The Reality of Death

Grim Reaper Standing in the Meadow

Last weekend, I spent most of my Saturday in a FL hospice with a man that I had only met one time before. He died early the next morning. He died with loved ones comforting him as he struggled to stay alive to the very end.

Death awaits us all. How you face death depends on how you face life. The more you allow yourself to be distracted by the illusions of the world, the harder your death will be. Death strips away the illusions that deceive us from knowing the truth about this world and ourselves in this world.

One of the secrets of life is realizing the truth during our life’s journey. To find the truth, you must have the character in place to handle and discern the realities of what’s wrong and what’s right. More importantly, having the faith and courage to do the right thing every time.

The illusions of the secular world help justify the wrongs, and in many cases redefine the wrongs into warped realities of right. Ex: Burning the American flag. It’s your legal right, but it still doesn’t make it right.

Bald Eagle and Flag

What do you see when you look in the mirror? When death comes calling, you will see your reflection. However, you won’t see the facade of your body, but rather the reflection of your character. Will you be satisfied or will you be struggling? I’ve witnessed many deaths, enough to say you don’t want to be struggling.

Death sucks, but how we die is determined by how we developed our personal relationship with God. Blaming God for the wrongs of this world is a self-imposed illusion. Don’t fall for it. God loves me, you and humankind. He created us in His image and it’s that image that we must strive to reflect in the mirror of life and the mirror of death.

Patrick Slevin is The Reality is Perception Expert™. Mr. Slevin is a special projects consultant working with corporate clients and special interests in altering and affirming the perceptions of stakeholders who impact their bottom line realities. For more information go to www.PatrickSlevin.com.

JAVA RELATIONS: Perk Up Your Law of Attraction

THE ART OF THE COFFEE MEETING REQUIRES A SPECIAL SET OF BRUSHES WHEN IT COMES TO CREATING NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES. HOW YOU APPROACH THE MEETING AND WHAT YOU EXPECT TO TAKE AWAY FROM IT, WILL DETERMINE THE GRAVITY OF YOUR OWN LAW OF ATTRACTION. I PERK UP MY COFFEE MEETINGS WITH THE BEST PRACTICES I CALL J.A.V.A. (JOIN, ATTRACTION, VENUE AND AUTHENTIC). THEY ARE MY BRUSHES FOR SUCCESSFULLY EXPANDING MY NETWORK OF CONTACTS, FRIENDS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR A REWARDING JOURNEY IN LIFE.

Coffee 3

COFFEE IN HAND

Last week, I got an early morning call on my cell from an out-of-state number I didn’t recognize. It was a corporate executive asking me, point blank, if I was available to help with a multi-million dollar project that was in trouble.

I recalled that we had met over coffee a few years ago when I traveled to his city to meet with a client. I asked him with such a project, he surely had an agency of record and an A-team of consultants, so why was he interested in retaining my services from Tallahassee? Note: Half of my clients and their projects are outside of Florida, but I wanted to know what cued this call.

He explained that he had a special dinner the night before with key project leaders and partners. My name was unexpectedly brought up by an ally who encouraged this executive to engage my special grassroots public relations services.

 

Up to that point, neither one knew the other had known me, so it was an affirmation. The ally’s unexpected recommendation, coupled with our coffee meeting, created enough efficacy for the executive to reach out beyond his cadre of consultants.

After the call ended, I got a fresh cup of coffee and reviewed my notes. As I sipped on some java, it occurred to me that I wouldn’t be engaging this project, if it wasn’t for coffee meetings!!

As I thought more about it, many of my business referrals and projects originated from ice-breaker coffee meetings and calls. The person who recommended me to the executive, I had met over coffee five months earlier.

This got me thinking about the art of the coffee meeting and I jotted down some best practices. I then had some fun and encapsulated them in my J.A.V.A. (Join, Attraction, Venue, Authentic) approach for successful coffee relations and its impact on the Law of Attraction.

GET SOME J.A.V.A.

JOIN: An invitation for a coffee meeting has a universal message to friends and strangers alike: It’s an informal, low expectation conversation that can be achieved in less than 30 minutes. In the context of meeting a new business contact, the invitation can be accomplished with an initial email.

In the email subject line, I put – Coffee Meeting Request.

My coffee meetings have been done around the nation. Whenever I have a business trip to say NYC or DC, I try to block some time to have coffee with people I haven’t seen in a while or new contacts I would like to meet.

In the email, I often lead with mentioning a mutual friend, which is always ideal. If we don’t have a shared network, I simply say, I’m visiting in your neck of the woods and would like to buy you cup of coffee and spend 20 minutes breaking bread…no strings attached.

No strings attached is very important. See Authentic.

The purpose of the coffee meeting is not to sell or pitch the person you’re inviting. Moreover, expecting an offer of business over a simple cup of coffee is self-serving and undermines the purpose of your coffee relations.

The goal of your inviting him/her is to put faces with names and establish potential relationships moving forward. In this digital age, a firm handshake and eye contact still stands out along with a rewarding conversation.

This is where Law of Attraction comes in.

Law of Attraction

ATTRACTION: The Law of Attraction is the latest definition of an age old and deeper philosophy that attempts to explain how we as a society are interconnected. Synchronicity, serendipity and luck play into this equation as well. The great majority of successful executives are positive thinkers; projecting positive thoughts and affirmations into the universe to create whatever edge they are seeking for themselves.

It’s very possible that your timely email invite may be playing a hidden role in this law of attraction.

Still, you need to proactively answer the question “why” this person should take 20 minutes out of her busy schedule to meet with you.

In my case, I simply state, “In this new economy it’s not who you know, but who knows you…you never know how we may be able to help each other in the future…it can only happen if we shake hands and share a coffee for 15-20 minutes.”

I follow that by briefly, very briefly, saying what I do and if they want more info they can click on a hyperlink to my LINKED IN profile.

Nearly nine out of 10 coffee meeting invites are favorably received and it becomes a matter of day and time, as well as the location.

VENUE: Coffee meetings are often in the windows of 930am to 11am and 2pm to 3pm. When, is often determined by, where. Typically, coffee meetings are located at a nearby coffee joint that’s easily assessable and convenient. Sometimes, the coffee meeting is in the office of your invitee or the conference room. Other times, the coffee meeting (lunches too), are “off the reservation”. Meaning, far enough away from the office where there won’t be any interruptions and/or the discussion can be unguarded and candid.

If the coffee meeting is outside the office, then be sure to arrive at least five to 10 minutes before to secure the best table for your conversation. Don’t be surprised if your guest is a few minutes late.

Authentic

AUTHENTIC: Most business development coffee meetings go nowhere and fail, which explains why some professionals don’t do them. If your motivation is to simply try to pitch or close a sale, then you’re wasting your time as well as the person you’ve invited.

I learned a long time ago, when I was a 27 year old mayor of a Tampa Bay city, that everyone has a unique story filled with life’s lessons. Moreover, I’ve also learned that if I meet someone for more than just a few minutes, that meeting has some relevance on our mutual journeys.

Therefore, I genuinely want to learn more about the person I’m meeting with regardless of who initiated the coffee meeting – me or them. You can find common areas of interest in 20 minutes and develop a rapport that plants the seeds for future follow ups and meetings. On many occasions, the 20 minute coffee meeting would go to 45 to 60 minutes.

Of course, there’s an exchange of our professional roles and goals, but only after a broader context of initial trust and respect have been established. If it doesn’t happen in 10 minutes or less, then both parties will be thankful they agreed to a short coffee meeting.

If you come to the meeting with a sincere desire to forge relations, then your coffee meeting should be mutually productive.

For example, I’m always curious to know why my guest chose his career path and what he hopes to accomplish. How does he view public relations in furthering his company’s goals and whether he sees his consultants as vendors or partners? I’m always asked about my experience as a Generation X mayor and how that experience underwrites my stakeholder engagement skills to this day.

Occasionally, I will get a referral or at least an offer to be introduced to another person who may be interested in my consulting services.

CONCLUSION:

It’s exciting to meet new people who are driven, successful and understand the degrees of separation gets smaller with the more contacts you make.

When I met with a president of a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, over coffee, I asked him what was his primary duty? He said, “I’m a salesman, promoting our company, our products and our employees…I can only accomplish that by meeting with people and exchanging information and building relationships.”

I learned from that coffee meeting that despite our titles, we are all selling ourselves to some degree. And we cannot do it alone or with a static network of contacts.

Coffee meetings have proven to be a rewarding forum for building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships. If you approach your future coffee meetings with my J.A.V.A. best practices as a guide, then you will not only expand your network of contacts, but more importantly, enrich your life with dynamic people who share your drive to find satisfaction in life.

Don’t be surprised to receive a new business call out of the blue. Odds are you will be holding a cup coffee when it happens.

May J.A.V.A always perk up your new business coffee meetings.

Patrick Slevin is a writer, blogger, OCR racer and a PR pro who heads SL7 Communications, an integrated public relations consulting firm. Over the last two-decades, Patrick has successfully engaged stakeholders as a Florida mayor, Fortune 500 corporate manager, national association regional director and international agency executive. His unique and diversified experience in political, corporate, government and agency communications offers clients a greater degree of efficacy in strategic counsel and campaign performance.  He has developed and executed strategies, corporate campaigns and grassroots operations advancing the bottom line interests of clients in markets across the United States.

Patrick can be reached for a confidential inquiry at 850.597.0423 or email pslevin68@gmail.com.

SL7-INTERVIEW’S TALLAHASSEE POWER BROKER CHIP CASE

Case

There are only a handful of influential lobbyists in Tallahassee who have unimpeded access to leadership in the Florida Legislature. SL7 Interviews Chip Case, political consultant, lobbyist and owner of Jefferson Monroe Consulting and Spartan Strategies. Chip is one of a handful of public affairs operatives who can leverage the power of politics with the power of legislation.

#1-SLEVIN: CHIP HOW DID YOU GET INTO POLITICS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS?

CASE: My first paid position was the Campaign Manager in 1995 for Mike Fasano — putting up signs, making phone calls, and walking door-to-door. After Mike won his first re-elect, he was appointed to the position of Whip for the Republican Caucus and given a “third staffer” position, which was my role. It was an exciting time to be involved in Florida politics. It was 1996, and the Republicans had control of the Florida House for the first time in 122 years. With an office in the Majority Office, I got to be involved with floor strategy and debate prep and see firsthand how the process worked–very cool for a 25 year-old kid who loved politics. It was during that time that I developed a strong connection to the Florida House as an institution, and I have focused most of my professional career on that institution and advising members who serve in leadership.

#2-SLEVIN: THE TERM “PERMANENT CAMPAIGN” CAME INTO VOGUE AFTER BILL CLINTON WAS SWORN IN AS OUR PRESIDENT IN 1993. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON CANDIDATES WHO GET ELECTED AND LEGISLATE AS IF THEY ARE STILL RUNNING A CAMPAIGN? IS THAT STILL HAPPENING? GOOD OR BAD IDEA?

CASE: I think that abandoning your principles and the platform that you ran on because of focus group/poll testing results is clearly a negative thing; however, using modern campaign techniques such as polls and focus groups to identify the best ways to message your principles and to measure your effectiveness, are necessary and should be utilized. As the well-known pollster Frank Luntz has often said: “Words matter.”

#3-SLEVIN: WHEN A CANDIDATE FOR THE HOUSE OR SENATE CALLS YOU TO CONSULT ON THEIR CAMPAIGN, WHAT IS IT THAT YOU LOOK FOR IN THEM? WHAT ARE THE KEY FACTORS THAT MAKE YOU WANT TO HELP THEM GET ELECTED?

CASE: In my opinion, it’s a very straightforward assessment. They need to have good reasons for running, such as service to others or a desire to make things better. They need to have a proven track record in their community. They need to have a strong work ethic, and they need to have the ability to raise money. I don’t like candidates that run because they want to “become somebody”—that’s the wrong reason to run. I prefer a client that has already been successful outside the process and then decides to run. It’s an honor working for people like that.

#4-SLEVIN: THE GUBERNATORIAL RACE BETWEEN GOV. RICK SCOTT AND FORMER GOP GOV. CHARLIE CRIST HAS TALLAHASSEE TIED UP IN KNOTS. THERE ARE MORE THAN JUST A FEW LOBBYING SHOPS TRYING TO HEDGE WHICH WAY THIS RACE WILL GO. WHAT’S YOUR ANALYSIS OF THE RACE AND WHO ARE YOU SUPPORTING FOR GOVERNOR?

CASE: While current polls show the race as “too close to call”, and most pundits will say that this will be an incredibly close race, I believe that Governor Scott will likely pull ahead in the last thirty days of the campaign and win with a clear margin of victory. I say that for a few reasons: Scott has a significant war chest and a strong record to run on–economic recovery and more jobs for Floridians. He also currently has a team in place that understands data and voter turnout. I know some of the people on Charlie Crist’s team, and they’re excellent strategists, but Crist seems more undisciplined as a candidate this time and still must convince dyed-in-the-wool Democrats that he’s their guy. That’s a significant task, given his pivots on most major policy issues.

#5-SLEVIN: WHAT ARE THE KEY RACES IN THE STATE THAT YOU FIND INTERESTING OR WORTH MENTIONING?

CASE: Quite a few seats are more competitive this cycle because of redistricting, so I’m closely watching all of the targeted R and D seats. I am consulting on one major targeted seat in the central Florida Candidate (HD 47). We currently have about 12 seats (in my opinion) that are going to be highly competitive for both Republicans and Democrats. I believe this cycle will be more favorable to the Republican Party. Another interesting issue is not what’s happening in these elections, but what is happening within the major parties and the growth of the NPA voter. I’ll save that for another day. This issue could be a separate article all together.

#6-SLEVIN: YOU HAVE A REPUTATION FOR GETTING LEGISLATORS PLACED IN KEY LEADERSHIP POSTS. HOW MUCH OF IT IS INSIDE BASEBALL VERSUS HOW THE INSTITUTION WORKS?

CASE: It’s a combination of things, really. It starts with a person who has the skill set and desire to be in leadership. And then it is knowing how the institution works, how the caucus functions, and how to show value to the members of the institution.

In late 1998, I started working with incoming leaders. First, I worked with Speaker-Designate Tom Feeney, who taught me much about local party politics and how to communicate effectively. I was then given the opportunity to work with Allan Bense and help him with his four-year race to become Speaker of the House. Most of what I learned about leadership, management, team-building, and investing in people came from my interaction and experiences with Speaker Bense in that hard fought race. I continue to draw from those experiences, as I consult with legislators in leadership races currently.

#7-SLEVIN: LOBBYISTS OFTEN GET A BAD RAP AS AN INDUSTRY. GOVERNOR SCOTT RAN AS AN OUTSIDER, BUT QUICKLY REALIZED THE VALUE LOBBYISTS BRING TO THE PUBLIC POLICY MAKING PROCESS. CAN YOU GIVE US YOUR TAKE ON HOW LOBBYING IS PART OF THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS?

CASE: The term “lobbyist” is often seen as a pejorative term. There’s a small minority who may deserve the negative association. But from my experience, lobbyists are hard-working professionals who provide valuable information on policy and regulatory matters for legislators and professional staff, and lobbyists provide access to the process for their clients. That client could be a large corporation or a small non-profit. Helping individuals and businesses successfully navigate in order to change the law is precisely what lobbyists do. That’s an integral part of the democratic process.

Thank you Chip for sharing your time with my readers.

You can follow Chip on Twitter @clarencehenry.