeland Security.

Homeland Security is looking to buy thousands of pairs of men's, from size medium to 6X-large. (Who knew such a size existed?)

A solicitation posted earlier this month by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement explains that the department is looking to buy 3,500 pairs of men's underwear. The order is to be sent to El Paso.

As seen on CBS' website, Breitbart reported ICE has recently had an influx of detained immigrants awaiting deportation.

In the event you've got a couple hundred pairs of medium tighty whiteys around that you think you could sell to Homeland Security, the solicitation says "no partial shipments are permitted unless specifically authorized at the time of award." Darn.”

While the story is entertaining, the issue itself is no joke. People often don’t realize how expensive it is to house (repeatedly) those who enter this country illegally. Everything from food and shelter to underwear and flip flops costs money, and we are sustaining these expenses. It is even more irritating when you consider the now thousands of veterans who are not receiving proper care of benefits. Where is the boundary line?

So, on the Wednesday, I encourage you to do more research on where you stand on the issue of illegal immigration and the true cost it has on our country. Do you agree with how much and how we spend these funds? Do you feel like speaking up at a Town Hall meeting? Think about how you can help change the many issues- on both sides of the argument- associated with spending money to sustain illegal immigrants.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

5 Ways to Be A Better Business Person

There are a few unsaid rules in business that will help you go far. I wanted to share these rules on today’s blog so those of you left out of the loop stand a chance when it comes to etiquette. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to own a business to be part of the loop, you simply have to want growth as a dedicated professional in any industry.

Here we go:

1. Never over-promise results. Make sure you under promise and over deliver to be a rock star out of the gate each and every day!

2. You want to be professionally mature, not college cool so check your verbiage. Do you use slang? If so, stop. It downgrades you as a professional and people tend not trust you with major projects.

3. Stay away from political or religious conversations. Remember, it isn’t what you say or don’t say – it is how you say it. There is no right way to talk politics or religion with clients or co-workers, so stay away from these topics.

4. Don’t decorate your office or cubical. Why? It opens you up for unfair judgment by colleagues, clients and even the boss. Keep it simple, keep impersonal if you do feel the urge to decorate. Remember, you’re at work, not home. You don’t need photos of family, etc. everywhere!

5. Recognize and reschedule if someone’s day is getting away from them. If a business meeting is delayed until next week, it will be more productive than a rushed and distracted meeting today so it is always best to revisit important items when everyone has the time and focus to dedicate to the matter.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, June 23, 2014

Communication – Your Relationship with Others

As a business woman, I am required to build different types of relationships with diverse groups of people. Not only does this help amplify my business efforts, it helps my industry grow as a whole. So, I am expected to develop and nurture professional relationships. This is why I wanted to dedicate today’s blog post to the art of communicating / relating with others.

If you want to develop and nurture a professional relationship or communicate something – stay away from social media. Sure, it is easier but there is a lack of personal response that is lost with the medium. It isn’t hard or time consuming to take a person out for coffee… just make sure you stay off your phone when speaking with him or her. A simple communication break over a latte can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your business.

My key point to communication and building relationships is actually knowing the person outside his or her LinkedIn profile. You need to sit, meet and speak with them, not just IM or @ them via social media. Plus, social media is responsible for a lot of misinterpreted tones and failed chances for business deals.

Take the time this week to get to know one new business contact over coffee. I promise you, you will be glad you did!

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, June 20, 2014

Saying ‘No’ to Clients

There is a time and a place to put customer service on the back burner and say ‘no’ to a client. For many business owners, this is a hard thing to do. It means turning down money, which we never want to do. However, sometimes you have to look the other way and ignore the cash.

If a client is taking advantage of your good nature, and asking for extra services / products- it is time to lay down the law. ‘No’ can be an empowering word and you don’t have to be mean when you say it. There are polite ways to decline a request, such as stating “I am going to have to politely decline this time.”

The reason I bring this up is because most business owners are people pleasers. We tend to take on a lot and figure out a way to work out the overload at a later date… or worse- put ourselves at the point of financial harm.

My advice for you this Friday is to know when to say ‘no’ and then to be strong when saying it. If a client cuts off your services because you aren’t willing to 1) work for free 2) be overloaded or 3) can’t break an ethical position – that client isn’t worth having.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

7 Billion for Border Security

Last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2015 spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security. Overall, the bill recommends spending $39.2 billion on DHS next year. Don't believe me? Here's the link to the actual press release stating this:

According to the release, "The bill provides $39.2 billion in discretionary funding for DHS. This is a decrease of $50 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level, but an increase of $887.8 million above the President’s request for these programs. The bill also includes a total of $7 billion, the same as the President’s request, in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster funding to help states and communities respond and recover from unexpected disasters."

The reason I am sharing this with you on today’s Homeland Security blog is the same as why I have been harping on border security in just about every Homeland Security blog post ….money. There is no amount of money that will circumvent this problem. As long as people understand that we spend more money blocking people from coming versus allocating resources to handle these situations on a case-by-case basis once they are on, we will continue to have issues!

Many people who cross into this country are arrested for violent crimes. This isn’t a blanket statement as much as it is statistically proven. There are real security threats associated with this problem. Then you have children crossing in search of a better life or those who have been brought over to use as sex slaves in the human trafficking arena. We need to use more common sense than actual cents to alleviate the challenges that come with maintaining border security.

he committee report includes $7.5 million for 22 mobile video surveillance systems, $10 million to make infrastructure improvements for upgraded remote video surveillance systems and $10 million for unattended ground sensors and imaging sensors, a cross border tunnel threat analysis of alternatives and a communications study. Where is the money for the resources once someone gets by the border? And they will get by the border- even with the increases!

We need to ask how we can help those seeking a better life and how we can punish those who cross illegally and then commit crimes. Our standards as to how we help or handle situations needs to be addressed. Anyone can throw money at a disaster, it doesn’t mean the dollars squash the rain.

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Private Life- How Your Business Is Different From You!

If you own a business you know there is hardly any time for a personal life. If you are the figurehead for this business, life becomes even more hard as people put you under a microscope 24/7. So, how do you move forward with a personal life that is private and away from your business brand?

First, make sure your personal social media accounts are not connected to your business accounts. If you do connect these two things, understand you are “on call” for your business 24/7 regardless of what the issue may be. It is possible an angry client will send you a personal message (or worse, post a public wall) at two in the morning. I suggest you keep these account separate for obvious reasons.

Second, make sure you never take a photo with a drink in your hand. I know this sounds odd, but trust me on this one. It is a business decision that will take you a lot further then it will backwards. Photos of professionals out drinking can equal disaster when it comes to your reputation vs. client confidence. So, pause the picture to allow time for you to put the drink down.

Finally, keep office hours as office hours. If you spend too much time answering phones and emails after business hours then no one will respect your off hours as just this!

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, June 16, 2014

Email is Ruining Business, Here’s Why!

Many people believe answering emails immediately is a good thing. After all, doing this displays how responsive and customer service orientated you are, right? Wrong. The truth is, study after study has been done on the immediate emailed response and if it is actually a good business practice. It turns out, it isn’t.

Constant mobile or desktop emails takes away from actual productivity and creativity. Many studies recommend you only option to check email three times a day and you shouldn’t ever host it on your smartphone device. If someone needs to talk, then can call or text you to setup a time.

Emailing can also create project distractions and overcomplicate tasks. Nothing beats being productive more than taking short breaks for an inspiring walk or actually doing the work. So, this week try to keep emails in check by only checking them three times a day.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Gaining the RIGHT Investor

Someone wrote into the blog asking how they should develop an investment sheet. When I asked what this person meant by “investment sheet”, he replied stating it was a static sheet that had all his facts and figures on it but where he could change the name of the investor being pitched. First, this is a horrible idea. We all know when someone is handing us a stock letter with a customized name on it. I obtain mail and SPAM like this daily. Don’t ever template out your investment pitches.

All this said, I want to offer my readers a few tips on how to obtain the right investor- not just any investor. Relationships are key in business, especially when the involve money. You want your investor to understand investment options and percentages as much as they understand the concept of your company.

Always present multiple investment options upfront. This way, you don’t have the option of receiving an across the board no. This also helps invite the right investor to counteract with different options for you to consider and it opens up a dialogue, thus building a relationship. Once a relationship is built, it is harder for the investor to say ‘no’ and not select one of the options on the table.

There is nothing template about asking for money. Sure, facts and figures need to be included in a presentation, but they shouldn’t be the main force behind the presentation.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Internal Customer Service

People often ask me about providing customer service. My company, IME, does an amazing job at providing stellar customer service. The trick to providing great external customer services is to provide even better internal customer service. Yes, employees providing customer service to one another is the secret to success when it comes to customer service.

I tell my clients to mimic and then change the tone of a situation that may escalate with either a customer or a co-worker and it works. If someone starts to elevate his or her voice, you do it as well- but briefly. Raise your voice to regain their attention and then calmly lower your voice, changing the tone to positively express your message. If someone crosses their arms in anger then you should do the same, just make sure you transition to unfolding your arms and speaking with a welcome body image to showcase a willingness to listen, change action and welcome feedback.

All of this may sound hokey but it does work. The next time you are in a debate with someone – anyone- remember to mimic and then to change the mimic into a positive stance or tone. I can promise you external and internal customer relations will change for the better. Your profit margins will thank you!

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

3 Companies You Can Start for Under $4k

Someone once told me it takes money to make money. Well, yes- sometimes this is true. However, there are countless million dollar companies that started off as bootstrap businesses- sometime only on a hundred dollars or a few thousand dollars.

I wanted to share my thoughts on three types of businesses you can start right now without spending more than four grand.

No.1: An expert witness company. Imagine being paid for your opinion and insight. Well, this company makes money doing just this! If you have an expertise that could be useful in legal cases, you can market yourself to attorneys to act as an expert witness.

No. 2: Personal concierge company. If you are big on details, high-end shopping and are not afraid to work alongside CEOs and celebrities- this business platform is a great option. The most likely clients for a personal concierge service are top executives who find themselves at the office by 7 a.m. and are there most nights until 9 p.m., leaving them very little time to do all those things that often need to be done during those very hours, which is where your company comes in!

No. 3: Graffiti removal. Perfect for large cities and you can obtain both personal clients and even government ones, too. Create an arsenal of cleaning products that can clean almost every kind of product (paint, chalk, markers) from every kind of surface (cement, wood, pavement). The best way to conduct a graffiti service is to offer a subscription-like arrangement. Once a month or whatever interval makes sense for your clients, go around to their property and clean off the graffiti.

I don’t think you need more than a grant to start any one of the above companies, but if you can start off with more money as part of an ad campaign- the better!

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, June 9, 2014

Secret Marketing Tricks

To continue my blog theme on marketing this month, I wanted to address some of the “tricks” used by marketing professionals. Rather than just point them out, I’m noting how you can incorporate them into your day-to-day operations.

The first trick is social media boosting. Facebook is showing only 6 percent of a business' content to their fan base. If you have more than 100 likes on your page, a 'boost' button will appear at the bottom of each post. Use it. For less than $30, you can get your message out to thousands of unique users. This trick is a great tool for new businesses seeking to establish their brand early on. You’re not paying for Likes, you’re paying for content ads.

The second trick is using Twitter to promote everything without ever promoting anything. How does it work? Well, you have to engage with other companies, your customers and thought leaders in your market. If you can retweet their tweets and add your thoughts, you will boost your audience without coming out of pocket. Respond to tweets that aren’t directed at you and give your thoughts on those. If you do this, your following will go up and your crossover leads / ROI will too!

Finally, set up Google alerts on your competition. You can do this simply be typing in the phrase “Google Alerts” into Google’s search engine. You will have to create a gmail account (or not, but it is easier to work with one) and then you can get a leg up on what your competition is doing sent right to your email box. Then, you can beat the competition by using Twitter and boosted Facebook posts to counteract or offer better opinions / deals.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Friday, June 6, 2014


”Um” is an unfortunate part of the English language. There is no purpose for it. It should be replaced with either “I don’t know” or “I’ll find out and get back with you”, however we stall instead of admitting we don’t know everything and use “um”. Well, stop. It makes you look incompetent.

Start forgetting the “um” by allowing yourself to pause. Typically, people tend to use “um” because they either don’t want to admit they don’t know something or they need a second to rethink their response. There is no rule stating you can’t pause to think. So, pause to think and refrain from the use of “um”.

Another way to start forgetting the “um” is to tape yourself speaking about yourself. The trick is to speak for two and a half minutes. So, set up a timer and your webcamera. Speak for two and a half minutes straight and speak only about your personal life, not your professional life. Elevator pitches are practiced. Act as if you are on a late night talk show and you have to share something specifically about your personal life. When you finish filming, don’t watch the video. Instead, walk away.

Watch the video you recorded a week later. Count the “ums”, the “likes” and other words that are not needed in your speech. Then, make a weekly video where you consciously try to either pause or select other words when speaking about yourself. Repeat the same process (waiting a week to watch) and note your progress. This method does help correct the “um” problem.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Success 102.

I have composed a blog post or two on Success 101. Well, what happens after you have mastered the basics? You keep learning! That’s why tonight’s blog post is dedicated to the next level of achieving success.

There are two things you need to do once you start bringing in a profit. The first is to find ways to cut expenses without cutting your marketing or PR budget. This means seeking out new vendors, looking for qualified employees who can work for less, or downsizing your office’s address. Whatever it takes to save a buck, with the exception downsizing your marketing budget, do it!

Develop an app. Yes, a mobile website isn’t the same as an app. You should have an app simply for branding purposes but apps can actually find customers for you in the iTunes store and other app vendors. So, don’t skip over this need only because your website is a mobile –friendly site. There is something to having a customized app.

These are two of many things you need to continue to do in order to grow your company and find continued success. Still have questions? Connect with me on social media!

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Marketing, Are You At A Standstill?

I often watch new business owners put aside 5k for a marketing budget (based on a year) and then spend most of it during the first three months. They wait, wait and wait some more and still- there is no engagement. What happened?

Well, nothing. To be blunt, marketing isn’t a magic wand and it doesn’t reap rewards quickly. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of many marketing campaigns. Months of A/B split testing, checking out editorial calendars, etc. So, you need to open your budget more, target the right audience, and use multiple venues / avenues to get your message across.

Repetition is key. Three months of advertising o the same channel isn’t going to launch your business. You will find yourself at a standstill. My best advice is to have a realistic budget and then expectations (time wise) for your layered marketing campaign.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

3 Ways to Get Your Way

I get my way often. Many people ask “how do you do it?”, easy. The key to getting what you want is simple.

Be clear. Don’t hint at what you want, ask for it and do so nicely. People who aren’t assertive will not be in charge of their destiny. The worst that can happen is someone says ‘no’, and they will. But, if you ask often enough and many people, eventually someone has to say ‘yes.’

Be concise. People don’t need a big explanation to support your request. In fact, it makes them nervous, like they are being sold a bill of goods. If you are to the point, people will appreciate it. If you are transparent and come from a good place, then you are off to a great start.

Be confident. No one trusts someone who can’t look them in the eye. Be confident when asking for something or trying to convince someone of your argument. If you believe in yourself, others will too.

I hope this helps you. Again, being honest is always the best policy so make sure you are coming from a positive place when using these three tips and tricks.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, June 2, 2014

When You Stop Caring......

I know, the title of today’s blog is shocking. How could one “not care” when it comes to their business? Well, burn out is a real thing and most business owners are serial entrepreneurs who , once something works, are on to bigger and better things- leaving the old idea to run itself like a well-oiled machine.

If you have stopped caring (or no longer care as much) then keep reading. Below are my top three tips to reenergize your passion!

#1. Spend time volunteering for those who aren’t as fortunate as you right now. Nothing helps you understand why you should care, and how tangible everything truly is, more than a slice of humble pie! So, walk among the people who could really benefit from your time and money and understand why it is important to care. You could grow your business to help benefit non-profit groups or hire people who need a hand up.

#2. Kill your marketing department’s efforts for a month and see how things go. I promise you no matter how well your business is performing, it will never work at full capability without your marketing department. So, make the changes and then figure out how to help your marketing department.

#3. Take a vacation. Yes, the best way to relearn how to care is to step away from the environment. There is something to be said for refreshing your perspective through relaxation. Yes, I am prescribing a day at the beach or a week away from the office to help you care more.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett