What? I’m emotional!?! Why this is a good thing :-)

If someone says I am emotional, under normal circumstances I might take offense.  In this case, emotional is good.

Humans’ 3 Brains

umans 3 Brains - To Be Remembered Focus on the Emotional BrainDid you know humans have 3 brains?  I am fascinated by this.  First there is the reptilian brain that has been with humans since the beginning of time – millions of years ago. This is the fight or flight brain that gets some of us known for a fiery temper.

The second brain is the limbic brain and is known as your emotional brain, and it is what makes you feel the way you feel when exposed to strong stimulus (positive or negative). This is a key brain for retention of memories.  We have a higher chance of retaining emotional memories than memories that target our third brain, the neuocortex or rational brain.

This rational brain researchers believe only developed in the last 150,000 years and is responsible for making decisions based on cold logic, reason, and data.  It allows humans to plan for the future, think about the big picture, delay gratification and weigh facts and situations logically before moving forward.

When you communicate with others either in-person or in writing, the temptation is to be descriptive and mention your features and benefits.  There is nothing wrong with this, except the chances of being remembered are really not that good.

Speak to the Emotional Brain

If you want someone to recall your conversation or your website blog post you need to devote some time talking to their limbic or emotional brain.  Best way is being positive yourself.  Go into any and every interaction or connection with a positive mindset.  I know there are times when this is tough, but the more often you can pause and take a mindset check, the more likely you will leave a positive trail behind you.

During your interaction on paper (writing a post) or in-person have empathy for the problems or events going on in your client/customer’s life.  No need to be drawn in to any negativity, but acknowledge the hardship and get out into a sunshiney place as soon as you can.

My short cut to switch to positive topics is to ask a positive focused question like “What would a great day today look like?” or “If you had unlimited resources today, what would you do?”

Stories are great too.  Positive emotions arise when the story ends on a positive note: pride, overcoming troubled water, ending up in a better place than started out — a happy ending.

Positive Emotion Tactics for Connecting

Here are some easy to implement tactics to get your positive juices going and increase your chances of a connection that is remembered.

Smile – even if you have to fake it.  Smiling elicits involuntary reactions for others to smile in response – try it out on some unsuspecting subjects.

Changing your body language can make a difference. Lifting your head and shoulders helps lift off any temporary discouragement  you caught from a fellow worker.

If you have any anxiety, breathing in slowly and deeply will help relax you.  Then have a positive memory to visualize or focus on.   Actors use this technique to help them genuinely feel the emotions of the characters that they are portraying. You need it to bring back a positive emotional feeling.

Positive Emotional Ending

So, take a moment to imagine today being a fabulous day, a day to remember!  What would it look like?  Close your eyes and imagine for a moment.

Now open your eyes, and you should have positive emotions running up and down your spine.  I am betting you will now remember this blog post.  🙂

Stop Potential Customers from Going Elsewhere – Create Your Brilliance Statement

Stop Potential Customers from Going Away - Create Your Own Brilliance StatementThe biggest lost opportunity in personal branding is not being able to quickly make the case for who you are and what you offer – I call this your brilliance statement (also called elevator pitch).  This is a 7 second or less statement of who you help and how you help them that begs the listener for more.  How many times are you asked “What do you do?”

Have you spent time practicing your reply?  If not, stop whatever you are doing and read the rest of this post.  I can guarantee you have lost business or influence with key people without a powerful brilliance statement. A black-and-white answer like “I am a registered dietitian” or “work in a hospital as a nurse” or “financial consultant” actually repels people.

Create Your Brilliance Statement

The solution is not that hard.  Spend a few moments right now creating a compelling brilliance statement. There are 3 parts you need to define first:

1.  Define who you work with (niche):

2.  Define your zone of genius (unique or memorable trait connected to your personal brand):

3.  Define big benefit of working with you (bleeding need you make go away)

I recommend use a thesaurus or a word helper like www.visualthesaurus.com to find exciting words that resonate with you and your target market when putting it all together.

Start your brilliance statement with your big benefit – called front loading or starting with the attention-getter.  At times it may sound awkward and you need to switch it to last.  The best test is to read it out loud.  After the big benefit describe who you are working with and end with a bit about how you do it – why you are the “go-to” person.  You have permission to change around the order, make sure it feels good to you to say out loud and makes people sit up straight and listen.

Example Brilliance Statements

I’ll go through some examples and then you can get started on your own.

BIG BENEFIT: keep staffing under budget and patient length of stay under national benchmarks
ZONE OF GENIUS: translating employees’ talent into department strengths
WHO I WORK WITH: employees

Nutrition Director’s Brilliance Statement: I keep staffing under budget and patient length of stay under national benchmarks by translating employees’ talent into my nutrition department’s strengths.

BIG BENEFIT: regain energy and vitality
ZONE OF GENIUS: custom programs and treatments
WHO I WORK WITH: mothers between ages of 35 – 55 who have struggles with PCOS and diabetes

Private Practice Dietitian’s Brilliance Statement: I help mothers between the ages of 35‐55 who have struggled with PCOS and diabetes regain their energy and vitality through custom blood-sugar management and energy‐building programs and treatment.

BIG BENEFIT: manage eating
ZONE OF GENIUS: mindful approach
WHO I WORK WITH: high-level overworked female managers and executives over 40

Another Private Practice Dietitian’s Brilliance Statement: I help high-level overworked female managers and executives over 40 manage their eating using a mindful eating approach.

BIG BENEFIT: turnaround failing stores, and grow sales and profits
ZONE OF GENIUS: encouraging experimentation and new ideas
WHO I WORK WITH: store teams

Regional Director for National Store Chain Brilliance Statement: I turnaround failing stores, and grow sales and profits by encouraging experimentation and new ideas that motivate store teams.

Create Your Own

Time to get out the paper and pencil and create your own.  Please share anything you come up with.

Launching Your Dietetics Career – Book Review

Registered Dietitians Milton Stokes, Kyle Shadix and Jenna Bell collaborated together to create this long overdue book: Launching Your Dietetics Career.   The three have been long time friends, owned a company together, and not surprisingly have each effected each others own careers’. Read about the authors’ accomplished and varied careers by clicking on their names above.

These three have been involved and giving to the profession for years including mentoring and teaching students and interns.  The book started as a result of learning from students, interns, and peers.  They saw the gap, the opportunity to help – no guide for those wanting to pursue the many opportunities opening up and continuing today in dietetics.

Launching Your Dietetics CareerThe book reduces the overwhelm with the many questions someone pursuing a career path in dietetics has.  Internship or not? Food service, clinical, community or other focus? Undergraduate program coursework?  Once it is all behind you (you have your R.D. in hand) it is easy to forget how many choices there are, how it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders when mapping out your dietetics career path.

My favorite part of the book is the strong underlying message to volunteer and connect with others right from the start as an undergraduate on through to the interviews and advice from the movers and shakers in dietetics.  A bit about myself, both my previous career directions with companies Webnoxious and Feed Your Career stemmed from volunteer work and connecting with other dietitians.

I was PR Chair for the Dallas Dietetic Association (DDA) in 2000 and recommended a website to DDA.  The president gave me the ‘go-ahead’ and I poured in hours of volunteer time putting together DDA’s first website learning the ins and outs.  DDA was the first dietetic district in the state to have a website and one of the first in the nation. Then Feed Your Career was built on connecting with other professionals, listening to where they needed help in their careers. Now I volunteer on the Dietetics Practice Group DCE’s Social Media committee to learn and connect with others on a topic dear to me – social media.

Volunteering and connecting are and always have been cornerstones of my dietetics career path and you will see in the book for many of the dietitians interviewed.  Giving Back to the Profession is a subheading for those dietitians interviewed with listings describing how they volunteered.

Words of wisdom from the authors: “If things don’t work out in the end, it’s not the end.  There’s more to come.  More to learn.  More challenges.  Take it all in, make your own path, and return as much positivity as possible.” What many readers may not realize is the journey the book took from inception to print:

  • 3 publishers before printing
  • at least 8 other books published between them
  • one baby adoption
  • one earning Masters and nearly a PhD

Interesting and valuable career advice highlights included in the book:

On Path to RD

  • undergraduate program considerations
  • how to evaluate best fit for you in dietetic internships including the culture
  • summer internships (not to be confused with dietetic internship)
  • how many dietetic internships to apply to
  • preparing for dietetic internship interviews
  • what to do the night before taking RD exam

New RD

  • getting involved in the profession
  • advanced specialties
  • networking (connecting)
  • media savvy guidance
  • staying current
  • salary negotiation

Movers & Shakers – Interviews

  • amazing variety of careers highlighted through interviews with trailblazer dietitians
  • nurturing of relationships
  • involvement in profession – volunteering
  • always open to opportunities

I highly recommend you get a copy of Launching Your Dietetics Career, read it, and then pass it on to someone considering a career in dietetics or just getting started.  Also, if you know of any internship or undergraduate program directors, be sure to mention it to them.   It is a valuable resource.  I could have used a copy back when I was an undergraduate student at Iowa State University transferring from aeronautical engineering to dietetics – mapping out my career in dietetics.  🙂


Have Fun Managing Strategic Connections

My most common career coaching topic lately has been making and strengthening strategic connections.  Clients come to me for an abundance of reasons, but nearly everyone has in common the need to refine or start from scratch a strategic connections list.

Strategic ConnectionsI have been using for years a MS Word file to track my strategic connections. It was time to look for something to save me time and make managing connections fun for me and my clients.  I set out to look at the offerings out there.

Wow, there are some robust programs, online services created for sales forces that have bells and whistles that made my eyes spin, some even break down connections into demographics, create invoices and manage projects.  Sounds cool, but way more than what I needed.

I wanted an online service to track my activities and social media for my connections all in one place making it easy to keep on top of the ongoings in their lives.  In the past, in Twitter I created a list called strategic connections that I scan for tweets I can repost or updates in their lives; in Facebook I have a list of ‘friends‘ just for strategic contacts and I bookmark the status updates for this list so I can look them over to keep updated and comment.

These are all actions I recommend to clients and have worked in the past to keep abreast of my strategic connections ongoings in social media.  I have to admit, it is getting cumbersome and was crossing my fingers there was a more efficient way of accomplishing my goals.

Good news – I found some easy, exciting options and even better their cost – free!  Before unveiling my three discovering, please know that there have to be more out there.  That is the beauty of the Internet, tons of competition, tons of options.  I want to hear from you, what you have used and what works.  Please share in the comments your findings and experiences.

Here are some features these programs have:

a. review people I am meeting with that week – I am name challenged, really wish I could remember names, but it always has been a struggle for me.  It would be a big help for me to review over connections and the latest ongoings in my connections’ lives before a meeting.

b. see what is going on with someone before I email them – the ideal is to include a congratulations or question about something going on in their life in an email to get to know them better.  All these programs allow me to add in my own notes to a profile and view their latest social media imprints in once place.

c.  view when you last communicated or connected with someone – it is key for me to keep in regular contact with strategic connections.  Some programs keep a log running of email and calendar encounters with your connections.  This way the program tracks my contacts made instead of me. Huge time savings for me.

d.  prioritize connections – this is not about who is more important but instead, who do I need to keep on top of (answer: strategic connections).  Some programs allow me to indicate higher priority to connections and view them first on my dashboard.  I start my day looking at the latest ongoings for my strategic updates, no clicking between Hootsuite and Facebook to do this, it is all in one place.  This is much more efficient.

Drum roll: the three programs I recommend you look into for managing your connections are:

Rapportive - Managing Strategic ConnectionsRapportive – Rapportive works with gmail (browser add-on), the program is funded by the creators of gmail (but is not official gmail program). Thus, there is the one catch, must have gmail account.  If you want something simple, intuitive, and works with what you already do – email, start here.  It shows you everything about your email contacts right inside your gmail inbox.  So when you start to compose an email and finish inserting the person’s emaila ddress, on the right of your screen you will see their photo and all their latest social media updates.

Activities from above list program accomplishes: b
Website: www.rapportive.com


Gist  - Managing Strategic ConnectionsGist – Gist is its own program, an account online you login to view and manage.  This is my favorite, –  free and does everything I wanted for managing my strategic contacts.  I manage through a priority system which connections I see at the top on my dashboard when I login and their latest social media ongoings  This helps me comment or retweet in a timely manner to my strategic connections.

Activities from above list program accomplishes: a, b, c, d
Website: www.gist.com


Nimble - Managing Strategic ConnectionsNibble – this is a highly rated online service by PCWorld, New York Times, Forbes and others.  It works similar to Gist. I really took to some intuitive features on individual contact profiles.  The big reason why I selected Gist over Nibble is the ability for Gist to prioritize connections.  After I imported my address book and LinkedIn contacts into these programs I found I had over 300 connections.  That is far too many for me to stay on top of.  That is where for me, some system for prioritizing is a must.

Activities from above list program accomplishes: a, b, c
Website: www.nimble.com


There is something innately fun about creating an email and seeing a photo of the person right next to you, seeing their latest tweets and Facebook comments.  It helps make connecting fun and enriching.  It also makes it easier to find ways to help others achieve their goals.

Please share which programs you try out, also share if you use another online service or program that works well for you.



Follow Up – Easy Way to Distinguish Yourself

Keith Ferrazzi estimates 95% of your peers do NOT follow-up.  This opens up the door to distinguish yourself with a simple gesture.  He calls  follow-up the hammer and nails of your connecting tool kit.

Follow up works so well because it:

  • helps a new connection retain your name and what you do
  • gesture of authenticity – you genuinely care for the individual
  • others do NOT do it – 95% don’t
  • helps you imprint the connection in your mind and on your radar

I just got back from the 2011 ADA Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in San Diego.  The first item on my todo list is reach out to all the connections I have made.  Who did I meet and how will I followup?

Mandi Wong

Mandi Wong

MANDI WONG– business partner for 4 years; long-time friend for 10+ years; copresenter for FNCE session Networking is Out: Building Rich Relationships thru Appreciative and Coaching Focus

F/U Gesture:

Write thank you note.


Jean Caton

JEAN CATON– known for years; was honored to collaborate together at Product Market Place booth called Coaches Corner for her coaching business helping Business Woman Become More Profitable and moderator for FNCE session Networking is Out: Building Rich Relationships thru Appreciative and Coaching Focus. www.TheProfitableWoman.com

F/U Gesture:

Write thank you note.


Maggie Green

Maggie Green

MAGGIE GREEN – collaborated together at Product Market Place booth called Coaches Corner for her coaching business for Aspiring Cookbook Authors.  www.GreenApron.com

F/U Gesture:

Write thank you note.



Julie Schwartz

Julie Schwartz

JULIE SCHWARTZ – collaborated together at Product Market Place booth called Coaches Corner for her coaching business in Wellness for Nutrition Professionals. www.nutriwellcoaching.com

F/U Gesture:

Write thank you note.


Keri Gans

Keri Gans

KERI GANS – worked with her extensively when she was NYSDA president and reconnected as she goes on to amazing projects in the dietetics field. Her latest is her book release: The Small Change Diet.   Reconnected with her briefly at FNCE. www.kerigansnutrition.com

F/U Gesture:

Reconnect on Facebook and find out how her book signing went for her new release.


Milton Stokes

Milton Stokes

MILTON STOKES – known over the years for his outside the box thinking in dietetics. No surprise he just launched at FNCE his new book Launching Your Dietetics Career . Reconnected with him and he showed his support for  Mandi and me by attending our FNCE presentation. www.MiltonStokes.com

F/U Gesture:

Email thank you and get a copy of his new book and post on my site as resource for those looking for help with careers in dietetics. Also, tweet congratulations on book launch.


Sally Kuzemchak

Sally Kuzemchak

SALLY KUZEMCHAK –  I connected with her for first time; she has a great voice and passion for helping moms with feeding their kids nutrititious and realistic food.  She dietitian and mom behind the The Real Mom Nutrition Blog. www.realmomnutrition.com

F/U Gesture:

Email thank you, sign-up for blog;  and comment on at least one blog posting that I love and relate to.


Laura Thomas

Laura Thomas

LAURA THOMAS – Reconnected with (saw in person for first time) briefly; she does amazing work in nutrition education tools creation; honored to get to know her through Feed Your Career.

F/U Gesture:

Write thank you note.


Kathy King

Kathy King

KATHY KING– Reconnected with briefly; known for number of years; she has given me many opportunities throughout the years to work with her business Helm Publishing; I have been able to witness first-hand a pioneer and icon in dietetics and outside the box thinking; she is a huge advocate for the profession and serving others. www.HelmPublishing.com

F/U Gesture:

Write thank you note.


Christine Palumbo

Christine Palumbo

CHRISTINE PALUMBO – Reconnected with briefly; she has supported me over the years from work with IDA to work with ADA.  She is a savvy professional in media, business and connecting with the public. She was a strong supporter of FNCE proposed presentation and attended the presentation. www.christinepalumbo.com

F/U Gesture:

Write thank you note and tweet thank you for support.



Share how you are following up with and helping your connections be successful.