Jim Straw’s Secret to Making Insane Amounts of Money

Let me tell you a true story …

Some years ago, a very dear friend of mine who was retired and living on Social Security came to see me. He had with him a mailorder “drop ship dealer” program he wanted to get involved with and wanted to use some of my mailing list.

The offer he wanted to mail was for a $20 “how to make money” book. The flyer was exceptionally well written and appeared to offer a good value for those who bought the book (I read it). So, I gave my friend 1,000 names and addresses of my customers for his mailing.

About a month later, my wife and I had dinner with my friend and his wife. Over dinner, I asked him how his mailing had done. His response was, “It only pulled 43 orders, so I decided to look for something that sells better.”

I thought nothing more about it until the next day. Sitting at my desk, eating my sandwich for lunch, my wife remarked that it was too bad our friend hadn’t made any money on his mailing. That started me thinking:

Forty three (43) orders on a 1,000 piece mailing … at $20 per order … produced a gross revenue of $860 (86¢ return on every envelope mailed). After sending 50% to the publisher of the book, my friend had a gross profit of $430 (43¢ return on every envelope mailed).

NOT big money … BUT …

Back then, First Class postage was only 10¢ ($100 to mail 1,000 pieces). A 1,000 name mailing list rented for $35. Envelopes were about $14 per thousand. Reply envelopes $8 per thousand. Printing was $16 per thousand. And, reply postage was 14¢ per reply envelope received.

In other words, my friend had spent about $180 (including the $35 list rental he didn’t have to pay me) on his 1,000 piece mailing (18¢ per envelope mailed), to produce a gross profit to him of $430. A net profit of $250 (25¢ for every envelope mailed).

If my friend had put the same $180 back into another 1,000 piece mailing, his profit for the 2,000 pieces would have been $680 … the next 1,000 piece mailing, for a total of 3,000 pieces, would have left $1,110 profit … on and on, building his profits.

The only “out of pocket” money my friend would have spent would have been the first $180. The cost of his future mailings would have been ONLY that same $180, which would have been returned to him again and again on each mailing … to use for more mailings.

After I ran the numbers, my mouth was watering. I called my friend and told him how profitable his mailing had been. But, since he was already involved in something else, he didn’t want to pursue the project. So … I asked him if it would be okay if I pursued it. He agreed.

Unfortunately, when I contacted the publisher, they had discontinued their drop ship program. It seems some of their dealers were collecting the $20 orders and not sending the orders and money to the publisher for fulfillment. To punish those few crooks, the publisher cut-off their own nose … punished all of their dealers for the actions of a few … and eventually went broke from a lack of sales.

Now, if you will re-read (and re-read again) the story about my friend’s involvement in mailorder, you will clearly see how most of us who made millions in mailorder did it and why most people who get involved in mailorder don’t.

While you are re-reading, take note that all of the costs and revenues are stated in “dollars” (or cents). And the costs and revenues are broken down to a “per envelope” dollar value. That’s because all of us who really made money in mailorder didn’t put any value in “percentages.” Our real costs and revenues were calculated in dollars and cents. Remember: 100% of nothing is still nothing.

One of the real secrets to making money in mailorder is to find something (anything) that produces a profit (even a very small profit). Then, keep mailing it … over and over … building a larger and larger customer list. (The same holds true in Internet marketing.)

Dreaming about accidentally hitting that One-Time (lucky) Big Success is part of the intrigue of mailorder … we all did it … but, those of us who really made money in mailorder (every day), didn’t let that dream overcome our on-going profits.

Believe it or don’t, TODAY the opportunities in mailorder are growing bigger and bigger every day because the competition is almost non-existent.

Move a Mountain!

J.F (Jim) Straw — the “500 Million Dollar Man” — will teach you how you can achieve any goal in his #1 best selling book. Get it now!

A Five Star Book for a Five Star Career

power-being-articulate-cover-actionThe Power of Being Articulate: Your Words Can Make You Wealthy and Happy
by Pete Geissler
Non Fiction – Business/Finance
164 Pages
Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite

The Power of Being Articulate – Your Words Can Make You Healthy And Happy by Pete Geissler is a very motivating and inspiring book on how to improve your communication skills. The author speaks about the importance of being articulate to succeed in the current times, and how good communication skills play an important role in one’s growth.

Personally, I found the book immensely motivating. At a time when communicating properly and using the right words have taken a back seat, this book comes as a refreshing change. It emphasizes how important it is to articulate properly. It is a pity that in a high tech world where slang and computer language predominates, the current generation is forgetting how to get their message across properly. The author stresses the importance of language skills, too. He reiterates the fact that to have a good job and be successful, we should put in an effort and improve how we articulate.

The book is based on evidence collected from various sources: anecdotal, empirical and statistical. This evidence also speaks about articulation and how an excellent speaker can be a success at their work place. According to the author, it can even overcome all your problems in relationships too. I would recommend this book to everyone because it is inspiring and it motivates you to improve yourself. It is a guide to success and happy living.

About the Author

Pete Geissler has written more than three million words as a professional writer. He has taught writing at Duquesne University, Carnegie Mellon University, the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Technology Council, and various consulting and manufacturing companies. He can be reached at www.PeteGeissler.com.

4 Stunning Insights from Tracey Jones (That Will Help You to Thrive)

Four years ago this week I made a decision that I knew was coming for the past 45 years. In the words of ole blue eyes, “I’ve lived a life that’s full, I traveled each and ev’ry highway”. But I was ready to travel the biggest unchartered course of all, and ready to no longer be doing things “My Way.” I came home to carry on what my father started.

Here are the top four things I’ve learned over the past four years that have not only kept me alive but actually enabled me to thrive.

  1. It takes time: I recently read a book review on Amazon where the reader stated, “My only disappointment with this book is that it does not offer any real secrets to becoming successful overnight.” That’s right, despite the fact that we live in a society addicted to YouTube videos and reality shows devoid of any reality, there is no such thing as an overnight success. It takes doing things repeatedly for years, sometime decades, or even a lifetime, to gain any traction. If you’re not willing to dedicate your life to sharing your gifts, then you’ve got nothing worth sharing past your 15 minutes of fame. But if you know “why” you are doing what you’re doing, time doesn’t even enter into the equation and you’ll never ask the self-serving question, “how long will it take?”
  2. No one can grow your business but you: If I had a nickel for everyone who promised me they could grow my business I’d have at least $200. The fact is none of them can do this. How do I know? I’ve hired plenty of them to do it! In doing so, I helped them grow their businesses, but after a while I realized they were the only ones in the relationship getting paid. You really are the only one who can truly take yourself to the next level. Sure, you can game the system by timing sales to produce an artificial “bestseller” but that’s not true organic and sustainable growth. I can pay to gain millions of followers on twitter. So what?? Be honest. You do the work. And always remember, if you want it bad, that’s how you’re going to get it, and usually after you paid someone else dearly for it.
  3. Eliminate the waste: My father used to tell me, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Never were truer words spoken. This gem applies to everything in your life. Stay focused on what you do best and to hell with the rest. And the bottom line is that you must produce a bottom line, otherwise you will not remain viable. Waste can come in the form of people that suck your time, drain your resources, and don’t do what you are paying them to do. If they are not with you, they are against you, and it’s time to eliminate them.
  4. The more you give the more you get: My father told me that the more books he gave away the more money he made. I used to assume it was because he was a salesman of unprecedented skill and star quality. But the truth of his point is that freely sharing books and what he learned from them was his way of tithing. You don’t give to get; that’s trading. You give because that is the true meaning of life. And life rewards us when we comply with this gorgeous truth. I have a plaque in the office given to my father thanking him for donating $200,000 to a particular college. I remember wondering if there would ever be a time when we could do that again in a single year. Well guess what? After four years of numerous free speeches, countless giveaways, sponsorships of wonderful people and events, and the publishing of hundreds of thousands of books, we were able to give $189,500 this year alone. Close enough: I’ll take the cigar!

People ask me how I do it. The answer is simple: stay focused, work hard, use discretion, have a purpose, and try new things. If they work continue; if they don’t discontinue.

And that, my tremendous friends, is what I’ve learned in four years!


The original article can be found on Tracey’s blog. You can also leave a comment there.

Tracey C. Jones

Tracey C. Jones

Follow Tracey on Twitter, Linked In, Facebook and her Blog.

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Tracey C. Jones is the president of Tremendous Life Books. Her father, the late Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, started Executive Books for the purpose of changing the world one book at a time. With an exceptional leadership background, Tracey became the company’s new president in 2009 in order to carry on her father’s legacy.

Tracey was born and raised in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. As a high school graduate anxious to see the world, she attended New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, NM, earning an associates degree and an appointment to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 1988, she earned her degree and commission and entered the Air Force as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer. Her first assignment to Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina took her overseas, where she participated in the first Gulf War. Upon her return to the States, Tracey moved to Bitburg Air Base, Germany and then RAF Lakenheath, UK where she honed her operational skills and filled command roles of increasing responsibility.

After twelve years as a commissioned officer, Tracey left the Air Force in 2000 and moved to Austin, Texas working for a top manufacturing firm in the semiconductor industry. There, she continued to develop her skills, this time in the civilian workforce as a project manager. While there, she earned an MBA in Global Management. Tracey recently moved back to Pennsylvania from St. Louis where she most recently was the project manager in charge of a diverse base operations service contract for the government. She is excited to be back in her home state, close to her large family, and humbled to carry on Charlie’s legacy and love for books and for Christ. Tracey enjoys biking, golfing, traveling, spending time with her pets, and of course, reading!!!

Being Tremendous: the Life, Lessons, and Legacy of Charlie “Tremendous” Jones

We could all use a healthy dose of Tremendous this holiday season and Being Tremendous is just the medicine we’ve been looking for! We’ve scoured the archives and created a beautiful, full-color, hardcover book with free DVD that brings Charie Jones, one of the greatest speakers of the last 60 years, to life like never before.

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones rose from a broken home and the squalor of the Great Depression to become a bestselling author, a successful entrepreneur, and one of the top twenty speakers of the 20th century. His speeches and writings, filled with surprising insights and hilarious anecdotes, have changed the lives of thousands and influenced some of the greatest figures of our time.

In true Tremendous fashion, Being Tremendous gathers familiar material along with previously unpublished stories and photos, and a free DVD, to present a portrait of a man who touched countless lives. If you knew Charlie, this book will be a welcome remembrance. If this is your first encounter with him, you are in for a life-changing experience!

Open this book to any page and be immersed in the warmth, wisdom, and humor of Charlie Jones. He reaches out to you in these pages so that you, too, may lead a Tremendous life!

Filled with never-before-published material, Being Tremendous presents page after page of funny, inspiring, informative, and motivating stories accompanied by photos, memorabilia, and QR links to videos from throughout Charlie’s life and career. If you knew Charlie Jones, this book brings him roaring back to life. If you never met him, now is the time to find out what you’ve been missing!

Being Tremendous is a must-read and the perfect Christmas gift for family, friends, business associates, clergy, even yourself! Purchase 50 copies and receive a 50-percent discount, so order now and make it a Tremendous Christmas!

11 Important Facts I Learned That Will Get You Rich (J.F. (Jim) Straw)

Do you want to get rich? I mean, do you really want to get rich?

Here are 11 important facts that I learned in my many years in business that allowed me to make over $500 million.

  1. I learned very early in life that the ONLY way to make money was to “sell” something … either a product or a service … something people wanted or needed — or do something for them they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, do for themselves.
  2. I learned to “make do” with what I had until I could get what I needed to do a better job.
  3. I learned that I had to do anything necessary (but legal) to get to where I wanted to be, even if I didn’t like doing it. Especially if I didn’t like doing it! You must do ANYTHING you need to do before you can do what you want to do.
  4. I learned to never ask anyone to do anything for me that I wasn’t willing to do myself. Everyone who has ever worked with me has taught me about what they have done for me and how they did it. After a while, I could do it, too — but maybe not as well as they did.
  5. I learned to “pay” for what I wanted. If I couldn’t afford it, I saved-up to be able to afford it. (Sometimes if seemed like forever.)
  6. I learned that no matter how long it took to achieve my goal (whatever it was), it would have been just as long if I hadn’t persisted, but I would have accomplished nothing.
  7. I learned that NOTHING is as easy or as fast as it should be. It only gets easier and faster when you know how to really do it — and learning how to really do it is just a matter of doing it over and over and over until you finally find out how it works. Of course, if you give up after the first (second, third, or fourth) try, you’ll never do it.
  8. I learned most of what I know from my mistakes and failures. My successes never taught me anything. They were only based upon what I had learned from my mistakes and failures. (That’s why those who are afraid to make mistakes, or fail, never achieve the success they desire.)
  9. I learned that my most prized possessions were my customers. People who, directly or indirectly, paid for my lunch every day. (That’s why, unlike my contemporaries, I reply to my customers emails personally.)
  10. I learned that “money” is NOT an end unto itself — it is only a way of keeping score. (The saddest people in the world are those who are forever chasing the almighty dollar — and the vast majority of them have no real respect for money.)
  11. I learned to ASK for what I wanted or needed — and to graciously accept a “NO” as readily as a “YES.”

YES … you can get rich. But you’ll have to do it yourself. No one will do it for you!

I get tickled by people who want to start at the top of the ladder. For some unknown reason, they honestly believe they are better than I am, since I had to start on the bottom rung and climb up one rung at a time.

When I mention the above, I often hear “Yeah, I could do that, but it will take too much time. I need money now — and I don’t want to just make a little money, I want to get rich.”

Sorry, you’ll have to start where I started. Do what you need to do to make a little money. Then, do more and more of it to make more and more money. As you make more and more money, the greater the opportunities you will have to make even more money. Nothing succeeds like success … even small success.

The more things you don’t want to do, the fewer and fewer things you will do — until you are doing as most people do: NOTHING but dreaming!

I can teach you “how” to do it, but you won’t get it until you actually start doing it yourself.

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Move a Mountain!

J.F (Jim) Straw — the “500 Million Dollar Man” — will teach you how you can achieve any goal in his #1 best selling book. Get it now!


Putting in the Time (Gerry Visca, Canada’s Creative Coach®)

As I sit here in my creative studio, I gaze outside and marvel at the spectacular day in front of me. I can’t help but observe the growth of the ivy that continues to envelop my house. It has now managed to weave its way along the perimeter of my porch. Somehow it has achieved what it set out to do: artlessly grow! It puts in the time — daily, weekly and monthly. Its focus is centered on one key objective: continual growth. It maneuvers itself forward towards the light, slowly blanketing each bit of surface.

The audiences that I inspire often comment, “Gerry, it’s easy for you to create. It comes naturally to you. You’re a super achiever.”

My audiences only witness the final product: a new book; an article; a magazine; an audio recording or a new presentation.

What they don’t see is the perspiration and the daily discipline behind the curtains.

Have you ever driven past a new subdivision that appears to suddenly spring out from the ground? We underestimate the tremendous effort involved in its creation. So many of us are infatuated with the future as a destination for happiness and peace. We also overlook the beauty and the wonderment that is directly in front of us. We can’t speed up the future no matter how hard we try; similarly, we can’t force a plant to grow no matter how much we will it to.

What you can control is the daily, weekly, and monthly actions that you intend for yourself in the present.

What I know for certain is that we all have a life purpose — and when you fixate on “putting in the time” you will uncover your true potential and you’ll help others live “in-spirit” with their why — the true path to being inspired.

At the end of 2008, I declared to myself — and then to the world — that I was going to live a life of inspiration. My life goal became aligned with a purpose of inspiring one million people to action across 33 countries. In the past 3 years, I have put in time and taken incredible action through the delivery of a myriad of inspirational presentations, publications, articles, and events.

As I leaned into my life purpose with determination, passion, and enthusiasm, I discovered I was able to shift my perspective of time. Through this process, I have managed to achieve greater results in far less time. My process consists of daily visualization combined with stillness of mind. I focus on harnessing new levels of energy and I align action with tremendous belief. When you create with this new mindset, then anything is possible.

Plato argued that time is constant and life is the illusion. Einstein noted that our understanding of time is based on its relationship to our environment. He further noted that the faster you move the slower time moves. Reality is merely an illusion albeit a very persistent one. There is no difference between past, present, and future time.

As I continue to live a life in-spirit, deeper levels of awareness for what I can “shift” have opened up. I have become fascinated with two significant concepts: The ability to create in less time and the power to completely re-create oneself.

For example, what used to take me a year to create now only takes several weeks. How is this possible? If time is an illusion, then I have demonstrated that we are the only ones that determine just how long it will take to reach a goal. As I continued to step into my greatness, discomfort and challenge presented itself. The more discomfort, the more disciplined and focused I became. I recognized the power in the statement: energy flows where my attention goes. I allocated energy towards what I wanted. When fear presented itself, I focused on what I could control by visualizing the end result of all that I was creating and taking action through creation.

My Process of Creation:

Imagine it
Believe it
Take daily action
Receive it

Putting in the time for me means living a disciplined program that starts at 5:45 am with my hour of personal power. Thirty-five minutes of physical exercise followed by 25 minutes of stillness and meditation. I quickly recognized that I needed to harness new levels of energy, so I adopted a new diet that included healthy smoothies, juicing, an explosion of greens and supplements from Usana Health Sciences. I carve out the time with very specific coaching days so I can pour myself into select clients who are on a path of doing great things. I continue to allocate writing days with a goal of publishing 17 books and producing monthly articles, tips, and inspirational audio productions.

Over the past three years I have reached incredible milestones, however this year has been the most impactful for me to date. I truly believe that when you are living your life “on purpose,” you reach a state of flow. As I write these words and glance at my past books, I ask myself, “When did I produce all of this? Was it me or something more powerful working through me?”

Everything that I do whether it’s writing, recording, coaching, extracting, presenting or inspiring everything is aligned with my why: to creatively inspire people and ideas to action.

This year was by far one of the most challenging — and equally the most fulfilling — times filled with tremendous personal and professional growth. Audiences often feel that inspirational speakers and authors like us never endure discomfort, sadness or fear. Well, let me set the record straight, we are human just like you. This year I was presented with some of the most life-challenging situations. In spite of these challenges, I managed to write over 1,000 pages, publish two books, produce 100 articles and tips, record over 50 audio and video productions, launch a 24-page glossy magazine, launch 12 major events and creatively coach 25 amazing DEFYENEURS, my inspired breed of entrepreneurs.

This year, I have even experienced a deeper and richer love. I spend more quality time with my two amazing daughters and travelled to 12 incredible destinations with my life partner.

This is your time to uncover your why and achieve your goals by putting in the time. Here is how you begin:

1. Go to the art store today, purchase a canvass, and paint that beautiful art that has remained dormant in your mind.
2. Get some clay and sculpt that magnificent form that has always been there.
3. Write that manuscript, regardless of what you think of it.
4. Draft that article and send it to a magazine publication for consideration.
5. Download an audio recording program and produce your first cd-rom with those beautiful poems and songs that you have stored in the abyss of your soul.
6. Stop what are you doing this very moment and grab your loved one sitting next to you and embrace them with the most passionate kiss ever.
7. Spend time with an expert in the field and ask them thought provoking questions to kick start your dreams.
8. Begin to THINQ and live a daily powerful question like: What would make this the biggest and the best year and live it for thirty days.

Keep putting in the time. You are the architect of your life if you don’t design it, then someone else will.

20120906-175620.jpgGerry Visca, Canada’s Creative Coach®
International Speaker | Author | Consultant
RedchairTM Branding

Thought + Action = Success! (Jawara D. King)

Thought and action are two major forces that rule the entire universe. Thoughts are of the abstract universe, while action is of the physical world. Only when these two forces are combined will the invisible become reality. The power of the universe to create and manifest your desires lies in propelling your thoughts with action.

Those who visualize without corresponding action are unaware of the fundamental steps to ultimate success. Action, planning, and perseverance are needed for your thought or idea to be materialized. Your thoughts become part of your reality through your actions. The power of thought and action is the inner power we all have to improve or make a life change in all areas of our lives. Thought and action are two forces available to us, which when intelligently combined, manifest our desires.

Only thought plus action equals success. There is no easy way out.

Take charge of your future by thinking, planning, and acting to accomplish your dreams. Positive changes in one’s life won’t come without a decent amount of effort.

Many people are taught to dream and imagine a better life, but fail for lack of decisive action. Life works by being clear on what you want, drawing up plans, then taking massive action. Conceive an idea, set goals, then form your desires in the physical through hard work. Failure to act is the wall that holds many back. You sabotage positive changes in your life when you refuse to take action.

Begin by making a list of specific steps you can take daily to bring you closer to the outcome you want to create. Utilize the power of positive thought by positively thinking about the outcome, but don’t stop there. Decide exactly what actions you can take to bring you closer to it. Create a clear roadmap to the outcome by writing goals down, reviewing them every day, and forming decisive action steps to stay on the right track.

Success involves consistent decision making. While working to make changes in your life, you must choose actions resulting in what you’re working on creating.

Develop a deeper level of awareness about your own actions to avoid gravitating toward unproductive actions. Choosing the right actions involves consistent effort and focus. Know exactly what to focus on each day. As you develop your daily plan of action, remain dedicated, focused, and very consistent with it.

Action is the key to manifestation. If you want to manifest a job, you can’t just visualize and wait for the universe to bring it to you. The manifestation process involves searching for it yourself while thinking positively. The law of attraction is not waiting for things to happen and not doing anything yourself. Action-oriented people get results while others wait for their manifestations to appear. Positive thinking alone won’t change our lives. Simply visualizing and wanting something is not enough! James 2:26 says, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

Jawara D. King

About this Article’s Author: Jawara King is a full-time author, philosopher, researcher, and writer, working in the metaphysical and spiritual fields. As a contemporary spiritual teacher, he conveys the timeless profound messages of the ancient spiritual masters of all traditions. His works blend physics, spiritual philosophy, Eastern wisdom, and mystical Christianity with life-changing results. Jawara’s foundational teachings bring together insights from a range of spiritual paths to form a spiritually global coherent practice; guiding thousands of people to transform their lives through one of the greatest teachings in the world today. He has written five self-improvement books outlining the philosophical and spiritual framework necessary to bring forth a spiritual awakening in the real world.

Tackling Questions with Confidence (Judie Fertig Panneton)

When I teach public speaking classes to California workers, I remind them how important it is to listen to an entire question before offering an answer. It’s human nature to guess where a question is headed as it is being asked, but it’s not in anyone’s best interest.

A perfect example of how jumping to conclusions can steer you in the wrong direction is demonstrated in a conversation between media mogul Oprah Winfrey and actor/writer Tina Fey during an Oprah Winfrey Show episode. Fey asked Winfrey, “If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, in the history of the world,” Fey begins, “What would you order?”

Winfrey, taken by surprise, pauses, laughs, and answers, “I would probably you know, have Jesus over for fried chicken,” Oprah says. “That would be great.”

Unexpected questions provoke a few laughs in the right situations and enormous fear in others.

There are some tips, however, to make questions less scary and to help you feel in control:

  • DO YOUR HOMEWORK:  Whenever you’re preparing a speech, think of the questions that you expect to be asked. How about the ones that make you a little weak in the knees?  Write them down and add the answers so that you can practice to keep your messages as clear and concise as possible.
  • SET THE RULES FOR QUESTIONS FROM THE START:  Envision the question-and-answer period ahead of time. Do you want questions while you’re speaking or after?  Let people know from the start and whether there are time limits.  Ground rules like those help everyone stay on the same page.
  • TREAT QUESTIONS WITH RESPECT AND COURTESY:  This rule pertains to the questions you like and the ones that you’re not particularly fond of. You stay in control when don’t take questions personally. Don’t judge a question. Answer it.
  • REPEAT THE QUESTION:  By repeating the question, it assures you heard it correctly, offers an opportunity to stand corrected, is a courtesy to others so that they hear it right, and it buys you some extra time to craft an answer.
  • STORYTELLER QUESTIONS:  To prevent someone from telling a story before asking a question, when calling on someone, try talk show host Larry King’s method of asking, “Your question please?”

Also, never let the questioner hold the microphone because if you do, that person will have control.  (You don’t want to get into an amplified wrestling match.)

  • CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC: Acknowledge in your presentation that some people may disagree with some thoughts on the topic. Then, if there are hostile questions, remember that the hostility is about the topic, not about you.
  • TURN THE TABLES:  If your answer to a question is not satisfactory to the person in the audience who won’t let it go, turn the tables and ask, “Do you have some of your own thoughts on that question?”  Giving a person a chance to air his/her thoughts, might be enough to keep things calm and the session flowing.
  • INSINUATING QUESTIONS: When a questioner insinuates that, for example, your timetable for adopting a new policy is too lengthy, sidestep the questioner’s judgment and dive into the reasoning for the timetable’s schedule.
  • IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER:  Be honest.  Don’t guess.  No one’s perfect.  Offer to provide an answer if the person will contact you at the email address or phone number you provide.
  • UNASKED QUESTIONS:  If there’s a question that you think should have been asked but was not, offer it yourself without insulting your audience.  Instead of saying something like, “I’m surprised no one asked this question…,” say, “Here’s another question that may be helpful….”
  • TIME’S UP:  End a question-and-answer period on a positive note.  Avoid phrases like, “I guess there aren’t any more questions,” or “Since we’re out of time….”

Choose instead something like, “Thank you for your thoughtful questions and if you have more in the future, here’s how you can reach me…”

  • KEEP THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE: Answering questions is an opportunity for you to show what you know and to demonstrate your skills as a communicator.

Remember, public speaking and answering questions can be seen as either a burden or an opportunity. How are they be viewed by you?


Judie PannetonJudie Fertig Panneton is a published author and an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years experience in newspapers, magazines, television and radio. She is a first-generation American. Her father was born in Holland; her mother in Poland.

She has written two books based on a collection of stories. Her latest is PROUD AMERICANS: GROWING UP AS CHILDREN OF IMMIGRANTS.

The Eagle Has Landed

Today, July 20, marks the greatest day in human history. On this day over forty years ago, a lone figure descended a small ladder and stepped onto a world never  before touched by a human being.

That man was Neil Armstrong.

The world he touched was the Moon.

For eons, since they could bend their necks and wonder at the lights that shined at night, humans have held the Moon in awe. Tales were told. Legends were formed. The human mind imagined and speculated and, yes, even feared.

What was it? From where did it come? Of what was it made? Was there anybody or anything there?

The questions were endless. The answers were limited. The fascination grew.

Then, in Houston, Texas in 1962, President John F. Kennedy threw down the gauntlet.

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

The decision was made. The challenge was accepted. The goal was set.

We would land a man on the Moon and return him safely to his earthly home. This would be done because it would marshall the best within us as a species. Because it was hard. Because it was a seemingly insurmountable task.

It wasn’t only crazy, it was absurd.

Yet, less than ten years later, video images were transmitted from a craft that had recently alit upon a barren landscape 238,900 miles from our blue Earth. The grey images showed an almost ghostly figure slowly exit the safety of his vehicle. For the first time a man would truly become a spaceman.

Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon. “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.”

Those words even forty years later continue to stir the soul. They evince the hopes and feelings and desires of every person about the human experience — how even the highest of peaks can be climbed and attained.

One small step. One giant leap.

With every small step we as individuals take, we move not only ourselves forward. We also move each other. The poet John Donne wrote

“No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.”

The actions we take, the goals we attain, the peaks we climb and surpass, they are all done by individuals — and we all benefit from them.

The men and women, the thousands of individuals who worked on the Apollo program, each contributed his or her best to make the dreams of our furthest ancestors manifest into reality. From the wicked mind of Wehner von Braun who designed the rocket that would propel the three astronauts beyond Earth’s grasp to the chain-smoking technicians who manned the consoles in Houston to the workmen who lathed each part of the ship and its components, each delivered the best they had. And each small part composed a giant whole.

A whole that would mark mankind’s greatest triumph.

What are your goals and dreams and aspirations?

What is the best that you have to offer?

Whatever they are, reach for them. As those three men — Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins — escaped the bounds of Earth and did what many thought impossible, you too can achieve your dreams.

On this July 20th, take a few moments to watch a video of the historic Moon landing. Let it sink in that humans did this — from thoughts and ideas to actions and deeds to steps and giant leaps.

Be inspired by it and know that whatever it is, so long as you set your mind to it and apply yourself, you can achieve it.

Keys to Success Learned from the Children of Immigrants (Judie Fertig Panneton)

Proud Americans by Judie PannetonWould you believe that a successful surgeon and the person who was the brains behind the fundraising breast cancer postage stamp felt like an underdog when he was growing up in America?

It’s true! Dr. Ernie (Balazs) Bodai, who came to the America from Hungary when he was eight, remembers how tough it was for his family to start a new life in this country. When Dr. Bodai’s family arrived in Ithaca, New York, after escaping from Communist-held Budapest, he said they had no money, only the clothes on their backs, and no comprehension of English, let alone American culture.

“We felt alone, desperate, scared, and hopeful, all at the same time,” he remembers.

His father, who had two PhDs, had to work as a janitor to support his family. By the time Dr. Bodai was a teenager, he dreamed of attending one of the best high schools in the area.  The problem was, his teachers told him they didn’t think he’d get in, insinuating he was “lesser than” because of being an immigrant and a child of immigrants. The same thing happened when he aspired to attend the University of California, Davis, Medical School and when he proposed a fundraising breast cancer postage stamp to raise money for research.

Each time, he didn’t let others’ opinions and negative messages dissuade him from reaching all of those goals.

Dr. Bodai’s Success Lesson:  Don’t let others block your path and stay focused on what you want to achieve.

Another successful child of immigrants, Pete Carril, a basketball Hall of Fame coach, has learned some success lessons of his own that he shares with basketball players.

Carril grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the son of Spanish immigrants. His father worked endless hours in the steel mills.

“Use your head,” Carril remembers his father saying to him and his sister as he headed out the door each day on his way to work.

Carril has passed on his father’s lessons to the basketball players he’s coached over the years, including those at Princeton.  He told the players that their parents shouldn’t have to worry about them doing things they couldn’t be proud of.

“What do you stand for?” is a question Carril has often asked all of the players – from college to those on National Basketball Association teams.

It’s  more than a game of sports to Carril.  It’s as much a matter of, too.

Coach Carill’s Success Lesson:  Use your head and have good values and a solid character when living your life and dealing with others.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the son of Italian immigrants, grew up in Monterey, California and remembers washing dishes when he was five years old in his parents’ restaurant. Panetta says being a hard worker was an important value in his home while growing up. Making a better life for his family and others was another one.

Panetta has had (and continues to have) an impressive career with many distinguished job titles, including lawyer, former Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, former C.I.A. Director, and founder of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy at California State University, Monterey.

The father of three sons, one of whom is a doctor and two of whom are lawyers, Panetta is proud of his immigrant past and mentions it in all of his speeches.

Secretary Panetta’s Success Lessons:  Work hard, have discipline, be honest, help others, and remember that life isn’t a bowl of cherries.

Dr. Stella Dariotis is a Sacramento, California dentist, whose Greek parents owned a restaurant in Alma, Michigan. They taught her the importance of family, hard work, and staying connected your roots. Dr. Dariotis is the mother of two sons. Like her, they have learned to speak Greek.  The Greek Church and Greek holidays and festivals have always been an important part of their lives.

“I am an American of Greek descent; an American first and foremost. But I can’t separate the Greek part of me,” she shares.

Dr. Dariotis’ Success Lesson:  Honor your family’s heritage because it can give you insight into who you are and propel you to create a rich life for yourself and for others.

It was an honor to interview the over 40 people in the book about people who grew up as children of immigrants in America. They’ve had to learn how to be successful in life and to be leaders in their homes as they serve as a bridge to American ways for their parents.

Talk to an immigrant or a child of immigrants and I predict that you’ll meet some of the most interesting and patriotic people you’d ever want to know.

I’m proud to be an American and a child of immigrants and I’m forever thankful that my parents chose America as our home as they escaped persecution.

Rebuilding lives and creating dreams with lives filled with possibilities is what immigrants and children of immigrants are fortunate to do in America. Often, these people remind those who were born here that everyone who lives here has that opportunity.

As Tony Xiong, one of ten children of Laotian immigrants, told me, even though his father died when he was 11 and two of his brothers were in gangs and they didn’t have much food to eat in the two-bedroom apartment they shared, America has been a great place for his family. Xiong wants to be a police officer and has graduated from college with a degree in criminal justice.

“I am glad I grew up in the United States, because here you have basically everything you need. All you have to do is find a job, work, save, and build a future.”


Judie PannetonJudie Fertig Panneton is a published author and an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years experience in newspapers, magazines, television and radio. She is a first-generation American. Her father was born in Holland; her mother in Poland.

She has written two books based on a collection of stories. Her latest is PROUD AMERICANS: GROWING UP AS CHILDREN OF IMMIGRANTS.