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Are you Over Networked? -3 ways to create a sleeker, smarter and simpler network customized to meet your needs.

In this supercharged world of Facebook, LinkedIn, and a pleather networking groups we can find ourselves “Over Networked”
“Over Networked” – With Facebook friend requests from people you have never heard of.
“Over Networked” – With LinkedIn invites from Ex- bosses and co-workers that you never communicated while you worked with them, and you defiantly don’t want to communicate with them now.
“Over Networked” – With so many business cards from events you have attend and so little time or effort to do anything with them.
As a public service to all suffering from “Over Networked” syndrome let me suggest 3 ways to make your network –smarter, simpler and more customized to your needs.
1. Prune – Clutter in your network is like a clogged fire hose water may flow it will never be enough to put out the blaze. The most effective networkers know that a small tight network comprised of people who meet your needs as your life is constructed today. Simply go through your network throwing out those who don’t meet the criteria of your current needs. – Don’t have the time to prune? Do it on your next flight or the next time you are sitting around in a dull meeting or while watching an exciting football game.
2. Data Clean-Up – Of the contacts remaining after the pruning how accurate is the information? A great way to ensure your information is accurate is to send out an email requesting an update on what I call the “Big 5” basic data that you need for all of your contacts while providing an update on your information:
• Email address (personal & work)
• Work Phone
• Cell Phone
• Home Address
• Birthday-Month/Date
3. Constant Contact
Out of touch out of mind….to keep your network vibrant and strong you need to remain in constant contact with it. Here are some quick time efficient strategies to remain in constant contact:
• LinkedIn book updates – I am big reader when I read a book that want others to know about I use the “Reading List” feature on LinkedIn to update my network. This simple and quick act keeps me in contact with my network.
• Twitter status update – I use Twitter in a limited way to share information with my network regarding my professional activities. Tying Twitter to LinkedIn, Facebook is a speedy way to keep in contact with your network 140 characters at a time.
• Birthday Phone Calls – Earlier in this blog I urged the collection of what I call the “Big 5”,five basic data elements of information for people in your network. Using the birthday data simply make a quick call to people in your network wishing them a happy birthday. Don’t have the birthday information on your contacts? Facebook can send you a weekly email listing the birthdays of your contacts. If phone calls are not your cup of tea simply send an email.

Good luck in your efforts to create a sleeker, smarter and simpler network customized to meet your needs and avoid being over networked!

Marben Bland is an accomplished speaker, writer, thought leader
and pioneer focused on three interconnected areas:  1. Social media strategies for small and midsize  businesses, 2. Talent acquisition optimization tactics for large companies and 3. Career management solutions for job seekers.
Marben has worked with a wide  range of companies and industries from start-up organizations to Fortune 500  companies including Advanced Micro Devices, PPG Industries, Fiskars Brands, Eaton Corporation, S.C. Johnson, and Sara Lee.
He is also spent a decade as an officer in the U.S. Army, serving in Operation
Desert Strom.  He is the author of two  books, The Smart Job Search and The Opportunity of the Unfair Advantage.
Today, Marben heads TheMarben Bland Group, an innovative consulting practice housing a collection of specialists dedicated to producing smart social media strategies, clever Talent acquisition optimization tactics and innovative Career management solutions for job seekers.

Today I Rise: A celebration of the champions of September 11th

Today I rise to tell you about everyday people – who became a part of American history.

Today I rise to tell you about excellent people – who gave their lives to save others. 

Today I rise to tell you about extraordinary people – who found themselves transformed into champions in a single day.

Today I rise to celebrate the champions of September 11th 2001.

It was a bright, clear, day…… the kind of day that the friendly skies were made for.  It was an Indian summer day, not too cold, not too hot……it was just right.    

However, as we all know the beauty of that day was marred:

  • Marred by men with deadly intent
  • Marred by planes crashing into buildings
  • Marred by death …. With the lives of Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers and Children….brutally and cruelly cut off way too soon.         

Today I rise to tell you about:

Army Colonel Bud Boone.  The 53 years old was on duty on September 11th, 2011 not on a field of battle but at office in the Pentagon.  He and hundreds were killed    when the high jacked American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into his office. 

A native of Milan, Indiana, Bud Boone graduated from Butler University, where he met the love of his life his wife, Linda.

Bud and Linda build a life of service together, she as a   second-grade teacher.  He, wearing the uniform of our nation.

However, Bud and Linda’s greatest service were as parents to their three children, Chris, 23, Andy, 21, and Jason, 18. 

In the ten years that have passed since September 11 Chris, Andy and Jason have taken up their father’s mantel and have become Dads themselves. 

Linda has continued shaping young second graders.  The kids she taught on September 11 are now in college, or have jobs or are in uniform protecting our national against another attach like the one that took her husband Bud.  

Today I rise to tell you about:

Regina Cervantes, “Reggie” as her friends call her was an EMT and one of the first responders at Ground Zero on September 11.  On the days that followed Reggie helped with triage and was one of the workers who helped dig out bodies in the mist of dirt, the dust and rubble of the World Trade Center.  

But now the woman who fought to save others is in a fight for her own life.  The minutes, hours and days of breathing dirty air took a toll.  Since September 11th Reggie has suffered from upper respiratory and sinus infections.  

Before 9/11 Reggie, 45 on that day was robust and active.  Now ten years after her heroic duty she has trouble walking and is in constant pain in her kidneys and lungs.  She can’t work and has had to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket for medication.

Amazingly, Reggie has no misgivings about her service.  She will tell you she was just doing her job.  And she would do it again regardless of the outcome.      

Today I rise to tell you about:

Asia Cottom, who was just 11 years old on September 11th.  An excellent student Asia was selected to take a trip to California to participate in a National Geographic Society ecology conference.

Asia and her six grade teacher Sarah Clark were on American Airlines Flight 77 the high jacked aircraft that crashed into the Pentagon.  The same aircraft that killed Colonel Bud Boone.

On the night of the tragedy Asia’s mother told friends “my baby got her wings today”.   And she then added, ‘We have to live right so we can get our wings when it is our time.”  

Ten years later Asia’s mother and father continue to live right.  They launched a scholarship fund in Asia’s name to help students to achieve their educational wings.    

Today I rise to urge you to honor the memories of

  • Bud Boone
  • Regina “Reggie” Cervantes
  • Sarah Clark

 And young Asia Cottom

Along with the memories of the more than 3,000 people who died that day by moving beyond the dysfunctional politics that has recently afflicted our land.

Today I rise to urge you to follow the teaching of God and forgive those who attacked us that day… while never forgetting the pain and sacrifice of that day.

And finally today I rise to urge you to now rise with me and with your applause, clap loud, clap hard and clap strong to honor these champions and many more for their contributions to our freedoms.  

For today we rise

For today we rise

For today we rise

Source: The Washington Post, AP and


A Season of Wrong – Marben’s Address to the Class of 2011

 1 For everything there is a season,
   a time for every activity under heaven.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
   A time for war and a time for peace.

These classic biblical verses from the 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes tells us that today is your season. 

  • Your season of celebration
  • Your season of achievement,
  • Your season of wonder and possibility,

Your season of one more lecture…. Namely the one from me today. 

I’ve attended enough of these ceremonies to know that commencement speakers are always scheduled relatively early in the line-up. There’s a reason for that.

It’s what Mark Twain called the “live frog” principle.

Twain used to argue, and quite convincingly, that one should swallow a live frog at the beginning of every day.

That way you’d know the worst part of your day was behind you.

Well, I may not be the worst part of your day, but I am the part of the day standing between you and that emancipation proclamation known as a diploma.

I’ve also attended enough of these ceremonies to know that what we commencement speakers say in these address is often forgotten and is more often than that wrong.

Wrong….because  The world changes

Wrong…because …..We just don’t know. 

Wrong…..because …..We are human. 

In this season of your graduation I would like for you to consider going with me to a place where we spend a considerable part of our lives……

That place is ………..Being wrong…. 

…..Think about it we are wrong and can be wrong about so many things. 

  • We are wrong when we: Drive 70 in a 55 mile per hour zone!
  • We are wrong when we:  Spent too much for that new outfit!
  • We are wrong when we:  Really eat more…….. than all we can eat…… at the buffet 


However, being wrong is not all wrong…… Being wrong truly opens up our world for so many possibilities.

So today…. in this season of your graduation…. I want to examine 3 things that I want to suggest we are wrong about ………and how you can be right about ……….as you move away from your season of graduation…….. to your season of life.  

The first thing we can wrong about is when we tell ourselves: that we are not creative.

Sure you might not be the next Picasso….JZ……or Lady Gaga …but then who knows …it doesn’t matter.   What matters as you enter the season of life is to not to close yourself down to the process of exploration.  

Failing is fine and necessary in fact, but avoiding experimentation or risk especially out of fear of what others may think is something that will choke off our creativity….. and that is wrong.

Former Apple marketing guru Garr Reynolds put it this way…..

“Failure is in the past….It’s done …It’s doesn’t exist….But worrying about “what might be”  are pieces of baggage that are heavy and will kill our creative spirit.   Take chances and stretch yourself.  You are only here on this plant once, and for a very short time at that.  Why not just see how gifted you are?  You may surprise someone…….Most importantly you.”

The second thing we can be wrong about is when we tell ourselves: that we can’t be a child again.

Nina my granddaughter has reintroduced me to a simple but wonderfully   effective word for unlocking mysteries, discovering the truth, and making corporate chiefdoms and political figures of all strip nervous.

That word?…….Is WHY

This is the magic of the word WHY

“Nina…. the world is a difficult place”


“Nina……try this ice cream it’s great”


And my favorite……..

“Papa WHY do you use all those big words when you make a speech?”

It’s wrong when we lose our Childlike wonder and ability to question –even when things are obvious. 

30 years ago Harry Markopolos was siting where you are with cap and gown in the season of his graduation from Loyola College in Maryland. 

After time in the Army, Harry went to work in the financial services field, he raised a family and earned a graduate management degree from Boston College in 1997.

In 1999 Harry was working for Rampart Investment ——–doing competitive research on a competing firm which was using a similar investment strategy as Rampart…. But they far outperforming them.  

I don’t know it was Harry’s childlike wonder or Texas style honesty but his  competitive research uncovered a secret —- The firm were that was far outperforming his……was running a Ponzi scheme.   

For a decade….. everyone thought Harry was crazy and flat out wrong.  As he fought a remarkable battle continuing to ask questions to alert authorities to the fraud:

  • But the government never acted
  • The firm continued its fraudulent ways
  • While unknowing investors…. lost everything 

Finally …. After 10 years Harry’s ” competitive research”  was taken seriously and all the WHY’s he was asking were answered 

Bernard Madoff Investment Securities – had milked it clients out of 150 million dollars.

In this season of your graduation…….. I urge you not to lose your sense of childlike wonder … you enter into the season of your life. 

It will sever you well…. As you question which ice cream taste best…… or which financial securities security firm to trust.  

The third thing that we can be wrong about is not understanding the value of “creative loafing”

Yes you are hearing it for a commence speaker I am saying it is not wrong:

  • To Idle
  • To Do Lots of Nothing
  • To Creatively Loaf

If you are like me I am obsessed with getting things done.  I am afraid to be unproductive. 

Yet it is the during those episodes of “laziness” of “wasting time” that the ideas both big and small can come.

Malcolm Gladwell is one of the best thinkers of our generation.  His books “Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers have sparked new ways of looking at:

  • How things become popular
  • How we make decisions
  • And how we become successful

Gladwell says this about the generation of ideas:  “Insight is not a lightbulb that goes off inside our heads. It is a flickering candle that can easily be snuffed out.”

We can be wrong to think that the hectic pace of our lives is conducive to coming up with our best ideas. 

To keep that flickering candle burning we need time away from the fight. 

  • Take a walk
  • Go on a jog
  • To party

It’s is during those times that our creative spirit is energized our best ideas can flourish and our flickering candle can burn strongest. 

And it is during those times of rest….. that wrong ideas can be righted.   

It was a cold, grey December day.   Tried from work the small woman with silver frame glasses slumped into her bus seat to rest for the long ride home.   When she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger the woman was arrested and fined for violating a city ordinance.  Rosa Park’s lonely act of defiance….. while resting began a movement that righted a wrong  ending legal segregation in America, and made her an inspiration to freedom-loving people everywhere.

For everything there is a season,
 a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.

A time to love and a time to hate.
   A time for war and a time for peace.

A time to be right and a time to be wrong! 

Members of the class of 2011 in this season of your graduation I hope you can remember that it is OK to be wrong as you enter the season of your life. 

But it is not OK to be wrong when we tell ourselves: that we are not creative.

But it is not OK to be wrong when we tell ourselves: that we can’t be a child again.

And it is not OK to be wrong when we don’t understanding the value of “creative loafing”


Class of 2011 enjoy your Season of Graduation and God’s Speed As you Enter Your Season of Life.












The Smart Job search formula: Confidence, Courage, Tenacity and Empathy

I had an interesting discussion with a client the other day. She is a seasoned professional with a strong background in sales who has been in the job market for almost a year.  We talked about the elements of my “Smart Job Search” strategy.  I proudly showed off my “new” cutting edge ideas for finding a job, we expanded our chat reviewing what we each believed to be the key traits and actions of top sales professionals. It was a great discussion, and one that I really enjoyed. We came around to an agreement that at the top 3 traits of an outstanding sales person is also useful for the job seeker…The Smart Job Seeker. So here are traits:

  1. Confidence & Courage – a strong belief in yourself, and a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone.

  2. Tenacity – A job search is challenging, and it takes a strong determination to keep a firm grip on looking for that right opportunity.

  3. Empathy – learn how to think like potential employers, hiring managers, and interviewers, if you feel what they feel, you will find more opportunities.

 So much more can be written about each of these three traits. And truly there are other success factors. But if you focus on these three, you’ll always be moving in the right direction. And the best thing about them? All three are personal choices. You can choose to embrace and exhibit these traits on the daily basis!

 Live each day with confidence, courage, tenacity and empathy!! – Now that’s a smart job search.

3 Ways To Increase Your Personal Brand

1. Understand and communicate your personal brand – Do a personal evaluation

Take stock to understand what you bring to the table, do a self evaluation to understandnot only the results you can bring to potential employers, but the strategies you employ to produce them. Answer the following questions carefully to mine for this information:

  • What energizes you about work?
  • What reputation have you attained – what are you known for?
  • What kinds of work fit your natural talent?
  • What challenges and settings are a best fit for your experience?
  • What do others say about your contributions?

To make the process easier, remember that you are identifying information that employers need in order make a hiring decision.

 2. No one has time to connect the dots; do it for them!

The hiring audience is just as busy as you are. Since recruiters often scan resumes quickly and on electronic devices, brevity is the key for conveying a strong brand.  Produce a resume that highlights your strong points with concise wording that tells you story effectively connecting all the dots.

 3. Being all things to all people isn’t good enough anymore.

If you possess a diverse skill set, that’s wonderful, but what do you want to do with it?

While a colorful background can serve as a conversation point, hiring authorities need to see how your talent supports a particular role in their organization.  Two tips that can help you focus:

  • To deliver a focused presentation, create one resume for each job type. First, identify each career goal, then write your resume centered around it.
  • Add supporting detail that describes the relevance of your other experience to that same goal, and minimize unrelated information to let the job type emerge as a focal point. Repeat these steps for each job type or goal.

3 Steps to a Successful 90-Day Performance Review

The 90-day review should be respected but not feared. Human-resources specialists share secrets to a successful review.

By Carmine Gallo

HR departments at most large corporations have a formal 90-day performance evaluation in place for new hires. But even those organizations without formal processes often use that three-month mark to review your performance to date.

The 90-day review should be respected but not feared, according to a trio of human-resources specialists I contacted on the subject. Here are their recommendations to prepare for a strong 90-day performance review.

1. Understand expectations

Step one begins as soon as you accept your new position. Make sure you and your supervisor are clear on what the organization expects from your performance in the first 90 days. You should be clear on the organization’s goals, objectives and expectations.

“Keep the HR perspective in mind,” said Dr. Jane Goldner, an HR consultant who has held positions at Coca-Cola and Georgia Pacific in her 25 years in the field. “Human resources managers are asking themselves, ‘Did we assess this person’s skills correctly? Does she fit into our culture? Can we count on this person to be a future leader?’ ”

Many organizations hire for skill only to realize that the candidate wasn’t the right fit, she said. For example, Goldner recalled a small company she worked with that hired a manager from a Fortune 100 company only to find that the manager was accustomed to a large budget and staff and struggled in the new role. “She became a turnover stat,” Goldner said.

Culture fit might be one of several areas that your superiors will want to evaluate. Learning expectations from Day One will set you up for progress by Day 90.

2. Break even

Marben Bland, a human-resources strategist in Pittsburgh, said that in his experience most managers “take more than they give” in the first 90 days.

“Despite your work experience, you are most likely inexperienced in the culture and the expectations of all the individuals you work with.”

The goal for your first 90 days should be to “break even.”

First, create goals of what you need to accomplish, whom you need to meet and what systems you need to master. As an example, Bland recalled working with a CFO who moved to a new company that used an accounting system he had never used before. “The CFO would not have been productive — taking more than giving — had he not become proficient on the system, which was old to the industry but new to him.”

Second, identify easy wins that give you and your boss a sense of accomplishment. Bland cited a marketing manager hired by a midsized company that was doing business with his prior contacts. Since the marketing manager had existing relationships with his new company’s vendors, he was able to renegotiate more favorable contracts for the company based on his relationships — an easy win.

Third, identify the problems you were hired to solve. Take steps to attack those problems in your first 90 days. You do not need to solve those problems completely in the period, but you must demonstrate action toward solving the issues, Bland said. It will accelerate the timeline where you can start “giving more than you’re taking.”

3. Deliver a strong presentation

Prepare for the 90-day meeting as you would a critical presentation, said Lisa Boesen, principle of Houston-based Talent Innovations Group.

“Be results oriented,” Boesen said. “During the presentation, whether it’s an informal conversation or a more formal PowerPoint, review your objectives and quantify the results. Your supervisor wants to know the impact you have had on the organization. The better you can place a number on your results, the better impression you’ll leave.”

Boesen cites her own experience as an HR trainer at a large company. It wasn’t enough to say, “I gave a training (session) for 50 people.” Instead her supervisor wanted to see accomplishments, so she quantified the results, including the feedback she received and how successfully the participants in her training class applied what they had learned.

After your 90-day performance review is complete, take the opportunity to build and enhance the relationships you have made by sending an e-mail or calling key stakeholders to summarize your first 90 days, thank them for their participation, and tell them about some of your future plans. First impressions count, and your first 90 days will leave an indelible impression on your new organization. Make your first review a winner.

Carmine Gallo is the communication skills coach for the world’s most admired brands. He is a popular speaker and the author of several books including his current title, “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience” (McGraw-Hill). Visit Carmine directly at

10 Ways to Tap into Your Secret Job Market

Does today’s tough job market have you stressed? With the high unemployment rate job seekers must use more imaginative ways to uncover job openings. We’ve all heard stories about great jobs found in unusual ways – a strange coincidence, word of mouth, a conversation overheard in the grocery line. How can you cash in? If you must leave your job, go out fighting for the best benefits you can get.

The Challenge

It’s true that about 80% of all jobs aren’t advertised. Although most job hunters spend hours every day responding to online openings, let’s face it: it’s probably easier to break into the Pentagon than to be noticed via an online job application. If your resume doesn’t have exactly the right key words, it lands in the hiring manager’s trash folder. And speaking of hiring managers, let’s take a moment to recognize that they’re just as overwhelmed by the stack of online applications they get as you are by sending them. That’s why hiring managers are, in fact, looking for you elsewhere -­ by asking their current employees, colleagues, recruiters and friends.

1. Plant Many Seeds

Being on a job hunt is a lot like being a gardener: you must plant many seeds, because you never know which green shoots will surface. So, here are a few ways to tap into your secret job market:

2. Start with Your Own Contacts

Make a list of all your closest colleagues, college buddies and past employers. Don’t forget Uncle Harry – working relatives can be a great source of job leads! Send your contacts a copy of your resume and ask to network with them. Be sure you’re prepared with a professional resume and an idea of what position fits your skills. Call everyone on your list, and don’t hang up the phone until they’ve given you at least one new referral. You’ll quickly build an impressive network of new job lead sources.

3. Join LinkedIn

Social networking is a great way to expand your network. Set up an account on LinkedIn and post your profile and resume there. You can look for former colleagues, alumni, professional associations and other connections. Recruiters frequently search for applicants on LinkedIn, so put your best professional face forward.

4. Look for Temporary Work

Taking a temporary assignment has multiple benefits. First, it gets you out of the house and into a professional environment, which keeps your spirits high during a long stretch without work. Secondly, it generates income. Thirdly, you’ll add another employer to your list of references. Finally, temporary assignments can often lead to full-time job offers. Head to your local temporary job agency and sign up.

5. Share Job Leads with Other Job Seekers

It may sound counter-intuitive to give leads to your competitors, but who’s more up-to-date on the latest job openings than fellow job hunters? These folks have their ears to the ground and might know of a job that isn’t a good fit for them, but could be for you.

7. Tell Your Tennis Buddies…

or your golf buddies, or your book club friends or whoever else might be in your social circle. Even if they haven’t worked directly with you, they still know you pretty well. They can recommend you for those qualities you exhibit socially, such as a good character, a positive attitude and a sense of team play.

8. Ask for Help

If you’ve applied for a job, ask those in your network if they know anyone at your target company. A call made on your behalf to a company “insider” can elevate the visibility of your resume and credentials, which is especially important in today’s highly competitive environment. Those in your network are happy to help, especially if you can clearly give them a specific task to carry out.

9. Unearth Exciting Job Opportunities!

With persistence, creativity and a little luck, you, too, can tap the hidden job market and unearth exciting job opportunities from the oddest places.

10. Network, Network, Network  

Join us for the next SPEED NETWORKING on April 22nd. Go to to register