Who is Hank Walshak? Hank Walshak, founder, owner, and CEO of Walshak Communications, Inc., is a communications consultant, executive presentation coach, and author. He focuses on helping knowledge entrepreneurs in small and mid-sized businesses and their owners create expertise-related content to differentiate themselves as experts. Read More

How Are You Going for Your Gold?

I have to admit that I loved the Olympics. Watching so many expert, best-in-the-world athletes—gymnasts, swimmers, ping pong players, you name it—who competed with each other with such fierce intensity. Where else can you see all at once the crème de la crème of so much athletic ability?

 I think of the experts I work with as I think of Olympic athletes. Experts are always on the move to their gold—adhering to their marketing plans, doing the best for their clients, and winning new business.

 For some experts, I split my time coaching them on things like focusing on issues to address and refining their content marketing as I help them to be read, be heard, be seen, and be known, For other experts, I directly handle a large part of the doing it with them—from strategizing on their marketing vision to brand journalism. 

 Over time, one thing has become clear to me. The best athletes don’t just do what they do once in a while to win their gold, or just frequently. They do it a lot. They’re prolific at it.

 The same holds true for experts who know what it takes to communicate their vision and their content. They are prolific. Read more »

What a Difference a Word Makes

Watching a recent episode of The Bachelorette, I nearly fell out of my chair, when Kalon, one of the bachelor-suitors, referred to the young daughter of Emily, the bachelorette, as “baggage.”  Aargh! I winced. Not just a mistake. It was a blunder.

 Because I’m often called on to help clients with their communications, I watch this show to glean how the gentlemen suitors present themselves to win the bachelorette’s love and affection. That includes what they say.

 In this case, I immediately recalled the Neuro-Linguistic maxim: “The meaning of your communication is the response that you get.” Kalon’s ineptly using the word, “baggage,” to refer to Emily’s daughter brought on a response with vengeance–from a woman deeply hurt and angered.

 When you get right down to it, much of our business communications comes down to how we use words, especially when we write blogs. Here are some blog guidelines to help your blog writing:

 Word choice is critical. Always. Do you want to look and read like everyone else? Of course you don’t. Then why write like everybody else? Use words other people aren’t using. Overused words are like commodities. They’re bandied about so much they lose their vitality and strength. They eventually they mean nothing and are worth nothing. A couple of my favorites to avoid are “unique” and “awesome.”  Read more »

Better to Be For or Against Something?

I’m getting estimates for some work I need to be done on my home. As I do, I hear what needs to be removed and what needs to replace what’s removed.

It would be difficult for me to consider a repair source credible who just told me only what I needed to remove, ’cause I wouldn’t know what to replace the removed stuff with.

Is something as common sensical as this too much to ask of someone who makes his living as a member of the House of Representatives? Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not commenting on politics. But I am commenting on when I don’t hear something substantial that tells me what a person who represents a segment of the body politic will replace what he wants to dispose of. Read more »

Biden’s On a Short Leash

Vice President Biden has put his foot in his mouth so often that it’s a wonder he has any teeth left. The guy just doesn’t do well when he ad libs.

But that seems to be changing. It looks like Obama has Uncle Joe on a short leash. He’s staying on point and hitting Romney’s soft spots like outsourcing jobs to Shanghai instead of keeping them here at home.

Politics aside, if you’re speaking publicly ya gotta know your limitations. If you’re not good on your feet and not too quick on the uptake, you have to do three things.

First, you have to discipline yourself to stay on message.

Second, you need to ask yourself the likely questions you’ll get on camera from your listeners or from TV news reporters and to formulate your responses ahead of time.

Third, you have to be aware of what situations prompt you to splurt out silly bafflegab, and use new verbal tactics to side step these situations.

Time will tell if Vice President Biden can stick to his new-found, oratorical approach. If he doesn’t, he’ll look shorter and smaller than the Mitt. If he does, he’ll prove his naysayers wrong and help his boss get re-elected.

Expert’s Corner©

Today’s Featured Expert

.]

Dr. Scott D. Miller

President of Bethany College

 How does one describe a higher-education expert like Dr. Scott D. Miller, President of Bethany College, in West Virginia?  “Entrepreneurial” and “transformational” are often employed to describe this veteran, liberal-arts college president.

I should mention that Scott and I go back a few years to when I wrote the history of Wesley College, Meeting the Challenge: The Wesley College Story 1873-2005.

 Scott didn’t begin his career as an academic. He worked his way through West Virginia Wesleyan College as a journalist, writing for a newspaper system that published three papers.  His column, “Miller Time,” took a colorful look at the West Virginia sports scene.

 His work caught the attention of a college president in Ohio looking for a speech writer and a publicist. “I was 22 years old at the time, and he hired me in that capacity. I worked inside the president’s office at what is now called the University of Rio Grande,” Scott recalled.

Having access to the CEO at Rio Grande for three years gave Scott his formative education in higher education.  

 Rio Grande was an unusual institution. It was the first one in the country to combine a four-year private college and a two-year community college, sharing the same campus and the same faculty. “This gave me a unique introduction to higher education, including the usual and some unusual revenue streams,” he said.

From Rio Grande, at age 25, he moved to Lincoln Memorial University as the nation’s youngest Vice President of Development, and then to the post of Executive Vice President. “I worked with first-generation students from East Tennessee and East Kentucky,” he said. “The school never had a history of raising money from private sources, so I applied some innovative techniques that were ahead of the time in raising money. I also developed programs that took place at off-campus centers—which weren’t the norm back then.”

 With a growing national reputation in higher education leadership, Scott accepted the presidency of Wesley College in Dover, Delaware. In his 10 and a half years in this position, he left a legacy that serves as a model for transformational college presidents.

Under his leadership, Wesley’s applications tripled, enrollment doubled, and SAT scores of incoming freshmen rose by 133 points, while the student retention rate soared to a consistent 90 percent from 52 percent.  Scott eliminated a decade of budget deficits, balanced the budget every year, tripled revenues, and generated $40 million in upgrades to campus facilities.

 In the words of Richard H. Ekman, President of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), in Washington, D.C., “New ideas don’t sit on the sidelines with Scott. They are acted upon right away.”

Scott brought to Bethany the same innovative spirit that had transformed Wesley College when he arrived on the campus of West Virginia’s oldest college in the fall of 2007. In the last four and a half years, he’s raised more than $40 million as part of a $52-million capital campaign. He’s boosted enrollment and alumni giving, developed collaborative academic programs, and set the College on sound financial footing, operating from a 10-year master plan that will take Bethany into 2020.

Recently, when we spoke about featuring him in this Experts Corner column, I asked what makes him tick.

“I’m very competitive, especially when it comes to higher education,” he said. “Opportunities abound for those who lead well.”

“My three presidencies have been marked by substantial quantitative and qualitative growth. The schools became much better off financially than when I arrived. As in business, that’s the bottom line.”

Expert’s Corner©

Today’s Featured Expert

 Razi Imam, Founder of Landslide Technologies

And Co-Founder of 113 Industries

 Mention the name, Razi Imam, and you’re likely to hear people talk about him as a  successful, serial entrepreneur. Now, you’re more likely to hear them refer to him as an advisor to the president’s administration.  

At the invitation of President Obama, Razi participated in the Forum on Jobs and the Economy on January 18 2012, in Washington, D.C.

 The forum provided an opportunity for the president to get direct feedback from top business leaders on how his administration can help the economy flourish in the northeastern region of the country through steps that support job creation.

 Responding to this challenge gets to the heart of what Razi is all about. “What really makes me tick,” he said, “is solving game-changing problems. I love to tackle them, work with them, understand and solve them.

 He sees innovation as the answer to job creation. “Our companies need to be able to innovate by adopting new technologies coming out of US-based universities and federal labs,” he said. “They need to do a better job of spinning out the technology they have on their shelves.”  Read more »

Expert’s Corner©

 

Today’s Featured Expert

 

Andy Birol of Birol Growth Consulting

Champion of Small Business

 

To know Andy Birol is to know someone who carries the art and practice of business consulting to its highest pinnacle.

Fifteen years ago, he realized his calling in life was to help small-business owners get there by aligning their skills, confidence, and mission with that of their companies. Not long after, he started his own company, Birol Growth Consulting.

Since then, he’s advised more than 460 business owners. On average, he’s grown his clients by $100,000, and has had a $450-million impact on the economy. And he’s authored five, business books. His most recent is The Five Catalysts of Seven Figure Growth published by CareerPress, in which he sets forth his practical business philosophy of Best and Highest Use®.

As Andy describes it, Best represents the preferred choice among the things a business owner does well. Highest represents what’s most valued by customers and partners. And Use is the value a business owner provides to others. Andy runs his consulting business by this dictum and instills its philosophy in the business owners and companies he serves. 

Spend time with Andy, and he’ll take your breath away. He’s a whirlwind of vision, persistence, and focus. His passion and specialty lies in looking at the status quo and its limitations and finding ways to change it. Read more »