Monday, March 31, 2008

Follow-up on Fari

When I came back from vacation this year I wrote a post about an author I had met at our Super Bowl Party in the jungle. His book, Fastball Fari, is about the first woman to pitch in the major leagues. (It's fiction.) I shared that while a copy of the book was at the party and I could have read it, I decided to wait to purchase my own copy.

Michael Cruit beat me to it, by sending me a copy. Oh my gosh, it is such a fun read. If it were on display in the new authors' section at Barnes & Noble, the comment would say, "This book keeps you guessing right to the end. The characters are wonderfully developed so that pictures parade through your mind as you read the book. The ending leaves you wondering, 'what's next."'

Sometimes new authors or self-published books are not compelling. I can tell you that if you go to and purchase this book, you'll have a fun read. Michael would love to hear from you about how much you either liked or disliked the book.

He lives in Costa Rica at the mouth of the Sierpe River, that empties into the Pacific. He has no Internet connection, but he comes into "town" from time to time and then does read and reply to emails.

So either order the book or purchase the download. It will take more than one plane trip to finish the book, but you won't mind carrying it on a couple trips.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Yea for Lori

My good friend Lori Cannon, was selected as the Distinguished Community Woman of the Year by our Girl Scout Council and this award was announced Thursday morning at their annual volunteer recognition breakfast. I can't think of anyone who deserves the award more.

Lori and I met the day I first visited a BNI group in December 1995. She gave me a referral that very day, wanting to use my sales coaching services. And we have been fast friends ever since then.

When I think of all the stuff Lori has donated her time to, it is really amazing. She trained for and ran her first marathon with Team in Training for the Leukemia Society in my father-in-law's honor. She raised $5,000 to be part of this team.

Lori has gotten me into oh, so much, too. Whether it was a sponsorship for the Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, or being part of the rowing team for Toledo's Dragon Boat races or being on the committee for the Girl Scout Camp CEO, each time she pulled me in, I knew that we were going to have a lot of fun. She is the one who recruited me for our Master Mind group.

People go to Lori, when they need someone to help them think through a problem. She has this wonderful knack to help people figure out the best way to solve issues without telling them what to do.

Lori sold memorials (tombstones) when I first met her (and she sold a lot of them, because she took the time to allow people to tell her about their loved ones.) In fact, when my father-in-law died, she helped us to create his monument. In 2000 she became a financial planner for Edward Jones and as with everything else, she has attacked this new endeavor with gusto.

I was thrilled to be sitting in the audience on Thursday morning when Lori was recognized for all she does. In accepting the award she shared that her parents set the tone for her future involvement with the community. And she asked all of us to continue to set an example for the scouts as they continue to come along.

Thanks Lori for setting the example for all of us to follow!

Please weigh in on Lori and her accomplishments.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Status Quo

In the last couple weeks I was at a networking event where I met a person who is connected to the housing industry. Here in NW Ohio, that industry is rather challenged right now.

In our conversation I asked this person if she were taking this time to solidify relationships and to develop new ones. After all, my thought was, if business is slow, make use of the time available in a productive manner.

This person's answer basically was, "No, I'm just doing a lot of the same."

I just shook my head later because I know this person expects a miracle to happen. Many people are losing their jobs because they are not producing. Doing the same old, same old, will probably get you a pink slip pretty quickly.

What are you doing in the challenging economy to position yourself for future success.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Creating Community

Recently a friend told me that she thought I was an expert in creating community around like-minded people. H-m-m-m-m, I had never thought about this concept, but when I did, it really rung a bell with me.

I started to think about all the times I have rallied the troops.

When I lived in Detroit, I was a member of a ski club. Our club had a racing team, a small racing team. It was part of a larger council of many ski clubs who also formed teams. Each year a trophy was given to the team with the most points gained over the season. Now, because our team was small, we never had a chance at the bragging rights.

I decided that we could turn our situation around.

The council was for adult, recreational racers. In other words, there were levels for the really good racers, but there were also levels for those who could barely get down the hill in the snowplow position. Having raced for only one year, I realized how much racing had helped to hone my skiing skills in general. I had become a much bolder skier.

When I started we had about 25 racers under our banner. Most were the elite, tear down the hill really fast, variety. I began recruiting at the opposite end, convincing new skiers that this was the best way to go if they wanted to really have fun skiing. Before I was done, we had 75 people on our team.

When any of these new racers were out on the race course, we were there to cheer them on, to carry their coat down the hill and to dust them off if they fell. Each week we told them how much better we saw them and when one of our new racers placed in the race, we were there to cheer when they received their trophy.

I wrote a Q and A column for the club newsletter, to highlight racing. I answered (or got answers) to all the questions I had when I started. If someone asked me a new question, you can bet it was in the next issue. This was back in the early '80s, so including pictures was not easily achieved, but we tried to paint visual pictures as much as we could.

In those days, many of us traveled out west each year to participate in national races. So many times our racers won their class. I am sure it was because of the support they received from the group as a whole.

And guess what. For many years, our team won the annual council trophy. We brought a community of like-minded individuals together and achieved something that we had never thought possible.

I have some other thoughts on community, but I'll leave you with this today.

What do you think makes people band together?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Mellow Yellow

Traditions. It's funny how they just get started.

My son, Andy and daughter-in-law, Debbie, and daughters, Kaitlyn and Lauren, came yesterday to help dye Easter eggs and generally catch up with each other. Usually, the trip takes about two hours for them to get here. They also bring their dog, Lizzie, and before Lizzie it was Ashley.

IT IS TRADITION that when they get here, the three Ohio monsters, meet the Michigan canine as she comes in the door. All h _ll breaks loose, as the Ohio contingent loves any other dog. There is such excitement that the Michigan dog always creates a yellow puddle several feet inside the front door. (We are a relaxed household. The hardwood floors make it easy to clean.)

You'd think we'd be smart enough to go to the door, paper towels in hand. But oh no, we're always taken aback. Where did that puddle come from?

What wacky traditions have made their way into your home?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What Can I Say?

It happened again.

You think I'd get off the soap box.

I attended the Toledo Human Resources Association, Diversity Day event on Tuesday morning. I take my hat off to the group that put it together in getting some really good speakers, including Matt Roloff, the man whose
family appears in the TLC reality show Little People, Big World. He happens to be a dwarf, so he talked about his work in helping the world to know the challenges that Little People face in the world.

Only one speaker used PowerPoint. And used it badly.

I don't understand why presenters think they have to read their bullet points to us as they show us their backside. On a scale of 1 - 10, I'd give this presenter a 4. She presented a lot of facts and figures, and a few stories to back up the facts. That is the only reason I marked her so high.

The other two speakers, spoke from the heart. One was just as "learned" as the PowerPoint presenter, but he had two stories for each point he made. It made it easy to understand the abstract principles he was using.

As I have said before, lose the PowerPoint. Make contact with your audience members. Technology can be toxic to the relationship you want to develop with your audience.

P.S. The only person I have seen use PowerPoint well is Scott Ginsberg and that's because he DOESN'T use any bullet points and instead uses the screen as a backdrop for his presentation.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Where Have I Been?

OK, I'm back from being sick. Last weekend, if I could have found a gun and then figured out how to use it, I would have. Still not 100%, but I'd say about 75% there.

There enough about that. Gable, the only good dog, and I are going for a walk later to celebrate me feeling better.

What Would You Do?

My good friend, Mary Simmons, Modern Woodmen of America, has a brother who is ill. He has had prostate cancer for seven years. At this point he is pursuing alternative treatment methods having also gone the traditional route. The sticking point is that the treatment center requires $20,000 up front before they will accept George as a patient. Unfortunately for George, he and his wife, Gina, don't have that kind of money available.

Here's where it gets interesting. Gina, while brushing her teeth one day, (for me, it's sitting at red lights!) thought, "What would happen if I sold something for just $1, but sold it to 20,000 people. Most of us would be thinking from the opposite point of view, "How can I have the biggest fundraiser to gain $20K all in one swoop?" But Gina, didn't think she had anything to sell. Then she realized she had recipes. She has gathered a collection of her recipes, entitled, "Friends of George." And they're available online.

Now, I gotta' tell you that if I didn't know Mary, I'd probably be dismissing this as a hoax. But the trusting relationship I have with Mary gives me the assurance that she wouldn't be connected with anything less than top drawer. It's all about the V-C-P model we teach in the Certified Networker course. C stands for credibility.

If you had to raise $20 grand for a loved one, what would you do?

Update on the Bird

I am sorry to tell you that the hawk Steve rescued did not live. They were able to give it water at the 'wild animal hospital' but the next morning it was dead. They think it had been ill for a long time and had not eaten in a long time either. They think it was a hawk not usually seen around here, a Northern Kestrel. Although in searching for information, I can't find a listing for such a bird. The American Kestrel is too small, and the Northern Harrier, doesn't have the right markings. I guess it will just have to be a mystery.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Q and A

My new blogging friend Jacki Hollywood Brown tagged me to interview myself about my blog.


What is the story behind the name of your blog? Well, I guess I'm pretty boring. Debby Peters, networking guru, is the name. No flash or sass! But I am known as the networking guru in these here parts! My license plate on my little yellow Mini says CNP Guru. The CNP is for the word-of-mouth marketing course, Certified Networker Program, that I teach.

Why did you start out blogging in the first place? This is where many of us have the same person in common, Scott Ginsberg. I heard him speak at the WOMMA conference in Orlando and the rest is history.

What is your best blogging experience? Your worst? My best is when a post I have written strikes a chord with someone and they comment. Also, since I am the chronicler of Leadership Toledo this year, I was excited when a post was included in its entirety in the Leadership Toledo newsletter. Beyond my own navel, I love connecting with others via their blogs. It is such a learning experience to hear about others take on certain topics.

My worst is the same as everyone else; people who use the comment section to spam my readers.

What do you think will happen to your blog in 2008? Hmmmmm, well, I think I will continue to link everyday happenings with networking to keep that conversation going. Just as Scott Ginsberg does, I look at my blog as a placeholder for all my writing, the good and the bad! I am open to suggestions from the peanut gallery!

Who I'm tagging?

Angie Weid, I Organize You
Sandy Pirwitz, Sandy's Stuff for Women

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Making Friends

Several weeks ago, friend Rebecca Booth, Imagine That!, planned a surprise birthday party of another friend,

Maggie Sullivan

Maggie was celebrating a milestone birthday.

Approximately 15 or so people gathered at a local Mexican restaurant before Maggie and Rebecca arrived.

Maggie was dumbstruck when we yelled, "Surprise."

Here is what she had to say after the event.

"Was I stunned into silence on Sunday when I saw a group of familiar faces (all a blur) sitting at a table in El Camino Real Mexican restaurant!!! How wonderful that you were part of the group and thanks for being there and being part of such a surprise!!! When I try to tell friends in other parts of the country about life in Toledo, they do not believe me!!! My huge secret that cannot be explained is how I arrived in Toledo knowing only family and almost 8 years later I know someone wherever I happen to be!!! Amazing, isn't it???"

For those who have ever moved to a new location, you know it's all about getting involved. Maggie joined The Women's Entrepreneurial Network (WEN) early on wanting to promote her jewelry business. The business has grown and grown and grown, but beyond that, Maggie has connected with a whole series of WEN people that have become friends.

What are your secrets for making friend when you don't know anyone?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Three or One, Which is Better?

This morning I drove south to Findlay before our ice storm hit. I attended the chamber's monthly Fresh Brewed event. It is a combo of both networking and information. Since I am attempting to get to know that community better, it is a great place for me.

One thing they do at this event which I don't really like, is about midway through the event they tell everyone to get up and "trade cards with three people they've not met."

For me that is like hearing fingernails screech on the blackboard. (I know, some of you don't know what those are!)

You see, I'd rather talk with one person during that short, three minute period.

And that's what I did today.

The lady I sat with was someone I had not yet met, so I got half of it right. We intro'd ourselves to each other. She owns a gift shop on Main St and she mentioned that she has toys and table linens. As a grandma, I wanted to see what she had. I also happen to love tablecloths.

After Fresh Brewed and another appointment, I crossed Main St and entered her shop, DorAnne's Gifts & Gourmet. Oh boy! The puppets are to die for, the color saturated tablecloths are unbelievable, but let me tell you about the purses. There were just three on display and I want all three. I didn't buy any today, but I will be in Findlay each Tuesday teaching a Certified Networker class, so I may be in "trouble!"

I'm glad I didn't follow the directions this morning.

What rules have you broken this week and did it work to your advantage?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Can You Belive?

In the Certified Networker course we use three letters, V-C-P, to have a way to describe the level of relationship. V is visibility, C is credibility and P is profitability.

With that being said, you also need to know that Steve and I live out in the country on 13 acres of what we like to call prairie, but what others would call a big farm field! The hawks are fun to watch out here as they soar over the field looking for a little "lite" lunch. Sometimes one will sit right outside our bathroom window, a foot or two away from the bird feeder, waiting for a little fast food!

Last night the two Springers (that is a picture of Owen looking particularly smart.) were out being dumb as usual. We could see them across the pond circling and pouncing on something. Steve went out to investigate and no, it was not a snake, nor was it a cat from the barns across the road.

No, it was a hawk. And it had an injured leg or maybe a wing, or maybe both. Steve rescued it and brought it in. It is pretty interesting up close. He did call Nature's Nursery, the wildlife rescue organization, but as far as I know they have not yet called back. So the hawk has taken up residence in the barn.

Back to V-C-P. With all the hawks, I think they are magnificent, but my relationship has always been one of very early visibility. They would fly away immediately when I came close. To keep this wonderful (I know, I know, they are not nice birds, but they are still beautiful.) bird, wild; we will try not to imprint on it. But wow, I do love being at just a little higher level of visibility so that I can see it up closer than ever before.

With most humans I want my relationships to develop to high credibility and hopefully, profitability with some. But I am happy with keeping this connection at a low level relationship, because that's what's best.

So what interesting happened on your Sunday afternoon?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Cell Phone - The Rest of the Story

The sign of a good business person is the manner in which they clean up the oops of their business life.

This is a continuation of my cell phone story from Thursday.

I purchased the phone from Bill Dohrmann, the owner of CellPro Wireless. His company is a BNI member and I like to support BNI as much as I can.

I chatted with Bill on Friday to share my disappointment with both trying to set up the phone and also the features of the phone.

I have to give Bill credit. He let me talk. He listened, even when I didn't fit into his day.

He asked what I wanted him to do for me and then proposed a solution.

In the end he suggested I bring the phone back to replace it with one that would suit me better. Since Bill had to be at an out of town conference this weekend, he told me to meet with his employee, Joe Walker.

Joe is a pro. He really knows the business. He agrees that Sprint's customer service is for SH*T. (I hope this doesn't get him in trouble.) He asked questions that helped him to help me.

My intention before I arrived at the store was to upgrade to the next higher model of Blackberry, mistakenly thinking it had a camera. It does not.

In the end, believe it or not, I kept the original new phone, which I had every intention of giving back. Joe told me the reasons why it was best for me, although he proposed a second model (not a Blackberry) that had a camera, but not the direct email system that Blackberry uses.

With all that in mind, I was still going to upgrade to next higher Blackberry model and pay extra money. But Joe explained that while it physically looked different (a little more streamlined) it was basically the same phone. Joe could have gotten a few more dollars, but he knew the value of serving the customer. (Sprint, you should hire Joe to do customer service training for you.)

Joe got the right plan in place for me, as I sat there. What I had tried to do for 2 hours and 10 minutes the other night, did not include email service, even though I kept asking about it many times during that marathon session. The only thing he was not able to do was to actually set up my email, because I couldn't remember my password without looking it up.

So as I said, the mark of a good business person, is the way they handle challenges that occur with customers.

Bill, you are smart to have Joe on your side, because I felt like he was on my side this morning, too.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Shared Dining

Last night Steve and I went to dinner at one of our favorite new restaurants -- La Scola. We happen to know the owners but that's not what this is about.

Our food was tasty -- but that's not what this is about.

The ambiance was warm and inviting -- but that's not what this is about.

The service was impeccable -- but that's not what this is about.

What this is about is the tone of the restaurant.

Cheryl and Gus Nicolaidis have created such a friendly atmosphere that what happened to us last night probably happens all the time to others.

We were seated at a table along the wall banquette. There was another couple at the table next to us. The tables are far enough away to provide privacy, if wanted, but yet close enough to encourage conversation.

And that's exactly what happened when the appetizer arrived at our table. The guy next store asked what it was. Knowing that Steve and I could not eat the whole appetizer (nor did we need it) we offered some of it to him. At first he politely refused, but we wore him down. We ended up chatting through both of our dinners. In the small world we live in today, the women's son lives quite near us, and she has a small farm for sale within a couple miles of us. We will probably never see them again, but it was fun to add a dimension to our dining experience that we had not expected.

And that's what this is about.

Cheryl and Gus has created a wonderful restaurant where not only is the food yummy, service great and the place beautiful, but because of their friendliness, they have set the tone for their patrons to be friendly, too.

They understand clearly that relationship is a factor in the success of a restaurant.

What wonderful dining experiences have you had and what made them so special?