Three ways to thank teachers (or anyone) on National Teacher Day

Thank you note written by a child, thank teachers

Keep it simple.

Tomorrow is National Teacher Day – time to thank teachers! My oldest is in second grade and he wanted to write a real thank you note.

“But what should I say? I can’t just write thanks,” he panicked.

So I told him a thank you note is easy to write if you keep three things in mind: keep it simple, specific and special. My eight year old wrote a great thank you note following those guidelines, and you can, too.

Three keys

Simple: He didn’t use fancy words or phrases. He just used the word thanks.

Specific: He was specific about what he was thanking her for: being his teacher, teaching him things he didn’t know before second grade.

Special: What made this teacher special? Her sense of humor. He loved her funny jokes. Mentioning this special trait of hers is a great finish.

As you can see, there are small mistakes in his note and the lines aren’t perfectly straight. But no one (not even a teacher) is going to worry about those things when they are focused on the huge sentiment this letter conveys.

It’s important to me that my three children take time to thank teachers. I’ve learned that saying thank you is an important life skill, whether it’s between family and friends, a business and customers, or a non-profit and volunteers. I created Thanks! 100 Wonderful Ways to Appreciate Volunteersa guide that makes it easy to say thank you to anyone.

 

Farm to Table Pittsburgh 2013

I’ll be at the Farm to Table Conference this weekend, hosting a table and a workshop on Saturday called “Kid’s Tasting Party.” Our family really enjoyed Farm to Table last year and we love supporting our local farms. If you’re in Pittsburgh, join us!

2013-Farm-to-Table-Conference-Handout

Zagat Rates Pittsburgh Food?

Zagat will be rating Pittsburgh restaurants in 2013. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, “Currently, the only reviews for the Pittsburgh-area on Zagat.com are for chain restaurants that were taken from their recent National Chain Restaurant Survey.”

Why is Zagat so popular? I think it’s because people like to hear what others think is good, go try it themselves, and get in a big huff when they don’t agree.

People have a lot of opinions. And people have a lot of opinions about food.

A close friend of mine recently shared how he was having lunch at a popular new spot and the chef asked his group how they enjoyed a new menu item. Even though these people had no experience owning or running a restaurant, everyone felt they were qualified to give an opinion.

Restaurants are businesses that serve people and thrive on loyal customers. Want to build a loyal customer base that loves your services? Listen to the opinions of your customers, your audience. Show them you respect their input. You don’t have to promise to deliver everything they ask you for, but you have to at least give some time to listen.

That’s why I created My Food Notebook for my most important “business” – my family. I don’t run a restaurant, I’m not even that great in the kitchen, but I know how to build strong relationships! My Food Notebook lets my kids to give feedback on the food we prepare and serve. It helps me learn what they like so I can offer a variety of foods that are similar to their favorites. They get the comfort of familiarity and I help them learn how to tackle new things in life.

I’m launching My Food Notebook at Marty’s Market on December 8, 2012 at 12 Noon. All are welcome! We’ll be encouraging kids and adults to try some new foods and give their opinions. We’ll have some prizes, too!

Try it in your own life. No one like to have their opinions ignored. What might be easier in your life if you simply gave people a chance to express themselves?

 

Recipe for Success: Perfect Job

What simple steps can help you succeed in securing the perfect job?

Don’t wait – dive in!

Earlier this summer, Shannon Metzler, a mom of two school age children, knew she was ready to get back in the workforce. Her goal was to become a swim instructor. Over the course of a few months, she effectively networked and identified local opportunities and not only secured a position, but actually secured 2 positions and even had to turn down a third offer! She also provides private swim instruction. 
Did you set a time limit for achieving your goals?

I did not set a time limit. I have been thinking about swim coaching for a number of years. But there was a bit of a time constraint in that there was a position available and I needed to get my resume in to the hiring company before the job went to someone else.

Did you ask for help to achieve your goals?
YES!!  I doubted my ability to be an effective coach. I sought help and found someone who rallied for me. This friend was Incredibly supportive and optimistic about what I could do.
What was the most important action you took?
Updating my résumé. The positions are out there, and I generally interview well if I can get in the door.

Does Your Business Need a Social Media Coach?

I work out a lot – for fun, for stress relief, and because it’s in my nature to set and strive to achieve goals. To help

Work Hard for the Results You Want

me reach these fitness goals, I hired a coach. Having a coach gives me accountability and someone to help me overcome obstacles and celebrate my successes.

For my clients, I’m their social media coach. I don’t always write all their content – many times I’m just laying out their editorial calendar (training schedule) and teaching them how and when to use new platforms (workouts).

But my own training hit a bump in the road when my coach accepted a new job in another state. Now I am meeting her replacement and I have to bring her up to speed on my goals, my philosophy, my strengths, weaknesses, what I’m afraid to try and what motivates me. The good part is – I know what I want her to know.

I try to help my customers with the same thing. One thing I offer my customers is the creation of a social media policy or guidelines. I know there will come a time when I need to move on or they decide to take over these tasks in-house. By working with my customers to build a social media policy, my goal is to make the transition and education of their new social media manager as simple as possible. I can’t make it seamless, but I can give them a sense of history of what customers have hated and what they’ve loved, what we’ve tried (and where we’ve failed) and the overall goals all of this creative work!

Are you the Good Cop or Bad Cop for your Customers?

Serve & Protect!

Very few people like being the Bad Cop on the team (except for a certain physician that I know). But when you’re trying to get information, or change behavior, out of your suspect – I mean customers! – sometimes you need to be the Bad Cop.

A client came to me recently, stressed, because too many customers were canceling scheduled appointments at the last minute, and she was not able to fill the slots with other jobs. Her employees were losing money, and she did not want to lose her employees. My client felt that most people were blowing off their appointments with less than honest excuses.

We brainstormed a few approaches, including a big penalty fee for canceling in under 48 hours, very Bad Cop.This technique uses aggression and threats to get the desired result.

But the approach we settled on for her customer letter was definitely Good Cop.

We talked about her employees, highlighted the professional quality of their work and reminded the customers that real people were impacted by last minute cancellations. We acknowledged that sometimes schedules change but we asked for cooperation and compliance.

What strategies do you find best work for your customers?

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