10 Things a Good Salesperson Should Never Say and Why.

Attention all salespeople stop saying that!Let’s face it, as salespeople, we know there are some things we should never say. However, It seems like no matter how often sales managers say it there are some phrases salespeople will simply NOT stop

using. I am going to break my usual professional tone and share some insight as to what I (and your clients) hear when you use these lame cliché lines.  

(Updated) I originally wrote this post in July of 2007 and am updating it 10 years later. The reason I did this is because this is still one of my highest traffic blog posts of all time. I didn’t change much, but some of my thoughts have changed and developed over time. Additionally, the post was just a bit dated and needed a bit of freshening up to remain relevant. I hope you enjoy this new updated version. 

The Ultimate List of What a Salesmen Should Not Say

1.     I was just in the area and thought I’d drop by. 

Are you serious! The professional I am trusting to help me with my important issue has nothing better in the world to do right now than just “drop by” to see me for no reason?  I’m busy, my calendar is packed and I do not have time for unscheduled visits that do not have a clear agenda. If you are not doing business with me already I am probably thinking who is this guy? Why is he here and how do I get rid of him as quickly and politely as possible. Unless we really are buddies, don’t just drop by unless you are only planning to leave something (like delicious doughnuts) with my secretary. Trust me; she already knows to tell you I am in a meeting and that I will call you back later. If I really am expecting something from you, she knows that too. Don’t try to fool her. She is smart, deals with several other people just like you every day, and she hates people trying to trick her!

Unless you are bringing me something delicious don't just ''drop by'' my office. #sales Click To Tweet

2.      Have you got a minute to talk?

No, I don’t! I am busy, and I have 100 other things I could be doing right now. As soon as I say no, where are you in this conversation? In my opinion, I think you are better off trying to engage me quickly than to give me the easy out and slit your own throat. If I am too busy to talk believe me I WILL let you know.

Never start a sales call with ''Do you have a minute to talk?'' Click To Tweet

3.      I’ll try.

I really hate this one. I only want to know what you can or will do not what you will TRY to do. If you are not confident enough to say you can do it, do not mention it to me yet. I would rather hear, give me X hours to do some research on that and I’ll get back to you with what I can do. I’ll respect your honesty and willingness to do research. I’ll try is a cop-out, not a commitment.

''Do or do not. There is no try.'' -Yoda Commit fully don't be wishy-washy. #sales Click To Tweet

4.      I’m really not sure.

The uncommitted salespersonSee the picture here? That is what you look like to me when you say I’m not sure, might, or maybe. Again, your default answer is “give me X hours or days to do some research and I’ll get back to you. This answer tells me you do not know the answer, but you are taking my concern or issue seriously and want to help. I am really not sure is not the answer of the confident professional.

5.      It’s not my fault.

Never say it's not my faultLike it or not you are most likely my only contact in your company outside of accounting or billing. That means everything that goes wrong is your fault to some degree. Even if it isn’t, it is still your issue to fix if you are planning to keep my business. The best way to deal with this is to sincerely apologize and take the serious and immediate corrective action as soon as possible. More importantly, let me know what it is you are doing to fix it, and how you will prevent future issues of this nature.

6.      What would I have to do to get you started today?

Ever seen the movie Tin Men? Unless you want to sound like those guys avoid this phrase at all costs. This phrase screams “I am a slimy salesman!” and any rapport you have built with this client is eroding quickly from this point forward. If you were trying to act as a consultant and a problem solver up to this point you just u-turned and waved a red flag in front of me. Instead, use something softer like this. You: Are there any other issues or concerns we have not covered sufficiently? Client: No everything looks good. You: Great! Then the next step is to…Not only do you get a good trial close where you can uncover any last-minute hidden concerns, but you end up at the same place in two steps without using a cliché closing statement. 

Do not use over used cliché closing statements. Your clients have heard them before and they erode… Click To Tweet

7.      We are the lowest price in town.

You very well may be. However, I doubt this really how you want to try to compete. It does not take much effort to come up with a better value proposition than that. Additionally, it only takes a little effort for me as a competing salesperson who sells value to explain to your customer why paying a bit more for my product is worth it. Moreover, if I DO find a lower price, you are a liar now, and any trust you built is gone. My dad once told me when picking a service you had three choices; good, fast, or cheap. Pick any two, but recognize you will always sacrifice the third. Your job is to help your clients to understand this. Be sure to take a look at this article on why selling on price is never a good idea.  

Stop selling on price. Build value in your pitch. If low-cost is your exclusive value statement find… Click To Tweet

8.      Always and Never

Always and never are just plain bad. There is almost always an exception to every rule and my experience is whenever I use an absolute like always or never that exception pops up and embarrasses me. My general rule is to avoid absolute statements wherever possible. Use these sparingly if ever.

9.      What you need is…

Unless you are my Dad or a trusted friend, I think this phrase should be avoided. I don’t even use it during a proposal. If I call you with a problem, and we have been doing business for years, and you are intimately familiar with my issues it may be ok, otherwise, present me with options and let me pick. Even better is to layer questions in a way that I pick without you even directly asking me. Remember, I am the only one who knows what it is I need. A final thought on this: As a salesman, my favourite deals are the ones where I have layered questions in a way that the client tells me what they want to buy and I just say: Great, let’s get that started. 

10.  Trust me.

Trust me? I promise you I do not!If you feel the need to tell me this, I am starting to wonder why and will usually assume I shouldn’t. Trust is like love. It’s built over time and the only way to gain it is to earn it.  If you want me to trust you, be professional, follow-up on your commitments, and be real with me. Let me get to know you. Use small talk, chat me up about common interests, but never say: “Trust me”

Trust is like love. It’s built over time and the only way to gain it is to earn it Click To Tweet

Closing thoughts

I hope this list is useful to you. Selling is tough, it’s a world full of daily highs and lows. Beyond that, your paycheck is tied directly to your ability to sell. I know everyone has a list of things they hate to hear in a selling situation. I would love to see you share some of those thoughts and your experiences with some of these statements by leaving comments below.  

Further Study

I am a HUGE Brian Tracy fan and I highly recommend reading his book The Psychology of Selling. In this book, he is going to give you a series of ideas, methods, strategies, and techniques that you can use immediately to make more sales, faster and easier than ever before.

Discussion

Tell me about a time a salesperson said one of the things on this list and how it made you feel. How could they have done better?

Alternatively, share with me a time you said something you know you shouldn’t have. How did it work out and how did you fix it?

Whats Awesome About Running and Racing?

Brad Running on the treadmillWhat I love about running and triathlon is the competition, not just against the other runner though, I compete with myself more than anyone. I like to work, I love pushing myself, and I get excited about the little improvements I see in my performance and how I feel. The other thing that excites me though is that I know in a big race some of the best in the world are out there with me, and I’m running with them, competing and doing my best. I KNOW I’m not going to win, but I enjoy knowing that some of the very best are out there sweating and trying just as hard as I am.

Marathon running, like golf, is a game for players, not winners. That is why Callaway sells golf clubs and Nike sells running shoes. But running is unique in that the world’s best racers are on the same course, at the same time, as amateurs, who have as much chance of winning as your average weekend warrior would scoring a touchdown in the NFL. – Hunter S. Thompson

Remember dead last still beat everyone who never started! Run for your own enjoyment. For me, it’s a competitive outlet and my opportunity to commune with God. I meditate and pray when I run. It’s how I clear my head and focus my heart. I also run to stay fit and healthy. With a wife and 5 kids, I have a commitment to stay healthy and strong so I can support them for many years to come.

Remember dead last still beat everyone who never started! Run for your own enjoyment #running Click To Tweet

If you are thinking about doing your first 5k you really should check out Run For God. It’s a 12 week 5K (3.1 miles) training program with a Christian focus where Mitchell Hollis will help you grow not only as a runner but spiritually as well. I hate to list a price in my posts because Amazon prices change daily, but I was shocked how inexpensive this book was used so please check it out.

For discussion:

Why do you run? 

Leadership. It’s all the Time!

Let's Discuss LeadershipYou are a leader in everything you do. Not just the moments you have positional authority over others. Every second of the day presents the opportunity to lead. This is true whether you are a CEO, receptionist, father, child, coach, or athlete. I’ve been thinking about leadership a lot because it is popping up in my personal life with my wife and kids, at church,  and at work. I’ve also recently transitioned into project management and for the first time in my career, I am managing processes almost exclusively and not directly supervising people. I still deal with a lot of people and I still use essentially the same skill set. However, nobody does anything for me now because of any true authority it’s 100% relationship oriented. I’ve always lead in a way that was dependent on developing relationships. However, it’s still a small adjustment and it started me thinking about leadership in general and how it’s a bit different.

Being a Leader With Your Family:

I was talking to my wife Shawna the other night and she reminded me of something I do consistently that comes straight out of one of my favourite leadership books of all time: The 360 Degree Leader. It was about doing something trivial that everyone knows I do not want or like to do, but I do anyway because I know it is important to set the right example.

“As a leader, the first person I need to lead is me. The first person that I should try to change is me”.  – John C. Maxwell

I’m going to be honest here and say I HATE green beans. I don’t just dislike them, I detest them. However, I am aware they are good for me and I have some picky eaters in my family so I eat them without complaint. Part of it is so they will eat something healthy and see me do it too. Another part of it is so nobody can say: “Dad doesn’t eat green beans so I’m not either!” I was smart enough to know that asking them to eat something they don’t like when I would not, was hypocritical at best and a poor display of leadership. Knowing this, I suck it up and eat them anyway. My wife was using this as an example to one of the kids about doing things you don’t want to do because it is the right thing. Whats funny is this kid knew I did that and acknowledged it. I’ve never mentioned that I do this and I don’t make a big deal out of it, but I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that they know I don’t like them, that I eat them anyway. Honestly I was a bit surprised, but it reinforced the idea that your kids watch and listen to everything you do.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

Another example that is a bit more serious is related to dealing with my Adult ADHD. I had gone 42 years and never been on any sort of ADHD medicine. I didn’t want it and honestly, didn’t think I needed it. Both my ex and current wife encouraged me to try something for years and I just refused for a number of reasons. If I’m being honest, I was aware I had some annoying issues,  but I had learned to live with them and I had what was in my mind a reasonable expectation everyone else would as well. 

I have 3 kids with ADHD all three of whom benefit tremendously from taking their medication. I’m not sure what sparked it but two of them were occasionally resistant to taking it and saying it didn’t help. Everybody knows this is simply not true and I had told them how important it was for months but gaining little ground. I had spent a lot of time thinking of ways to show them how important this was and was getting nowhere fast. Finally, one day I woke up and said: “self, you need to take the same stuff they do.” I had finally realized what a hypocrite I was being. Nobody had to tell me, I just reflected one day and realized I was a huge jerk if I insisted they do something I refused to do. That same day I told Shawna: “I think I need to start taking Intuniv too.” Honestly, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am so much happier now and I am able to relax in a way I have never been able to in my entire life. I wish I had done it years ago. Besides feeling better, by taking it myself I was able to show that I was 100% bought into the process of dealing with not only their ADHD but my own as well. My entire family is happier because of it. If you are a parent, you have probably already realized that your children are watching everything you do. Because of this one decision all three of my kids are now happily taking their medication and we have a calmer happier home because of it.

“If you are a parent, you have probably already realized that your children are always watching what you do. And just as children watch their parents and emulate their behavior, so do employees who are watching their bosses.” – John C. Maxwell

Being a Leader at Work

One of the most fun things I use to do as a sales manager was to jump on the phone Saturday morning during our phone-a-thons and set some appointments. It was fun for several reasons. First, I’m a great salesperson and it’s fun to do things you are good at especially if it’s out of your norm. Second, I’m competitive and I wanted to set more appointments than anyone because it’s fun to talk a little smack with my top performers and work hard. More importantly, my mid and low performers saw me demonstrating skills I had taught in training and it reinforced that training because I could prove I not only talked the talk but could walk the walk. Finally, I dialed because they LOVED it. Seriously, everyone likes to see their boss do their job and it’s good leadership to join in on Saturday morning when nobody wants to be there.

Opportunities to lead are everywhere if you are looking for them. in everything, you do someone is watching and learning. My goal every day is to make sure they learn something positive.

For Further Study:

If you are looking to improve yourself and be a better leader in every situation I recommend you buy John C Maxwell’s The 360 Degree leader. 

For Discussion:

Tell me about a hidden leadership opportunity you found in the comments!

John C Maxwell Leadership Quote

Like a Boss Photo. Feet on desk. leadershipLeadership isn’t just telling people what to do. In fact, it’s hardly every that. Real leadership comes from example and establishing a track record of truth, knowledge, and fairness. 

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

Remember wherever you are or whatever you are doing you are likely leading someone even if you do not realize it.

 

Long Time No See

It’s Been a LONG Time!

Long time no seeWell, it looks like I haven’t written anything here since April 10, 2013! That’s 4 years, 3 months and 11 days ago today. It’s crazy to think about because honestly blogging is something I really enjoy and I generally create time for if I can. A lot has happened in that time, so I guess I need to catch you up on some history. There is nothing worse than reading someone’s older posts and thinking: “Wait a second… what happened here?” This is a personal blog after all and with that comes a few small details of my life occasionally that are generally there to help you better understand my thought process.  So… without any unnecessary drama, I’ll briefly fill you in on the history of this blog and last 4 years.

My blogs – A brief History

Up late bloggingI started blogging on WordPress.com in mid-2006 as Brad Trnavsky Sales and Management Blogger. This blog started out as a way for me to share some ideas and just connect with others and learn. It didn’t stay that way for long though. I saw some fairly rapid success on that blog, met some great people there, and ultimately it lead to the Sales Management 2.0 blog (You can find some of the archives of both of these blogs in the Business tab of this site) and eventually a podcast and social network under the same name. The social network was a lot of work that despite being cool and fun didn’t provide many benefits financially or socially that I was not already getting in other places. After about 2 years I decided to focus on my core brand and shut it down to focus on blogging, podcasting, and doing some coaching and consulting. I met some great guys during this time many of whom I’m still friends with today. Honestly, a bit of the reason I relaunched this blog is to go back to those roots and start sharing some thoughts on leadership, management, sales, marketing, etc. and hopefully reconnect with some old friends.

Working out and runningMy blogging didn’t stop there though. In April of 2011, I got the bug to get competitive again and I started obstacle and endurance racing. I started another blog called Running for 365 Days because I wanted to learn and share information with others. For me, blogging and learning go hand in hand because I do a tremendous amount of research when I write. This blog was basically a workout journal but I also shared products I liked, recipes, and other information related to running, fitness, and Paleo eating. I really enjoyed writing this blog and made some great friends and connections. Unfortunately, my career got a little crazy and it was unsustainable for me to continue writing every day so I ended up pausing that project in January of 2013. Fortunately, the archives of this blog are still available under the Fitness tab on this blog as well.

In the Summer of 2012, I started Just My Life in Words as a fun place to share random things and blog about whatever I wanted to say without the confines of a more topical blog. I had a lot of fun with this, but by April of 2013 things were just too crazy in my career and personal life to continue blogging. With the intention of returning to blogging again at some point, I consolidated my sites and set up re-directs for my other blogs to pull all of my content to Just My Life in Words where it would be easier to keep up on autopilot.

So… What happened? Why did I stop?

Drama

Sad BradOk, enough about the history of the blog… What the heck have I been doing for 4 years? Well, it’s tricky to talk about without hurting anyone’s feelings or “oversharing” so I’m going to give the highlights. I said earlier there was some “drama” in my life that made blogging difficult and that is very true. It all started with my (now Ex) wife having what she calls an “emotional affair” (Is that actually a thing?) with two different people in two years. This really hurt me deeply on many levels. I’m sure I didn’t respond in the best possible way at the moment because I was upset, but I tried diligently to fix things with her. I spent a lot of time in prayer, focusing on self-improvement, and reading things I thought would help me to get over it. I’m not sure I ever truly got over it though. I was, however, able to forgive her and move forward eventually.

Career Changes

About this same time, I also started a new job at DeVry University so the combination of emotional drama and a new job positioned me in a tough spot to do anything extra. That meant that running, blogging, coaching, and consulting all fell by the wayside while I focused on my marriage and career. In June of 2013 I found out my new job (a little over a year) at DeVry was going away because they were shutting down three locations in my state and mine was one of them. I was offered an opportunity to work at the Seattle location or take a severance.

We moved to Texas

MovingI have always believed that God makes you take some small test of faith before he blesses you. I also believe that everything that happens to you happens for a reason even if it isn’t evident to you at the moment. With that in mind, I prayed a few days and decided that my best option was to take the severance and trust that the job I was supposed to have would somehow find me. The DAY AFTER I told DeVry I was going to take that severance I got a random call from a head hunter about a job in Texas. He asked me if that was someplace I was interested in going, and I told him it was. I also said that it was funny he called because my Dad was in Texas right now looking at houses and seriously considering moving there. He laughs and asked, “Where?” I told him somewhere in the Piney Woods. His answer shocked me when he laughed and said, “That’s funny because of this job is in the Piney Woods!” Knowing nothing else I scheduled a phone interview later that day and two weeks later I was in Texas house hunting with my (ex) wife. I worked nearly a year at Vista College before I decided I needed to spend more time with my family and made a radical change in careers to teaching and coaching (football, Basketball, and Track).

More career changes and drama

Football coachingI taught and coached (Football, Basketball, and Track) for three years, expecting things to get better (It did for my relationship with my girls). What I didn’t expect was, somehow, my sudden increased presence in the home had made things far worse. A tension I thought was gone had returned full force. Eventually, I started noticing a weird vibe with my ex and another guy. I just wasn’t comfortable with their relationship. I approached her about it, but she insisted there was nothing to worry about. Trying to trust her I “ignored it” to some extent but kept a careful eye on that situation. We had several other conversations, but she insisted nothing was going on. In the winter of 15/16 though, my neighbour told me there was a guy coming to my house every day after I left for work and that they were pretty sure what was going on based off careful observation and I've had it up to here! conversation. I confronted her and calmly said “look, I know what’s going on, I’ve been through a lot, and I don’t know if I can get over this. If I can’t this is what I want/need.” She vowed to try to fix things again, but there was not a substantial change in behaviour that I could see. I knew in a few weeks it was over and started mentally preparing for what was to come. We basically lived like roommates for MONTHS before she took a long vacation with the girls and finally moved out. We filed for divorce, and somewhere in the middle of all that I started powerlifting as a way to reduce my stress and ended up losing about 50 pounds that I firmly believe were gained primarily, because of stress and unhappiness. Through the divorce process, I was blessed by getting custody of my beautiful girls and we really had a blast all summer just playing and doing fun stuff together. It was a tough period in my life, but surprisingly I was truly happy for the first time in a very long time.

A fresh start

I really didn’t take all that long to start casually “dating”. I think this is at least partly because I had already been processing what was happening for about 6 months and by this point was just happy to be moving on with life. I really wasn’t looking for a serious girlfriend (I found one though). What I wanted was a break from day-to-day life and an opportunity to get out by myself and do something fun like catch a movie or go mini golfing with another adult. In mid-July, I met a girl I really liked and by August she was really the only person I wanted to see. We went on a joint family vacation (separate hotel rooms because we are good kids) in August and I (accidentally) got my first taste of what a BIG family could be like (really kind of fun). I had a bit of an unexpected mental gear shift on that trip and started asking myself if this was a girl I could spend forever with (not that I told her that yet).

Football season was pretty rough as a single dad, but Shawna was really good to me and took care of my girls every Thursday and Friday night all season long. This was a blessing because I’d only known her about 6 weeks and I wasn’t getting home from work until close to 10 pm for Thursday games and about 1 AM after Friday games. She really impressed me during this time with her faith in God, a strong sense of morals, honesty, loyalty, and willingness to help me. I was also fairly certain she is one of the most beautiful people I’d ever met.

I got Married (again)

Marry meBy mid-fall, we were seriously talking about marriage but keeping it on the down low because of a number of issues. We considered eloping for a while because we were in love and thought that would be fun, (we are both rule followers) but eventually decided against it (sadly we are rule followers) because we knew with 5 kids there was a lot for them to process and our parents would want to be involved as well.

In February of 17 though we got married and it was beautiful. Truly beautiful in a way I can’t accurately describe. Not because we spent a lot of money (we didn’t) or because of the venue (a barn). It was just beautiful to me. The pastor was fantastic and this ceremony affected me in a very different way than my first marriage. Shawna was beautiful and she surprised me by walking down the aisle singing to me. It was honestly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen (I love her voice) and I tear up a little now just thinking about it. We had a lot of well thought out symbolism that included our kids in what I think were some fairly unique ways and I surprised everyone with a small butterfly release at the end (Shawna and I both have a thing for butterflies and they are symbolic as well).

The girls and I moved in with Shawna and her 3 kids the next week. It was a bit rough at first, but we all slowly adjusted (honestly, we are still adjusting to some degree). After 3 or 4 months of living like that, we decided our house was way too small and we opted to look for a different place to live. In a rush, we placed offers on a few places and nearly bought two, but I’m glad we didn’t because God truly blessed us with the home we eventually found.

We bought a new house

Shawna saw an estate sale around the corner from where she works and called me at work to tell me I needed to go to this address as soon as I got off. I agreed to, and I saw what I thought was a weird house that was full of REALLY cool stuff. There were a lot of things that looked like they came right out of my great grandmother’s house, and we bought several items that day. Shawna told me the house had gone on the market THAT DAY and told me the price. I said, “We need to make an offer.” Fortunately, she was already on that page. We placed a full price offer that was accepted later that weekend. It was still a rough process though because now that I was married again I had decided that I needed to get a regular job and transitioned back to “normal” work at a full-service marketing and advertising agency. I did this because I would have a more family friendly schedule and get paid a bit more with a substantially better long-term upside. It was tough, but Shawna and I with a great deal of patience and a lot of prayer and help from God pushed the deal forward and we ended up with a beautiful home that we are now in the middle of renovating for less cost than the house we were living in. That’s right we got more space for less money. How often does that happen? I feel truly blessed by our home.

Life is good

Things are settling down a little now. We have a house that fits, I have a fantastic job, kids all seem to be doing great, and Shawna and I are on a healthy eating path. Life is good and with that comes the free time I need to be a bit of a writer again… so here I am. I’ll be writing about some of the things I did before but as I’ve grown in my faith I’ve decided I need to let that come out here a bit more than I have, so you will see a bit more of my personal life and my thoughts on faith, love, and parenting, as well as the business, leadership, and fitness content I have done in the past. I hope this helps and that you now have a good sense of what’s been going on and why

See YA later!

I write some of what I write. Hopefully, I didn’t offend anyone too deeply here or share something that hurts anyone in my personal life, but sometimes you just have to put things out there. I make no excuses or apologies for what’s happened none of it can be undone. I am exactly where God wants me now doing exactly what I feel lead to do, and when I do that, good things happen. I hope you enjoy my little corner of the internet.

 

Knowledge will set you free… Or will it?

What is the Function of a School?

There is a lot of talk about education right now and a lot of blame cast on the schools for not doing their job but I think it’s important to consider what the job of a school is. Most people would quickly agree that the job of the school is to impart knowledge. I read a very interesting article that talked about the difference between knowledge, wisdom, and insight and I had a bit of an a-ha! moment… if the following is true:

Knowledge VS Wisdom VS Insight

Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and data that you have learned about or experienced. It’s being aware of something, and  having information. Knowledge is really about facts and ideas that we acquire through study, research, investigation, observation, or experience.

Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge which aspects of that knowledge are true, right, lasting, and applicable to your life. It’s the ability to apply that knowledge to the greater scheme of life. It’s also deeper; knowing the meaning or reason; about knowing why something is, and what it means to your life.

Insight is the deepest level of knowing and the most meaningful to your life. Insight is a deeper and clearer perception of life, of knowledge, of wisdom. It’s grasping the underlying nature of knowledge, and the essence of wisdom. Insight is a truer understanding of your life and the bigger picture of how things intertwine.

via What Are the Differences Between Knowledge, Wisdom, and Insight? – Lifehack.

The Function of the School in Education

Then the job of the school is to present the student with facts and information and help them develop some research and investigation skills. That’s really all they are on the hook for. It’s our job as parents to teach values, impart wisdom, and hopefully, help them develop insight. The gamer in me is going to come out here for a second… In Dungeons and Dragons Intelligence (knowledge) and Wisdom are the two primary character statistics related to intellect.  In application: a knowledgeable character knows a situation is dangerous and what type of danger is present. A wise character has a solid strategy based on experience to deal with that situation, and an insightful one knows how to either avoid it all together or benefit from the danger.

The function of the school is to present the student with facts and information #education Click To Tweet

The Role of Parents in Education

I started thinking about parents I know and students I see at the school where I work and it got me thinking about the fact that many parents rely on the school to teach not only knowledge but to also values and wisdom. The trouble with that is that simply isn’t reasonable or wise.

It is not the school's purpose to teach your child a new set of values. #education #parenting Click To Tweet

Knowledge is simply not enough to ensure success in life. You must have the wisdom to apply that knowledge for it to do any good. That wisdom can only come from experience and our job as parents is to provide that. Moreover, I do not think it is smart or wise to rely on strangers to impart a value system on my children. I want them to have their own strong, well-developed value system to the point that they can stick up for their own beliefs.  I do a lot with my kids. We play games, work out, talk, read, and travel together. I also try to expose them to the arts through film, theatre, and music… and you can see when talking to my kids they are very bright. They figure stuff out quickly… That’s what it takes to be successful. and they do this because they have actively involved parents.

Knowledge is simply not enough to ensure success in life. #education #parenting Click To Tweet

What I am Doing

I do a lot with my kids. We play games, work out, talk, read, and travel together. I also try to expose them to the arts through film, theatre, music and museums.  Because of this, you can see when talking to my kids they are very bright and capable. They figure things out quickly on their own and are effective problem solvers even in unfamiliar situations. That is what it takes to be successful. and they can do this because they have actively involved parents.

What My Parents Did

When I was a kid my dad took me hunting and fishing. I spent time in the mountains, we sailed, played sports, and built and repaired things. He spent a lot of time talking and teaching with me. This was not him talking AT me but really talking TO me, and I think that is a big part of what made me successful despite their lack of formal education. My parents owned my success and failure in life and viewed the school system as a tool… I’m not sure as a society we do that anymore.

I have some BIG plans for my kids: backpacking trips, hunting, fishing, vacations, sports, church, volunteering, etc… varied experiences where they learn about themselves and where I can help them apply the knowledge they have gained to be not only wise, but god willing insightful.

For Further Study

There are two books I recommend parents take a look at if you are interested in raising smart wise, godly children. The first is Shepherding a Child’s Heart and the other is Instructing a Childs Heart. Both of these books are going to challenge you as a parent to re-examine your thinking and make changes to how you do things. However, the long-term benefit of purposeful parenting is well worth the effort.

For Discussion

Without overtly slamming the public school system, I’m curious to hear what other people think about this idea. How are you helping to prepare their kids for life? I have not had time to fully develop my thought on this and am interested in the conversation so please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Social Media Analysis tools – Are they useful?

What is the Problem with Social Media(Updated August 2017) I originally wrote this article in April of 2009 and when I reviewed it today I decided everything in it was outdated and otherwise useless information. It was also full of broken links so I thought today was the day I would resurrect this post and do a complete rewrite.

The Problem With Social Media

According to The CMO Survey, 44.1% of executives say they haven’t been able to show the impact of their social media spending. Moreover, only 4.6% said they felt that social media contributed significantly to company performance. That leaves us in an awkward spot right? Nobody want’s to feel like they are being left out of the “conversation”. However, we are also not sure if this conversation is worth being in at all because for many products it’s hard to directly tie your social media efforts directly to a sale.

Social Media is Still New

In relative terms compared to the web, email, direct mail, etc, social media is still very new. The reality is we are still learning how to track and measure it. Worse yet, much of what we do with social media marketing is a branding effort at best. How can we say for sure that engineers are specifying our product in their designs because they saw our tweet or read our blog post? If they are then sales are clearly being made because of it but how do you prove it?

Playing around with P2PU and Open Badges.

P2PU Logo from P2PU.org

Gamification and Badgifacation

Pretty much everyone who knows me knows I am very interested in games and how they can be used to influence behaviour. So much so in fact, that a BIG part of my Doctorate in Education work has focused around gamification. A very closely related field is badgification. I originally became interested in it when I noticed how I would continue to play an Xbox game I did not particularly enjoy JUST to continue gathering achievement points. I’m fascinated by the power badges and points hold to keep you engaged in a process that is marginally entertaining just to gather more badges. So, one of the things that has been on my mind for a while is this. I need to work on increasing my coding skills and what better way to do that than to experiment with badgification at the same time! By blogging, I have learned some HTML and CSS and I have studied JavaScript over at Code Academy. However, I stumbled onto P2PU and just HAD to play with their badge system. It looks so cool and it is fully integrated with the Mozilla Open Badge Program. As soon as I figure out how to share my Open Badge Backpack I’ll post a link here.

Anyways, I am now enrolled in the Webmaking 101 Challenge at P2PU. Part of this challenge will have me writing posts over here about things related to webcraft, coding, etc.  This work will then be peer review and eventually, I’ll be rewarded with some cool badges to show off my newly acquired skills. As I progress I’ll also share some of my thoughts about the program, its strengths and weaknesses, and how I feel it is preparing me to eventually create some of my own interactive media.

For Further Study

If you are curious about gamification and how it can be used at home, school, or the workplace I recommend you take a look at Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal. Jane is passionate about gaming and human behaviour and has written what is easily my favourite book on the topic. It’s entertaining, interesting and informative. Click here to get a copy.

For Discussion

Have you had any experience with P2PU, Code Academy, or any similar sites? What was your experience?

Do You REALLY Need Milk?

Is Milk good for you?Is Milk actually good for you? We are told it is. However, it’s worth considering the data available and considering that the milk of years ago is not the same as what we drink now.

My friend Chris over at Stitches n’ Dishes shared a great info graphic about milk and I thought I should share it with all of you as well. Giving up milk is not easy, but I did that about 6 months ago and it has changed my life. Since I started eating paleo

I have lost about 30 pounds and I eat a richer fuller diet than I ever thought possible. I eat more fresh fruit and veggies than before. Moreover, I eat a lot of fabulous things like crab legs, shrimp, steak, etc… My initial concern was that my kids need milk, but the logic in The Paleo Solution gave me the confidence I needed to give it a go. My other concern was the cost. However,  I quickly discovered my grocery bill dropped about 10-15% when I stopped buying processed foods and focused my shopping on quality meat and produce.

Take a look at the infographic and let me know what you think. Paleo eating may not be for everyone, but it does accommodate vegetarian and vegan lifestyles and it would be hard to argue against fresh food over processed. If you are looking for a comprehensive system to get started or improve your Paleo eating you might also benefit from these Paleo Hacks.

Is Milk Dangerous

So I’m curious where do you stand on the issue of milk? DO you consider it an essential part of your diet, a luxury, or have you given it up? If you gave it up how do you feel?

My 2013 Fitness Plan 14 Day Update!

A 5 pound and one pound block of fatWell here we are officially 14 days into the new year, so I thought it was time I give everyone an update on where I am and where I am going with my goals so far. The GREAT news is I have lost 11 pounds already in 2013! It’s about 1/5 of what I’m looking for for the year, but I am VERY happy with myself so far. I have been very disciplined about my eating and done a very good job sticking to my diet and the results are absolutely showing. My clothes fit better and some are even a little baggy now and I just feel 100% better. I have two of those five pound blocks and one of the one pounders off my body for good and I am VERY excited! I’m a dad, and getting this weight off is VERY important to me. I need to be here to take care of my girls and everything else I do in the world is meaningless if I’m not here for them. I think when you start looking at it that way it gets a lot easier to stick to your game plan.

I have started my push-up, sit-up, and squat challenge  but have been taking it easy while on the restricted diet. I’ll be relaxing the diet for a few weeks in a couple days though and plan to increase that activity as soon as I do. It’s been cold, so I haven’t been getting out to run yet, but I am taking the stairs at work and trying to generally increase my activity. My birthday is coming up, so I am moving into a maintenance phase on the diet (I’m realistic and still want to have fun!) and upping the physical output till February 1st, then back onto the strict diet for February with the goal of dropping another 20 pounds or so before I get focused on my running.

Anyways… I know people start off very motivated in the beginning of the year, but I know from experience that if you use this time to build momentum you can carry through with your goals for the entire year. Blogging this here keeps me involved and focused on whats important.

Over the next few weeks I’ll start building out my list of races for the year starting with a spring 5K or two leading into my summer and fall mud runs, with a possible BIG event later in the year. Who knows what that will be? Could be anything from a 10K to a 50 mile trail race… only time will tell!

How are you doing on YOUR goals so far?

The personal blog of Brad Trnavsky