Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Best of All Intentions- Mediation in 2007

This is a very good time to look ahead at where you want your mediation practice to go in 2007

Looking Back

Yes, I know now is when people often look back at their accomplishments. If you do a personal 'year in review' of your mediation practice I hope you'll pause long enough to realize your life and your work matter.

Just your presence on the planet matters to us all for a myriad of reasons. Whether you brought comfort to those in distress or inspiration to those without hope, or boundaries to chaos, you matter. And, there's no greater accomplishment than being in each other's lives.

Looking Ahead

As you look to the future to plan, do something radical. Ignore conventional wisdom that requires resolutions and promises. Next year see what comes from setting intentions instead of goals.

What I like about intentions is almost the polar opposite of why I like to set goals. Goals are structured and 'chunkable'. I can craft a path for me to follow that will lead to my eventual success. But intentions...well, intentions are fluid and often bring results that I couldn't have predicted in ways that I wouldn't have imagined.

Setting Intentions

What are your intentions for 2007?

Here are my intentions for 2007. Boy, they are big, hairy and downright scary. I share them for several reasons. One, thoughts have power. The more I speak and write these intentions the more they become part of the fabric of my life and possible. Two, I share them because I'd like you to accompany me on this journey. And, most importantly, I share them because I hope you'll be inspired to set an intention or two for yourself.

  • Build mailing list to 1500
  • Enroll 364 members to (re-launch 1/5)
  • Turn Mediation Mensch into a book
  • Host Breakthrough Summit- a live event
  • Take two great vacations
  • Begin to seriously investigate my 'dream semi-retirement'

OK, you may be saying, 'hey, those sound a lot like goals'. Here's the difference, at least in my addled brain- I don't have a clear path for doing any of it, nor will I make one. Why?

" I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations
hinder my path."
- Dalai Lama

I want to be suprised. I don't want to feel like a horse with blinders on dashing for the finish line unaware of what's around me . I'd like my life to be a bit more adventurous, more spontaneous. Sure that means things will get messy or confusing from time to time. But I'm betting- and I hope you will too- that belief in oneself and 'something bigger' will yield some pretty amazing outcomes.

Tell Me Yours

Call me crazy if you like, but I'd like to think that if we're all thinking about each others intentions and successes that they will manifest a bit sooner or easier. Sort of like an idea that's time has arrived or a 'critical mass' thing. So please, take a moment and add your intentions either for yourself or for mediation in general to the comment area.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Law Comix are Hilarious!

Just a quickie thank you to my friend and attorney extraordinaire, Victoria Pynchon, for turning me onto Law Comix, penned by Charles Fincher, artist and Texas lawyer. Boy, these comics are funny.

What does this mean to you? Who says mediation has to be serious all the time?

Purchase one of the comics to lighten up your marketing materials. Better yet, get a comic and send out postcards to referrals sources, potential clients, friends and colleagues...who throws away a postcard without looking at it? Nobody.

I'm gonna spend some time on using postcards as a simple way to market on my Feb. 20th call, 'The 23 Cent Solution-Marketing with Postcards'. More about it after the launch...


Monday, December 18, 2006

Free Quickbooks 2007 Software for you

Just a quickie to let you know about a good deal because I'm all about a bargain, y'all. For first time Quickbook users only (there's no way to import old data)--

    Get a free, fully functional copy of QB called Simple Start 2007 here

    or put in your browser

This isn't an affiliate link. I've been a QB fan since I began using the online version a few years ago. It's fairly intuitive (hence the name) and allows me to easily keep track of my business and budget.(And, honestly, I get a small thrill from seeing how things have grown)

QB saves a ton of time, especially if you use their online bill pay system. (My new QB expert, Leslie Jorgensen of Supporting Strategies, is gonna set that up for me for next year)

Sure, doing the finances is a drag but consider how much money slips through your account unnoticed if you don't have a good handle on your finances.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!

Lynch named Savvy Solo by Cartier-Liebel

Many thanks so Susan Cartier-Liebel, who pens the Build a Solo Practice blog, for naming me a Savvy Solo. Both Susan and I agree that one of the best ways to get a new practice- mediation or law- off the ground quickly and successfully is to invest in yourself and in gathering knowledge. Read what Susan says here...

Whether it's a business book, ebook, course or coach, it's crazy not to take advantage of the wealth of help available on the Internet and world-wide. Personally, I wouldn't make a move without my 'dream team' which grows regularly.

There's Ericka, who I call my SuperVA because she's an incredibly versatile colleague who keeps this place running (and often brainstorms with me about ideas).

There's Tom, a cheery Brit who has been instrumental in getting the new ready technologically. I've learned a ton from Tom's patient guidance both as a geek and a coach. He teaches me not only how to do tech things smarter but also reminds me how fabulous and motivating it can be to work with an optimistic partner. I try to bring the same enthusiasm into every coaching session I have in the Mensch Program (that's my new coaching offering- more later)

What does all this mean to you? Get up, get out and find someone to help you! It doesn't have to be me (although I'd love to help), but you need someone who can nurture you and your dreams. If the first person isn't right keep looking until you get the whole package-a great personal fit and reliable knowledge, all delivered to in a meaningful way.

This is a light bulb idea that can change your view of you and your future. I know because with my team behind me, my potential is limitless...

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Today Show & More: Media Opportunity for Mediators

The best way to build a relationship with a niche is to become known within it for providing viable, affordable solutions to the concerns of that niche. How can you do that? By responding to issues that appear in the media that concern your niche.

Marketing via the Media
Media savvy mediators like Arline Kardasis of Elder Decisions know the value of bringing important insights and understanding to their niche via the media.

Arline noticed that the Dec 3rd issue of the Boston Globe's Boston Works section contained an article on how families can turn to elder mediators to deal with difficult decisions. As a result, Arline sent out a letter to her network, which I assume includes colleagues and clients alike, alerting them to the article.

Here's the link to the article

Additional Marketing Ideas
If I were to kibitz a bit, I'd tell Arline to do the following (and you can too the next time a media opportunity presents itself to you)

  1. Drop a note to the Letters to the Editor section of the Globe commenting on the article in a way that added or clarified information

  2. Send a brief email introducing herself to the writer and offering to be a resource in the future whenever needed

  3. Send a brief article that expands on the Globe article to my neighborhood paper
  4. Send out a press release on
  5. Send a note to your network to share the article with them

Does it Work?
Yeah, following up on media opportunities does work. My Ombuds work has been featured in Inc magazine and Entrepreneur magazine. Best of all, I developed good relationships with the reporters. Consequently, I obtained more national exposure when I was quoted in Working Mother magazine. Why? Because the reporter remembered me and how helpful I was on her previous story.

Another opportunity awaits..
US News has a feature story this month that discusses some of the challenges of dealing with elderly parents. Anybody else who wants to boost the visibility of your practice like Arline, here's your chance....

The BIG One

Turns out the the International Coaching Federation had a spot on the Today show discussing why gift certificates for coaching are excellent holiday gift ideas. There's an article in there somewhere about conflict/communication coaching, don't you think?

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!

PS You may have noticed that there are no teleseminars this month. I'm taking time to begin to plan for next year's successes. You know, stuff like my monthly, quarterly and annual goals. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.

Monday, December 11, 2006

How's the Inner You Doing?

It's the end of the year. Time to reflect. If one of your thoughts is: "I'd like to feel more comfortable with success" then have I got a teleseminar for you!

Kristina Haymes of Mediation Marketing Tips is one terrific marketer and a dear friend.

That's why I'm delighted to share her no cost teleseminar with you. It's called 'How to Play the Inner Game and Create Success from the Inside Out'. No doubt she'll tell you that it's 'what's on the inside' that really counts. Once you get out of your head, out of your own way--watch out world!

You can learn more and register for Thursday's (12/14)teleseminar here I'm definitely going to be there if my schedule permits...

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


Kudosworks Update

A great big thanks to Christoph, a mediator from Germany, who alerted me that I'm missing an 's' in Also, here's my report on using Kudosworks.

Kudosworks Update

Getting started and setting up an account was relatively easy. There are a variety of ways to reach out for testimionials. I tried using an email template that can be personalized. I sent a testimonial request to a to a micro-segment of my list to avoid confusing or upsetting people.

The results? The software works. I included myself in the request email and sent a faux testimonial. I received an email telling me of the comment and when it had arrived. I also received the writer's email address so I could contact them if I needed to do so. Not bad, but the trouble started just after that.

Oh, No They Didn't!

The thank you page offers to share the writer's opinion on a totally separate site called Hummingboard. It seems like a 'e-pinions' type of site where comments are aggregated. For reasons that will become obvious in about a minute, I am NOT including a link to them. I clicked through to do a bit more research and found this marketing tag line:

hate shared

I was deeply offended, and frankly, very shocked to find this sentiment. Yeah, I understand it was meant to be provocative, that the site might have a noble intention of warning other of wrong-doing. However, I find that bit of marketing irresponsible give the state of this country and the world.

Making a wrong right

I dashed off a note to the Kudosworks folks who very promptly responded in this way:


I really appreciate your comments and want to thank you for this email. I do want to let you know that we are in the process of completely severing the links between the two sites. All mention regarding HummingBoard will be removed from the KudosWorks site. I anticipate this to be done before the end of the year.

The HummingBoard has changed business models a few times and this new incarnation is not likely to survive. So it is very likely that at some point we will be completely getting out of the HummingBoard product all together.

I really apologize for your experience and I will work to expedite the removal of the HummingBoard from KudosWorks.

Again, I appreciate your candor. It is these kinds of comments from clients that really help us to better our product.

Herbert Ong

Why is this important?

A couple of reasons.

First, I'm concerned with maintaining my integrity. It's important to me that you know that I actually use and research the resources I recommend to you. And, if not, I tell you my source (which is typically a trusted colleague). I know how much time I save when I rely on stuff recommended by friends and I want to pass that along to you. When re-launches on Jan. 5th as a brand new membership site, it'll feature be a section called Dina Recommends that'll do just that.

Second, I wanted to show a real-life example of an entrepreneur who showed integrity in the face of an error. Mr. Ong answered immediately with an explanation AND his next steps. He apologized- and we all know how powerful that can be. He took responsibility, and in doing so, rebuilt my trust.

Mr. Ong tried, failed and definitely learned something. He didn't let this mistake embarrass or deter him and that's laudable. Because of his honesty, I'll give another try in the New Year.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


Get Testimonials with Kudosworks

Testimonials, whether we like it or not, can be the life blood of a practice. Consumers definitely want to know what the experiences of others has been before selecting a mediator. Up until now, gathering that information has been a bit tough for mediators and other ADR professionals. Kudosworks might help.

Kudoworks is software you can install that enables you to automate the process. Users can easily leave their comments or testimonials. I'm doing the trial right now so I don't have all the facts yet. I hope to add the code to the new designed ADR Practicebuilder and see a positive result.

If you're feeling reluctant to ask your clients for testimonials, try it once or twice. It's important to know what clients think for your personal development as well as marketing your practice.

Right now the software is free- you just have to recommend it to two friends. Check them out and let's compare notes.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


Thursday, December 07, 2006

HR Trends Good News for Workplace Mediators

Talent retention and performance management represent two of the most challenging concerns for HR professionals for the next two years, according to HR Executive, a leading publication for human resource professionals. Ok, not earth-shattering news but it does suggest good opportunities for workplace ADR professionals.

Workplace Coach

How about working as a coach to either a human resources professional or to one of the management team? The old adage is that people leave people, not jobs, is true. So, helping professionals develop new skills and coping mechanisms would be a very effective way for a mediator to gain traction in a workplace.

Performance management trainers

There are few HR managers and fewer line or middle managers who can conduct a performance management process well. I can envision training managers to turn a dreaded process into a learning opportunity by using new techniques such as appreciative inquiry or interest-based negotiation.

Workplace Mediators

Companies will be more inclined to want to work through problems instead of letting valuable talent walk out the door. Mediation can be a parallel process to a progressive discipline plan that fosters a better relationship between manager and employee.


There are also new roles for facilitators in this changing environment. Leadership development was third on the list. Boards want to learn how to communicate with each other more effectively and make better decisions.

Contract ombudsman

Of course, I see this news as a boon for contract Ombuds. More small companies will want to be open to employee concerns and interests and having a part-time Ombuds is an affordable way to maintain employee loyalty and engagement. I'm exploring new directions for my own Ombuds practice as a result of these trends.

What does this mean to you? Start unbundling, folks. Looks to see where your skills and expertise might be useful in a workplace setting. You might want to start by approaching a small or mid-sized firm first. It'll be less stressful on you and there's a great chance they will recognize their need for your services.

Just a thought...

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!


Monday, December 04, 2006

Failing isn't Bad

I should be dejected, I know. My recent teleseminar, Setting Fees that Feel Right & Still Make Money, went wrong. For whatever reason, it was way, way undersubscribed. Oddly enough, I'm not too disappointed. I feel eager to keep trying to improve the marketing for it. Why?

    " A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." Georgge Bernard Shaw

So, now I'm doing the post-event evaluation, figuring out what didn't work and why. I combined a number of strategies for the promotion and some just didn't work. Mark Silver, who was slated to be the guest speaker, is gonna give me some pointers.

Mark is a Sufi leader, a fourth generation entrepreneur and really generous with his time and knowledge. That's one of the reasons I wanted y'all to hear his thoughts on how to set fees that resonate with you and your clients. His company, The Heart of Business, is well established and generates 6 figures annually so I'm happy to have him as a guide.

Why am I airing my dirty laundry?

Yeah, I could've ignored the whole thing and never mentioned the class again. I wonder how often other coaches admit to making mistakes? I decided to talk about it for a couple of simple reasons.

Everyone makes mistakes. What turns this loss into a win is sharing my new insights so that everyone can prosper. Anyone who has been on a call with me knows I don't shy away from talking about my errors. It's good for me and, I hope, good for you.

I like to remind myself that I'm still learning. Business ideas and online marketing are always in flux with new techniques to master. I'm no different than you are in that respect. I'm not an expert. I'm your companion in this journey towards success who is a few steps ahead, helping to lead the way.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Thanks.

Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!