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Friday, November 25, 2011

Scottsdale golfer Kirk Triplett heads for Champions Tour

As any athlete will tell you, attrition takes its toll regardless of the sport and in most cases retirement is inevitable when Father Time makes his appearance. Fortunately, on the PGA golf tour, when the guys nearing middle age see the drives of their twenty-something competitors flying sixty yards past them, they can take comfort in knowing that at age fifty, they may be eligible for “Life’s Greatest Mulligan”; otherwise known as the Champions Golf Tour.

Scottsdale resident and PGA pro Kirk Triplett will be fifty on March 29, 2012 and will be fully exempt to play on the Champions Tour. For anyone who thinks the older guys can’t play anymore, all they need to do is look at the senior roster which includes guys like Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer, Nick Price, Tom Watson, and another Scottsdale pro, Tom Lehman. Those guys take their golf seriously and are making good money with Lehman leading the way at over $2 million in earnings this year.

Kirk plans to concentrate on the Champions Tour next year with little or no participation on the PGA or Nationwide Tours. Golf is a difficult game and he never takes it for granted so he knows he better be fit and ready in 2012. Hence, he is never far away from his long time coaches Laird Small, David Cook, and Glenn Albaugh who assist him with his swing and the mental side of the game. He realizes that “It takes more than just a good swing to play professional golf successfully.” He also realizes that success depends more on his innate ability to improve rather than trying to make quick fixes through gadgets or constant equipment changes.

Kirk Triplett turned pro in 1985 after graduation from the University of Nevada- Reno. Since that time he has won three titles, finished sixth twice at the prestigious Masters Tournament, and played on the President’s Cup team. His success has earned him $15 million in prize money to place him at 77th on the all time PGA Tour money list. Those are impressive statistics to us amateurs who have had numerous lessons and still struggle to break 90.

After losing his PGA player’s card in 2009, Kirk has played a limited schedule including some PGA and Nationwide Tour events. Even with the schedule disadvantage, he has earned $228,000 in 2011 including a $90,000 win on the Nationwide Tour against a lot of guys half his age who can drive a ball over three hundred yards with regularity.

Since he knew the Champions Tour was in his future, Kirk decided five years ago to adjust his outlook on golf based on anticipating play with the over fifty crowd. He feels he will fit in well with the format of the events but he also knows these guys are tough competitors who earned their spurs in the past and will not be easy to beat. Regardless, I think we will be seeing Kirk Triplett’s name on a lot of leader boards in 2012.

Kirk Triplett hoists the trophy after winning the News Sentinel Open In Knoxville, Tennessee last August.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Public speaking should not intimidate you

I read a recent article in the Republic business section about how so many people consider public speaking a terrible ordeal that involves sweaty palms and brows and the sudden inability to speak coherently.

Unfortunately, in the business world, it is possible that somewhere along the line, you may have to address a group; especially if you enter a personality driven profession like sales.

My career was in sales and when I started I met a lot of young guys who would freeze in front of a buying committee if they had to make a presentation and answer questions. I was fortunate because having been in college and the military for four years each, and being a bit older than some of the guys right out of school; I had some public speaking experience.

My first bit of advice on public speaking came from an old master sergeant in the Air Force who saw I was visibly nervous about having to speak to some new recruits concerning how to handle some various duties in supply squadron. He told me that since I was the one with the information that these guys needed and that I had more military experience than they did, THEY should be the ones intimidated. I never forgot that advice and used it throughout a career in sales and when hosting thirty-three episodes of “Scottsdale Showcase” for Scottsdale Community College.

I’ve given that advice many times. It seems so simple. Think about it: You are the knowledgeable one in the room and the audience has come to hear you because they are anticipating learning something. Why should you be intimidated? YOU are the smart one in the room; the audience is at your knee trying to become better informed. If anyone should be intimidated, it is them.

This doesn’t mean that you have a bunch of facts and figures to hand out without having them in a plan. You must be prepared with you text and practice it thoroughly. Speak clearly and never mumble and don’t be afraid to inject a little humor if the subject warrants it. Audiences have a habit of being a tough house sometimes and can lose interest in you in a hurry if you are not diligent.

Also, tailor you presentation to your audience by using terminology that they understand. Stay focused and don’t fall in love with your presentation to the point where people are starting to yawn and shift in their seats. Another good idea is to check out the venue where you will be speaking so you have a “lay of the land.”

Remember: The audience is there to learn from you. You have no reason to be intimidated.

                        Step right up to the mic.  The floor is yours      
                  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

E-Mail!

I am not an email “freak” although with my blog at azcentral celebrating its fifth anniversary on December 1st, I have answered thousands of comments from readers which I guess could be considered about the same as answering emails.

However, I look at those replies as being a bit different from an average email. Comments from people relating to a blog text impress me since they are the ones who took the time to read what I had to say and cared enough to give me a reply.

To be hung up on email in general is what I would call an addiction. We discussed recently how everyone seems to be staring at their Droids as though they will die if they don’t hear from somebody soon. Sometimes I think they send all those texts in the hopes of just getting an email answer to satisfy their addiction.

There is a guy named Dean Newlund who is a corporate trainer and executive coach. He is also extremely hooked on email to the point where he usually checks it about 40 times an hour. That’s about once in every 1 and 1/3 minutes! He says he checks it the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night.

According to John Freeman’s book, “The Tyranny of E-Mail”, here are some email facts:

1. The average worker spends 40% of their day sending and receiving about 200 email messages.

2. They misunderstand the tone of emails 50% of the time and failing to respond to a sender can lead to a breakdown in trust.

3. E-mail has conditioned workers to talk and think in short bursts slowly eroding their ability to explain points or topics in a careful and complex way.

4. It takes workers 25 minutes to get back on track after an interruption and those interruptions equal 28% of the work day.

So, how does one get out of the dreaded and mostly unnecessary plethora of emails? When I was a salesman, I was an overachiever to the point where I never wanted to miss or be late in returning a customer’s call. In those days there was no email so when I checked my calls every three or four hours, I had plenty of time to maintain customer satisfaction via the phone.

Today, with email being so instantaneous, customers may expect faster service so what does one do? Newlund says to check email only at 8 a.m. and 4.p.m. and use the “out of office” assistance to let callers know you will not be responding immediately.

As far as email manners, don’t clutter customer inboxes. Use “cc” and “reply to all” sparingly and never ask for a receipt.

If email can’t handle your customer or personal connections take care of your situation the old fashioned way: face to face. Don’t hide behind email!

Whew! I’m a bit exhausted after this keyboard punching. Being a modern guy on the go-go, there is no time for coffee so I’ll pop open a 5 Hour Energy fix and drug my way through the rest of the day!

Welcome to the 21st century!

I simply MUST send this email!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The NBA season can take a hike

I think the National Basketball Association lockout is hilarious. The owners and the players are both fools who may get what they deserve: half empty arenas where everyone loses.

In cases like this, I usually side with the owners as I don’t think most of the players, especially in the NBA, are ever going to challenge Einstein’s IQ score. Not that the owners are geniuses, but most of them are rich guys who, unlike most of the players, probably at least went to a few classes in college, and were either smart or clever enough to accumulate the dough to buy the team. Their problem, however, is that in their quest to be a cool owner, they sometimes give away the doorknobs to a mediocre player which raises the level of income that other players feel they should get.

Hence, we now have a stalemate between millionaires and billionaires, both of whom feel they are getting the short end of the stick or, as many of the players like to say, are being “disrespected”. Since “disrespected” is considered a “hip-hop” term at best, maybe some of the players should have at least darkened the doorway of an English class while they got their free ride at some college.

They might even impress someone who cares if they could speak and dress to league standards. But, isn’t that one of the problems with the players? Many don’t come across as mature adults and rebel at league policies concerning proper dress when traveling or doing interviews. They want to “have their cake and eat it too.” My advice is for them to quit the NBA and see if they can get another job that pays millions a year for about six months work. Tattoo covered player Allen Iverson once said that not being able to dress in hip-hop style was “preventing me from expressing myself.” Maybe he would be happier expressing himself as an all night clerk at a Circle K.

Dan Bickley and Paola Boivin of the Republic are leaning toward the side of the players. Boivin calls Commissioner David Stern of the NBA a “bully” and Bickley warns the owners to be careful to not insult the players. What have those two been drinking? With polls showing that 76% of those asked could not care less about the NBA, what leverage is there for the players?

I’m in the 76% group but it wasn’t always that way. I loved the NBA of the 1960s with guys like Connie Dierking, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, John Havlicek, and many others. I always looked forward to the ABC Sunday afternoon games with announcers Chris Schenkel and Jack Twyman. Today, ticket prices are way too high and TV ratings too low and management and players are both responsible.

Jared Dudley, the union rep for the Phoenix Suns who is a bench guy, says it well: “Fans don’t want to hear it……..I make a lot of money to play basketball. I’m going to get at least 3 to 4 years of my deal. I’m a role guy. I can live off that the rest of my life.”

My suggestion: Cancel the season. I’m tired of June basketball playoffs anyway.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Is it "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"?

Sometimes I think I am the only one left on the planet who doesn’t spend the day staring at a Blackberry or Droid screen to check messages, send messages via text, or just play games to keep busy during an obviously unfulfilled life. When I see people sleeping on the sidewalk in front of an Apple store to get the latest creation from that company, I just smile and move on.

What did these people do before all this electronic stuff was invented? How often have you seen people sitting together in a restaurant and instead of speaking to each other they are talking on cell phones? Are they just being rude or is that the accepted lifestyle of today?

I live in a neighborhood which has a nice workout room. It’s rare that when I go to lift weights, there is someone to converse with under age forty. Why? Because the younger crowd always has ear buds stuck in their head so they don’t have to spend one second of their lives without being entertained. If they see someone they are quick to look at the floor to avoid human contact. Whatever happened to interesting conversation?

School kids apparently are not being taught the importance of being able to do cursive writing anymore. Computers can take care of that for them and as far as learning how to spell words correctly; why bother? Good old spell check will always be there to save them. I wonder if kids even take spelling tests anymore in school. With texting burned into their brains they probably couldn’t pass one anyway. In their minds “you” is “u”, “great” is “gr8”, and “some” is “sum”. Hey, when you only get 140 characters, you have to improvise, right? What’s the big deal if you’re illiterate?

When is the last time you saw kids get together to go outside and play a game of baseball? I can’t remember when I have seen it and Scottsdale has plenty of ball fields sitting empty that they could use if they could pry themselves away from their indoor electronic games. No wonder childhood obesity has become a problem. Jay Leno remarked recently that “Kids still love Halloween and all the candy it provides. It’s than darn walking they have to do to get it that they don’t like!”

It isn’t so much that I dislike the above as much as it makes me wonder why people have allowed themselves to fall into the dependence on outside sources to control their lives. Have they decided that stopping and smelling the roses is not that important anymore or are they the result of the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”? Is typing out a text message while swerving on the road in a car THAT important? I see a lot of drivers who must think so. Beware of them if you are in a bike lane.

There is a TV ad where a group of people in an office have been texted to meet for tacos. One guy shows up late and feels he wasn’t informed of the meeting until he notices that his provider was ten seconds slower than the rest. It’s considered a big deal that he is late. In today’s world I guess ten seconds is a lifetime.

Our world and welcome to it!