Show Notes

This is Rob Cairns CEO and Chief Creator of Amazing Ideas at Stunning Digital Marketing. And this week’s STM interview show, I bring with me my good friend Deborah Thomas nim injure, who’s the founder of DTM productions International. Deborah specializes in reputation management, communications effectiveness, business advocate, communications and self presentation expertise to our clients. Deborah is probably one of the most positive people I know. We became friends on Twitter a long, long time ago. And we continue to communicate on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, just a one from one of my favorite cities in the United States. And that’s Columbus, Ohio. She’s also working on two books, which we’ll talk about. And without further ado, we hope you enjoy this interview as much as Deborah and I did doing it for you. So sit back, relax, and enjoy my interview with Deborah. There we go. Good afternoon, everybody. I’m here with my good friend Deborah Thomas 19 is the founder of DTM productions. How are you today? Deborah,

 

Deborah

I am Wonderful. Thank you, Rob, how are you

 

Rob

 

doing really good. And you and I have known each other or probably for 10 years or so on social media. Never met in person yet. There’s always time. You know, the way this world is your cross paths that the most interesting time right? in an airport in a restaurant, you know? Yes. And you’re from one of my most favorite cities in the US in Columbus, Ohio. archives, right. So you guys must be really happy after what happened on New Year’s Day. Right?

 

Deborah

 

Yes, we are rosebowl winners, and very proud of that.

 

Rob

 

And I will I will say one thing before we get into today’s topic, I’ve had the opportunity been at The Ohio State Fair twice in my lifetime. And it’s one of my favorite state fairs in the entire US. So now, there you go. So I’ve enjoyed that immensely.

 

Deborah

 

Well, good, glad that we treat you. Well, when you’re here.

 

Rob

 

Yeah, you do. And it’s, I have a couple friends who used to be down there. It’s a bit of a healthcare city too. And they’re both they’re both in healthcare one was tied to OSU for many years. And another one was with one of the hospitals as a cardiac nurse. So yeah, it’s really interesting cities. So what I wanted to talk about today is kind of what you do what you do on social media, the book show writing, you know, where you kind of foreseen business going, and things like that. So do you want to sort of give us a brief description of what you do and what your company does?

 

Deborah

 

Sure. Well, many years ago, 20 Plus, I launched a training program for corporations in the arena of soft skills. And my first program was business etiquette. And so back in the day, business etiquette was new to corporate America, because most companies would spend money strictly on training the product, the sale of the product, the technical needs to know, but they did not train on people skills, also called soft skills. So now over the years, I have over 50 different soft skills programs. But I still seem to be known by a lot of people who remember me from the beginning, business etiquette. So I’m often referred to as the etiquette lady.

 

Rob

 

And there is some truth to that if you have to pledge her following or getting to know Deborah on on social media, on Twitter or on Facebook. I would bet a lot of your posts are still around dedicated, wouldn’t that be true? like kinda how to react with people how to treat people around that sense?

Absolutely. Yes, indeed. And I and you and I were talking before we came online, I think that’s a bit of an issue with some of these millennials today. They don’t get the etiquette that we went through in our training in school or business or growing up. And I mean, I think a lot of it stems from matters at home, actually, to be honest with you.

 

Deborah

 

Well, so much of it has not been passed on to Gen Y, Gen Z. So when people talk about a behavior from a younger person that they take exception with, I remind them well, maybe they don’t know what they don’t know. And so it’s a matter of how can we pass the torch in a way that gives them that leg up, helping them realize how critical these items are?

 

Rob

 

What would you say are the biggest soft skills rocking with the younger generation.

 

Deborah

 

I think part of it is a lack of patience. And in today’s environment, patience then rolls over into a perceived lack of courtesy, thinking that someone is being rude to you, someone who’s not making eye contact, or they sound very dismissive. So I would put patients at the top of the list,

 

Rob

 

I would tend to agree with him. I’m kind of smiling as we talked about this, because I think what’s caused that lack of patience is the smartphone, email, and things like that. And, and I mean, they’re tools, but everybody doesn’t realize, just because every smartphone in your hand doesn’t mean mean to respond to the five second response, it doesn’t mean because you send me an email, I get a response in 10 seconds. But that seems to be an issue in the business world today, isn’t it?

 

Deborah

 

Yes. People want it, they want it. Now. They don’t want to have to wait. And I’m as guilty of that as anyone else. Because now I have fallen into that immediacy trap myself, because we have set such high expectations, because of all that we have at our disposal, such as we have those phones where we know, okay, if I send you a text, Rob, I know you’ve received it, and most likely you even look at your phone. But how quickly you decide to respond to me, then makes me feel either more or less important in that world.

 

Rob

 

So true. I mean, I’m even at the point where my CRM for business tells me when somebody is opened an email, and I, I just kind of look at stuff and say, Okay, I accept it. Because I, I’ve grown up in that world, and I just say, oh, they’re busy, I get it. If it was an immediate, you know, if it was I need it. Now, I would probably follow the email up with a text, often, you know, cuz everybody’s got smartphones in your hand. But I think also what causes this, even more so with the younger generation is, you know, it’s funny, I was talking to somebody about this today, that in our day, if we wanted something, we had to earn it, and we had to work for it. Now the younger generation walks into a bank says, Oh, I’m a college student, well, yeah, here’s a credit card with $5,000. Goodbye. And then they go, they spend and they get what they want right away without earning it. And then they’ve learned from younger age, everything happens instantly. So they goes back to normal patience factor?

 

Deborah

 

Absolutely, it does. It’s all woven together. And so now it’s a matter of maybe taking a step back and doing what I call self evaluation, as far as mindfulness, that’s one of the latest programs I designed. And I did it after researching different articles and studies from neuroscientist on the brain health, mind connectivity. And so all of this, then, the benefactor of this is going to be people will perceive you as caring more, you’re going to be kinder, because the more mindful you are, you’re going to be less inclined to be acting out impatiently.

 

Rob

I would agree. And it’s simple things like, you know, skills that we lost, like when somebody does something for you say thank you, when somebody goes out of the way for you maybe send a note in the mail and say, I really appreciate what you did for me. If you know somebody helps you out, help them out when they like, stop thinking about just new kinds of things. And if you start to do little things like that in the bigger mindfulness instructor comm Delta evolution.

 

Rob

 

It really does. And it’s part of a journey. And as so many things are, so when you think about being mindful, it isn’t as though Okay, you’re finished. It’s going to be a daily process of being in the moment. Because if I’m in the moment with you everything from my tone of voice, my body language, my word choice is how I asked the right questions to show you that I have been listening to you. All of those things factor into people feeling more recognized, more appreciated, which, again, comes back to nothing more than everyday courtesy.

 

Deborah

 

I agree. And don’t you find that if you’re not mindful at home, you’re probably not mindful at work and vice versa kind of thing like the home and the workplace. So much into mindfulness mindset and everything else, that it’s all kind of intertwined.

 

Rob

 

It’s interesting, you mentioned that, because I am an over the top positive person, I always have them, but it’s a choice I make. So it’s not something that’s genetic, it is a choice. And so I have had people actually, in my workshops were asked me, oh, Debra, how are you really at home? And I tell people, I’m the same way at home as I am here with you. Because I would find it too challenging to have more than one personality. And so by the way, the people who I share my life with, shouldn’t they deserve the very best of me? Why would I only give it to my clients?

 

Deborah

 

Oh, I I agree. And and, you know, being in business for yourself and for your home life isn’t very good. The odds are that’s gonna transpire into your work life, what do you what do you want? admit it or not? Right? And then it’s gonna ask what you do for a living? I mean, how many times have we heard this? Don’t take your bad days home? Well, guess what? People need not to take their bad days into the office either. Right? It goes both ways.

 

Rob

 

It does. Absolutely.

 

So how did you you know, get the rest from and how did you actually get into this business? I was talked a little bit about what you’ve done. And mindfulness. How did you decide to get into this?

 

Deborah

 

It was very much by accident. Because I did have a wonderful job, where I was in charge of training programs for a fortune 500 company. So I was working with a sales team. And I reached the proverbial glass ceiling. So as a woman, I had gone as far as I could. And I was giving out free advice everywhere. And I recognized a need beyond the company that I was working with so much to the dismay of my late father. He said, Oh, no, you’re not going to start your own company. You’re not going to leave security, are you? And I said, Yes, I am. And so this again, 20 plus years, actually closer to 30. And I have never looked back.

 

Rob

 

Now I understand that. Yeah. Have you ever done that myself, like, I have 100% get where you’re coming from. And it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a choice too. And it takes a special person to make a entrepreneur to make a company go, it’s not just a case of throwing it together and say, I’m here trying to think you got to work at it every day. It’s got different pressures. You need family support for what you do, which is a big deal. Like, I really believe that at least our partners support and that kinda helps with that, doesn’t it?

 

Deborah

 

Yes. Well, a lot of people think that if you’re working for yourself, and you have your own business, as an entrepreneur that, oh, wow, life could be cushy. And I tell people, actually, no, I work harder. I put in more hours than a person who works a 40 Hour Workweek is unknown to me.

 

Rob

 

I would agree with you. And it’s not just the working, it’s the constant thinking of a business. I’ll tell people I’ve closed deals in the strangest places. I’ve met people in the strangest places. It’s thinking about work. I mean, I go for a walk, oh, probably when we’re done this call or go for a walk for an hour. And I can guarantee I’m gonna throw an audio book or a podcast, it’s business related in my ear, like, go for that walk. So, you know, even though that’s not billable time, it’s still working time. And that’s what people don’t understand. Right? So yes. One of the things you talked about your bio that absolutely love, he did etiquette training for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. One of my favorite one another one of my favorites, and he’s loving on. And how did that go? And was that a different challenge being a worldwide event and some of the other stuff you’ve done?

 

Deborah

 

Well, it was a two year commitment. So leading up to the Olympics. That’s when it all started two years prior. And Coca Cola has been one of my clients since the 90s. And so because I did the etiquette training for them. They, they have their own department of diplomacy. Okay, then Coca Cola definitely is a phenomenal client. I adore them. And because of my relationship with them, the now retired head of diplomacy, Joe, Michelle Bach, a freshman, he selected me to be the one who would put together the international etiquette programs for all of the Coca Cola ambassadors, who were in charge of the Olympic Games, and he wanted them to go through all of the International do’s and taboos because of hosting people from around the world. So it was fabulous. I love the opportunity. It’s one of those things in my life that you kind of go through it so quickly, even though two years is not fast, but I also did the para Olympics. So with them, it was the Olympics, the Paralympics. And it was phenomenal their commitment to it. And also then the residual benefit from it, because they came across as very, very thoughtful to all of their guests, and they were very well prepared.

 

Rob

 

And Coca Cola is known in the world, as being one of those very progressive companies are not a company that sits back and waits for it to come. They tend to dictate the landscape for many other businesses. And they’re really a model to be followed. I mean, they’re, they’re just an incredible organization.

 

Deborah

 

Yes, yes. Did you know that little trivia that world headquarters in Atlanta for coca cola? That their offices, their executive offices are modeled after the White House?

 

Rob

 

I did not know that? Yes.

 

Deborah

 

It’s really interesting to look at it, like the circular dome and everything on the inside. absolutely fascinating.

 

Rob

 

Yeah, that’s a really interesting story. It really is. And now you’re working on two books, which kind of, you know, we’re talking about offline, but doesn’t surprise me a little bit. One is the titles, reputation management, building a brand of it. And the other is tweetable. For Life, which I love the title even more, I think, knowing how what comes out to you on social media would suggest anybody to probably be a good read co Captain when they come out. The building a brand and reputation management go hand in hand, like every day?

 

Deborah

 

Well, when I when I designed the book concept, when I would interview employers, when they would bring me in for workshops, and I would interview them and ask them, what makes one person stand out from another was such parody from an education standpoint, maybe even their experience? Why would you hire one person over another. And so the top 10 things, I made a list of that I kept hearing repeatedly. And those are the top 10 things in reputation management, that they’re not part of an education background. They are really things that you personally manage yourself that no one can manage for you.

 

Rob

 

That is so true. And you have to manage those things yourself don’t, yes. And tweetable for life, what do you kind of focusing in that, in that? Well,

 

Deborah

 

I love positive, uplifting quotes. I love little pithy statements that grabbed my attention, and I want to remember them. And so over the years that I’ve been on Twitter now since 2008, I decided, I’m going to have kind of my top hits. And I’m going to put them into a book format. And the format is divided up into different categories on optimism, on humanity, on etiquette, I even have a separate section for travel etiquette. So my little quotes, that I’ll come back to things that I have tweeted,

 

Rob

 

I’m not I would say, if you’re looking for some positive, uplifting, full temper on Twitter, Deborah, I share Deborah stuff on a regular basis pretty well. And there’s stuff that resonates with me every day. And I think Deborah is one of the most positive people I know. And I think some people need to take your example. And even if they took half of what you did put in their life to life would be 10 times better than it is now. Because, you know, if you run around thinking negative with negative people, that your life becomes negative, right? If you if you kind of think positive, your life becomes very positive. That’s so true, right?

 

Deborah

 

Yes, yes. And it is a choice. Being happy is a choice. But I I do emphasize what’s on my tweets. When you encounter someone who’s very positive, optimistic, do not assume that they don’t have their share of problems.

 

Rob

 

That is so true. So true. We were talking also offline, kind of gonna go there. A little bit about some of the work you’ve done in the hospitality industry. Why don’t we how much you’ve been running back to Vegas and doing some work with some, some big organizations there? Is that different than a lot of the other organizations or is it just what they do is different.

 

Deborah

 

I would say each industry that I trained for, such as banking, or healthcare, or insurance, they all have their own special niche as to what they do and the type of interactions they have. When you think of the hospitality world, it begins with that word hospitality. So they have a higher expectation of being very good. hospitable. So even though they’re business people, and they have budgets, and they have their own challenges, they are expected to say it better behave with greater graciousness, to be more thoughtful and more accommodating for their guests, whether it’s a vacation or whether it’s a convention. And so I’m often training everyone from the butler team, the VIP Team, front desk, I train sales, food and beverage, and even they each have their own separate type of interaction with guests and clients. But again, it comes back to hospitality.

 

Rob

I agree. And I mean, a good example, restaurants are proud of that example, hotels are part of that example. And you walk in to a place you go into regularly. And I don’t want to things that resonates with me, even in Toronto, if I’m not doing business work, I walk into somewhere, I go into regular and the waitress, or the manager sits there and says, it’s really nice to see you, again, actually recognize your regular customers. And, to me, I think that’s really important. It makes you feel like you’re one a day, as a client, you want to spend time, but that’s what hospitality is about, right?

 

Deborah

 

Absolutely. And that is one of my treatibles we like to do business with people who make us feel extra special. And, and they also make eye contact with you. So that they don’t just say it, you can tell through their body language, they mean it.

 

Rob

 

And and then they get rewarded from it too, because then the clients treat them better. And you know, and it goes everything from, you know, the friendly smiles to the income they take in. So it all comes back. Right? And if you’re not, frankly, if you’re not being hospitable, you probably shouldn’t be in that industry to start

 

Deborah

 

with. That is so true.

 

Rob

 

There are people who get into it because they think oh, this would be glamorous, or, and I kind of think that the cruise ship industry, the resort industry, and they say this should be done. They work hard in those industries like I’ve I stayed on resorts, and they work really hard. Yes. And it doesn’t take much as a client to reciprocate and say thank you. It’s a big deal, right? So

 

Deborah

 

it is and sometimes in that world, they also deal with very demanding individuals. So knowing how to de escalate situations, requires the right attitude and the right skill set.

 

Rob

 

Yes, it does. And then you get different people like I know, my wife and I last January, did our first trip into Dominican. And we found a waiter in one of the buffets, where we have breakfast every day, that I can guarantee you every morning, he knew what I wanted to drink on my table. He had a table that I like, set aside for me because we were in the buffet when they open. And he was in the Dominican what the waiters do is they make you part of their family. So they treat you like family. Now, it comes back to them in a multitude of ways. But it’s Bob made me feel that way. I kind of looked at my wife and said, You know, I really liked going into this ledger because you treat me well. And then and then you reciprocate. And it’s just, you know, in that industry and it makes you feel special. And that’s what that hospitality industry is all about is being made to feel special, you know?

 

Deborah

 

Yes. Yes. And so because there is again, a lot of parody in Vegas, yeah. Then where do people want to return and you have just given that reason why people go back to the same place and give their money give their business is because of how they were made to feel.

 

Rob

 

And if people would concentrate. And I that to me, it doesn’t matter if it’s the hospitality industry, the marketing industry, the computer industry, the healthcare industry, and they made people feel better, they would reap the rewards of that, like tenfold, wouldn’t it? Yes. So true. It’s funny. So. So you’ve done some work there. Do you have another project that you’ve done that kind of stands out? Are they all pretty similar?

 

Deborah

 

Well, I would say each of my clients are uniquely different in their own way. And part of what I definitely strive to do is to make sure that they don’t feel they’re getting a cookie cutter representation from me that I know them. So something that I try to do with every project is research them, check out their social media feeds, what are they posting? And then also I can sometimes give them recommendations that perhaps they need to beef that up a little bit. And so I tried to find out what is their heartbeat, what is their brand that they are trying to communicate and some do it better than others. So when they know that I have invested myself And then then that comes across as authentic, which is what I want to be always that I’m the real deal. I’m very transparent. And also I’m not trying to artificially schmooze them. So what I have put together another new project, I have a series of books that are going to launch at the end of the year. But part of going back to the word impatience, Rob, people want things fast. So that also includes how quickly people can read things. Oh, I have a mini manners as in M i and i many manners series, which will be very quick reads on a variety of topics on travel etiquette, for instance. And every time I think I have that book finished, I’m on another flight. And someone does something atrocious like put down their tray and change their baby’s diaper on the tray next

 

Rob

 

day. Yeah,

 

Deborah

 

I think okay, that’s going in the book. And then I have one book titled as part of the mini manners series, Las Vegas etiquette is not an oxymoron.

 

Rob

 

So true.

 

Deborah

 

Because the behavior by tourists, by convention ORS who go to Las Vegas, I think you would not behave that way. in your office at home, you would not do some of those things that you do that are now going to be posted on social media.

 

Rob

 

Yeah. And they don’t, they don’t understand that you and I, if they’re going to become one of my clients, when your clients were probably, and my wife is a property manager, so I’ll share that too. We’re up to creeping these people all the time. And I don’t know, creeping right word, but checking up on them. Like I know, for example, my wife, she will check prospective tenants up for to see what their pictures are like, and are they clean? Are they how they act? And yet she says, Wait a minute, maybe your credit check is good. But there’s something here I don’t like and I’ll look at prospective clients and say, in especially in small businesses, is this business fit in with my mindset? And does that work for me kind of thing? And we all so people who think social media and what you’re saying on it, and you’re a big stressor, this, you got to say the right things? I may think people don’t check it. That’s, that’s so true. Yes, they

 

Deborah

 

absolutely check it. Employers check it very thoroughly. Before they hire people. I refer to it as most companies having their own internal social media, police. So they check you out before they hire you. But they also keep track of things once you are on board. Because companies are very self protective, making sure that they don’t have a lawsuit coming right around the corner.

 

Rob

And they happen all the time. Especially in the United States of America. Yes. It says kind of the wind where everybody’s just kind of deals with things in a lawsuit. I hate to say that, but

 

Deborah

 

oh no, it’s a very litigious society. United States Absolutely.

 

Rob

 

Everyone, every you know, we’ve really enjoyed this guy, you know, I have known each other for a long time. And it’s always a pleasure. You know, you’re doing great work. Where can people get a hold da your website, if they want to get in touch with you find out more information about your books when they come out, and so on.

 

Deborah

 

Well, my website, my initials, di t n dash productions.com. And people are always welcome to email me with any questions dtn at DT N dash productions.com. And then on Twitter, I’m dtn etiquette.

 

Rob

 

Yeah, and if I recall, right on your website, isn’t there a signup form where people can sign up for the book when the book is released? So if you’re interested, I would suggest anybody who wants to learn about reputation management or, or building a brand or tweets or what to say what not say probably should go out and buy these books, you know, the work or anything from Deborah’s work to read so take your time, get them and, and thanks, Deborah, and you have a wonderful day and Happy New Year.

 

Deborah

 

Well, Happy New Year to you, Rob. I certainly appreciate you bringing me on and a big Hello to all of your listeners. Thank you again.

 


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