World Peace? Global Warming?

I filled out a questionnaire for an organization I wanted to join. There were many questions posed such as what do I do, what are your goals, what charities do I support. Those were easy enough to answer.

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Then there was one that asked: "Name a thought leader you would like to meet and why."

I answered: "Herb Kelleher for his expertise in building a successful company in spite of economic down-turns while maintain a positive and fun corporate culture. And Richard Branson for his overall brilliance in branding strategy and entrepreneurship."

Then I came across a question that really stumped me. In fact, I had to really think about it. here was the question: If you had one chance to rally influential thought leaders and people in a position of power to change the world for the better, where would you begin?

No one has ever asked me a question like this. And I was stumped! Where to begin when there are so many issues in our world that needs change for the better. I thought about human rights, but to change this means a change in the mindset of people who think other people are beneath them. That's a hard one to overcome. Hunger is one that we still have issues with in the USA. It shouldn't be an issue in our own country but it is. Illegal Drugs and the conflict it causes: again, you have to change the mindset of ruthless, greedy people. So this was my answer:

speaker, author, coach, speaking, branding, aliciawhite911, BOR, bookWow! The possibilities are endless: I don't know even know where to start: human rights, global warming, hunger, drug wars, etc. Since I have to choose one, I would rally the movers and shakers of land developers, farmers, scientists, engineers, architects, and green thinkers/leaders to evaluate every foot of land on the US and implement a plan allowing farmers and developers to coexist while reducing our carbon footprint/deforestation and generating an abundant food source and green energy. And then implement the plan in other countries before development has gone to far.

I think with the recent discovery of engineering foods that are drought resistant and the advancement of technology in water conservation, land erosion and land development, something positive could be created that would produce more food and be more green.

So, where would you being? What issue would you want to improve or resolve that would make the world a better place? Think about it and get back to me!

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2012.



Well, I have a lot to say but have not taken the time to write it down. So to get me moving along and hopefully you as well, I would like to share the following blogging tip I posted on SpeakersBriefcase on Facebook :

Speakers Briefcase Blogging Tip

Having difficulty writing your next blog article?

The next time you are thinking about a recent experience that taught you something or how to improve your response/action, get a recorder and record everything out loud that you are saying in your head? For smart phones, find the application Dragon Dictation (it's FREE) and record your thoughts. The app will transcribe the words for you and you c
an save it as a file or email it to yourself. (Note: It's not the best transcriber but it gets the job done.) Once you get to your recording, you now have enough content to flesh out and create a blog article.

Don't want to write on yourself or your experience? Every time you see a Facebook post or article that makes you go "hmmmm" write about it. It doesn't have to be long, your blog article just has to have value, or teach or inform or make others go "hmmmm."

Reply with your blog link here so we can see what's on your mind!

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2012.


Overcoming Group Meeting Apprehension

If you are in business, chances are you attend at least one group meeting on a regular basis. The group may be industry related providing information to improve practices or a group that offers personal growth or enjoyment or, most commonly in business, a networking group.

Speakers Briefcase Tip
Whichever group you participate in, did you have a gnawing feeling in your gut before the meeting? Did you want to back out 15 minutes before stepping in? 30 minutes? 2 hours?

This may surprise those who know me, but on many, many occasions, I have talked myself out of attending a group meeting or two. Even groups I truly enjoy and in which I gain beneficial information. Today, I still attempt to talk myself out of going and my stomach still gets in knots. I’m sure you are asking how in the world can someone who is so personable feel this way.

I have tried to figure this out and still don’t have a firm grasp on why I get cold feet, even towards groups I am comfortable attending once I get there. Part of it is the fear that I will not meet the needs of the group. Another concern is trust of others: I am a genuine person and when I am introduced to new people, I trust they are just as genuine. And, unfortunately, I’ve trusted insincere people a time or two, therefore, I avoid attending group meetings because I don't want to have to figure out who is faking it and who isn't it.

Those are the two main issues I encounter, but do you know what happens when I DO talk myself into going to a meeting? Fantastic things happen to me! For example, I missed the last two monthly meetings of the Speaker Co-op in Dallas. I missed once because I was out of town. The other time, I signed up truly excited to attend, and on the morning of, my gut wrenched up in knots and I used “I’m just too busy” as my excuse not to attend.

Well, for last month's meeting, I did my usual routine and RSVP’d a week beforehand The day of the meeting came and those knots appeared in my stomach once again, and yes, I had a lot of work to do. But I forced myself to go. I resigned myself to the fact that 2 hours of my work day will be gone so I had to just deal with it.

The minute I walked in, I sat my things down and began chatting away. I was reunited with people I respect, like Gary Rifkin and Clint Fuqua, and also made new connections A few minutes later, I was called over by Jeff Klein and Jon Stotts. What they had in store caught me by complete surprise! They asked me to speak at two different Speaker Co-op meetings about marketing, my area of expertise. I was thrilled! And after the day's meeting, four people were interested in learning a bit more about my services. Yay for me!

I left the meeting thinking “Alicia, if you had not gone, you would have missed out on these opportunities.” Imagine if I had just stayed at the office. This phenomenon has happened to me a few times before. The more apprehensive I am the more opportunities I receive when I attend! Isn’t that odd?

Now, I am not saying apprehension equals more prospects. But if you are shy, fearful, or guarded, what exactly are you missing when you don’t attend? You don’t have a clue until you go. If you have struggled with this for a long time, hire a consultant in networking or a business coach to give you a new perspective. Or ask a friend to join you to keep your fears in check. Let their only purpose be attending to your needs. Either way, it’s time to face your challenges so you can move forward and make new connections.

For those who feel completely relaxed in a group setting, keep your eyes open for the apprehensive person and guide them through it. They will thank you a dozen times over.

**Please come see me as a discussion panelist at the Speakers Co-op in Dallas on Friday Nov 16th and in Fort Worth on Nov 19th. Detailed information can be found here: or call me at 800-313-5911 x304.

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2012.

Graphic Designer. Photographer. Speaker???

A friend proposed that I share my journey on becoming a professional public speaker. If she had told me a few months ago that I would be entertaining the idea of being a public speaker, I would have thought she had gone crazy!

The move towards the stage began the first week of August 2011. At a networking function, I was asked to give a 10 minute presentation on business marketing. After my speech, I received a generous round of applause and accolades on how useful the information was and how well I spoke. My dear friend Michelle Ketterman was so enthralled with my speaking abilities that she invited me to speak on the topic at her annual Home Inventory Professionals conference. I thought it was her way of being generous in providing me with opportunities but she was sincere. She believed I gave a great presentation and her audience would benefit from it.

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In less than two months, I had to stretch my 10 minute presentation to 45 minutes. This was an overwhelming task for me. I panicked. I even questioned myself, "how in the world can I speak for 45 minutes? I have nothing of value to say!" After setting aside my angst, I created an outline from my ten minute speech, adding a list of other topics for discussion. Under each one I indicated ways to expound on those. I practiced my presentation multiple times in the mirror and then again in front of my two cheerleaders, my husband Rick and Michelle. With their support and encouragement, they helped build my courage and reduce some fears.

I had only spoken one time prior to this. When I was a nuclear medicine technologist, an event coordinator asked me to give a continuing education class. I flunked. Miserably. The content was dry, and though I tried to add some humor, it was miserable. I spoke to fast and didn't feel I added any value. I thought I could do it because I had acted in a few plays as an adult. But I was never center stage, just supporting cast. I was never quite good enough to be in the spotlight. Ever.

And this history mentally hung on some 20 years later. Though Michelle had faith in me, I didn't. But one day changed that. I attended an all-day networking seminar. A dozen speakers spoke to a full room and only one impressed me. Perhaps I am a harsh judge, but after observing people who did not inspire, enthrall me, or teach me, I said to myself "hell, I can do better than that." And that's what I set out to do. It took an all-day seminar of listening to poor speakers to create an entire new mindset. The tuition I paid that day was worth every penny!

As Michelle's conference approached, I grew nervous, and I rehearsed while in the car, while dressing in front of the mirror, while eating lunch. I prepared visual aids for my speech and printed out my speech, double-spaced on paper. And the hour before I was to present, I was anxious, nervous, tapping my toes, breathing shallow.

And then I was there. In front of the audience. I began with a soft, quivering voice and trembling hands. Five minutes into it, I took a deep breath and proceeded to set the stage on fire. I used my visual cues, I gestured, my voice fluctuated appropriately. Yes, I goofed up but it didn't stop me. And, much to my surprise, the audience didn't realize it.

And then it was over. I did it! And they were clapping! As I looked into the audience, smiles beamed back and heads nodded in approval. After the speech, friends and strangers both commented on the value of my presentation and how well I spoke. Michelle declared "You knocked it out of the park!"

And that's how I felt. Like I had just hit a home run. Who knew several months later that this one experience would lead me to entertaining the thought of becoming a public speaker. Stay tuned for the next installment!

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2012.


Blindsided by a Bear

My husband and I travel to Yellowstone every year. He first introduced me to this magical wonderland in 2006. We have been every year since, sometimes vising twice a year.

One fall, we traveled down a heavily wooded road anxiously anticipating our next wildlife encounter. We came upon two sets of couples photographing a small bear eating berries in the trees. We pulled over, jumped out of the Jeep and just as we set up our cameras, he came crashing towards us out of the trees and scooted down the road way.

business advice, business tips, business value, Entrepreneur, expert, small business, clients, blindside, projects

Everyone but me followed this guy down the road. I wasn't interested because I figured all one would see is his behind. And who wants butt shots! lol As I watched the group get further and further away, I began to enjoy the stillness of my surroundings. Autumn was creeping in bringing yellows and reds to the trees. Golden shards of light filtered through the branches. A hauntingly musical sound played over head as the wind whipped through the lodge pine needles. I was truly in the moment, savoring every bit.

Then I heard a disconcerting sound. Brittle twigs snapped and branches rustled. Apparently, I wasn't alone and, worse yet, I was in bear and moose country. My eyes darted in and out of the woods surrounding me, scoping for a shape. I feared being trampled by a bull moose or worse attacked by a grizzly. It didn't take long for my eyes to guide my gaze upwards. It did take a second, though, for my mind to register. It was a black bear! In a tree! Twenty feet above me!

I backed away slowly and positioned myself behind my Jeep. I called to my husband, but he was too far away to hear me. I had a little reassurance as I felt for can of bear spray attached to my hip. Feeling some what safe, I set up my camera gear and began taking photos. He was bigger than the first bear, which explains why the smaller bear was running away.

business advice, business tips, business value, Entrepreneur, expert, small business, clients, blindside, projects

A few minutes pass and I am still alone with this bear. The photos do not share my experience with him very well because he is hidden behind the leaves and branches. Finally, my husband and the others arrive and we all have a good laugh as they take some shots of the black bear for prosperity.

Even though I planned ahead and had my safeguards in place (bear spray, vehicle, exit plan), I was still completely blindsided by this bear. About once every two or three years, I will encounter a situation in which a client blindsides me. The blindside occurs when I present a finished product and they tell me it is nothing like what they wanted. It always catches me off guard because I've done my due diligence in gaining insight on how my client's product should look and function.

The first thing I do is take a deep breath and step back as I did with the bear. I then evaluate my notes and try to determine where the disconnect occurred. Just like when I saw the bear, I double checked to make sure I had bear spray. Fortunately, the notes and emails show the client's request clearly. Having a contract stipulating what happens in these issues helps me during these situations. Just like having a Jeep for safety eased my apprehension with the bear.

If you are getting blindsided multiple times a year, it's time to evaluate your processes. Create two checklists: 1) a list of actions your client must follow (provide info, sign contract, make deposit, etc.); and 2) your list of actions you must do to achieve your client's request (define clearly what client wants, send proofs, follow up calls, etc.). Follow through on these each and every time, checking off each item as you go. Once you get the hang of it, you will see a decrease in the blindsides.

But when they do happen, don't let blindsides knock you down. Stay calm, take a step back, go over your notes, and 99% of the time you will find you did absolutely everything right. Nature just has a funny way of messing with your plans!

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2012.


I am Fearless

A business associate posted a photo on her Facebook wall hat said “I am Fearless.” I took note but it didn’t quite resonate with me as it did with another person. She replied “I woke up thinking about this and realized that I am not fearless, but I really should be and want to be. I've always been a risk taker and I've always been one to push the envelope but I still have fear and there are areas in my life that I still hold back on due to fear.”

I replied “I am fearless and have been most of my adult life. Join me!” Yes, after graduating college I did everything I set my mind to and without fear. I traveled to Europe by myself backpacking from France to Switzerland to Italy and then flew to Egypt for a 7 day tour. Then a few years later I visited Egypt again and walked the streets of Cairo, fearless. I moved to a new city, with a little bit of trepidation as to my future, but I risked it and did it, becoming fearless as each day passed. I met my soul mate, Rick, on the Internet. Again, fearless. Taking a risk, meeting strangers, to find “the one.”

Do I have any fears at all? Oh yes. When I unexpectedly come within 25 yards of a bear in Yellowstone that is a REAL fear! I fear being injured in a car crash. I fear my loved ones dying too soon. But that is not the context in which I define myself as fearless. The context to which I refer to the term “fearless” is my personality and the actions I take to be who I am. My actions are a bit more risky than most, and there are times when I question, “am I being fearless or just plain dumb!” Like the time I walked through a dark park in Rome at 10pm, only to learn the next day from a handwritten sign in broken English on the bank door to watch out for “thiefs, robberys, and rappers.” The latter meaning rapists, not hip-hop singers.

So do you fear that prevents you from being who you want to be? Is it realistic? Or are the thoughts in your head lying to you? Because you do know that thoughts are NOT facts, right? Just because you “think” it doesn’t make it true. Ah, gotcha you on that one, didn’t I? Mull that over a bit and apply that statement to your next thought filled with fear or uncertainty. Are you really that shy or do you lack trust in people until you get to know them? Do you allow your thoughts about your body image control your actions thus hindering your success?

Get this: I was 240 pounds when I did a zip-line course through the jungles of Belize. I was 260 pounds and sang my first solo in front of an audience of 300. My weight didn’t stop me but it would stop a dear friend of mine. I’m not saying I don’t experience fear, I do. I just get over it quicker than most. For example, I WAS afraid of the height of the zipline and I WAS afraid of singing in front all of those people. But only for a few seconds and I sure didn’t let that stop me.

So, what is it that is stopping you? Write down your fears, check off the all non-factual thoughts from the list, and then act as if you have no fear. Get to the point of being fearless to succeed in your dreams!

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2012.


Watch Your Language!

In 1991, my community college Spanish teacher invited her class to her home in Honduras. Two other students and I jumped at the opportunity. We were excited to test our new language skills in a native land. After all, we spent two nights a week for three months learning conversational Spanish.

On the plane we tested our new found tongue using simple phrases such as “please” and “thank you” gratuitously to anyone who had an accent. It wasn’t until after the flight, we learned our gracious stewardess on Aero Mexico was actually from the Philippines. And when we settled into a hotel, the owner spoke English and was excited to test his language skills on us Americans. We obliged. Why make it so difficult?

Each day, our teacher and hostess took us on a little adventure, speaking to us in English and Spanish. Her brother spoke to us primarily in English to increase his language skills. It seemed everywhere we went, we were speaking English and all we wanted to do was speak Spanish.

A few days into the trip, we had a day to ourselves to explore our surroundings. We walked to a little market just down the street from our hotel. We nodded to those passing by, smiled at an old lady without teeth, stopped to pet some dirty cats, truly taking in each sight and sound of the streets.

Within a few minutes of arriving to the market, one friend, Becky, found a trinket she wanted to buy. The moment had come. She was going to attempt to speak the native tongue. And she failed. The shop owner looked at her quizzically and she tried again. “No comprendes,” was the reply. So our other friend, Marianne, stepped in and the shop owner answered. Problem was we didn’t know what he said. We asked again, and he replied. Yet, we still did not understand! After a handful of gestures and counting on fingers, Becky exchanged some change for her trinket and we were on our way.

We shrugged it off as our first encounter and took into consideration that Becky’s thick Southern accent is probably what caused the language barrier. As we rounded a corner, a western food chain, Pizza Hut, seemed to call out our name. So as not to take chances with street vendor food, we stepped in. You would think a Pizza Hut in Honduras would be the same as a Pizza Hut in Houston. Well, it’s not.

The menu was completely different, and guess what? In Spanish! Ahh, another opportunity to speak Spanish! I was so excited. I successfully placed an order for a slice of “pepperoni y queso” pizza. I knew the word queso which was great because I love cheese. But Marianne wanted to know what kind of queso. She attempted to get an answer but after several failed attempts she just placed her order for a slice without queso. I asked her why and she said there are some cheeses she can’t tolerate. Well, I don’t know about her but I thoroughly enjoyed my pizza. I noted the cheese tasted different but I enjoyed this special North American treat in the middle of Central America.

Later that evening, our hostess stopped by the hotel to make sure we were okay. Marianne replayed the conversation at Pizza Hut. “So exactly what kind of cheese was this queso,” Marianne asked. Our hostess replied “Oh. Goat cheese! It is good, no?” I about died. I had never had goat cheese in my life and I am not very adventuresome when it comes to my food. “Well,” I said wide eyes and a huge grin, “I am still alive and not sick so I guess, yes, goat cheese is good!” We all got a chuckle out of it.

So I can’t speak Spanish all that well but in business, I do speak my own language extremely well. I use different jargon when designing websites, when brochures are being printed, and even for laying out a book. When speaking to my clients I must remember that they may not understand my unique language. It’s easy for me to rattle off a list of things I need from my client but words that seem self-explanatory actually may not be. 

The last thing I want to do is send a message that I cannot effectively communicate with my client.
So I have started speaking in basic terms and while speaking ask if what I say makes sense. If it doesn’t, I go back and provide a visual image with my words. I find that when I explain something visually, people get the idea right away. In fact, I take pride when I hear a client use jargon that she has learned from these explanations.

I encourage you to be cognizant of the language or business jargon you use when working with clients. If they understand your message clearly, then there is no confusion and everyone is on the same page. It makes for better customer service. Tu comprendes?

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2012.

Evaluate. Repair. Learn. Move On.

The wind came in fast as the sky darkened. The temperature outside dropped 10 degrees, a welcoming side effect of the coming rain storm. I sat on the back porch, enjoying the coolness of what had been a hot day, 96 just a few minutes earlier. Trees danced as the wind picked up and the rain moved in.

Back of the Room Products TipAfter relaxing for a bit, I came inside to begin dinner. Standing at the kitchen sink window, I hear a really weird sound. Kind of a crack, crack then soft thud. I open the blinds to the back yard and see half of my 30 foot Bradford Pear tree split in half. Half still standing while the other half rested on our wooden fence. “Rick!” I call out. “The wind broke our tree.” Rick emits a grumbled, annoyed response.

Just a month earlier, we were talking about this tree. That it was time to come down. The grass wouldn’t grow, it affected our other tree’s growth on one side, and it wasn’t a long living tree. Rick actually began the quote request on tree removal from a few vendors. And while I was relaxing in the wind last night, I was still debating on whether or not I was ready for that tree to go. I really liked that tree. It blocked my back door neighbor’s view into our yard. It brought robins, cardinals, blue jays, and mourning doves to the yard. It displayed fiery red leaves in the fall and bright white flowery dots in the spring. Well, Mother Nature settled my debate!

This morning, we woke to a heavy, hot task of cleaning up the mess of limbs and leaves. We surveyed the damage. Fortunately, the heavy tree missed our carport by a foot. And only a few boards on the wooden fence will need to be replaced. It would be a fairly simple repair job. Next we moved onto the task of clearing away the fallen branches. Rick used his chainsaw to cut limbs into manageable sizes. I raked limbs and leaves into a wheelbarrow. Everything was neatly arranged in a pile in the front of our home for pick up.

Back of the Room Products TipAfter our job as done, I sat on the back porch with a cold drink to rest. I noticed something interesting. A pair of robins appeared to be looking over the damage of the tree. The bright red-breasted male surveyed the grounds where chunks of bark and leaves rested. Then he flew to the fence near the tree appearing to investigate the large crack in the trunk. The female robin began to pick up sticks and leaves off the ground. She flew into a nearby tree where she was rebuilding a nest.

Back of the Room Products Tip
I thought about this scene. We humans are not much different from a pair of robins. There was damage, items were displaced, we picked up the pieces. We moved on. There are two lessons from this story, one being if you wait long enough, someone will handle it for you. But I’d like to focus on the other lesson: when something goes awry, pick up the pieces and move on.

We all have experienced a poor outcome when working with clients. We are human; it will happen to the best of us, and it will happen even if you have followed all the “rules.”

Sometimes things just happen. For whatever reason. The best thing to do is: evaluate the situation, do damage control, and move on. Even after suffering damage to their nest from the storm, the “Robins couple” moved on and possibly learned they need to build a stronger nest. You, too, can learn from your mishaps and apply them to the next time, the next project, the next goal. Evaluate, repair, learn and move on.

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2012.


Search for that Second Layer

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Last week I was recalling a story that not many people in my area can share. You see, there is this police officer who is known for being cold, intimidating, some might say gruff. Most folks view law enforcement this way, but in our town, it simply is not the case. We have some of the friendliest and most helpful police officers in the area with a high level of integrity.

Many years ago, my husband and I used to ride along with police, taking photos of the men and women who protect our community. I typically rode with the funny and sweet ones, always avoiding this one officer: Desmond. He was tall, with a strong jaw, sharp eyes, and you could see his strength underneath his pressed blues and bullet proof vest. He never acknowledged my presence, seemed to look down at me (well, he IS 6’4” and I’m 5’2” so that was easy enough), but I didn't feel welcome in his presence.

One night my husband and I walked into the police department, and only three officers were working. Rick and one officer headed out the door for an urgent call, the sergeant was doing paper work, and that left me, alone, with this giant gruff of a man. He looked at me, sighed, and said “let’s go.”

I could feel the tenseness of my intrusion as he moved his bags from the passenger seat to the trunk. And for the first thirty minutes or so, we didn’t say one word to each other. I just knew it was going to be a long awkward night! He fiddled with the radio and turned to a station that played popular music and asked “Do you like that music?” I replied with a chipper “Yes!” thinking, now we have something in common. He gruffly responded, “Great. You like the same crap my wife likes” and then switched the channel.

I felt defeated. How was I going to make it through the night! I thought maybe I could call Rick in a couple of hours to switch cars. As the clock ticked on, Desmond began to talk a little bit but only after I prodded him with questions like “How long have you been married? How many kids? Etc. Etc.” He humored me with his short answers.

A little later into the shift, Desmond thought it would be a good idea to take a break and have a sandwich at the local deli. He mentioned that I was like his wife in that I'm nice, bubbly, and sweet; and then he added that he wasn’t nice or sweet. Not even a split second after he said it, out of my unstoppable mouth came the words I immediately regretted, “Why do you think you are that way?”


He looked up from his sandwich and into my eyes. I thought “Oh, crap. I am about to be beat up by a cop in public!” I retreated in my seat and wished I could take the question back!

Desmond softly replied “I don’t know why. I need to think about that.” He shrugged with acknowledgement and took a bite of his sandwich.

Apparently, that was all that was needed for us to become buddies. Every time we saw each other after that, he would smile and open his arms wide and hug me. We tease each other every time we meet. Aside from his family and close friends, I think I am the only one in town who knows this side of him. I admire him for his career choice and how much he loves his family. And I am thankful he let me in to see his second layer, the softer, sweet side.

How does this relate to business? Oh, you already know the answer to that. When you meet someone who is gruff or surly, don’t brush them off. Look for that second layer, or let it happen serendipitously as it was in my case. Ask questions to determine their needs and learn who they really are so you can provide the best for them. Don’t let their sour attitude sway you. Just be yourself and success will follow!

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2012.


Butterfly Wings

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Someone was commenting on the fact they can't find something to wear. I, too, have this challenge because I am a large woman and the shirts they make today do not have the longer sleeves that I prefer. I like sleeves that cover my big and saggy upper arms. I actually refer to my upper arms as butterfly wings. Funny story on how that came about.

You see, Becca is the lovely daughter of some dear friends of ours. She and I formed a bond when she was two or three. I loved this little girl with all my heart and soul. And she loved me. I still remember years later, that crooked grin, little pug nose, and those piercing brown eyes looking into mine and feeling overcome with unconditional love.

One day when she was about five, she was sitting on my lap and she poked on my big belly. She asked "why are you fat?" As her mother rushed over, interjecting "I'm so sorry" I brushed it off and told her the truth. "I eat too much, Becca." I took that moment to share and educate about how eating too much food can lead to people being fat. She then pinched my upper arm and said "Is that how your arm got so big?" I said yes. She snuggled closer to me, resting her head in my bosom and said "That's okay. They look like butterfly wings."

I share this story because I think most business owners have lost their ability to be direct and forthcoming. It happens as owners are left with the reoccurring challenge when partners and/or clients break contracts and commitments. Over time, we become jaded and, most often, distrustful of the next person we do business with. You can prevent much of this by having signed contracts and STICKING WITH the terms of the contract: For example, don't start a project until your payment terms are met even if this client or partner is a good friend.

For the next month, try greeting potential clients and partners with the same directness as a five year old. Be your genuine self instead of putting up those walls. You will soon learn that person's integrity, and if it is a good match, stick with the plan. If not and you have an "icky" feeling, be direct and honest, like a child, and say "It's just not a good fit for me."

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2012.


Hello! Hola! Ciao! Salut! Aloha! Hej! Hallo!

Welcome to Alicia Speaks! I have been putting off starting a business blog for many reasons. One, is I fear I will share too much of my personal life. Two, I feared I didn't have anything pertinent to say that my readers and business associates would find useful in their business.

Well, I have since discovered that not every blog post has to pertain to business advice. And apparently it is okay to share personal tidbits because people relate to you as a human. And that is how trust and respect is born. And when people trust and respect you, they refer you to their family, friends and associates.

So it is with this first blog that I welcome you and thank you for following my blog. To get started, I guess I should share a little about who I am:

I am loyal, friendly, funny, sometimes down-right hilarious, smart, creative, a perfectionist, genuine, direct, blunt at times, happy, a good listener, and successful.

I love to design, laugh, help, travel, photograph, dance, eat, play, talk, make beaded jewelry, swim, decorate, karaoke, and relax.

It feels really great to thoroughly please a client, discover new methods, complete a project "perfectly," plan and accomplish a goal, hear Rick's laugh, have belly laughs with my parents and friends, be comfortable in my skin, think about the future of my career, plan retirement with Rick, go to Yellowstone.

And for those interested in my life's path and successes:
- As an only child, I was raised in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
- I love my mom and dad and miss my grandma.
- Three years after graduating with a nuclear medicine degree, I moved to Greenville, Texas.
- My husband, Rick, is my soul mate (it DOES exist!).
- Rick and I were married in 1996 and it was the most wonderful day of my life!
- In 1996, we built our first home in Wylie, Texas.
- Jazz, a Husky-mix, became our first furbaby.
- In 1998, I went back to college and graduated with honors with a BS in Mass Communications.
- Rick and I became fire photographers for Wylie Fire-Rescue in the summer of 1998.
- I founded a local community message board in the summer of 1998.
- In 2000, Rick and I became members of Box 4, a volunteer group serving firefighters in Dallas.
- After employment in both a non-profit and corporate setting, I started a graphic design firm in 2004.
- In 2006, Rick introduced me to Yellowstone National Park. This was a huge reset button in my life.
- In 2010, became the founding president of the Wylie Citizen's Police Academy Alumni Association.
- We have two cats, Callie and Alex, and a Husky-mix, Bailey Mae (named after my grandma).
- April 2012, published my first business book with Michelle Ketterman for E3!
- Started the Speakers and Authors Briefcase in 2012, the first of its kind in the industry!
- In the process of writing two photography books.
- August 2012, Nominated for Leader in the Small Business Influence Awards.

Alicia White is the CEO of Back of the Room Productions, home of the Speakers Briefcase™, Authors Briefcase™, and The Speaklet™ and North America's first Back of the Room Branding and Marketing Materials Provider. Copyright 2012.