#FocusFriday – Foolish Friday Edition

It’s April Fool’s Day. I have written a few blogs on April Fool’s Day and here is my in the context of #FocusFriday.abraham-lincoln-quotes-it-is-better-to-remain-silent-3

There are plenty of quotes about being a fool or looking foolish. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “A fool and his money are soon parted.” – Thomas Tusser an English poet and famer
  • “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” – Chinese Proverb
  • “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln

In a day and era when personal branding and personal marketing have become so important can we afford to look foolish? Will looking foolish hurt your brand or is being foolish sometimes worth the risk?

henry_ford_quoteNobody wants to look like a fool. If you do, people laugh, they call you out and they certainly remember it. A reputation as a fool is something that no one wants or strives for. However, to truly succeed we need to try, fail and learn.  Sometimes you may look or sound foolish. Can you recover?  In my view if the effort was well intended and if you had a goal in mind the answer is yes. Why can’t you recover? 2ae8593ca4e95aa4bb15be5b28a63382Trying and failing is essential; the recovery process may be long and it may come with pain and remorse. There is a road to redemption if the effort was well intended to begin with.

quote-i-didn-t-like-the-idea-of-being-foolish-but-i-learned-pretty-soon-that-it-was-essential-daniel-day-lewis-17-43-30Here is what some great business leaders of past and present have said about looking like a fool or being foolish:

  • “Too many men are afraid of being fools.” – Henry Ford
  • “Who’s the more foolish: the fool, or the fool who follows him?” – Alec Guiness (as Obi Wan Kenobi)
  • “Dare to wear the foolish clown face.” – Frank Sinatra
  • “I learned pretty soon that it was essential to fail and be foolish.” – Daniel Day-Lewis, only three-time winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor
  • “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” – Steve Jobs

To achieve significant success and to stand out there is a possibility or likelihood of looking foolish. However, without risk there may be no reward. If you believe in what you are doing and are willing to take the risk of looking foolish, you may be rewarded opportunity and success. For many the experience alone is worth the journey.

steve-jobs-quotes-wallpaper-stay-hungry-stay-foolish-3Today there is a greater risk if your endeavors become a fool’s errand. Videos and all sorts of images when posted are seen by people all over the world. If you post something foolish, remember it will remain online for years, reverberating and potentially damaging your personal brand or career indefinitely.

  • “A fool is the one who fails to think about the ramifications of their actions and how they will reverberate and echo throughout his or her career.” – Bill Corbett, Jr.

The intent of my #FocusFriday blogs is to have people thinking about their actions. It is important to plan and act deliberately. Focus on what you are doing and how you are doing it.

Take the time to focus on what actions you will take and how this will impact our success and your career. Consider how each deliberate act will impact our plan and how you approach goals. Will this action impact your brand or your reputation?

Certainly plans and action can go awry and be misinterpreted. This is to be expected, the likelihood of them happening will be reduced by taking a slower and thoughtful approach before the action is taken.

Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.

  • Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich” – “I believe that those who don’t think, practice and plan run the highest risk of looking foolish in the worst way possible.  Those who think, plan and execute, may fail or miss the mark, however they will not look like the fool or be the fool. They will learn, grow and advance. The fool is the one who does not learn from these lesson or mistakes. His is destiny for fail and continue to look foolish.”

For more quotes on foolishness check out this story in Entrepreneur by Bill Murphy.

Focus Friday is all about being more effective and successful in business and life activities. Focusing will allow you to save time and achieve goals in both your personal and in your professional life.

Have questions, need a resource? Contact me at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com.

Need to start creating a personal marketing plan?  Email the code PMP2016 to me at info@growyourpersonalbrand.com and I will send you a list of questions to ask yourself to get started.

Looking for some help setting up your LinkedIn plan? Visit www.growyourpersonalbrand.com

Join our groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 




Tips for Making the Most of Your Holiday Networking


I just returned from my third – yes, third – holiday party so far this month. Say “yes” to holiday parties and events and stay positive. While the holidays are a great time of the year to get out and see people, they also present a perfect opportunity to reconnect professionally with those you only interact with a few times per year.

The best part is that most of these tips can be utilized throughout the course of the year. Of course, you must always start with being prepared and having a plan for networking.

bill screenshot 2.jpgClick here for a video of my tips for making the best use of your holiday networking time.

Be prepared for each event you attend:

  • Know who is going to be attending
  • Have a goal
  • Have an understanding of what you want to achieve – whether it be meeting new people and/or strengthening existing relationships
  • Know the event’s setting  – restaurant, catering hall, etc.
  • Remember to take into account traffic and parking

Prepare your questions so they are designed to ask engaging questions about a person’s experiences over the past 12 months and their plans for the New Year. Among questions to ask:

  • How was your year?
  • What was your greatest success?
  • Who are you looking to meet?

Remember to listen and then be helpful in assisting them in achieving their goals:

  • If you ask questions listen to the answers
  • Think about solutions….be it your solution or how you can help them achieve their objectives

When attending:

  • Recap the year
  • Ask people questions
  • Be proactive in exploring ways in which you can help them   in2016
  • Determine what your and their personal goals are for next year
  • Practice your elevator speech and be prepared to meet lots of new people

Look to connect with key leaders and decision makers as this may be your only chance in linking up with them the entire year:

  • Don’t be afraid to approach key leaders and decision makers
  • Wait your turn
  • Don’t be too pushy

Be a connector and ask to be connected:

  • If it is your party or you know people in attendance, make the intros – especially if people don’t know anyone
  • Ask to be connected and if there is anyone here that you think I should meet
  • People appreciate thought and effort:  Send out those holiday greetings and follow up/thank you cards:
  • Utilize personal email: if you’re not a big fan of the ecard, try sending a short personal video instead
  • Call people if you can’t see them in person

As always, remember to thank your clients, referral sources and others who have helped you personally as well as professionally.


By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 



To Be Memorable – You Must be Remarkable

Memory GraphicI recently researched the topic of “how to be memorable” in preparation for my presentation at a retreat for RE/MAX of New York Brokers and Agents. Being memorable is critical to success for both individuals and businesses. This is the first of a series of blogs on this topic which I will delve into to gain better insight as to what makes a person memorable and relate my practical tips on how to become memorable by letting others know you are remarkable.

I have been reading, researching and watching videos, including a number of TED Talks. I also looked into the growing subject of neuro-marketing. The challenge, as I see it, is that we need to recognize the fact that our brains are programmed not to remember, but to forget. We remember things that we do over and over again such as driving, dressing and cooking. These activities eventually become habits. These habits become part of our daily routines and we don’t think about them much. We don’t need to remember every detail of every experience we have every day, every hour, every minute.

So, we have a biological challenge and we also have a real world problem. The world is changing at a very fast pace. We are constantly distracted; technology and electronic devices are in front of us all the time. We can communicate with people in dozens of ways: smart phones and phone calls, video conferences, FaceTime, emails, direct messages, text messages, videos, social media posts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and others), two-way radios, faxes and even direct mail. We have the ability to speak directly one-on-one or in small or large groups. This is how we communicate, but we also are receivers of information from radio, TV, computers, tablets, websites, mobile devices, print materials and signs. We are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands, of messages each day.

Information overload combined with the desire of people today to have instant gratification, in terms of what they want when they want it, has created a major challenge for businesses and individuals.  Businesses and individuals in all sectors need to be heard and seen in order to make an impression and market.  We have to get through all of these competing channels and messages to be successful and to build both business and personal brands.

I experience these challenges myself. Nowadays, it’s important to recognize that to be truly memorable, we have to be remarkable. We have to be worthy of being remembered and to achieve this we have to be different, better and interesting. In short, we must seek to be remarkable in everything we do, whether it’s customer service, selling, marketing, branding, manufacturing, leading, speaking, creating, writing or interacting with others. Each of these activities requires thought and consideration. When building a memorable brand, we may fail to meet the expectations of a client, prospect or a team or our target audiences. But we have tremendous opportunities to create memorable interactions and memorable moments that will impact how people perceive us as we begin a relationship and develop trustworthiness.

Some first steps in the process of being memorable and creating a memorable brand:

Create Your Brand Story

Daymond John

Daymond John of CNBC’s “Shark Tank”

Being a remarkably good storyteller is vital for your brand. Tell stories to illustrate who you are and what you stand for. Telling stories (your own story or those of others) that you can use in context will make you and your message memorable. Some of the most memorable business leaders and experts that I have ever heard were superb story tellers. Watch what others do and learn from them. There are many great speakers; go to Ted.com to see hundreds of exceptional videos. Many speakers use their own stories to make the case for their brand and what they were “selling.” Two remarkable people I saw were business woman Fawn Germer and entrepreneur and NBC Shark Tank star Daymond John. Daymond related his life story including the risks he took, the challenges he overcame as well as his regrets.

Here is a video to one of his presentations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yKHIc-RO8Q

Fawn Germer

Author Fawn Germer

Fawn Germer used her story of success to motivate and inspire. I recommend you watch this exceptional business woman and speaker.  http://fawngermer.com/

Create an outline for your personal story

Identify experiences that shaped your approaches, your successes as well as your failures. This is your story so you can add to it as you go along, but write down and capture the important chapters and use this to put who you are in context. Remember, telling stories is how you will capture attention but it is also how you will make a connection with your audience. While the story is about you, never forget that the message is not about you; it is about your audience.  Provide them what they want, not what you want.

Create a Plan for Your Brand

I regularly write and speak about creating a plan for your brand. For those people who are not marketing professionals, it may be a challenge. However, your marketing plan for your brand does not have to be overly complex.

  1. Define your brand and for what you want to be known.
  2. Write down why you do what you do and make this a focal point of your brand.  Being memorable is about making a connection with people and telling them the reasons why what you do is important.
  3. Define what you do better than everyone else. This is your “Magic” or key differentiator. Your magic and how you communicate about it is part of why you are remarkable, worthy of being remembered.
  4. Set Goals. Every marketing plan has goals.These can be financial, but they do not have to be. Goals can relate to the number of interactions you generate, the number of shares you garner, the number of new connections you make, certainly the number of leads you generate and the number of sales you close.  Remember, social media and online marketing has branding value which may not translate immediately into sales.

Marketing Infrastructure

Depending on the industry and market, businesspeople or individuals must identify the best marketing vehicles to use to reach their target audiences.

  1. Identify your audiences and how they receive information and where they go for information.
  2. Create your real world support materials (your marketing or PR kit).  It does not have to be elaborate. It should contain:
    1. Business card
    2. Brochures and pamphlets
    3. Educational materials
    4. Photos
  3. Create your marketing video. If you do not have a personal marketing video, you are 2 or 3 years behind your competitors. Using your new brand message and story, create your first video and keep going. Create at least three videos a year.
  4. Build your online infrastructure:
    1. Optimized Website
    2. Blog
    3. Social Media Sites
    4. Photo Sharing Site
    5. Video Media Sites
  5. Create your print and electronic materials.

These are just the first few steps that you need to take to create and build a memorable brand.  Part II of this series will focus on the importance of creating your real world image and persona. Part III will cover your online brand and strategies for being memorable online.

As always I am looking for feedback, comments and thoughts. Let me know what you think.

For more information on this topic go to this Fast Company story that featured Bill Corbett.

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