Friday, December 31, 2010

Why Not Now?

Why not change what you've wanted to change about yourself now? Why not make a decision, write it down, make a recording of it and play the recording on a daily basis?

I have the privilege of getting really close to great individuals. And do you know what I find? Deep down the majority of us feel disappointed about ourselves. We feel we could be more, love more and do more. We intensely want to make changes, but somehow lack the energy to really get it done.

We've tried so many times before and failed equally often. It hurts to always "fall back into the same old trap of daily living". We're caught in self destructive patterns, and as the spirit of youth ebbs out, silently something dies within us. Trying turns into trying less, and trying less turns into not trying anymore. With continually less faith in ourselves and diminishing hope we quietly move towards apathy. We stop dreaming, stop wanting, stop believing. And so we postpone and delay until... what we vividly could picture in our minds for the future simply never happens and evaporates. Retirement becomes the mental acceptance of reality - the definition of a defeated soul of which there are far too many.

Charles Dickens' famous story about Ebenezer Scrooge describes an old man that had grown into such a state. However, as we know, with a little help he was able to snap out of it and make at least one basic change. Today I want to assure you. You can make that same change in someone whose life is secretly miserable. What to do?

First, change one small thing about yourself that really matters. Become a little more who you really want to be. Write down what you plan to change. Make a recording that explains WHY you want to change, WHAT you will change, WHO it will affect and HOW you will do it - just a few centences in "affirmative style" expressing faith that you are already doing it. This will turn your subconscious into an ally, rushing to your aid. Without it, change is very hard. Or rather, if you can't mentally see it, impossible!

Secondly, and most importantly, consciously inspire change in others by sharing the energy you gain from changing and improving yourself.

You can do it. You can do it now!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Influence Influenceable Influential People

I influence influenceable influential people, because those are the kind of people I enjoy spending my time with. Why? Because these people tend to have closely linked character traits that appeal to me and I know that whatever I do has a long lasting effect beyond this one individual only.

My mission statement is not something I share with anyone but my most personal relationships. However, there's one essential part of my mission statement that specifically requires sharing. And so I've spoken warmly about it - shared it - for many years at vidartop.com.

One single individual can (and will) make all the difference for both good and bad. Think about this for a moment. Yes, all good or bad "stuff" is triggered by the energy from one single individual. Thus, this simple fact singles out the topic I'm most excited about and have dedicated my life to clarify and bring out in the open:

"...how [to] effectively influence influenceable influential people to influence for good?"

...with correct principles and for the right reasons or noble purposes.

What does this mean? So very much, but most of all, how one-on-one interaction has the most powerful long term effect on the human heart and mind. For this reason I strive to spend my time with carefully qualified and selected people that indeed will pass on my energy to their surrounding key relationships.

Most importantly, a person may not be influential today, but when I see in this person a) willingness to be influenced and b) a potential desire to become influential I will spend time uncovering and developing the ethics, values and belief systems of this individual to c) inspire a spreading effect.

p.s. Notice how I've shaped this particular part of my mission statement into a question. The question conveys a lot of meaning to me, some of which includes how I believe the best answers to this key question represents a lifelong quest.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Eternal Family Perspective

I recently had the most amazing experience. One that I feel profoundly has deepened my appreciation for the value and eternal perspective of my family - the perspective of any family.

Three days ago all seven individuals in our family gathered in a circle after breakfast and had a wonderful discussion. This is not an unusual thing. We get together as often as we possibly can, and especially before we go our separate ways to school, work and daily tasks. It was in this setting that I suddenly and quite unexpectedly received an impression that probably will stay with me for many years; in a split second I saw each family member as a grown-up person. As a father and mother in their own future family. I saw how my example and influence will affect them, their children and children's children -  many people in future generations.

The insight gave me an instant and almost overwhelming sense of responsibility. This long term perspective - brought to me during just a brief moment of clarity - instilled in me an enormous respect for each one. You know how we as parents sometimes treat children and adults differently. I often ask myself during daily interaction with our kids; "would I treat my colleague like that?" And, yes, sometimes I have to admit the immediate response in my mind is "absolutely not". Then I try to change or adjust my approach. These are important reflections to cause greater self awareness and correction.

Let's treat our children as the best of friends, as future fathers and mothers and with integrity. Let's treat our children the way we ourselves would like to be treated; with love and respect and as a person with a distinct identity and intrinsic inherent value. Let's send out positive and uplifting signals in everything we think, everything we say and in all that we do, every hour of the day.

And with this meaningful challenge I wish all my readers a happy holiday season and a merry Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010

THAT's a Great Day!

What defines a great day? When do you know you've spent your time wisely? Does it make a difference how you live today? Are there any principles that can clearly define if we're doing more than just OK?

Whenever I do public speaking, training or coaching questions frequently center around that one topic that concerns most of us on a daily basis; how to spend time and strength wisely and feel good about it?

Here's the essence of what I believe are the principles behind making TODAY count:

(1) Get Up Early
Getting up early makes all the difference! Anyone who wants to can be an early bird. It's a matter of practice and training like anything else. When you get into a habit of beginning the day early a powerful side effect gradually appears: Morning hours from approximately 04:00 - 06:00 will turn your subconscious mind into an explosive tool for ideas and insight.


(2) Ponder Inspired Literature
No one can draw water from an empty well. Nothing inspires inspired living more than pondering inspired literature.



(3) Plan Weekly
Most of the people I speak with are somehow into planning because of time pressure. I don't plan to relieve pressure. I plan to create pressure. How come? By planning on a weekly basis i don't burry myself in "the thick of thin things". I stay in control and I plan firing up what really needs momentum.


(4) Five Tasks a Day
It's in my system. Every day I define the five most important tasks. Those five are the most important, high priority areas that I stay focused on no matter what happens. Of course I sometimes don't make it to doing all five, but here's the magic. I keep them in my pocket. They excite me. They're clear. It's not too much and I enjoy the victory of getting done what's truly most important (by how only five items forces me to say no to "all the good").


(5) Replace "Why Me" With "Thank You"
The attitude of gratitude - the mother of all virtues - is probably the single most meaningful and useful source of happiness. Every day consists of a break-down in plans, interruptions, instant needs, accidents and the like. When these occur, we are asked to respond in the moment. People who ask "why me" are typically reactive. Those of us able to respond with "thank you" have the edge to stay proactive.


(6) Get Regular Exercise
I can tell when my life is out of balance. It's when I don't get regular exercise. The antithesis also holds true. Getting exercise three times a week can be a good sign of a balanced lifestyle.


(7) Never Succumb To Discouragement
If you are tempted to think negatively, feeling down or speak self destructive language, make it a rule to replace it with a positive thought. Your emotions are a result of your internal dialog. Never, never, never put yourself down. If you do, you've lost before you even began.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Question Is Not "Evolution Or Creation"

Did you ever feel like you have to choose between evolution or creation? Between science or religion? I get the impression that's what the world throws at us. But I never saw it that way.

In my frame of thinking, there never was an opposition between science and religion. That they sometimes may seem to be in conflict is obvious, but this is not, however, such a major problem as most people will have you believe.

If either science or religion does not lead to useful facts - to support in practical living - it must be a waste of time and effort altogether. Let me explain what I mean by this...

As a young boy I recall being surprised when people were of the opinion that science and religion are two different poles. Why is it that anyone would claim we have to choose between science or religion? To me, the two were always one and the same. Science and religion just pose two different ways or methods to approach and uncover truth or fact; "things as they were, things as they are and things as they will be".


Religious Faith and Scientific Evidence
Both religion and science gradually enlighten the mind (just as I suspect God intended this process to be). To the degree that science and religion are not yet in line with each other, there is yet more truth to be found.

When my teacher in school would speak about evolution theory he made the big bang sound like a scientific "event" without a master mind behind it. To me, that makes no sense. Neither does it make sense that an almighty God operates with a magic wand in "Harry Potter style" not knowing himself the forces behind his commands. No, God must be a God of science, knowing and mastering every bit of information and controlling every kind of power available to man in this universe. Whether it be electricity, chemistry or even sheer will power, a supreme being would have an insight into these like no one else. To assume anything less would simply be the result of a fanatic and one-sided religious mind.


Let me provide two quick examples to illustrate.


"Religious" example # 1:
When the bible says the earth was created, the historic meaning and context of the word "create" means to "organize". Religious fanatics may have believed that God somehow made earth out of nothing. Does this make sense? No. Rather, it means that it was organized out of stuff and matter already at His disposal. It's the only logical thinking behind this. 


"Religious" example # 2:
When the bible says the earth was formed in seven days, religious fanatics may have believed that God somehow made the earth in the blink of an eye. Does this make sense? No. Rather, it means that the ecosystem was established during an extended period of time divided into seven parts, none of which must have been equally long in duration.


And so it goes on and on. What used to be perceived as dogmatic beliefs appear to be in obvious harmony with scientific theory. However, the same goes from a scientific point of view. One quick example to illustrate.


"Scientific" example:
When theories imply that all life forms are evolving and adapting - even genetically - to circumstance, scientific fanatics may have reached the conclusion that this happened by chance. Does this make sense? No. Rather, it means that this process, like any other process, can only have evolved with the support of a steady hand. For as the second law of thermodynamics (i.e. entropy) states: "Time creates disorder". Had there not been something that kept all of this in "order", it would have rapidly disintegrated and crumbled into disorder. Take a look at the world around you, even the sky and the universe. Scientific theory only supports the fact that someone (or "something") oversees all this.


A Scientific Miracle
It is my conviction that with the enormous amount of scientific discovery and progress we've witnessed so far, a religious person should only increase in faith because of it. Likewise, any scientific enthusiast should find ample evidence that there indeed must be a master mind behind the awesome ecosystem upon which we live and of which we are an integral part of. Take a minute and just breath, smell, taste, listen - just feel it! Who can deny it's not both a miracle by divine providence as well as a reality of pure (scientific) genius - all in one?

Over time we will learn more about how the world came to be. There's no doubt it. But even that is a type of faith, is it not? Think for a moment; "is there really such a big difference between science and religion after all?" I don't think there is. A smart scientist has faith, just as a devote believer makes use of empiric testing and the faculty of logical thinking.


Life Is Seeing AND Believing
A true believer does not disregard scientific progress. If he or she does, it's the result of a closed and ignorant mind. The same goes for a scientist or a believer in such. If anyone disregards records of incomprehensible historic events without honestly searching both the value of these as well as his or her own heart ends up poor indeed.

What is life? I believe the essence of life is searching, finding and exploring new ideas and theories about existence. I also believe life is more rewarding when we do so through a lenze of faith. Why would anyone claim that scientific methods or religious faith don't go hand in hand? Why would anyone believe that science and religion do not eventually lead to the same insight and understanding? Why would anyone suggest science and religion are mutually exclusive? It is my conviction, and time will tell, we need both.

p.s. Even though the great philosopher Augustin in many ways did err from today's point of view, he may have been one of the early representatives of exactly this main principle: The uniting of science and religion.

Monday, November 29, 2010

National Survey on "Norwegian Boards"

A national survey on "Norwegian Boards" will be finished this week. It will be sent to appx 5.000 board members. If we have a hit rate of 5% is might become the beginning of an interesting yearly tradition for Norway.

This week I'll be working intensely to launch the first of a new yearly series of national survey on Norwegian Boards. It's something I've been looking forward to like a baby. Quite literally, I'm having butterflies in my stomach.

WHY?

Because the impact this study may have on Norway's future could be simply phenomenal. Of course, I know there's a lot of risk involved, but if everything turns out the way we want, the results could provide future benchmarks for government, academia as well as business - even international business. If you'd like to know more about it, send me an email. I have an extensive text already written out to contacts and friends that would like to know more and get involved ;-)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Interactive Web

An increasingly interactive web gives rise to continually new ways of knowledge collaboration. Here's a fun example.

Yesterday a friend of mine sent me a hint in a nice way. I had a question about whether I should use Instapaper or the competing solution Read It Later and posted this as a quick question via my Twitter network. Pretty soon I had this link coming back to me:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Instapaper+vs+Read+It+Later

Yes, it's safe to click the link, and yes it only takes 5 seconds and you'll probably enjoy it.

Best thing, I instantly adopted the solution myself, as can you. Just go to lmfgy.com (which probably is an achronym for "Let Me Google That For You").

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Automatic Backup Google Calendar

Did you ever wonder what would happen if you were to lose the data in your Google Calendar? I have. That information has become so important, I'd certainly like to make sure such a thing never happens.

You might say that my Google calendar has become a fairly critical tool. Not only is it tied into every possible solution e.g. cell phone and online work projects... But also, my entire family is in there, each one of us with his or her own calendar.

The power of this is simply inCREDible! Whenever my wife or even any of our five children inputs an appointment, I instantly know about it. Getting in sync only requires periodical updates, to make sure we're in charge of the big rocks.

Having "converted" my older brother and his family to the same he sent me a link this morning that's going to be very useful; getting automatic and regular backups of the Google Calendar. Even though I have a Mac computer, Apple will have to work hard on the strategic level to make me switch from the Google platform when it comes to critical software solutions. iPhone's nice, but Android just perfectly supports my daily needs sooo much better!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Would You Like Some Plastic Bags?

So we break a new family record of shopping food in the local store for our family of more than NOK 3,000 and the lady at the point of sale still asks me: Would you like some plastic bags?

Why do I always get the question: "Would you like some plastic bags?"

It made me wonder; how would the lady have responded had I said "no thank you", I'll manage. I mean, why would anyone not want a bunch of plastic bags to bring their groceries home when the pile of purchased goods are at a complete overflow? There was absolutely no space left! (Mind you, this time we bought food for a family of seven to last for two weeks.) A lot of fun!

So, just to keep up the fun for next time I wanted to challenge the existing paradigm by actually bringing some plastic bags with me. In other words, I was planning to buy a lof of groceries and then bounce back the usual question. Here comes the question: "Would you like som plastic bags?" And my response, as if nothing was different: "No thank you, I've brought my own" (while pulling them out of my pocket). Oh my! you should've seen the look on her face. It was worth every second of it.

Of course, I know why the staff is instructed to ask whether or not I would like some plastic bags. And I also know why I as the customer should be left with the decision whether or not I want the receipt printed. Yet, it still shows you how weird our society sometimes can be. Don't you think? ;-)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blog for Board Members in Norway

This morning we published the blog for "Board Members in Norway". It marks the beginning of a new channel for updates and collaboration on strategic business decision making.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Support and Improve Our Country

If you were assigned the task to influence your own country and its people, and at the same time decided not to go into politics, how would you go about it?

The past 9 months have been intense. Together with a team of experts in different fields I've been privileged to interact with the aim in mind to influence Norway as a whole; the way business is done, our government and politics as well as academia / research and development.

You're thinking: How come so ambitious?! Well, we have specific plans through The Norwegian Network of Board Members as the main arena to make such influence gradually grow into place, as the media clip that was uploaded today explains. (Sorry, about the Norwegian language ;-)




Monday, October 18, 2010

Why Honk The Horn?

Why do people honk the horn while driving their car? For most drivers I believe there's a slight misunderstanding as to what the horn is for. It's almost like when children playfully aim a gun at you screaming "hands up". Once you raise your arms in submission, begging for mercy, they pull the trigger, as if they were saying: "Die with dignity, you sucker!" ;-)

When I got my driver's license I was instructed about "honking the horn" as follows:

"Never honk the horn for any other purpose than to save lives - to help avoid or prevent a dangerous situation."


I knew then, as I know now, that most people seriously abuse the car horn. How do you make use of it? To tell other people how mad you are at them? To greet friends? Did you know that, strictly speaking, doing so is actually illegal? I just came back from England where the driving and traffic culture is quite different from that of Norway. In one instance I made an obvious mistake (while having to drive on the left side) and another car saved the situation by honking the horn. I was glad!

The day we left England a driver was upset with me "for no reason" and honked the horn to let me know. Does it happen a lot? All the time. I thought back to the days when I lived in the British Isles and knew there wasn't much seriousness behind it. Many British drivers honk the horn every day for little or no reason at all. If you're reading this, let me share some quick thoughts that ran through my head yesterday:

  1. Because of cultural differences a smart driver will refrain from possibly provoking others more than he or she may be aware.
  2. Every time you honk the horn you run the risk of triggering an accident caused by the sudden fright.
  3. I feel sorry for people who lose their temper so easily. Do you really want other people to feel bad? If someone made a mistake, what good does it do to tell them off? Will it really make them improve? The few times I've had to honk the horn at someone, even though it was to avoid danger, I thought twice before doing so for this very reason.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Board Member's Channel

Board Members in Norway are teaming up via LinkedIn. Collaboration in this particular forum is increasing its membership and activity. Now we're also at YouTube with our own channel.

So we've finally launched the Norwegian Channel for Board Members at YouTube. Now that we've grown steadily to consist of more than two thousand members all over Norway, it's time to start sharing the most critical information with the help of short media clips. The first clip (in Norwegian, mind you) I'll post right here.

This channel will see consistent updates. Why not subscribe to "The Norwegian Channel for Board Members" with a click or two.





This network is among others drawing on the alumni power of "The Norwegian School of Management".

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Perfect Christmas Movie

I know! it's October... But Lillian and I just saw the perfect Christmas movie, and I think you might like to know. This one's wonderful family entertainment on a cold day in December.

Did you ever watch a movie and think; "Wauw, if one could only tell how good it is by looking at the cover..."

Well, I sometimes do. You know, the DVD cover so rarely communicates well what a movie contains.

The most recent of such experiences was "The Note" based on a novel by Angela Hunt. Lillian and I watched it this weekend, and really enjoyed it. The story is about a journalist that discovers an intimate connection between work and her personal life. It shows how good people can accomplish great things.

Recommended movies by Vidar Top

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Visiting Ensign Peak

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of climbing Ensign Peak - on my own. It was something very special to me and a walk I've been wanting to make for many years. The view is wonderful and truly inspiring.

Spending regular private time in reflection and solitude is by far the main source of renewed energy for me. There are different kinds of layers I might like to add to such private moments. It helps to read inspired text or poetry. I may enjoy beautiful art or simply breath in nature by taking a walk. Also, I find that driving long distances for work and business purposes often allows me to just think and let my mind search and wonder freely.

At such times I revisit with purpose and meaning, I ponder difficult questions and challenges as well as evaluate how I'm doing in the different roles of my life. Invariably, I usually come out of such mental or spiritual exercise by feeling compelled to write down thoughts and impressions. To me, it's as if "a once in a lifetime opportunity" is lost if I don't. It'll be gone forever. I simply cannot afford such loss of ideas or inspiration. Also, putting down on paper what I've been thinking helps me to resolve and recommit. Thus, my journal has become an invaluable resource or tool.


Visiting Ensign Peak
For me, one particularly powerful way to increase the value of private time is to visit special / historic far away places. I have a list of unique venues I plan to "celebrate" - on my own. Recently I had an inspiring experience I'd like to share here:

For many years I've had Ensign Peak on my wish list, and thus finally made an appointment to actually go there. The weekend before attending the FranklinCovey Sales and Delivery Conference in Salt Lake City I determined to climb this hill. As I walked, I pictured in my mind Brigham Young and other distinguished personalities. I pondered special events that at the time may have seemed insignificant but have made a huge difference in the lives of many people. I thought about written words relating to this historic site and the meaning it conveys. I thought about my family.

Coming downhill a little more than an hour later I had made several important decisions and felt a desire to be a better person. Ensign Peak will forever remain a special place to me.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Tribute to Svend Andreas Horgen

Since I'm in the habit of bringing attention to quality people, here's one that I find especially qualifies...

Almost on a daily basis I meet with people in a training setting. It allows me to stretch them (and myself) by presenting them with thought provoking questions about "deeper matters". One of the priceless fruits of such activity is my constant discovery of the quality that lies within each one of us. A little reflection quickly brings conversation to a rewarding level.

And then, sometimes I have the privilege of interacting closely with individuals that reveal not only high moral and ethical standards, but also traits of interdependent people skills, such as for instance:
One such person is Svend Andreas Horgen. This blog is a tribute to my partner in training. Svend really knows his stuff as a lecturer at Høgskolen i Sør-Trøndelag. His demeanor is impeccable - which is to say - students instantly take a liking to him. He's not only funny, but we just never tire of listening to what he has to share!

Together, Svend and I occasionally provide training in web tools and effective use of social media.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Network of Board Members in Norway

On Tuesday the 31st of August "Board Members in Norway" (i.e. "Styremedlemmer i Norge") will meet together for the first time at The Norwegian School of Management (BI) in Nydalen, Oslo.

The "Board Members in Norway" network has grown to more than two thousand members within a very short space of time. The first network event has more than 370 participants, which was fully booked in just a few days. Main speaker this time will be Erik Gudbrandsen, former Chairman of the Board at Ernst & Young.

This network gathering will be a yearly event, but will grow each time in groups based on levels. Each level will allow for privileges, contacts, training and honors defined by its management group:

Erik Gudbrandsen (Former Chairman, Ernst & Young)
Mia Skriver (Partner, TPM)
Terje Skriver (CEO, TPM)
Eirik Chambe-Eng (Founder and Entrepreneur, Trolltech - now Nokia)
Vidar Top (Partner, FranklinCovey)

To sign up for next year's event (Tue 30th of Aug 2011) you will have to join the network and become a member at LinkedIn.

The network also facilitates monthly live online interviews in Norwegian (the 4th Friday of every month at 15:00 CET) with distinguished / renowned and especially competent business people based on forum discussions and red hot relevant topis.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Excerpt From The 3E Book

Through the years a lot of attempts have been made to define influence. The following is a one page excerpt from my 3E book. I believe at least the beginning of an appropriate definition of "influence" is found in this text. However, considering that the book is about 300 pages on the subject, there obviously is a lot more to it than only this.

Influence Defined
Up to this day, in general, we've been taught through decades of literature and training that influence is about "sending out energy". The focus has always been on "making someone do something either willfully, by manipulation, or even stronger, by coercion." What I'm suggesting with this, is two-fold:

  1. The existing paradigm of WHAT influence is is very poor. But, more importantly...
  2. influence can neither have manipulation nor coercion in it for it to be real. If it has, it's not influence.

Right now, let's especially focus on the latter of these two; "the absence of manipulation or forced behavior". Remember what Dale Carnegie said in his all time classic book "How To Win Friends and Influence People":

"A person persuaded against his will is of the same opinion still."

Meaning, influence needs to be voluntary for it to have a lasting real effect. Ultimately it's about free will. Influence is about a willed action that stems from you, somehow reaching that other person. Or to add to the definition I provided previously:

Influence is only influence when the idea or conviction you once had is now materializing as conviction in another person, turning into action because of something you did.

You see, for it to be "influence" it must come from you. If it comes from something or somewhere else it is not influence by definition. But who's to say that we can't apply other sources - tools that are readily available all around us - to make sure someone reaches a certain conclusion and acts accordingly?

This action, too, is the second prerequisite of influence indeed being influence. Unless the other person brings the newly conceived conviction into actual operation it means you never influenced them for real. It doesn't need to be instantaneous, but at least some time in the future it must be applied in real life action. This is WHY so many sales trainers fail. They may inspire Passion in the moment, even Connection and Intuition, but unless participants apply what is being taught no real influence ever took place.



If you're not big into reading books, it's also possible to order the audio version of the 3E book.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Charming Romance

Every so often there's a movie that's better than the best. I'm making it a habit to recommend them whenever I encounter them. Yesterday we saw one that is simply brilliant!

We lived in Dublin for two years and really got to know the Irish humour, which if you're not familiar with it, can easily be a bit awkward. However, once you see where it's coming from, not only in real life, but in a movie it can be hilarious.

The plot of Leap Year is superb. The actors outstanding. They're able to create this magic chemistry and feeling that's so Irish. I felt right at home again!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The 3 Energies Behind Sales Success

Eight long years of research and hard work have come to an end. The longest project of my life in business has finally resulted in the publishing of the 3E book. And all of this for YOU!

3E is the branded abbreviation short for "The 3 Energies Behind Sales Success".

3E is about how to influence people effectively. Learn how to:

* successfully kick-start and maintain large scale movements and communities

* run projects successfully by always focusing on what matters most

* present a message that appeals to the masses and be remembered

* influence key decision makers you thought were impossible to reach

* win major clients, even in a suffering market

* in short, become a master of sales and selling

* or to make it more personal, be a better more influential father or mother

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Regular Family Meals

Early morning breakfasts and afternoon dinners are more important to the family than I knew. If the family gets together once or twice a day it will have a long lasting effect on each family member.

When Lillian and I heard the statistics and long list of positive effects resulting from regular family meals we decided to stay focused on following through with it.

We thought we did pretty good prior to this focus. One of the first discoveries we made was that quite frequently one or more family members was indeed missing, due to some prior arrangement or commitment we had made. It took some effort to change the habit and get into the routine of saying "no" to protect those family appointments.

The second discovery we made was that meals have become a highlight of the day. There is such a big difference between a meal where everyone is present and a meal where someone is missing. Family conversations have gradually turned from quarreling to communication and sharing. It's never simple and straightforward, but we can sense a "faster rate of improvement" when we're all there. It's easier to influence the family for good.

The third discovery was a seemingly simple but important principle. When the family gets together on a regular basis (i.e. daily), it becomes the outward expression of healthy routines and living. As with most statistics, it usually is not the empirical behavior itself, but the underlying lifestyle or pattern that really is the root cause of any future outcome, be it positive or negative. (For instance, making sure everybody gets their vitamins or listening to individual concerns making sure everybody is doing good.)

Today I would enthusiastically encourage any parent to make an extra effort to have regular family meals.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Will Web Democracy Influence Language Development?

When in doubt of how to spell a particular word or how to apply a particular phrase I know a lot of people will do a Google search in stead of turning to the dictionary. Do we always find that the majority of people apply the written language “correctly”?

All languages constantly change and evolve. In practical terms this means that what used to be a misspelling, wrongful pronunciation, or even faulty conjugation of a word may change or be formally updated as an accepted way to speak and write. Did I lose you..?

Let's consider one example, which I know constantly confuses people whose mother tongue is not English. Consider the word “dialog”. In school I was taught traditional Queens English, or what is generally called Received Pronunciation (RP). We were told that the correct way to spell dialog was “dialogue”. Since English is a very conservative language (and culture) changes or language updates take longer to adopt. Such is not the case with the American language (i.e. US English), which in many ways is much more colorful, not to forget the amount of slang that it has. Slang inevitably influences the formal language over time.

Thus ariseth confusion!

Did you ever wonder why English is so consistently inconsistent when it comes to pronunciation and spelling? It simply is a very hard language to learn compared to many other languages, like e.g. Spanish (which has a much closer kinship between spelling and actual pronunciation). English truly takes a lifetime to learn. Not only because of its richness in terminology, but because of its conservativeness. Spelling is rarely or seldom updated to accommodate the way people actually speak. This growing mismatch leads to millions of young people across the globe having to learn a huge glossary of exceptions. Yes, in fact, I'd say much of the English language is “an exception”. I'm not saying that's bad. All I'm saying, it helps to be aware of it.

The interesting phenomenon of today's instant and immediate web crawling and indexing of information by search engines effectively picks up what we might call “the democratic web power of the written word”, something which we've probably never witnessed quite as powerfully in the past. It means that when a growing amount of people misspell or misuse a particular word or phrase, language experts and authorities now more easily may statistically spot and pick up those tendencies to consider if they should be accepted as formally right or wrong.

The question that remains to be answered: Will this web democracy influence language development? And if so, will this transparency speed it up or slow it down? Or maybe I'm mistaken altogether. You tell me...

PS! Did you find any misspelled words in this text? ...and are you sure? ;-)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm Sorry Are Magic Words

Any long term relationship will at some point need to include "I'm sorry". In fact, maybe these words are the most important and "cleverest" words we ever speak, simply because they imply a critical look at ourselves and a desire to change and improve. It sometimes is what a father, mother, spouse, child or friend needs the most from us.

Of all words and expressions we may utter, the most soothing and diplomatic of them all would in my opinion be "I am sorry". If they are truthfully spoken and sincerely meant "I'm sorry" expresses humility and a high degree of self awareness.

"I'm sorry" is sometimes what a father, mother, spouse, child or friend needs the most from us. Why? Because they probably don't actually demand that we necessarily change, but more so that we at least - as a beginning - confess our weaknesses and faults. In other words, that we are trying matters more than change, because over time any relationship will "fail". But failing without trying again and again is the real failure.

From my experience with marriage counseling, I fear one of the main reasons couples "begin the process of separation" may be for a lack of these two words: "I'm sorry..."

If we can conquer ourselves by clearly stating what we are sorry about, I feel confident that the likelihood of a successful marriage or friendship quadruples, and maybe even much more than that.


Long Term Development
Yesterday my wife gave me the usual haircut. I love getting that haircut. She does a fantastic job! However, this time, at some point during the conversation, she pointed out to me that I was overly critical of how she was cutting it. I had not been sufficiently self aware and criticized her for how she was cutting my hair. At first, I felt embarrassed and tried to defend my behavior. Obviously, this only made things worse. I had to swallow my pride and admit that I was being childish. And I admit. Swallowing that pride hurt bad!

But, and this is my point, looking back at it now the whole thing was completely insignificant. In fact, today, the day after, now I'm embarrassed that it was so difficult for me to say that I was sorry. I'm thinkin', that's exactly how it is most of the time. We're so caught up in the moment that we lose perspective and the bigger picture.

Conclusion..? The closer another person comes inside our most intimate circle of existence the more vulnerable we become. This vulnerability seems to me is the single most important aspect of personal growth. For while it may be perceived as a major threat to our ego, it mainly is "letting other people in" to truly influence us for good. Then, when we're getting that much needed feedback about any of our flaws it is critical that we put aside our pride and ego and take it in, even though it may seem useless in the moment.

For me... I get energy and renewed motivation every time I'm able to sincerely say I'm sorry. Maybe not in the actual moment, but yes, those few minutes afterwards... they're priceless!

Because --today-- you'll make mistakes again, today is another opportunity to say I'm sorry.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Why Not Smile?!

Is it natural to have a smile on your face? Some would say it isn't. It is probably more natural not to smile, given that most of the time we're probably in "neutral" and in a reflective or thoughtful mode, neither speaking nor expressing or showing feelings. Others would argue that life with its stress and daily put-downs actually makes it more natural to be grumpy and bad-tempered.

When was what's "natural" and/or "following the course of least resistance" best for us? I argue that up until this day (and I suspect forever and ever) I'll never find anything that came easy to be a source of lasting happiness. So it is with a smile. It may not be natural, but it sure feels so much better in the long run.


A Smile Works Both Ways

Of course, there needs to be something real behind a smile, otherwise it's an empty shell without meaning.

(A true smile cannot be faked!)

A smile is in reality the reflection of what's truly inside, but in my experience, sometimes it needs to be the other way around, too. Sometimes there's frustration and anger inside, but a smile will help overcome it. Here's a little poem in support of the idea:


If you can smile when things go wrong,
And say it doesn't matter,
If you can laugh off cares and woe,
And trouble makes you fatter,
If you can keep a cheerful face,
When all around are blue,
Then have your head examined, bud,
There's something wrong with you.
For one thing I've arrived at:
There are no ands and buts,
A guy that's grinning all the time
must be completely nuts.

(Boyd K. Packer)

Many years ago in college I had a teacher that taught me the value of a smile and how it's done. Yes, you heard me right, "a smile and how it's done". His point was simple; it's not the mouth that smiles, it's your entire face and body. If you have to force a smile, then at least make sure to also lift your eyebrows. It helps.

Boy! was he right. Do you want to know why I remember his little piece of advice? He was the happiest most inspiring teacher I ever had. His life and example simply made his words ring true to me.


An Unselfish Act of Kindness
All around us we find people that struggle with something. Some view a smile as a desparate attempt to keep the world at a distance. To me, a smile is the exact opposite. Smiling is a way to reach out to others. It's anything but a selfish act. It's welcoming others. It's surplus living. It's saying: I'm currently not carrying a load to burden you with, so I'm ready to share yours. A smile is a state of mind that's prepared to change into empathy. It's forgetting yourself.

A smile is encouraging others to look for the positive, a way to pass on positive energy. A sincere smile communicates a love for people and acceptance. Just like a frown can punish far beyond evil words, a smile can be worth more than a thousand (uplifting) words.


Main Reasons For a Smile
I've grown to appreciate a smile by becoming more aware of what its source may be:

Principle # 1: Moving In The Right Direction
Someone once encouraged me: By the time you're forty years old, make sure you're doing what you love doing (i.e. workwise). Even though it's good advice, would it not be better to always be doing what you sense inside is moving you in the right direction?

Indefinitely, I find that people who are headed towards a worthwhile goal, not taking detours or living in contradiction with their conscience, are indeed happier. They smile not because they have to, but because it's natural to do so.

I've also found that it's hard to be in the wrong place (moving in the wrong direction) when I'm helping someone. Offering unselfish service can be addictive, because it - more than anything else - will put a smile on your face, whether you want to or not.

Principle # 2: Keep smiling
No one feels like smiling all the time. And many times it would simply be wrong to be smiling. However, so many more times than we might think, it would be appropriate to bounce back with a smile rather than giving in to negativity and "murmuring". A year ago I shared the lyrics of a song entitled "Keep Trying" that expressed the same.

To me it just makes so much sense to smile more. Don't you think so, too?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

American Big Band Jazz to Skien 3rd of July

Next Saturday Grenland is in for an amazing first-time-ever experience with American Big Band Jazz. Skien is hosting the BYU Synthesis from Provo, Utah at 12:00 - 14:00 in the public market square stage.

I'm a BIG fan of jazz funk - always was. You may be familiar with my all time favorite "Garden Party" by the Icelandic group Mezzoforte. Big Band Jazz is a serious adventure, too, when you get the chance to experience it live and firsthand. So yes, please count me in!


The BYU Synthesis ensemble consisting of 18 state-of-the-art musicians under the direction of Dr. Ray Smith is recognized worldwide as one of the top "big bands" in America. Since it was organized in 1973, BYU Synthesis has performed all over the world, for instance at the prestigious Montreux Switzerland International Jazz Festival, in Japan and China, in Russia and others to name a few.

This year BYU Synthesis will be performing at the Kongsberg Jazz Festival and as part of their program have accepted the invitation to play in Grenland. It simply is a happening that little Skien has never before experienced. Together with Jazz fans all across Grenland I expect you'll be there as well ;-)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Solution to Paperwork and Electronic Messages

Is paperwork, email or electronic messages a stress factor in your life? It doesn't have to be. Here's how...

I've heard and seen so many comments and so much "good advice" when it comes to papers and paperwork. And even though I'm no expert, I've found one basic principle to be of the greatest benefit....


This principle applies not only to a potentially cluttered desk and disorganized papers, but also to any kind of message, be it email, SMS or even orally conveyed commitments:

Keep everything in one place and never deal with it more than once.

If, however, you need to revisit a piece of paper, an email or any other kind of information, make it come back to you. Always, always either eliminate messages or arrange for them to return without your time and effort. Believe me, if you consistently stick to this principle it will reduce stress and help you be a man of your word.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Emotions Precede Meaningful Commitments

Strong positive feelings and emotions are the best leverage we have to both make and keep commitments. Emotional highs (or lows) can offer clarity and perspective. Such feelings and energy can motivate us to change. Without energy there can be no deep and meaningful commitments.

This morning I was trying to help one of our sons to stay focused and stick to our agreed morning routines. He's been doing very well. Not today, though. We let him do "his thing" (which wasn't at all what we had agreed to) and when time came for a mutual accountability report we had a thorough discussion about how it went.

I let him know how disappointed I was, and I guess maybe I was too emphatic about it. It was not difficult to see the pain in his eyes. I was deeply affected by this, possibly more so than him. Since we were late for school I offered to give him a lift. As I watched him running to his classroom I could not help but shed a tear. My heart was aching for him, in light of what he had gone through. I saw clearer than ever, what a great and special person he is. I so much wanted to keep communicating his greatness in my daily dealings with him.

There and then I committed myself to be even more gentle, to be a better friend by spending more one-on-one time with him and more than anything else make sure he knows that I care.


Leverage From Positive Feelings
I try to make commitments when I have strong positive feelings. In my opinion it's the best time to do so. Not only because at such times we want to change, but also because these moments are glimpses of "what really matters" and of "things as they really are".

On that same note, I try to never make decisions when I have negative thoughts or feelings. I believe the old saying "never let your fears (or anger) make your decisions" still holds true.

My son is on my list of "Great People".

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dutch Football Strikers

I'm absolutely not a football freak (i.e. soccer), but I do occasionally watch a game when it has some kind of significance, and especially when one of my few favorite players are in it...

OK, so I'm Dutch and biased. If you're asking me, Dutch soccer strikers often seem to stand out in the crowd, don't they?! ;-)

The player I'll be following with great interest in the World Cup 2010 is definitely Robin van Persie. I see in him a lot of the same traits that Ruud van Nistelrooy, Marco van Basten and Johan Cruyff had.

Watch this clip of Robin van Persie and see if you don't recognize what I observe and like about him; surprising ability to stay on his feet (read: balance), regularly doing "the unexpected", an extreme drive and focus on the goal, a consistent display of skills, always fast, flexible and dangerous, a master of "one touch" and maybe most of all just being in the right place relative to team players.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Why Does Sending SMS Still Cost Money?

I always focus on the positive and I carefully spend my time and strength on constructive business development. Challenging "Paying for SMS" may be considered a negative issue, but it's not. It simply should be a hot topic for telecom and a wonderful opportunity. It's time to move to "the next level" and let go of an outdated paradigm: SMS should be free of charge!

I know, I know, there are plenty of smart solutions that allow us to send SMS for free - today. But that's besides the point. My point is simple; there is in principle no difference between an SMS and an email. Thus "pricing" should be the same for both. Either we start paying for emails or the telecom business (i.e. in general) should quit charging its customers for sending SMS.

Free SMS should not be a unique selling point, but rather be a self evident offering!

I know, I know, it'll come sometime in the future. But again, that's besides the point. My point is simple; if there in principle is no difference between an SMS and an email, then it's time to start treating them the same - NOW. SMS has become and has been for a long time a cash cow product.

I know, I know, this blog post will neither matter much nor make a big difference. Again, that's besides the point. My point remains simple; there is no difference between an SMS and an email. With this I wanted to clearly state that the market place knows that telecom is in fact abusing its position. The market has grown accustomed to paying for SMS, but is now moving out of this paradigm. Whoever makes the switch to pricing SMS and email on equal grounds I will congratulate. However, I will not do so until that player also has taken the lead by influencing all other players in doing the same.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Submit Receipts Online

How much time to you spend producing those travel expense claims or documents? Did you ever miss a receipt? Ever lost track of where you were, how much mileage... or any of that knitty gritty travel stuff that just clutters your working day?

Of all online solutions, one that really makes my life easier is online submission of receipts. There are several solutions.

Here are three of them for you to consider:

So here's what I do; let's say I'm in the store getting some food on my way to a meeting abroad. The lady hands me the receipt. Next thing, instead of putting it in my pocket, I pull out my cell phone and take a picture of it. A few seconds later the picture is seamlessly uploaded to my Expensify account without pressing a single button. Before I move on I'm careful to lose my excess paper in a waste container.

Once back in the office, I log on and click my way through the expenses - all automatic - and then submit the expense report. Manual mistakes eliminated. Time saved. No more stress.

One thing's for certain. We no longer need to a) carry with us those receipts and b) spend time handling travel expenses. Do it while you're on the go. It's cloud computing at its best!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Will Technology Overcome Language Barriers?

I remember making jokes about futuristic scenarios on how technology would help us completely eliminate language barriers. Today, this is about to become reality, is it not?

Speech or voice recognition has dramatically improved over the years. When I dictate SMS messages in English into my Android phone, it now successfully translates everything I say into perfectly written English.

When, over time, Google translate becomes a widely accepted business standard (it is continually improving) it no longer is difficult to imagine simple tools that can process voice input and voice output in one go - at an instant. My prediction is that in just a few years this will become an effective tool to speak with any "foreigner", e.g. me talking with someone in Hindi or even Mandarin via some kind of "translator software". This will also, and maybe especially, include teleconferencing and webinars. While most of the participants may be speaking English for example, any participant can by pressing a button listen, and even participate, in their own language.

I guess the next challenge would then be to include intonation, huh..? Let alone, body language! No, even though the future may look bright when it comes to language translation, learning another language will always be an important and valued skill. What do you think?

p.s. Listening to Spanish training while writing this post ;-)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

LinkedIn with Twitter Functionality

Finally, LinkedIn is taking Twitter seriously...

Now LinkedIn has put in place a full fletched Twitter integration. The up until now half hearted link to Twitter updates was about to become a "missing link". The integration allows a number of clever features, among others - which is what most of us have wanted for a long time...

...LinkedIn will, and I quote, "help [us] find relevant professionals to follow on Twitter".

So today you have one more good reason to ramp up your daily use of both Twitter and LinkedIn ;-)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mind Blowing Numbers

When we see growing numbers such as a million (1,000,000) or a trillion (a million million or 1,000,000,000,000) we gradually begin to realize that the number itself may well be feasible on paper, but the amount quickly becomes difficult to mentally grasp or let alone visualize.

Today I have two questions - please help me out - and let me briefly explain...

In much the same way as it is hard, or rather impossible, for the mind to understand the concept of infinity from an exploding point of view (like "there is no end to space") so it may also be the case in the opposite direction..!?

As children in elemantary school we learn about 0.1 and 0.001 as well as 0.00000001 etc. Think about this, for a second; is there an end to this? I mean, how small can a number get? Maybe, does it keep on going in exactly the same manner as exploding numbers, only in this respect moving inwardly "into space" almost as it were like an implosion? (I don't even know if this would be the proper use of the word "implosion".) And I mean seriously, not just from a philosophical point of view.


Two Questions
My first question, therefore is: Do you believe space is infinite - both ways?

My second question is: Would you please help me find online material where someone shared something to shed more light on this subject? (I suppose we may quickly move into Einstein's relativity..? which I find intriguing, to say the least!)

For instance, I quickly found a YouTube video that explains the vastness of the universe, but what about the other way around..? You see, they way I picture it, we're already living on an atom in the grand scheme of things, i.e. relatively speaking ;-)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Handshake and the Name

Shaking hands for the first time and picking up the name of the other person is harder than you might think. Most of us only hear our own name and afterwards regret that we didn't listen to learn the other person's name while we had the chance.

When we meet people for the first time in a business setting we usually shake hands. We also state our name and look each other in the eye. It's something that many of us do every single day.

Why would such a topic interest me? Well, there's a strange phenomenon in this cultural practice - a weakness that actually the majority of professionals "suffer from". Believe it or not, my stats indicate that approximately 5 or 6 out of 10 don't hear and/or remember the name of the person they greet in this way. Why? Isn't the name or identity the single one objective of such a traditional way to greet? I don't think it is. We may believe it is, but in reality, shaking hands has a completely different purpose.


Possible Reasons Why
I've actually thought about "the failed handshake" for quite some time. It's an interesting and telling tendency. I've mapped out a list of possible reasons for why this is the case. Maybe it's because:

  • meeting new people puts a little scare in us and we protect ourselves by being very careful and aware of what we say and do...
  • ...and thus we become much more focused on ourselves than on others the moment we leave our comfort zone.
  • stating each other's name comes so close in time that we're simply not listening the first few seconds before and after we speak.
  • finding the hand and looking the person in the eye takes too much of our attention...
  • ...and thus picking up the name almost becomes "multitasking" and too much for us.
  • we tend to focus on visuals in the beginning looking for facial expressions, clothing and looks, sound and scent.
  • we often greet more than one person at a time and get names mixed up. Most of the people I've spoken with about this say they simply give up by not even trying when there's more than three new people in the room.
  • we don't really care or don't really understand the importance of a name.
  • we hear the name, but quickly forget as the conversation moves into preliminaries (our mind is focused on what to talk about to break the ice).
  • simply lack of routine and/or an unconscious working style.

So What?
What is there to be done about this problem?

Simply being aware of our tendency to not listen and instantly remember a name makes a huge difference. Just focus on the name next time you shake hands with someone. Don't worry about appearances, what to say, how to shake hands or anything else. It will be OK. What's important is to hear and remember that name!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Return of Young Ambassadors to Skien

Last year more than 1300 people interacted and thoroughly enjoyed the company and talent of The Young Ambassadors from BYU. Would you like to meet them again?

It's true! If everything turns out the way we're planning it, The Young Ambassadors will return to Norway and Skien on Saturday the 3rd of July. We still need final confirmation, so no promises yet. But if you want them to come, please give us your quick feedback via this online form. DO IT NOW!


...yes, we know, the 3rd of July is in the middle of everyone's holiday season. But would you really enjoy your holidays without The Young Ambassadors?! ;-)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Are You Carrying the Load?

Do you find yourself carrying the weaknesses or defects of other people? Is there a good reason for you to be upset about it? Or just maybe, could there be someone that ought to be upset with you in much the same way that you are with them..?

Maybe society can be classified into two major groups - in every respect:

(1) Those who carry the load
(2) Those who add to the load

Today I'm asking: "Which one am I?"

First of all I'm thinkin', the question should probably be rephrased: "Am I a burden to others, and can I shape up?"


AN ECOSYSTEM
In some respects we're all carrying a (heavy) load of some kind. It may be a major project or just a small every-day task... Regardless of what it might be, we should be careful not to become too self righteous about whatever it is we do. Why?

Well, as far as I understand, we're all in an "ecosystem" of give and take. Let me share two quick examples to illustrate:


EXAMPLE # 1 - Carrying the Load
Today I'll be doing another round of public service picking up trash in the local community. I know from previous experience that such an activity gives me a positive kick. While at work my thoughts almost always are "what makes people just toss stuff around like this"? In my mind I may also be thinking: "At least I don't add to the amount of trash myself..."


EXAMPLE # 2 - Adding to the Load
...but then, what kind of a self righteous attitude is that?! I may not be polluting the environment in that particular way. However, in many other settings I myself am probably causing a heavy burden on society and the people around me, too, both with regards to environment as well as in other areas... For instance, I rely on weekly maintenance from others when it comes to keeping my office clean. On my accountant for handling all my paperwork. On my colleagues during big events and training venues, and yes, sometimes on my wife to help me remember where to find stuff around the house.

Summum bonum; who are we to judge others for being a burden? We're all carrying a load, but likewise, we're also adding to the burden in so many ways. Are we not?!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Power of a Compliment

The power of a compliment is fantastic. But be careful to do it in a sincere way. Too often we miss wonderful opportunities to lift people beyond our wildest imagination.

About a year ago I shared some thoughts about paying attention to the people around us. Today I'd like to do a quick follow up. I've seen individuals literally go through the roof because of a simple compliment. In fact, it never ceases to amaze me.

So tell me, what is a compliment ...and can I share some thoughts I've had lately?

First of all, if you want to make a difference in the life of someone, try to find "the best stuff" in them. But not only the best, also look for the small. When you open your mouth, make sure it's a clean compliment. Don't include negative feedback in the same sentence. It ruins the value of your shared feelings. (And we so often do this without knowing!)

Second, do it sincerely. Don't compliment someone with a hidden agenda.

Third; making eye contact makes all the difference!

My last little thought on this... Exemplify whatever you say. So often, almost daily, I hear "the beginning of wonderful compliments", but then they quickly evaporate simply because people don't spend the time to elaborate and explain in detail what they mean. Relate specifically from real life examples what it is you mean. We love to hear someone tell stories of our own life and example among others.

The need for recognition is, of course, no different in business. As a matter of fact, research provides clear indications that positive feedback is what poor managers miss and what the best managers are good at. Pay someone a sincere compliment today!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Twitter Search Versus Google Search

What's the difference between a Twitter search and a Google search? What is this Twitter thing, anyway..?!

So I get a lot of questions about Twitter. Why? What? Who? How? ...and mostly why ;-)

Well, there are a lot of good reasons why you should make use of this tool. Maybe one way of explaining it could be by highlighting the difference between a Twitter search and a Google search.

When you search at Twitter, what you will find is typically real time information, i.e. you can follow opinions, questions, information, discussions about anything that's taking place right now - at this very moment (or recently). It allows you to participate, research, learn and collaborate in a completely different way. Simply put, Twitter is accessing information from a different angle, and there's a lot more speed to it.

Obviously, there's a lot more to it than this, and I'm still learning myself. For instance, people easily grow frustrated when making their first few searches at Twitter Search. Normally, they search for stuff and find... nothing. Two words of advice:
  1. Keep in mind what people are twittering about. When searching Twitter use words that especially interest you. You are more likely to find people and information with relevant information that way.
  2. Use the advanced search and/or make #-based searches. For instance #salestraining is an interesting topic i visit periodically.
If you look into it, you'll find that Twitter opens up a whole new world of selling, networking and innovating.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What About Twitter..?

When you go online, you'll find millions of people using Twitter every day. It may appear as though everyone knows what it is and how to apply it in a private or work setting. However, this is not the case "in real life" (i.e. not online or in cyberspace ;-).

If you ask any person "on the street" about Twitter, most people have not even heard the term. It's true! My questioning people has lead me to an estimation of about 6 out of 10 actually still don't know anything about Twitter. OK, so it may vary both demographically and geographically, and it certainly does. But here's my point: Even though Twitter has the fastest adoption rate online ever, most people still don't know about it and are missing out on this amazing communication tool - big time!

Yesterday I did a quick poll among some enlightened friends and contacts (just simple unvalidated questions), and even here the statistics reveal "ignorance" or great potential, to put it that way:


Among experienced every-day computer users the big majority still don't understand or use Twitter.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Norwegian Channel for Board Members

Friday the 23rd of April we're kick-starting the online Channel for Norwegian Board Members - Kanal for Styremedlemmer i Norge (KSN).

The 4th Friday of every month at 15:00 I will be doing a 30 minute interview with prominent and experienced board members / directors accompanied by an online dialog using Twitter at #styremedlem.

The first well-known individual interviewed will be Erik Gudbrandsen. A month ago Erik resigned as the Director of the board at Ernst & Young.

Erik's many years of great success and experience will give you a sneak peak of what it's like to be at the helm of big business (join broadcast here).


Network of Board Members
The LinkedIn group "Styremedlemmer i Norge" driving this initiative now consists of more than a thousand members. The last hour only more than 70 key people signed up. It's growing fast!

Mark your calendar for Friday 23. April 15:00 CET for the first broadcast and interview with Erik Gudbrandsen. Send your twitter messages and questions with #styremedlem. (Note! The interview will be in Norwegian.)

Erik Gudbrandsen in on my list of "Great People".