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The Power of ‘3’ When You Recruit StudentsTuesday, June 27th, 2017

By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

During my travels this month, I’ve heard from a number of admissions counselors who are trying to figure out how to best connect with today’s teenage prospect. Everyone wants a competitive edge as they begin to build relationships with this next class of students.

If you want to convince more prospects that your school is that “right fit,” then your recruiting communications better be impactful and generate a high level of engagement from prospects and parents.

Unfortunately, a large majority of those same prospects continue to tell us that most of the emails, letters, postcards and other marketing pieces they receive from colleges still look and sound the same. It’s the primary reason why a lot of admissions departments are becoming clients of ours. They want to make sure their recruiting emails and letters are truly personalized and don’t just inform, but inform and engage.

Today I’m going to offer you a piece of advice. This simple technique will increase the chances of making your points stick with your prospects.

It’s all about the power of ‘3’. It works in writing, and as our clients have discovered, it also work in phone conversations.  It’s a principle that suggests that things that come in threes are funnier, more satisfying, and more effective than other numbers of things. There’s also evidence that our brains are more likely to remember information when it comes in threes.

Think about it for a minute. Most people have three names. And we say things like, “It’s as easy as one, two, three.”

Communicating with your prospects is no different. They want ideas about your school grouped in threes because they’re wired just like you and I are. So, if you’re interested in getting a better response than you’re used to from prospective students (and parents), consider employing this concept.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say you’re trying to talk or write to your prospects about your school’s highly rated Accounting major or School of Business. You might normally talk about the major’s/school’s reputation once and then expect your prospect to connect the dots themselves.  Instead, try this line of reasoning that groups your argument in a group of three:

“Our Business School was rated one of the strongest in the nation by Forbes this year. The return on investment for our graduates from programs like Accounting and Finance, which you mentioned you’re interested in, continues to be on the rise. In fact, Forbes also ranked us in the top 10 in both total 5-year MBA gain and years to payback.

Let me tell you about one of our recent graduates, Kelly Smith. She was offered a job at a Fortune 50 company immediately after graduation.  She told Forbes in an interview that the extra level of commitment and preparation by her professors was one of the biggest reasons she was able to land such a high level position so quickly.

The best part for you is those same professors continue to shape our curriculum with the changing landscape and expand their networks. That means we will continue to give our students an edge against other Business School graduates.”

Let me break it down even further – Put your strongest proof at the beginning, and devote the most time and attention to that point.  Your goal should be to get the reader to sit back and take you seriously. You should also make sure you vary the proof that you offer them.  In the example I gave you, I started with a strong statement that statistically told my prospect why our School of Business was elite. Next, I gave proof of what the school and its professors did for a recent graduate. Thirdly, I offered up proof that the school is continuing to grow.

This technique has been used for decades in business marketing strategies. It will work for you because it meets our wired need for a group of three in the reasoning you present to prospective students and their parents.

During the discussions you and your admissions team have this summer, I encourage you to consider talking about the power of ‘3’ and how it can help you deliver more effective recruiting communications.

As we approach the 4th of July holiday weekend, what’s one question about recruiting or leadership that I can answer for you? Take 3 minutes and anonymously ask me your question here. It will help me help you as well as other readers of this newsletter.  You can read all the past reader questions (and my responses to them) by clicking here.

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: June 27, 2017Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

This is an opportunity for readers of this newsletter to anonymously ask me a question about any aspect of student recruitment, leadership, and professional or personal development.  Each week I’ll post my answer for everyone to read.

Q.  A College Coach who reads my newsletter asks:

“What do I do to get the admissions dept and the athletic department on the same page when it comes to recruiting athletes?”

A.  Thank you for your question! Just about every time I work with a small college that has Division 3 athletics (i.e. no athletic scholarships) this question gets brought up.

Let me start by offering some context for those reading this response that might not be aware of my background. For 8 years (2004-2012) I was a college basketball coach on the men’s side (the first 2 years at a Division 3 private college and the remaining 6 years at two different Division 2 institutions).

Very little has changed with regards to the admissions-athletics relationship. On a lot of college campuses it’s still “broken.” The biggest complaints that I hear most often from both sides are the same ones I heard when I was a coach – Admission staffs are worried that coaches will only talk about their sport and not offer the full picture and value of the college, specifically during the campus tour. Coaches are worried that anything they take across campus to the admissions office will get mishandled.

Quite honestly, the only way you’re going to get both departments on the same page is for the leadership (Director of Admissions and the Athletic Director) to make this is a priority for both of their staffs. It can’t just be talk from both sides, there has to be action and a clear understanding of how/why working together will benefit everyone.

In terms of a quicker solution that can produce long-term value and get the ball rolling, consider this idea that I’ve seen work at the Division 2, 3, and NAIA levels – Each admissions counselor is responsible for one or more sports. The counselor works closely with those coaches, including monthly or possibly even bi-weekly meetings between him/her and an assistant coach, specifically the recruiting coordinator if that position exists. The gist of those meetings should be updates from both sides on what’s happening around campus/in their sport, as well as process or rule changes so that both departments are armed with the same knowledge and facts to use.

I would also add that the schools I see doing it best (admissions/athletics working together) are ones where the coaches handle a majority of the recruiting communications, and the admissions office/counselors becomes more of an aid that assists with process driven activities (ex. paperwork). All of our research continues to show that a coach and his/her players need to develop a positive recruiting relationship with a prospective student athlete otherwise the chances of that prospect coming to your school (even if you’re the least expensive option) drastically decrease.

What I’ve given you is just the tip of the iceberg. Always remember that open communication between departments solves/avoids A LOT of problems. You’re all on the same team and everyone needs to constantly be reminded of that.

-Jeremy

Part 3: Championship Morning RoutinesMonday, June 26th, 2017

Mandy Green, Busy.Coach

For the last 2 weeks, I have been sharing parts of my speech from NCRC 2017.  Today I want to move onto step number 3.  The third step of your championship morning routine is that champions let their mind wander.

Have you ever been standing in the shower minding your own business and all of a sudden you have a total aha moment and it isn’t the idea that pops into your head at that moment almost always a great one it’s like a major problem you’ve been thinking about is suddenly got an answer to it? Guess what, that’s the genius mind at work. It needs space to bring its best ideas to the surface.

As I have said the last few weeks, you have two brains. You have the robot brain which is mindless, addicted to your phone and addicted to your to-do list. Then you have your Genius brain that is patiently sitting quietly in the background trying to work on your dreams and great ideas.

Now a major problem for most of us today in this Society is that we suppress the genius mind because we plug ourselves into consuming information via the Internet and our smartphones from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to bed.  We are really drowning out our own genius with the garbage on the web every single day.

The genius mind is significantly more powerful than the robot mind, but it can only work if you awake it and you give it time and space to wander.

Let me give you an example.

Tim Ferris, author of the 4 Hour Workweek, gets asked about his morning routine all of the time.  He said he gets up, drinks tea, eats breakfast, goes for a walk and is just thinking the whole time.  I guess he will do this for weeks.  What he is trying to do is find that one domino that so powerful that it will wipe out all of the other ones or at least make the other ones irrelevant.  

I think that as coaches we don’t give ourselves enough time to let our mind wander and just think.  We are always on the go from the moment we wake up to the time we go to sleep.  

From the research that I have done, it appears that anybody who has been successful works time into their morning routine to ensure that no matter what else happens in the day, that they’ve allowed their genius mind the time to provide them with breakthroughs, with brilliant ideas, and with the solutions, they need to remain focused and productive for the rest of the day.

Now great thinkers are not lying in bed at night getting their ideas from email and neither should you. Give your mind the time and space freedom to wander to cultivate ideas to think. Their writing in their journals, they’re paying attention to what the champion inside of them is saying.

I found this quote by Nick Saban. “I usually make a lot of notes during the day, things we can do better and things we can do differently,” Saban explains. “But it seems to me that things come a lot clearer to me in the morning. I think of stuff when I’m showering, when I’m shaving, when I’m getting ready to go to work, and on the drive, I’m putting it all together of how I want to implement it into the day.”

Here’s how I do it in the morning after I’ve gotten up and walked into the living room and turn my phone over so I am not even get tempted to look at it I just let my mind wander. I go get some water and then sit on the floor and stretch.  I just let my mind be relaxed I try not to think about anything. Actually if I notice that I drift to a to-do list or start to feel anxious about whatever’s happening in the day I just point my mind back to trying to think about nothing.  I protect this time and I just let my mind gently wake up and wander and do what it needs to do and you know what, it’s in these quiet moments in the morning before I’ve looked at my phone that my brain is the most powerful.

And you know what happens, it happens literally almost every single morning, I have at least one great idea every single morning. It’s become such a predictable pattern that I now keep my journal by me on the floor while I am stretching so that if something really awesome comes up I can write it down so I remember.

What’s really great about these ideas is that they become a main point of focus for the rest of my morning.  I think that part of becoming the greatest you as a coach is learning how to let the most powerful you guide you, not your mindless automatic pilot brain that is addicted to your phone and email.  When you give the most powerful part of your brain space to breathe, wander, and expand, you will start having more aha moments.  Love it.

You can go to my website to get the next part to my speech from this years NCRC.  Go to my Busy Coach website.   

 

If you’ve ever struggled with productivity, keeping your to-do’s organized and prioritized, I have a great tool you can now check out for free.  Right now, I am giving you a chance to try my Busy Coach Game Plan Daily Planner for 30 days.  Just click on the link to check it out.

 

Common Sense in the Digital AgeMonday, June 26th, 2017

Chris Mateer, Front Rush

A few weeks back, The New Yorker published an article regarding Harvard rescinding the acceptance of at least 10 freshman students due to online activity in a private Facebook group. The content posted in the group was undisputedly offensive, and far from content that any university would want to associate themselves with. Given the closed nature of the group, however, a debate was sparked online. Questions swirled regarding free speech rights for prospective students. Amidst it all, the ultimate question was whether content posted behind closed doors was free game for withdrawing admission to a university, regardless of how offensive. Not only prospective students but everyone on the hunt for an education or employment should learn from this incident.

Despite the debate over free speech, there is little gray area regarding whether the rescinding of admissions was within Harvard’s rights. A public blurb on Harvard-run Facebook pages states that admission can be withdrawn for any admitted student for any “behavior that brings into question his or her honesty, maturity, or moral character.” There is no mention that this content must be public, and the content of the private Facebook group clearly violated this principle. This instance is not one that stands in isolation either. Just last year, a DIII men’s cross-country team faced suspension over an email chain that contained objectifying and offensive content. Although the chain was a private correspondence, it was eventually forwarded to administrators, leading to this disciplinary action. In both instances, prospective student-athletes relied on a false sense of protection among peers.

 

Both of these examples should drive a serious point home. Students have always believed that as long as parents, teachers, employers or coaches are not able to directly access content, then they are safe. The subtle Facebook name change is a common example of this, as well as making social media accounts private. Still, this all misses the main point. Whether through email, public social media, or closed groups, your name is attached to what you say and what you post. As tired and worn of a phrase as it is, everything online is there forever. In both aforementioned cases, it was peers who served as the whistleblowers for a toxic culture. When all is said and done, everyone should be willing to stand by their online activity, just like how you handle yourself face-to-face.

 

The Value of Phone Calls in Student RecruitmentTuesday, June 20th, 2017

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services 

     

I get emails about it. It comes up during conversations with clients. And somebody, usually more than one person, asks me for my thoughts about it when I speak at a conference or lead one of our admissions training workshops.

The “it” I’m talking about is phone calls.

You and I both know that this generation of students loves to use text messaging and social media. It’s also no secret that just about every admissions counselor in the nation hates making phone calls to prospective students. Because of these two facts the assumption seems to be that the value of phone calls has drastically decreased, and the value of text messaging and using social media has vastly increased when it comes to admissions communicating with a prospect during their search (specifically in the early and middle stages).

Today, I’m going to tell you whether or not phone calls are still worthwhile including giving you some interesting quotes and survey numbers straight from students themselves.

Prior to each admissions workshop I lead, we have the college or university send out an in-depth focus group recruiting survey to their incoming or current freshmen.  We research a number of different aspects of their recruiting experience including how they wanted to be communicated with and what they think about phone calls from admissions.

One of the survey questions we ask is, “In terms of communication, tell us how often during the college search process you wanted colleges to contact you in each of the forms below.” Those forms are by phone, mail, email, text and on social media. And the options to choose for each are once a day, once a week, 2-4 times per week, once per month, and never. The last option of “never” was newly added this spring.

Since adding “never” as an option we’ve conducted four surveys with four different colleges located in either the Midwest or East Coast. All happen to be private schools. Two of the surveys are complete, and two remain active and will be completed in the next few weeks.

Although it’s a small focus group size to this point, the results might surprise you. More incoming freshmen (Class of 2017) told us they “never” wanted to be contacted during the college search process by text and social media than did the number who “never” wanted to receive a phone call. The exact averages so far look like this:

  • 43.27% never wanted colleges to contact them on social media
  • 33.09% never wanted colleges to contact them by text
  • 29.81% never wanted colleges to contact them by phone

Another survey questions is, “Were phone calls from admissions counselors helpful during your college search?”

Here are some direct quotes in response to that question from those same students:

“They were really helpful. Every time I called the admissions office always gave me the information I needed and additional information they thought would help me.”

“I liked receiving calls from admission Counselors because it felt like they really cared for my opinions on the school and it was nice talking to them if I had any questions.”

“When you talk on the phone the conversation can take 5-10 minutes and everything is clearly layed out. Texting everything gets confused and it takes forever to have an actual conversation.”

“They were helpful, because they showed me that (School name) actively wants to help make my transition into college easier.”

“It showed me that the admissions counselors actually cared about me and were not people behind a screen and that they truly wanted me to go to (School name). Though the phone calls did catch me off guard because I did not know a phone call from the admissions counselor was something I could expect.”

“The phone calls were great and enormously helpful in preparing me for the admissions process.”

I would also add that very few students have indicated in these surveys as well as previous ones we’ve conducted over the past year, that they didn’t want to receive phone calls, or that they wanted more texting and less phone calls.

Taking all of this into account, I would argue that phone calls to prospects and parents still need to be a core piece of your recruiting communications plan. When done correctly, they will strengthen your recruiting relationship.

So, assuming you’re in agreement with me, let’s talk for a minute about how you can get the most out of those phone calls:

  • Keep your phone calls to 10 minutes or less. Once you hit that mark when talking to a prospect, you’ve crossed a line in terms of the effectiveness of connecting with him or her…unless the student or parent is the one controlling the conversation and asking questions.  The source of that information is thousands of survey responses Dan (Tudor) and I have collected from students around the nation. Students have told us that in many cases they get bored with recruiting calls that go past that mark.  They’ve even told us that they will put their phones on speaker so they can do other things while you’re talking. Their biggest complaints centered around long recruiting calls taking them away from studying, delaying their ability to respond to text messages from friends, and being too “sales” driven and pressuring.
  • Make sure you’ve been following the flow. As I’ve explained before, the natural communication flow for your prospects begins with letters and emails. Both are easy to take in and low risk in the mind of your prospect. One student’s survey response summed things up perfectly. “Being called on the phone is good after having an email or letter because it gives the student time to do their own research on the school before talking to an admission counselor.” If you want the prospect to answer, work on establishing trust and value through those letters and emails first. Then, set up the phone call in an email or even by text. Giving them notification a few days prior allows them to have questions prepared, and this way you’re not calling at a time that’s inconvenient for your prospect.
  • Make the phone call 100% about them and 0% about your school. Come up with a list of great questions that are original and all about them. For example, ask them about their approach to the process or what they want to see and hear from you as they learn more about your school.
  • Go ahead and talk about your school IF…they ask you about it. If a prospect asks you about something specific, then talk about it and “sell” all you want.

I hope your biggest takeaway from our discussion today is that, when done correctly, phone calls still offer a ton of value and are a clear sign in the student’s mind that the school is serious about them.

How valuable do you think phone calls are? Send me an email and let me know.

Admissions Newsletter – Reader Q & A: June 20, 2017Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

This is an opportunity for readers of this newsletter to anonymously ask me a question about any aspect of student recruitment, leadership, and professional or personal development.  Each week I’ll post my answer for everyone to read.

Q.  An Admissions Counselor asks:

“More schools around us are going negative against us. I don’t want to be negative but what do you think and what can I do to combat what they say?”

A.  Thank you for your question! I’ll start by telling you that I continue to see and hear evidence that negative recruiting techniques still work, mainly because viewers or listeners will have at least some emotional response to negatively phrased information.

Having said that, I don’t think it’s ethical or professional to use negative recruiting. I would however add that there’s a difference in my mind between talking negatively about a person/school and stating facts, particularly when you’re doing it in a way that has the best interests of your prospect at heart.

Here are two ideas we’ve seen work over the past few years when it comes to maintaining a professional approach as an admissions counselor against others who are negative:

  • Warn your prospect that other colleges might try to negatively recruit them.  Tell them that other colleges might try to scare them away from your school, and explain why this is a sign of weakness on their part.  One of the best things you can do is to frame the discussion in your favor.  Make your prospect focus on recognizing the act of negative recruiting itself rather than the content of the negative recruiting message as it relates to your school.
  • Address a potential negative about your school, and tell your prospect what to think about it.  A lot of young college admission counselors want to hide potential negatives – Older dorms, their remote location, lower rankings, etc. I want you to take the opposite approach. Bring up a negative and let your prospect know how to think about it.  For example, older dorms.  Explain why that shouldn’t matter…it’s all about the great relationships that you’re going to build with the people that live there.  Frame how your prospect should think of a potential negative as soon as possible, versus waiting until your competitor frames it for you and now you have to play defense.

Good luck,

-Jeremy

YouTube Star Dan TDM Owns the Brains of Your Future RecruitsMonday, June 19th, 2017

O.K., Coach, here’s the deal:

I “took one for the team” this past weekend (‘team’ being the Tudor family) and took my 11 year old son to see his favorite celebrity.

Dan TDM.

Come down the rabbit hole with me a minute. If you do, I promise you’re going to come away with lots of good recruiting take-aways.

“TDM” stands for The Diamond Minecart. Dan TDM is a professional gamer. He plays video games for a living, videos himself doing it, and then posts those videos on YouTube.

He has just over 15,000,000 subscribers to his free YouTube channel. Most of them are four to six years away from being the kids you begin recruiting. I got to sit with several hundred with them, and saw their devotion to one of their favorite YouTubers who they were getting a chance to see live and in person.

By “seeing him live and in person”, I mean paying good money to go sit in a seat and watch him play video games on a giant video screen on the stage (Here’s a taste from a different concert location. Did you watch it? I know, I don’t get it either).

My son, and the rest of the kids in the audience, knew all the characters he referenced, all of the subplots, and the insider jokes. I was clueless. At the jokes, and also why my son and his fellow Dan TDMers love his act so much.

That’s where the recruiting lessons come in for you, Coach.

You are on the verge of communicating with a generation of kids, both male and female, who are set to follow those that can entertain them, as well as make them feel part of a special community. Sure, the current prospects you are recruiting want elements of that, but the next wave of recruits will have grown up watching YouTube, and regular people who have turned themselves into international celebrities doing fairly average things in front of a camera.

That’s a big switch if you think about it. You are moving into conversations with kids who are going to demand even more personalized, more consistent, and more entertaining stories from people who are including them in a small community. That’s not going to be an optional thing for you in a few years, Coach, because just as we analyze the current generation’s communication patterns, we’re going to be doing it even more in the coming years. And if you think that Dan TDM fans aren’t being shaped to take in communication in a very specific way, you’re fooling yourself.

The big lesson I am hoping you take away is that in the fight for your recruit’s attention, you’re going to have an increasingly bigger hill to climb.

Your recruits are going to demand an even better, even more creative platform in which you tell those stories (by the way, letters are a more creative platform for this generation of recruits. They are viewed as highly personal forms of communication by your recruits, and a unique platform in their experience.

Dan TDM has the followers he has not because he is an amazing actor (he’s not), or has an especially special skill (he doesn’t). The reason he has as many followers as he does is because he’s genuine, he’s meeting young kids where they’re at (gaming), and he is consistent. He releases videos every few days, right on schedule, and has been doing so for years and years.

If you take the time to study how he’s built his following with the kind of passion that demands moms and dads everywhere take their pre-teens to see him in person, you’re going to have a really good roadmap for how to build an effective story – now and in the years to come.

This is the generation quickly coming just around the corner, Coach. Understand them as best you can before you need to.

Championship Morning Routines Part 2Monday, June 19th, 2017

Mandy Green, Busy.Coach

I just finished up at Camp Elevate run by Celia Slater.  I have been to a lot of conferences over the years, and I don’t know that there is one that compares to this one in terms of the quality of speakers from start to finish, the information given, and the feeling of community created.  Coaches, in terms of personal development, I don’t know that there is a better conference out there.

I want to continue to share my upcoming speech notes with you about how to create a Championship Morning Routine.  I am only going to give you the first 2 steps today.  The rest will come next week.

As a quick reminder from last week, Mel Robbins, author of the 5 Second Rule, talks about how we all have two minds: the genius (champions) mind and the robot mind.

  1. The champions mind is where the greatest live. This is the mind that you want to have.  It’s creative, it’s proactive, it’s free, and it’s where your best ideas come from.
  2. The robot mind is when your mind is on autopilot.  It’s when you’re overwhelmed by small tasks, it’s when you find yourself checked out and putting out fires all day and having no time for yourself. You might feel like a robot to if you feel like you’re constantly at the whim of the demand of others doing what they need when they need it.

As coaches, to bring our best selves each and every day, we need to awake our inner genius/champions mind first thing in the morning by making certain choices and decisions.  Here are the first 2 decisions I want you to start making today that will make a significant effect on how you show up tomorrow.

Step 1.  Win tomorrow today with a great plan. A great routine always starts the night before.  Take 10 minutes tonight to plan tomorrow.  These are the 3 things I want you to plan for.     

  1. Every night, plan TOMORROW’S morning routine. Wake up with a plan of action and a routine in place, making it that much easier for you to take action right away.
  2. Write down ONE GOAL YOU’LL ACCOMPLISH TOMORROW before you leave for the office. What is one thing that you could do to make progress on something that matters to you?
  3. Write down your TOP 3 PRIORITIES for tomorrow and what time you will block off to work on them.

Once your to-do list is organized, it becomes a map to guide you from morning to evening in the most effective and efficient way. This guide tells you what you have to do and what is more or less important so it helps to eliminate a lot of wasted time. You will soon develop the habit of using your list as a blueprint for the day.

Step 2 Champions- don’t sleep with their phone.  Let me ask you this, do you use the alarm on your smartphone as your alarm clock in the morning or do you put it on your nightstand best next to your bed? If you’re doing that stop! Stop it immediately.  If you have your smartphone right next to your bed you’re making it harder for your inner champion to wake up. Allow me to explain, see when the alarm goes off the robot mind is going to mindlessly reach for the phone and then one of two things is going to happen

  1. Either you’re going to hit the snooze button and fall back asleep which means you will probably oversleep and then rush out late.
  2. If you grab your phone and decide to look at it, the robot has won and now in control. The robot mind is going to open that phone while you’re lying in bed and you were going to mindlessly check your email, or you might check Facebook, or you’re going to watch a couple YouTube videos.

The scary thing is that you just flooded your mind with a bunch of useless garbage and you’re not even out of bed. Plus, what might be even worse is that if you’re checking your texts or work email before you even get out of bed, you’re blasting your brain with stress hormones before you even fully wake up. You are handicapping your brain from even having a good day because if any of your work email makes you anxious or worried, and let’s face it, who whose work email doesn’t, your pumping your mind full of cortisol. In case you didn’t know, cortisol is a stress hormone that leads to things like depression and anxiety and negative thinking and this all happened in a nanosecond. And according to research, you’ve killed any chance that your champions mind has for ideation, imagination and new thinking.

That one small decision has a major impact. If you want your mind to have a shot at your best ideas, if you want the best you, the champion in you to set the agenda for your day before the rest of the world weighs in.

You make one small decision part of your routine and you’re going to see some major rewards.

So tonight, put your phone in a different room.  Tomorrow morning, you’re going to have to force yourself to get out of bed to walk to where ever it is your phone is and then turn off the alarm.  When you pick up your phone you have a choice to make, you can let the robot takeover and go into autopilot mode.  Or, you can let the champion mind be in charge, and you’re going to take that phone and you’re going to flip it over. I don’t want you to even look at it. You’re not allowed to check email you’re not allowed to check Facebook.

I promise you just try this tomorrow this is the first decision that you need to make in order to bridge the gap between where you are right now and where you want to be. It sounds stupid, but this is actually a very difficult thing to do.

I have to say, this is so simple but it’s not easy. You don’t realize how addicted you are to checking your phone and how quickly you go on autopilot. You’re going to be absolutely amazed at how easy it’s going to be to take charge of your day when you find the discipline to wake up to let your champions mind have a second to breathe and then to turn off the alarm and not check the phone. You got it? Good.

You can go to my website to get the next part to my speech from this years NCRC.  Go to my Busy Coach website.   

If you’ve ever struggled with productivity, keeping your to-do’s organized and prioritized, I have a great tool you can now check out for free.  Right now, I am giving you a chance to try my Busy Coach Game Plan Daily Planner for 30 days.  Just click on the link to check it out.

Are Our Devices Actually Smart?Monday, June 19th, 2017

by Ken Whittaker, Front Rush

You probably hear about smart devices all the time: smartphones, smart TV, smartwatches and fitness trackers, smart lightbulbs etc. So when did all of our other devices become dumb and these new devices become smart? And what exactly is the criteria for something to be considered smart? In my opinion, the bar is set pretty low. As you may recall, I have previously written about smart speakers (http://dantudor.com/mini-talking-robots/) – the Amazon Echo and the Google Home. These devices communicate with a network to listen to your commands, process your speech, and provide you with a result. Okay, that’s pretty smart. A tiny speaker can answer something I don’t know in a few seconds. But what about these other devices?

Smartphones are probably the most common example of a so called “smart device.” Thinking back to the wee old days of landlines, brick phones and flip phones, there’s no doubt that we’ve come a long way. Apps are a click away to solve all the world’s problems, the entire device is a screen in many cases, and it seems there are less physical buttons each year. Smartphones are smart because they allow you to interact with your phone in a much different way. In a sense, a smartphone isn’t really a phone. It’s more like a computer that has the ability to make calls. So we’ll rack one in the win column for smart devices.

Smart TVs are gaining in popularity, and allow you to interact with apps and services on your – you guessed it – television. A true smart TV has these capabilities built in, although some may argue that using streaming devices such as Amazon FireTV, Roku, Apple TV, or Chromecast can make any TV a smart TV. Not by my standards. That is an extra peripheral used to give you access to more things. Plugging in a mouse to your laptop doesn’t make your computer any smarter, it just allows you to use it in a different way. I’m not denying that these streaming devices are cool, but they don’t make a TV a smart  TV. A true smart TV, as I mentioned, has these streaming capabilities built in – for Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc. The idea is you have one remote and the ability to switch from regular TV programming to streaming content seamlessly. It’s great.

But, is it smart? Often, you can only focus on one app at a time. Although there is some disagreement if multitasking actually is smarter, I think we can all agree that a smart TV should probably be able to handle more than one thing at a time. In my opinion, a smart TV would revamp the TV experience. How many times have you wanted to watch a sports game and change the commentators (or mute them) but still have some other audio (crowd, different broadcast, in helmet speakers) instead? Or what about those clunky score boxes on the screen. What if I want that off the screen to start a big play? Does it really matter to know that an NBA team has 5 timeouts at the start of the game? A truly smart TV, in my opinion, would allow you to tweak the broadcasting networks features, and also allow access to the content many of these streaming devices provide. Doing simple things like glancing at the temperature, ordering a product you see in a commercial – from the commercial – among other things seem like natural progressions. Let’s refuse to be fooled by the current iteration of smart TVs. We’ll rack this as a loss for smart devices.

Smart watches are great – and even fitness trackers such as Fitbit – can even be included in this category. I’ll keep this section brief, as some of my colleagues have already written about Fitbit (http://dantudor.com/the-fitbit-evolution/), wearable tech (http://dantudor.com/wearable-tech/), and some of our employee preferences at Front Rush (http://dantudor.com/iphone-vs-android/), but smartwatches are basically digital watches that have the capabilities shared by your smartphone. It would be neat if they could operate more independently from a phone, but I think we’re close to seeing some more products like that. Plus, anything aimed at improving your health by giving you stand up reminders, or tracking your workouts is a win in my book. For those keeping score: smart devices are 2-1.

To round out the discussion, we’ll combine everything else into our last category. Smart light bulbs, smart cars, smart thermostats, oh my! In my opinion, these devices are just too overpriced for what they currently offer. Smart bulbs often require a hub, and then you have the added cost of equipping your home with these bulbs. Plus, if someone flips a light switch off – your bulb isn’t very smart anymore. Smart cars are worthy of their own blog. They are definitely a product to marvel at, and are smart, but I would love to see more: better mileage, auto driving capacities, etc. I’ll be harder on smart cars because they are (in my opinion) the coolest in the smart category. Smart thermostats, smart smoke detectors, and every other smart device out there are all “smart” in their own way. But as I mentioned, they are costly, which is a deterrent for many buyers right now. Cost doesn’t make them any less smart, but I think some people want these devices to do more, have easier installation, or have more features before they outfit their home with these devices.

So our final score, for this brief overview of smart devices is 3-1. Not bad, but as you coaches know – losing is never acceptable. I’m excited that companies continue to open up development to third parties – as that will allow for some of the greatest iterations of these products to be built. Also, with more companies entering the game – the competition increases and the standard of “smart” will inevitably go higher. I may have been a bit harsh at times in this article, but it’s up to us – the consumers – to come up with what the word means. Does improving the technology on a device that’s been around for years make it smart? Sometimes, but can it be smarter? Always.

Episode 27: Legendary Athletic Director Tim Selgo on His New Book for Coaches, ‘Anchor Up’Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Former Grand Valley State University Athletic Director Tim Selgo has a message for college coaches:

If you want to build a consistently successful program, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.

Selgo sat down with Dan Tudor to talk about his new book, “Anchor Up: Competitive Greatness the Grand Valley Way”. In his decades leading the ship at GVSU, Selgo established his athletic department as the gold standard for not only Division II athletics, but for athletic departments all over the country. The consistent success experienced by the programs under his leadership are nearly unparalleled in college sports. Selgo talks about his new book, and what his fellow athletic directors and coaches can do to build the same kind of success with their teams, and in their recruiting.

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