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The Marben Bland Group Blog 2012 Year In Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

5 Ways to Grow Your Charisma

Who wouldn’t want to be charismatic? Synonyms for charisma are alluring, bewitching, captivating, fascinating, charming, enchanting, engaging, magnetic and seductive. Charisma is powerful and charismatic people can make others “drink the Kool-Aid.” When possessed by people like Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson, charisma is dangerously powerful. But when it’s used for good, the Kool-Aid is really sweet.

Why are some people charismatic and others are not? Are we born charismatic or do we cultivate it? And once you have it, can you lose it?

Joyce Newman, a consultant to high profiled executives, celebrity spokespersons, athletes and authors says “Everyone can be charismatic.” While we are not born charismatic – we cultivate it in many ways.” One way is by observing and learning from people who you think are charismatic. You don’t need to copy them, but learn their secrets, try them on and fine-tune them until they fit you. It’s a trial and error process. Bad news is that once you have your charismatic status, you can lose it. Just look at Mel Gibson and Lindsay Lohan. But here’s the good news – if you lose it, with self awareness and effort, you can regain your charismatic ranking.”

You may be charismatic and not know it here are 5 ways to grow charisma.

1. Be Self-Confident

Self-confidence is the difference between feeling unstoppable and feeling scared out of your wits. Your perception of yourself has an enormous impact on how others perceive you. Perception is reality — the more self-confidence you have, the more likely it is you’ll succeed and the more charismatic you become to others. The blog Pick Your Brain offers tips on growing your self-confidence, here are 3 of the best tips: Tip one: Walk Faster – One of the easiest ways to tell how a person feels about herself is to examine her walk. Is it slow? Tired? Painful? Or is it energetic and purposeful? People with confidence walk quickly. They have places to go, people to see, and important work to do. Even if you aren’t in a hurry, you can increase your self-confidence by putting some pep in your step. Walking 25% faster will make to you look and feel more important. Tip two: Good Posture – The way a person carries herself tells a story. People with slumped shoulders and lethargic movements display a lack of self-confidence. They aren’t enthusiastic about what they’re doing and they don’t consider themselves important. By practicing good posture, you’ll automatically feel more confident. Stand up straight, keep your head up, and make eye contact. You’ll make a positive impression on others and instantly feel more alert and empowered.  Tip Three Compliment Other People. When we think negatively about ourselves, we often project that feeling on to others in the form of insults and gossip. To break this cycle of negativity, get in the habit of praising other people. Refuse to engage in backstabbing gossip and make an effort to complement those around you. In the process, you’ll become well liked and build self-confidence. By looking for the best in others, you indirectly bring out the best in yourself.

2 Tell Great Stories

Appropriate and well-told stories are powerful tools to reach and relate to people.  Great stories teach without preaching they paint mental pictures worth more than a thousand buzzwords.  Geoffrey James writer of “Sales Source” one of the world’s most-visited sales-oriented blogs has come up with three tips for developing great stories that hit an emotional cord.   1. Decide on the takeaway first:  Figure out exactly what you want the listener to believe, understand or do when you’ve completed the anecdote. In social settings, stories are generally told to strengthen relationships; you might tell a funny story, for instance, so that everyone can laugh and feel closer. The same thing is true in business relationships–except that, in addition to creating a better relationship, the anecdote should advance whatever business transaction is taking place.  2. Begin with who, where, when … and a hint of direction. Every great story–and indeed, every great movie, novel, or TV show–starts with a person (who is going to do something), a place (where things are going to happen), a time (so people can relate “then” to “now”), and just a hint of direction, indicating where the anecdote is headed.  3. Pick the ending that will create the takeaway. When you tell the anecdote, you’ll start at the beginning of the story. However, what’s most important is the ending of the anecdote, which should make the point that you’re trying to communicate.

3. Become Realistically Pragmatic

In his landmark book Good to Great Jim Collins describe how companies transition from being average companies to great companies and how companies can fail to make the transition.  Collins introduces his readers to James Stockdale the highest-ranking naval officer held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.  During his seven years of captivity Stockdale observed that prisoners who were relied on being optimism about their situation did not survive.   He noted his survival was predicated on his realistically pragmatic view: That he would prevail in the end regardless of the difficulties however at the same time he must confront the most brutal facts of his current reality, whatever they might be.   Contrary to popular belief   charismatic people are not optimists they share Admiral Stockdale’s realistically pragmatic outlook.  They never doubt that the goals they set can be achieved however; they always take an honest stock the situation they current find themselves in. Charismatic people are realistically pragmatic they combine optimism with brutal honesty and a willingness to take action to change things to their ultimate long term favor.

4. Develop into a Servant Leader

A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.  Charismatic people really does not care who gets the credit they just want to get things done. The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, which advances the modern servant leadership movement notes 3 common traits of servant leaders: Trait One: Listening: The servant-leader seeks to identify the will of a group and helps clarify that will. They seek to listen receptively to what is being said (and not said!). Listening also encompasses.  Trait Two:  Empathy: The servant-leader strives to understand and empathize with others. People need to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirits. One assumes the good intentions of co-workers and does not reject them as people, even while refusing to accept their behavior or performance. Trait Three: Commitment to the growth of people: Servant-leaders believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as workers. As such, the servant-leader is deeply committed to the growth of each and every individual within his or her institution. The servant-leader recognizes the tremendous responsibility to do everything within his or her power to nurture the personal, professional, and spiritual growth of people.

5 Grow into a Lifelong Learner

We have all seen “the most interesting man in the world” advertising campaign for the Dos Equis beer.  The advertisement features a montage of daring exploits involving “the most interesting man” when he was younger. Roughly in his 70s the exploits demonstrate that he grew into the charismatic most interesting man in the world because of his commitment to lifelong learning.  Rich stories and experiences just don’t happen they come to us as we activity see to learn new and different things in out of the classroom.  Abraham Lincoln said, “I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” This opens the premise that learning is a daily adventure.  The website WikiHow offers three tips on lifelong learning.  First, look at learning as an exploration and opportunity, not a chore. Don’t just force yourself to learn things because they’re important or necessary. Instead, learn things that you need to learn alongside things you love to learn. Second, read, make friends with your local library and new and used book sellers. Reading is a portal into other worlds and into the minds of your fellow human beings. Charismatic people read lots of books, all the time; it’s as simple as that. And reading will help you to learn the discoveries and mistakes of others who have gone before you; reading is, in effect, a shortcut so that you don’t have to learn things the hard way.  Thirdly create. Not all learning comes from outside you. In fact, some of the most powerful learning happens when you are creating or formulating something for yourself. Creation, like intelligence, can be artistic or scientific; physical or intellectual; social or solitary.  For me I have found writing, speaking and developing a business to be highly creative exercises that have sparked a wave of learning for me.  The most interesting man in the world has a point of view that life should be lived interestingly and his interest is powered by lifelong learning.

The Bottom Line

Being charismatic is not an antidote for all the difficulties of life.  Bad things happen to charismatic people.  Including feeling stressed, disappointed, and loss of employment.  In fact I know many charismatic people who have been unemployed for several years.   However, the five traits of being charismatic, 1. Self-confidence, 2. Telling great stories, 3. Being realistically pragmatic, 4.Developing into a servant leader, 5. Growing into a lifelong learner fosters a mindset that enables us the overcome life’s difficulties and to handle our victories with grace and humility.

Are you charismatic? How many of the 5 traits do you have? What about your co-workers, boss, spouse, friends and family – how many traits do they have?  It is never too late to become charismatic simply start living the traits.


5 Practical Ways to Make Money While Unemployed

Being unemployed is always difficult and especially challenging during the holidays when monetary pressures mount.  Financial guru Phil Taylor says it is important to stay positive and pragmatic when you have no job and no income.  Positive enough to know that things will get better, yet pragmatic enough to know that with effort there are ways to make income while unemployed.

I have been unemployed and broke a time or two during my career. Those experiences inform my work as a job search expert and small businessperson.  In this blog, I am pleased to present five practical ways I have actually used to make money while unemployed. I present these tips with the strong admonishment to “check your ego at the door.”   While all of these moneymaking methods are legal, moral, and ethical, many may perceive them as being beneath “your current station in life.”  Remember the goal is to create income during the time that you are unemployed, not keeping up appearances.

1. Waiting Tables – This is the perfect job for job searchers, allowing you to work nights and weekends, leaving the day free for job search activities.  Try to get hired at high end establishments– they are great for larger tips and networking opportunities.

2. Selling Your Stuff – One woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure.  And, in this interconnected world, there are endless outlets to make the sale–online with eBay and Craigslist and offline with yard sales and consignment shops.  Sold all of your stuff?  Consider selling stuff for other people or make a deal with your busy working friends to sell theirs.  It is a total win/win–your friends get rid of needless clutter and you both make money.

3. Collecting Aluminum Cans – There is money in those old cans! Metal recycling companies across the United States pay for aluminum cans. Although the going rate for aluminum changes daily, the demand for the aluminum remains constant. With time and effort, you may turn what others casually tossed along roadsides into a small but steady source of income, as you help to clean the environment. The website has a wonderful article on how to make money collecting aluminum cans

4. Tutoring – Have a knack for a certain subject?   Consider offering up your brain power for some quick cash.  The market for tutoring is best with grade school kids, particularly with students attending schools that are members of National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS),  My son attended a NAIS school and I can tell you from personal experience that I spent a ton on tutoring.  Use the link above to find a NAIS school in your area.

5. Baby Sitting– If you enjoy kids and are good with them, this can be a fun and easy way to make a little cash. Advertise your babysitting services for free online with, the premiere site for finding the right babysitter.

Bonus Tip:  Blogging – I hesitate to put this one in this list because it really isn’t quick money, but you can make decent money with a little luck and a few months of solid, consistent effort. Believe me, it can be tough and a bit time consuming, but it can be done.  Many people who write blogs today simply want to share their opinion on something. But then there are the business-minded folks, who have found a way to use blogs, or Web logs, to bring in a little extra cash too.  Microsoft Business Hub has a great blog on how to get started.

The Bottom Line 

The five tips and one bonus tip presented have one thing in common–they all require action.  Generating cash with no job or prospect of a job takes work, imagination, and the willingness to leave your comfort zone.  Take it from me–I have been unemployed and broke and when it seems darkest, money can be made, but it takes effort.   I know you can do it and I look forward to hearing your tips for making money while unemployed!

3 Goals for 2013

If only I’d bought that Apple stock 20 years ago or Oracle way back when. Or in the 10th grade told Sally Harris I was crazy about her, or actually taken that trip down the Amazon, or turned right instead of left. Life’s full of “if-onlys” and “what-ifs” and there ain’t diddly you can do about it but let it go and move forward.

As I write this post on Thanksgiving evening in my “bathroom” office, full of Food, Football and Family there are less than 50 days remaining in 2012. On January 1st even if we have fallen off the fiscal cliff many of us will be living the first day of a new year and a new world where we have made resolutions to do or not do something. Resolutions that will change our lives, resolutions that will make us more money, resolutions that will make the world a safer place. – So I exaggerate a bit… however, every year we make resolutions…. and how many of those resolutions are kept past February 1st?

As a longtime resolution maker and resolution breaker, I have learned not to depend on them to change my behavior or to accomplish some impossible task. . What I have learned to depend on is to set Goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time based or SMART Goals.   Goals unlike resolutions can be set at any time of the year. And if your goals are made openly either to a trusted advisor or to the entire world they have the added value of accountability.   Which can be a marvelous impetus to get the “thing” that you want to get done. Avoiding at least some of the “if-onlys” and “what-ifs” that hamper our lives and keep us from moving forward.

So today embolden by the power of my Aunt Tina’s lemon pound cake I would like to share with you 3 of the many goals some personal some professional I have set for 2012. I do this not as a narcissistic exercise but as a true example of what goals can do if they are SMART and are shared with others.


Goal❶:Launch a Reimagined Blog Site by 4/1/2013

By April 1, 2013 design and introduce a new blog site. The site will have enhance video capabilities, greater conductivity for blog readers and a cool new look.

Goal❷In 2013 Run At Least One 5K Race Per Quarter

Reignite my passion for running by committing to take part in at a minimum of 4, 5K races in various parts of the country this year.

Goal❸In 2013 Devise Various Ways to Discover What My Blog Readers Want

I am proud to report that you are one of over 4,000 weekly readers of this blog. My efforts started out as a way for me to share job search information but it has become much more. I am extremely grateful for your readership and I want to produce content of interest to you. This survey link is designed to get your feedback, please take a moment complete this simple 5 question anonymous survey.

I hope you will take the remaining days of this year to think about what you want to accomplish in 2013. If making resolutions have not worked for you, please consider setting goals. In a demonstration of the power of goal setting I will share my progress on the 3 goals outlined in this post. Until then Happy New Year and happy goal setting!!!!

How to live to be a 100 and beyond – A Top 5 List

This weekend I had the honor of attending birthday parties for two wonderful women. The first party was for a youthful 87 year old, the second was for a remarkable 100 year old woman.   At both parties I had the great pleasure of enjoying the company of my 86 year old mother and her friends, all between the ages of 85-90 years old.

There is no denying that longer life expectancy is swelling the number of seniors — people over age 65 — in our population. My mother and her friends belong to the fastest-growing subset of that superannuated group. They prove the most interesting for researchers — those over age 85 and in particular the centenarians born in the second decade of the 20th century.  Think of the change and progress these people have lived through: the Great Depression, World War II, the civil rights and women’s rights movement the moon landings, the social media revolution and the election of the nation’s first African-American President.

In the most recent census, health officials predicted that by 2050, more than 800,000 Americans would be pushing into their second century of life.  By all accounts, these new centenarians are far from the frail, ailing, housebound people you might expect. In contrast, the majority of them are mentally alert and relatively free of disability.  They remain active members of their communities. In fact they may simply represent a new model of aging, one that health experts are hoping more of us can emulate.  Both to make our lives fuller and to ease the inevitable health care burden that our longer-lived population will impose in coming decades.

While there is no one secret formula for long life, there are some specific behaviors to grow the soul to live longer.  We recognize that longevity depends on genes, your life style and being blessed in staying free from chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke and dementia.  In speaking with my mother and her 85 year old plus friends I discovered some timeless truths to not only longevity but to success in life.   Clearly these truths are not new, however what is new is the exceptional take these extraordinary women provide.   I offer you these truths in as a top five list of how to live to be a 100 and beyond.

5. Be Resilient

My mother and her friends have lived wondrous lives and they truly embody the American dream.  Not affluent, they were born into the Jim Crow south where their horizons were legally limited by race and culturally narrowed by gender.  These barriers never stopped them as they used education, the great equalizer in our society, to take full advantage of the gains of the civil rights movement to become leaders in the new south achieving economic power. With their husbands, they raised strong healthy families that have continued a legacy of success.  When I asked how they made these remarkable accomplishments despite all the odds, they answered simply we were “resilient”.   For these ladies being resilient meant putting their dreams in action by setting goals and not being deterred when setbacks happened.  They knew that in the end hard work, determination and above all faith would see them through.

4. Laugh … a lot

The ladies there saw their lives as one big situation comedy where everything, raising children, office politics, illness and even the death of a spouse were fair game for the comedic gist.  During our time together laughter was a constant, from good natured ribbing to heartfelt stories about long departed love ones.   These ladies were having the time of their lives.  As one of the ladies with a smile put it,” laughter truly helps us in placing our lives into clearer focus, we really don’t take ourselves too seriously – because you know the funny thing about life is none of us are going to get out of it alive so we might as well laugh it up.”

3. Blaze your own trail

My mother and her friends advised that consistently following the masses will get you in trouble.   While obedience and adherence to rules are necessary, it is awfully important to forge your own way with confidence and independence.  The lives of each of the ladies I had the pleasure of being with over the weekend were testaments to the trails that they had blazed in business, education, and the arts.  And they did it “their way”.

2. Smell that rose now

“Son you have to always stop and smell that rose now….because when you come back to that rose the bloom could be gone” is the sage advice of my mother.  During a trip to Hawaii a few years ago she and her friends devised a campaign to urge their “busy” children not to slow down but to cherish the “roses” in our lives.  From the mundane to the spectacular and everything else in between we should live to find the “roses”.

1. It is all about faith

“God gets all the credit for my long life.  Without Him I am nothing” is what one lady speaking for all said about their relationships with God.  They each describe a deep, long lasting and abiding faith that sustains, conforms and guides them in all walks of life.    Their advice about faith is; a small amount of faith will go a long way as evidenced in Matthew 17:20 “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.

In the daily exercise of their faith these women said they were in constant prayer and communication with God.  They read scripture daily and followed these simple guidelines for making decisions in a Godly manner: 1. Does it line up with the Word of God?  2. Does it edify God and/or His people?  3. Does it significantly impact your life in a positive way? 4. Does it lead you to Jesus and deepen your relationship with Him? 5. Do you have God’s peace about the situation?

The Bottom Line

My mother and her friends are the best examples that I know of living a life that is well lived. While I may not have uncovered the singular secrete that will allow me to live to 100 and beyond, I know that this weekend I found no better guiding truths for making the attempt.


Who’s Watching You On Facebook?

When you’re applying for a new job, polishing up your resume may not be enough anymore. Rather, you should check what information is out there about you on the web. Facebook profiles are routinely being checked by your future employers. According to a survey carried out by Careerbuilder in 2009, 45% of employers check your social media presence when hiring, and some 35% of employers reported that they have found content on social networking sites that meant they did not hire the candidate. As social media has only grown over the past few years, we can only imagine that this figure would be much higher today.

Pictures Perfect

More than half of the employers questioned said that provocative photos were the biggest factor contributing to a decision not to hire a potential employee, while 44% of employers pinpointed references to drinking and drug use as no-go areas. While this might seem obvious, you can never know what a company might deem “provocative.” It seems wise to keep all content absolutely clean, otherwise who knows what job prospects you are thwarting.

Passwords Please
In an even more worrying development in Maryland, a man has recently been asked to hand his Facebook login details over to his employee. He was outraged and made a complaint to the American Civil Liberties Union. As a result the updated policy at the Maryland Department of Corrections states that job candidates won’t be asked to share their login or password

The Bottom Line
Unfortunately, many of us fail to realize that content we post on the Internet is really out there in the public domain. If you do want to continue using Facebook, what can you do to protect yourself from unwanted prying eyes? Be sure you’ve checked those privacy settings. It is sensible to keep any personal content away from the public eye. Also, be careful what you are making available to your networks. It might seem safe enough to let people who graduated from the same college as you view your profile, but this will include several thousand – if not tens of thousands of – people who you have never met nor know, and who may have ulterior motives when checking out your profile. Keep it clean and professional. Ask yourself: would you want your future employer to read this? If the answer is no, don’t post it. There’s really nowhere to hide on the world wide web and you never know who is watching you on Facebook.


Join me live on Monday, April 23, 2012 at 10:30 AM EDT as I interview actor Nadir Hasan about job searching strategies and pop culture. Can’t catch the show live? You can download the show live anytime on free on I-Tunes. (724) 444-7444 Call ID: 115302


Can Your Resume Is Your Resume Passing The 6 Second Test?

Typically a hiring manager will skim your resume for a mere six to eight seconds. Can your resume pass the six second test? In six seconds how does your resume showcase your accomplishments, contributions and results?
It’s not just typos or poor formatting that sinks a resume. The biggest flaw for a resume is when it fails to showcase a person’s accomplishments, contributions and results.

Here are 3 tips to make sure your resume passes the 6 second test.

1. Think Big – What are your significant accomplishments?

hatever jobs you’ve held –whether assistant or CEO –think beyond the everyday tasks of your position. We often get bogged down in the day-to-day details of our jobs, however, when it comes to your resume, you’ve got to remove the clutter and think big. One way to think big is to simply ask yourself “What are the key accomplishments of the jobs I’ve had?” When writing resumes with my clients we partner to create a “Significant Accomplishment” section where clients can think big about their career achievements.

2. Be Clear, Concise and Correct – A resume format for passing the 6 second test?

In almost two decades of interviewing candidates, advising candidates and being interviewed as a candidate I have found the most effective resumes are clear, concise and correct. Click on this link  on the side of this post to download the 6 part resume format that I have used with great success in building resumes that are clear concise and correct and are guaranteed to pass the 6 second test.

3. Tell your Story – What do you bring to the table?

At the end of the day hiring managers want to know what you bring to the table. What would happen if you come up blank when trying to tell them what you can do for them? The resume is the starting point for building your story for interviews, elevator pitches and network encounters. Building a resume rich in significant accomplishments provides the raw information needed for you to craft compelling stories about your career and your impact…what you are bring to the table.

Think Big, Be Clear, Correct and Concise, Tell Your Story, and your resume will pass the six second scan test.

Marben Bland is an accomplished speaker, writer, and thought leader focused on 4  interconnected areas:

  1. Social Media Branding:  Increasing sales & awareness by creating lasting impressions
  2. Recruiting:  Finding world class talent for leading business and non profits
  3. Job Coaching:  Providing solid solutions for finding a job
  4. Project Management: Bringing order to complex problems

Contact Marben: