A duck and a dream

I had the pleasure of watching arguably the world’s best magician David Copperfield live in Melbourne recently. The magic itself was awesome...

17 reasons you should always carry a book with you

1. As someone who used to spend a lot of time waiting for real estate clients to show up – I know that clients / appointments / people in general are often late...

Reality Television your way to Success

I think I’m one of the only “motivational speakers” (not that I call myself that) who will openly admit that I watch television. I watch bad television too… even… dare I say it… reality television.

Where is the love?!

One of my businesses, Elephant Property, works in the notoriously under appreciated category of residential property management. The old adage in property management...

The power of the word

I’m quite distraught. I was eating my personal trainer approved afternoon snack of 12 almonds (my suggestion of 12 Tim Tams: not approved)...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Different much?

I like to be first in… with my Christmas cards that is. I send them mid to late November and I like the emails I get proudly proclaiming that I was that person’s first card of the season. I’ve done this for the past few years and it’s my way of differentiating my cards from the mass of cards that always arrive from about the 10th of December onwards.

But, I’ve been trumped this year.

Lonely but spectacular, the last card I have left from the recent holiday period sits magnetized to my fridge. All the Christmas cards I received have long gone, as has every Seasons Greetings. The last one standing however is a card I received early in the new year. It’s a Happy New Years card and I’m proud to say it’s the first one I’ve ever received. The savvy entrepreneur Susan Henshaw who mailed it to me has found her own way of being different, unique and remembered.

Speaking of being remembered… did you hear about Sam Cawthorn’s recent visit to meet the Prime Minister for the Young Australian of the Year awards?

Sam’s a fabulous speaker and trainer who was involved in a horrific car accident and had his right arm amputated. When he met the Prime Minister of Australia, on a dare from his daughter, he unscrewed his hand so that it actually came off when the Prime Minister shook it!

Sam didn’t win Young Australian of the Year for Australia, but by being different (with a sense of humour) he actually ended up with world wide media coverage (just google Sam Cawthorn Kevin Rudd to see exactly how far the story ran!)

It doesn’t take much to be different, but being different means being remembered, it means standing out, it means people will talk about you and the services you offer. I think it’s the simplest marketing out there! Here’s to a very different 2009 for all of us!

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Thursday, June 11, 2009

998 business ideas, yours for the taking

Just to prove that you really can find anything on the internet if you just know the right place to look:


998 different business ideas contributed from 9 fine young business minds (well Seth Godin thought so), and heaps more in the comments, and while 789 isn’t much of a winner… there’s some awesome content in here even if it does nothing but spark your imagination and creativity.

My other favourite places to find “anything”:

• Another Seth Godin creation: www.squidoo.com – a lens on anything
www.wikipedia.org – wiki your way to untold knowledge
http://scholar.google.com/ - Google scholar, essential for those university types out there looking for references
www.threadless.com – any t-shirt (well, almost)
www.twitter.com – for any amount of ramblings
www.reallysold.com – any real estate advertising phrase (and any shameless plug for writer’s own product)
www.facebook.com – for any old friend you thought you’d never hear from again (and a few stalkers you never knew you had)
www.99designs.com – any logo designed for you in ridiculously quick time
www.kiva.org – any aspiring micro-entrepreneur in a third world country waiting for you to assist
www.etsy.com – any handmade item for you to purchase

With so much information out there – the excuse of I can’t think up a business idea, or I can’t find a creative gift, or I don’t know how to find that information really just don’t cut it anymore.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Grab ‘em by the balls or kick ‘em in the balls (or 8 ways to open a speech: 4 that rock and 4 that suck)

You’re palms are sweating. You’ve spent the last 10 days preparing this speech and you know every point inside and out. Your power point presentation doesn’t suck. You manage to stop your knees from knocking. You look smoking hot (hotter still because the audience can’t see the huge knot forming in your stomach).

You get to the podium and you start your speech.

How you open that speech and what you say in that first minute will either entice and engage (or more crassly grab ‘em by the balls) or alienate and stagnate (kick ‘em in the balls) your audience.

4 sucky ways to open

1. ZZZ out. “My name is Brad Jones, thank you for having me here”. Your audience thinks: nothing. It’s unexciting, unimaginative and unnecessary. You’ve just wasted your best chance to make an impact.

2. Lame out. “I flew in this morning and man my arms hurt”. A weak joke or a lame cliché is a one way ticket to rolling eyes and stifled (or not stifled) yawns.

3. Freak out. By telling the audience you’re nervous. As a speaker, I’ve done this myself, even mistakenly thought it was endearing at times, but after your first 3 speeches, kick it from your repertoire immediately. Fake your confidence until you’ve spoken enough to have it for real.

4. Zone out. Looking at your notes. Even if you can’t remember your whole speech, you can for darn sure remember the opening sentence. Make eye contact during that first moment for a much more memorable entrance.

4 rocking ways to open

1. Shock ‘em. I sat on a panel once at a high school and delivered what I thought was a great little speech. Also sitting on the panel were respected sports people, politicians and a who’s who of my local area. I had no idea who the last person on the panel was however. Her opening: “Hi, my name’s Janice and I’m a hairy legged lesbian”. Total silence for about 3 seconds, and then the room went crazy. She had the audience in the palm of her hand, every other speaker including myself was forgotten and she was mobbed like a celebrity at the end of the talk.

2. Question ‘em. I love to open my speeches with a question, something to get the audience thinking about your topic immediately. I’ll often go with “ when you were 5 years old what did you want to be when you grew up?” Depending on the audience we get some laughter out of these answers to (strangest answers to date being “cat” and “fire truck”) or I can usually get a chuckle when I assure them that at 5 I was 99% convinced that I was going to be Madonna when I grew up.

3. Statistic ‘em. If you’re speaking on health and fitness you might state that statistically speaking, given the number of the people in the room X number of them will die of obesity related disease before they turn 70. Or someone talking about the importance of sleep might say that if you miss X hours of sleep it’s like being over the legal alcohol limit (so that when you pick up your kids from school it’s the same sculling 3 beers just before getting them). On this though – make sure your stats are well researched and you can back them up if you need to.

4. Story ‘em. The best speakers are all story tellers. There’s a reason reality television is the phenomenon it is today: people are interested in other people’s lives. Where possible share your own story, where it’s not relevant, find an inspiring story and share that to illustrate your point and set your mood.

And don’t be afraid to combine these. Shock them with a scary statistic. Or I typically like to question my audience and then work into a story. I’ll sometimes ask my audience who among them has had a bad day in the past month. Typically 80% of the hands in the room will go up. From there I’ll share a story about the day I met a man who’d had a really bad day Walter Mikak (www.waltermikac.com.au/) who lost both his daughters and his wife in one day in the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania. After I’m done sharing part of Walter’s remarkable story and the perspective it’s given me on bad days, I’ll ask the same question again – who really has had a bad day in the past month?

So, rock ‘em, shock ‘em and blitz ‘em or freak out, lame out and zzz out: the choice is yours.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Friday, June 5, 2009

10 ways to become an employer of choice, create staff loyalty and increase retention and engagement

So the question here is how do we whip our staff into a frenzy (as opposed to just whipping them)!

Having been a small business owner with a growing number of staff the focus on keeping them engaged, encouraging them to grow but still stay with us and finding time to run my business often felt overwhelming.

To follow are the simple, and yet at the same time not to simple top ten tactics that worked for me.

1. Communication – find ways to get your team to come to you when there’s an issue, not to whinge behind your back.

2. Create problem solvers – encourage your team to bring any problem to you, but to always bring a solution at the same time.

3. Reward fairly - based on performance, not time in the job.

4. Develop champions – who can grow into their roles and champion and action new ideas and techniques.

5. Trust – regardless of how you’ve been burnt in the past, treat your team first with trust.

6. Reward creatively – consider education rewards, family based rewards (such as dinner vouchers) and tiny rewards (such as their favourite chocolate bar) instead of just standard pay rises or bonuses

7. Involve your team – get their opinions, seek their feedback, hunt out criticism before it infects your organisation

8. Show the path – foster career drive by showing your team the career paths open to them within your organisation.

9. Listen – instead of always talking.

10. Lead by example – live in a manner consistent with what you say. It’s managing, not parenting, so “do as I say, not as I do” aint gonna cut it.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

    • Popular
    • Categories
    • Archives