Sunday, December 26, 2010

Movie Madness

Movie Reviews: The Good, The Strange & The Chick Flicks

Ah the holidays! Movies, eat, movies, eat, movies... Yes, there were gifts and traditions and much laughter and joy but oh those movies. So you know I saw "Black Swan" being the dancer I am but psycho-sexual gory thrillers are not what I go to the ballet for. Then there was the proverbial chick flick "How Do You Know". I know this is not worth seeing as I am the queen of chick flicks and well, let's just say, this does not meet the ultra high standards of most, kidding, kidding. OK, so let's try "The Tourist" with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. I actually really liked this movie. I'm not sure why everyone is so ga ga for Depp when I couldn't take my eyes off the spectacular beauty of Jolie...and I'm not gay. Then capped off the holidays with "The Kids Are Alright", speaking of gay, it's about a Lesbian couple and their family and was a fabulous movie with Annette Bening and what's her name, oh for Pete's sake, look it up, I'm too tired to, I've watched too many movies and eaten too much food.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Black Swan...are you kidding me?

OK, I love Natalie Portman and she should definitely win the Oscar for this performance but...I don't know what you call this, erotic, violent, stranger than fiction movie. I sorta knew but was drawn to it due to my dance background. Yes, like all young dancers I aspired to be a prima ballerina. Well, I got the prima but not the ballerina part:-) My neck and legs did not grow as long as they needed to be instead I got shapely and more conducive to jazz, tap and eventually Latin Dance that I did and still do. So dear readers, if I were to recommend a movie during this heavy holiday movie season, this would not be the one. I think I'll stick to Miracle on 34th St. The Gen X's are saying, what?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Your Network is Important to Your Net Worth

So just where exactly did networking come from?

I'm giving a speech on networking tomorrow and it's all fresh in my head and wondering where your head is in regard to that topic? We hear so much about "social networking" that many of us have lost the art and science of "human networking", a trend that dates back to the 1980's when first initiated in NYC. A YIPPIE turned YUPPIE stockbroker names Jerry Rubin went to the owner of the hip nightclub, Studio 54, Steve Rubell and suggested being the club didn't open till midnight and NYC was the mecca of businesspeople leaving work at 5 everyday, why not throw them in a room with a little cheap wine and cheese and see what would result. Perhaps a business deal or the very least a date. That was the origin of networking.

We've come a long way, baby as the saying goes and those of us, "moi" who have practiced this skill know it is THE way to build a business and then some. I can honestly say that most of my entrepreneurial endeavors are the result of networking. So get on out there and meet people, connect, set goals, form reciprocal relationships, be tenacious and enhance your net worth.

If you're interested in hearing more of my tips on networking, here is an article I wrote that appeared in Success Track magazine. Check it out!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Happy Cooker

Yes, that was the name of my catering business, were you expecting something ordinary? Well, she's in full bloom today. Having a party tomorrow for all the Vistage Chairs, mostly men, so making a "manly menu". Multi-tasking while cooking, I'm decorating the tree, it's purple, btw, again were you expecting red and green, now reallllllllllly and watching the travel channel profile the world's best beaches while enjoying my domestic goddess side, which much to many surprises, I love to do. That could have been the longest run on sentence ever. Entertain, cook, decorate my home, life is good:-) Have an outrageous week!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Movie Mania

I did a triple this week...Morning Glory with Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford, Burlesque with Cher and Christina Aguilera and Love and Other Drugs with Jake Gylenthal and Anne Hathaway.

Now I love chick flicks but...Morning Glory was just OK with a thin plot line around two on air anchors who hate each other and the young ingenue trying to save the station.

Love and Other Drugs could have been a soft porn rating, altho' I really didn't mind staring at Jake's buff bod' for two hours altho' shocked that li'l Miss Princess Diary, Anne was all boobalicious throughout. Entertaining and somewhat depressing storyline but not much more.

And then there was Burlesque. Oh c'mon...Cher !!!!! She's not a one name icon for nuttin'. She's as gorgeous as ever, who cares about the plastic surgery, at 66, her bod' is one for the record books. OK OK, airbrushing, photoshop not withstanding, she is can do wrong with this viewer. I am a Cher, Bette, Barbra stalker:-) AND I think Christina deserves the Oscar the way Jennifer Hudson did for her first singing/acting role...astoundingly fantastic. So Gene Shalit, eat your heart out, that's my 2 cents and I'm stickin' to it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Puttin' On the Elysian

Had a great time being the emcee for EO's (that's Entrepreneur's Organization) for their fashion show and oh so much more. The whirlwind behind all this is one Julie Northcutt, entrepreneur extraordinaire. It was held at the new gorgeous upscale Elysian Hotel in Chicago and the CEO, David Pisor kicked off the classy event with a great speech on his background and his vision for this new brand. There are apartments (if you can call an 8M home on top of a hotel as such) that have monthly taxes of 12k, that caused quite an audience gasp. After the fashion show, we were all treated to fabulous food and drink, dancers, makeup tables, jewelry displays, it was a tour de force in luxury (right up my proverbial alley:-) They filmed it live to a global audience of EO members and now posted it on YouTube...if you are so inclined
At this Thanksgiving time, I am truly so thankful for the amazing opportunities I have been afforded through my various careers as a speaker, coach, consultant, Vistage Chair along with the people I have met, the places I have gone (I sound like Dr. Seuss) and the blessings of sharing these experiences in the hopes of inspiring others to live life outrageously.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

MIrror Mirror on the Wall

Who do you look like after all? I have been plagued, OK maybe that's too strong a word, I have been taken for someone else my whole adult life. Now mind you, they are all people I am happy to have been taken for but sometimes I wonder what is it about that look-a-like phenomenon? I was at dinner tonight and did the same thing to my dinner companion.

Now if you've heard me speak you know I've been taken for Barbra Streisand, with dark hair, Lainie Kazan, now as a blonde, Suzanne Somers, Dolly Parton (I wish:-) and always no matter the hair color, my shero, Bette Midler who I truly believe is one of the most talented people on the planet.

What's my point? There is none, who said I had to have one, lol?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Whether or Weather?

Just got back from San Diego where arguably they have the greatest weather in the country. I returned home to a gorgeous Fall Sunday in Chicago. Have you noticed that the WEATHER is often the predictor of WHETHER or not you do things... well it is for me.

I don't know if I suffer from SAD Seasonal Affected Disorder or just feel so inspired to do things in and outside when it's so beautiful weather wise. OK, so my BFF got me MBT's and if you don't know what those sneakers are...they are the first physiological footwear that has a positive effect on the whole body. I walked miles in them today and my whole body a good way...I think. So enough of this, I need to go soak in a hot bath but can't decide "whether" to do that or just go sit outside and enjoy the great crisp "weather".

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shoe Be Doo Story

I have an annual Shoe-per Bowl party in February but to augment my penchant for shoes I just had a Design-Your-Own-Shoes party with 30 fabulous women. Thanks to pal Merit Gest (now in Denver, formerly of Chicago) who knows, as you all do, my love of shoes. She sent me an article from the Business Journal about Kate Friedman’s Atelier Shoes parties. Being the proactive gal I am, I immediately called Kate and she flew in for my event. When you get a bunch of savvy, great looking, smart females together for networking, food and shoes you get quite the energy buzz. So much so that my male neighbor came crashing in, lol.
Naturally we had a Halloween theme as it was that weekend and I made trick or treat goodie bags for the gals to take home filled with a ghost shaped bath gel and some homemade chocolate chip cookies. I served lots of wines and Prosecco, candied apples from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory - like S’mores, Snickers, English Toffee, all devoured by my guests. Gal pals also loved the fabulous mini cupcakes from Flirty Cupcakes (at the intersection of ooh and aah). We mixed, we mingled, we shared, we shopped, we ate and a good time was had by all.
As I always ask my Vistage members, "And what did you learn from this experience?”
I learned not to have a party that ends at 1AM when you have to get up the next day at 5AM for a flight to NYC.
For those of you who want to custom design and order your own shoes, or have your own shoe party, go to Kate’s website, put in the code mikki and order away (no, that does not mean I am buying them for you). And for you men who read this column (and I know you do) what a unique and great gift certificate for the holidays.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Love NY...NOT!!!

OK before I offend all you New Yawkr's, I am a recovering one...born and bred...BUT... I'm here this weekend to do a gig in New Joisey so stayed a night in Manhattan to see "the son". This is why I live in Chicago (my kinda town, thank you, Frank). NY is noisy, dirty, people are unfriendly, things are ridiculously costly...OK, OK, I generalize but here's what set me off. Jason and I stop in for lunch at Oscar's Brasserie, granted it was mid-town, our first mistake but I was short on time and it was opposite my hotel. We participated in the cold salad buffet and I had an ice tea and one refill of my ice tea. Ta Da...the bill. $78.00 friggin' dollars...$9.00 per ice tea, now reallllllllllly. It's actually insulting. So much for my rant...have an outrageous week and if you happen to be lucky enough to be in Chicago, we'll refill the ice tea for free:-)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

You all know I'm an "experience junkie" and proud of it:-) Can't believe this was only my first time in Big Sur, CA. WOW! The ride up to my hotel which was a mega-wow itself was awesome and frightening (check the link, that was my room in the second picture, not too shabby, ay?) Winding road, not a lot of embankment to the cliffs and ocean below as we went up and up, I was in awe and OK, a little white knuckling. The last time I experienced that was the ride up to Breckenridge in CO and up to Santorini in Greece.

Big Sur, California | Mikki Williams Blog
Big Sur, CA
I have been awestruck by scenery before that brought me to tears like the first time I stood and gazed up at the Canadian Rockies. This was also magnificent. Nature has a way of utterly leaving me breathless and longing to see more and more of our world's wonders.

I did seven cities in seven days this week while having a horrendous cold but I still can't help feeling blessed by the places I go, the people I meet and the experiences I have and yes, the air travel sucks but I'm a glass full kinda' gal and would rather focus on the first part.

What are you thankful for today? What do you feel blessed with in good fortune beyond money?
What takes your breath away and leaves you awestruck?


Monday, October 18, 2010

You Won't Want to Miss This Special Event

Don't forget this special event this Wednesday October 20th. Free and open to the public. Just register here.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Show Must Go On!

Picture you're sick with a really bad cold or maybe it's the flu. Now picture getting on an airplane with that congested head. Now picture getting up and giving a three hour speech every day for a week from NY to DC to NJ to WI to RI to TX to IL. Welcome to the week that my life. I'm actually still in it but Sudafed, Nyquil, Benadryl, Ibuprofen, Vitamin C, Emergen C, Airborne, Alka Seltzer Cold and a few other OTC remedies have been my trusted traveling companions...ah my glamourous life.

On retreat with my executive group this past weekend, the speaker asked us each one thing we were appreciative of, other than family. I said, "I'm appreciative of the blessings of my career that allow me to travel to fabulous places, reconnect with old friends, inspire audiences, stay in luxurious accommodations and create memories"...when I'm healthy:-)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Yawker in Texas!

Mikki Williams & Sam Jones | Mikki Williams BlogSam Jones, Vistage Chair-extraordinaire, held his retreat at the YO Ranch, "Africa in Texas," a 40,000-acre exotic hunting ranch. This was mty second visit to the ranch, and it's not exactly my typical Ritz experience (check out my bed-mate at right!).Bed Bug Close Up | Mikki Williams, CSP
I don't attend many meetings where the client yells to the crowd during the meal, "Who wants to shoot after breakfast?"

At the meeting, I had to laugh when I saw Koosh Balls | Mikki Williams, Professional Speakerkoosh balls (that I also have on the table at my own meetings), but these were Texas-size!

I got to go on my own private safari where I Mikki Williams kissing a Giraffekissed a giraffe, goat and camel, and fed a longhorn. I felt like Billy Crystal in "City Slickers."
YO Ranch, Texas

Bull at YO Ranch, Texas | Mikki Williams

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hair Apparent

Hair Discrimination

You've heard about age, gender, religious discrimination but what about hair discrimination? Now, I've lived with this my whole life and it never ceases to amaze me that people can make judgments about you based on that.

I remember when my son was in his teens, had long hair (beautiful, I may add) because he was a singer, it was the style, yet he had a hard time getting jobs as people assumed because of his long hair, he was a druggie or a hippie or something ridiculous. Hair discrimination! I've always had "big" hair and people therefore assume all kinds of things about me...ha, you're thinking of some right now:-)

Blonde jokes, big hair, long hair, none of which define the person, only the person with the judgment.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

...but it's dry heat!

Yes, I was in AZ this week where it was 105, now back at my FL digs where it's 85. OK, enough of this "but it's dry heat", well it may be dry but you could fry an egg on the pavement and in my humble opinion, people who live in that dry heat, look parched and old so give me good ol' humid Fl, bugs and all, at least I'll have younger moisturized skin.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another Exciting and Informative Tele-Conversation TOMORROW!

For a Conversation with Mikki and AmyK Hutchens
Staying Motivated and Profitable in a Lousy Market
TOMORROW! September 29th at 12:00 Noon CST

With over 700 presentations to 20,000+ executives in 7 countries, AmyK is a quick-witted provocateur, stimulating new ideas and connections for your personal and professional profit! And while she's definitely a brain geek, she's capable of letting her hair down, whisking off her glasses and sipping on a great Chardonnay while she shares exactly how the brain comes up with creative ideas for that next incredible Eureka! A fun speaker and storyteller, (AmyK's energy could light up a city and I'm not talking Smallville) with a 100 mph personality, she helps business leaders with innovative sales and leadership strategies. AmyK believes that success happens one conversation at a time, so join us for this fun and intriguing conversation and ignite your brilliance!
to get the call-in info

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chivalry is Not Dead!

Chivalry is alive and well thanks to the US Army!

I had the pleasure of meeting 2 Star Major General Vinny Boles this summer through a referral. Since then he has become my friend, my mentee, my peer and my inspiration. If it's the Army that produces nice, warm, welcoming, polite, chivalrous men like that, then everyone should sign up at birth.

Chivalry is Not dead | Mikki Williams blog

I can't remember when I have experienced such manners, of the ol' fashioned kind, like opening doors, pulling out a seat AND waiting to push it in, standing when you come back to the table, walking on the outside of the street...and I'm sure if there was a puddle, he'd be laying his jacket over it for me to walk across.

Maybe it's because I'm a July 4th baby that I'm so patriotic towards Vinny, maybe it's simply nice to know that chivalry is not dead. Whatever it is, I'm all for it. Go Army!!!

~ Mikki (Be outrageous!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Planners' Favorite Speakers

So exciting to be named one of the best speakers by Meetings and Conventions Magazine, July edition! And I'm in unbelievable company - among them: Tony Robbins, Bill Gates, Rudy Giuliani, Colin Powell, Lou Holtz, Zig Ziglar, Mike Ditka, Jay Leno...and ME! It's so gratifying to get this kind of recognition for doing something I love so much. I am an immeasurably lucky gal!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Girl and The Goat

OK, OK, so it's the hottest restaurant in Chicago, so the chef won some cooking show, so it takes forever to get a reservation so......being the foodie I am, I just had to go. They had me at the menu...but not in a good way. I think I became a vegetarian that night. I do not want to see a menu that is divided into sections that say, appetizers, breads, animals. Animals, yikes!

If that wasn't disheartening enough, the menu items consisted goat balls, pig face wrapped in tongue...had enough. I did! My friend and I left skid marks and had a stomach ache the next day for the little we did consume...smoked duck stuffed shrimp, trust me, we struggled to find something that didn't make us gag.

The irony of it all was coming back from a weekend trip to the largest working ranch in the country and falling in love with a pygmie goat named Li'l Murph. You heard the song, "I kissed a girl"? Well, I kissed a goat!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Festival Schmestival

OK I tried it just one more time, hoping, wishing, praying, it would be new, different, exciting. Maybe it's me. It was the same tired Wells St. Festival it always is, with a sprinkling of crafts that all look alike after awhile (and me, a jewelry afficionado should know:-), an orgy in food (and who wants to eat food that's baking in the sun all day, yowsa) and music, very loud music, OK so I'm older than 21 but still. Now if I sound a bit crabby, (yes, even motivational speakers have off days, shhhh)I am, I just wish someone would take over these festivals and try something fresh, unique or to quote myself, and we know how I love to do that...outrageous!! Have an outrageous week!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Best Buy or Worst Buy

Went to Best Buy to buy my 3rd TV from them this year AND I am a "premium silver" member...remember those two facts before I begin my rant. I had to buy a console to put the TV on, it cost $239.00 and they want to charge me $130.00 to put it together, what's wrong with this picture? I came home and called customer service to find out just what value being a "premium member" was. All I got was, "I will make a note of your dissatisfaction in the file" and the all time worst line to say to an upset customer, "it's our policy".

As someone who teaches customer service, customer experience and customer retention, I was appalled at their lack of responsiveness or empathy for my frustration. Well, being the optimist that I am, at least I have another customer service story for my speech...a really bad example, take that, Best ha Buy!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite

Well, I hope they didn't but what the heck is all over me? I'm at my FL digs, my happy place aka Skittles House (very colorful, quelle surprise>) And I wake up with bumps on my face, arm and back and despite the array of otc pharma's, I still look like hell. OK, living in FL part time is wonderful AND challenging, watch out for alligators, watch out for snakes, watch out for mold, watch out for bugs, watch out for....enough, enough. This is when I look forward to going back to Chicago to be the city chick that I really am.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I Never Met a Sequin I Didn't Like:-)

I was speaking at the DanceTeacherWeb conference in Las Vegas this past week and between the glitter of the costumes everywhere plus the glitz of Las Vegas, I was "home". People often ask me if "I've always been like this?" glamourous, glitzy, outrageous and the answer is a resounding YES! Now I have the answer, you see I've been in sparkles since I was four years old at my first dance recital and I guess I just never outgrew as many do. It just fit my self perception then and still does to this day. Alot can be said for sequins, rhinestones, glitter, makes me happy and I believe deep down many people secretly wish they had, as they say, the nerve to wear it. I even had lavender sparkle wall covering in my living room in my Westport home, yes, I wear it, I look at it, I surround myself with it, it's just me, what can I say, no apologies, I just love glamour, always have, always will. Carpe Glitz!

Monday, August 9, 2010

An Experience List

An 'Experience List' is all about the experiences you want to have while living life to the fullest!

Have I ever told you about my “experience list” and why you should have that over a bucket list? A bucket really, how negative is that? Things to do before you die. An experience list is things you want to experience while being fully alive.

I started mine way back in the 70s and some of the things I’ve checked off of it are driving at the Indy 500, safari in Africa, Oktoberfest in Munich, cocktails at the Hemingway Bar at The Ritz in Paris, drinking a Guinness while singing at an Irish pub in Dublin, cavorting naked in a Baden Baden German spa (TMI?), dancing in a Greek Taverna...

Do you get the picture? It’s not just about traveling somewhere, it’s about the experiences you Mikki Williams in Yellow Corvette at Indy 500want to have. Some that are still left on my list include tango in Argentina, ride the Orient Express, have a Mint Julep in Millionaire’s Row at the Kentucky Derby, hear Bocelli sing in Tuscany, and the list goes on. BTW, if you can help me achieve any of those, well, have at it. I would be humbled and delighted. As I tell my audiences, dream big and put it out there and one day someone will come up to you like Courtney Cole in Indianapolis who offered to make my Indy dream come true. And she did! I got to drive this beautiful Corvette!

That's why I live by the motto, Carpe Diem! Be outrageous, it's the only place that isn't crowded!

And the Beat Goes On

Here I am in Las Vegas speaking for the Dance Teacher Web conference at the gorgeous Red Rock Casino and Resort. What a great looking crowd, fit, young, spirited. It certainly is a trip down nostalgia lane for me as I reflect on my early years as a professional dancer and how the lessons learned in the studio have served me in business and life. The discipline of a performer has played a role in the accountability that has driven my growth. The risk of trying one more pirouette, kicking that leg higher, leaping faster, stretching farther, all became metaphors for life skills. What lessons do you recall from your first career, your first mentor/teacher, your first attempt at something new and how do you connect the dots?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Days of Wine and...Chocolate

I spoke at Hershey this week. I checked in and was offered a choice of milk or dark, I chose the dark. I got to my room and there were Kisses everywhere, the chocolate kind! I spoke the next day then treated myself to a chocolate facial and no, I did not try to lick my face...altho' the thought did occur to me:-) And if that wasn't enough, the client invited me to partake of a wine and chocolate tasting. My insulin must be screaming by now. Oh, I forgot to mention, I don't drink, especially wine (may indulge in the oh so chi chi girlie martini once in awhile). And there I was, drinking Llama Old Vine Malbec with Milk Chocolate Praline Truffle Tart. Followed by Chocolate Box Shiraz with Scharffen Berger Extra Dark(didn't know Hershey made that), did you? Yummy, here comes my favorite, Cullari Coco Nostra (it was a wine with a hint of chocolate) but we still had it with Dark Chocolate Decadence Torte.

By now, I am silly with wine and high on chocolate but managed to try the Rancho Zabaco Single Vineyard Zinfandel. Oh why, oh why, couldn't it be the cheap white zin' that I love so much and my son reprimands me not to order in a restaurant and embarrass him, lol. That red is accompanied by an assortment of Hershey's Bliss Favorites. Four down (and me) and one to go...Ah, one of my all time favorites, Neirano Moscato d'Asti (shows you how sophisticated my wine taste buds are). Washed that baby down with some white chocolate cheesecake. Flew there as a passenger, came home as cargo.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hoo Hah!

I just came back from my National Speakers Convention in Orlando (ugh) and following up on the collection of business cards. Lots of great speeches, networking, schmoozing and partying. The funny thing about getting 1500 speakers in one place, you get alot of ego in the room, alot of BS, "oh I'm traveling 564 days a year, doing 300 presentations, making zillions of dollars, I'm on the best seller list and ya da ya da ya da. If you can wade through all that, there is alot of caring and sharing from authentic folk, the kind I like. One of the keynoters, Mark Gungor was hysterically funny as he talked about gender differences and every time he shared a "male thing", he had the men in the audience shout, "Hoo Hah", that was quite funny and became the buzzword of the week. He's all over YouTube and worth the watch.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Yankee Doodle is one of the most popular American patriotic songs, and is also the state song of Connecticut. AND…I was born on the fourth of July, I grew up next to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx (a diehard Yankee fan to this day, shhhh, Cubbies too) and I lived in Connecticut so I’m a true Yankee and often thought of as a Doodle too, lol.

However, despite its popularity, it started out as a song that made fun of American troops.

British Origins - Like many of the songs that have become characteristic of American patriotism, the origins of "Yankee Doodle" lie in old English folk music. In this case, kind of humorously, the song emerged before the American Revolution as a vehicle for the British to mock American soldiers. Yankee, of course, began as a negative term making fun of Americans, although the exact origins of the word are debatable. Doodle was a derogatory term that meant "fool" or "simpleton."

The American Revolution - As the Yankees began to take the British in the Revolution, they also took over command of the song, and began singing it as a proud anthem to taunt their English foes. One of the earliest references to the song was from the 1767 opera The Disappointment, and an early printed version of the song dates back to 1775, mocking a U.S. Army official from Massachusetts.

The American Version -Although the exact origins of the tune and original lyrics of Yankee Doodle are unknown (some sources attribute it to Irish or Dutch origin, rather than the British), most historians agree that the American version was written by an English doctor named Dr. Shackburg. According to the Library of Congress, Shackburg wrote the American lyrics in 1755.

The Civil War - Considering the popularity of the melody, new versions evolved throughout America's early years, used to mock various groups. For example, during the Civil War, folks in the South sang lyrics mocking the north, and Union Democrats sang lyrics mocking the South.

Tradition and Tomfoolery - Even though it began as a song mocking American soldiers, "Yankee Doodle" has become a symbol of American pride. The unforgettable melody has been adapted and performed in theater, by big bands, and other variations of musical performances, since its popularization. Nowadays, it's a fun patriotic song, and most people only know a few verses. Read the full lyrics to "Yankee Doodle."

Biz Byte | What is your Customer Service Strategy

Customer Service or Lip Service Presentation by Mikki Williams
I get to do a lot of client appreciation programs for companies. I just completed two days of sales training for one of my favorite clients in Houston, Universal Weather and Aviation. I trained the sales force in the use of the DiSC profile to recognize and sell to the behavioral style of their customers. Then we worked on techniques from my Speakers School to give them the tools for the best presentations, one-on-one or to a group. We spent a day on video coaching and it turned out to be a great two day investment in their people. They all sent me THE most beautiful bouquet for my July 4th birthday with a card that read, “Thank you for an amazing experience.”

I digress...This company can be the “poster child” for great customer service as they invest in their people to be better at what they do to give their customers a great experience. When is the first or last time you did something like that for your good customers?

In my customer service program I use a lot of examples and stories (you all know, I'm a story teller) to illustrate examples of good and bad service, to inspire leaders to manage "moments of truth." For those of you who may not be familiar with the term "moments of truth" it was coined by Jan Carlson at the time he was CEO of SAS Airways. "It is a can be in advertising, phone, face, cleanliness, service, billing...any time a customer comes in contact with some aspect of your business and uses that opportunity to judge the quality of service your business provides."
So, if you have a grouchy receptionist that could be my "moment of truth" when I come in contact by phone or in person that makes me now assume that everyone in your company has a bad attitude.
A service strategy is like a bath; no matter how well you do it this time you have to do it again and again, and frequently. Here is what your service strategy should look like;
1. It's a non-trivial statement of intent, not just a slogan.
2. It noticeably differentiates you from others, i.e. FedEx, Domino's, etc.
3. It has value in your clients' eyes (a bank open late, no questions on returns, etc.)
4. It's deliverable by your organization.

What is your service strategy?

To find out more about my presentations and other speaking services, visit!

Friday, July 2, 2010

I Need Your Help! Please, Please, Please...

I know you're probably sick of this but it's your last chance to VOTE FOR ME!
Pretty please, with sugar on top!
Only two more days and you'll never have to hear about this again. Well, at least not until you watch me on my very OWN (I couldn't resist!) talk show after I win this contest (the power of positive thinking!)
All my life has been leading up to this moment, this opportunity. My biggest goal, always, was to have my own national talk show. Oprah and reality TV super producer Mark Burnett are searching for the next big TV star. They ask, "Do you have a big personality and a big dream for yourself?" Well, if that doesn't describe me I don't know what does! They are looking for ME!
So take a look at my audition tape and please, please, please vote for me today...and tomorrow...and the next day, until voting ends. And feel free to send this to your entire contact list, to friends, neighbors, countrymen (and women)...tell the bag boy at Dominick's, your mail carrier, the cab driver...tell everyone to vote for me! Help my dream come true. I promise it will be an "outrageous" show.
Click here to see my audition and cast your vote: Oprah Audition

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This is Why I Do What I Do

What I do is grand; meeting people, traveling to wonderful (sometimes less than wonderful!) places, wearing fabulous clothes, jewelry and shoes (!) and of course, being the center of attention! But here's the best part of what I do. Read this wonderful letter that just makes me kvell! Thank you, Matt.
In December of 2007 I had the pleasure of being a part of your presentation with my past Vistage group.
At the time of your inspiration I was going through a difficult time with the family business and personal life issues. You challenged us to live our lives with intention and meaning, after that day I began to do just that.
When I left the meeting I pursued the 15 credits remaining in my Psychology degree and graduated from Marquette in the spring of 2008.
While finishing my degree I decided to pursue my dream of running my own business in an area that I love. On March 31st 2008, I left the family business with my wife and two kids and moved to Denver, Colorado.
Since the move my wife and I started BHAG Enterprises and bought our first company Pizza Supply. We have also started a non profit company called Flour for Families. Flour for families donates flour for every pizza box we sell. This year we have donated over 600 5lb bags of flour through a local food bank.
My wife also pursued her dream of becoming a photographer and has done so successfully with Jaime Rowe Photography.
It has now been over two years since that incredible experience of seeing you.
I wanted to thank you for all that you do and for the push I needed to start living my life with intention.
You are never far from my thoughts and whenever times get tough I think back to that day.
Wishing you all the best life has to offer.
Pizza Supply
Custom Pizza Boxes Delivered to Your Shelf
3133 West Hampden Ave
Sheridan, Colorado 80110

Sunday, June 20, 2010

CSP Certified Speaking Professional or Certified Specialist in Paperwork?

Before anything else, are you voting for me daily, as much and as often as you can? Have you spread it to your various networks from your address book to your social media networks. In case you forgot, I am auditioning to be Oprah's next talk show host and I need your votes now through July 3rd - Click Here.

Now to blogging...I am a CSP! What the heck is that? It's an earned designation through my professional trade association the National Speakers Association. There are less than 500 of us worldwide and it a prestigious accomplishment. We have our own online ezine and I wrote an article that will appear this month. As you will obviously not see it, I thought I would include it for you here.

How Do I Love CSP, Let Me Count the Ways

I earned this designation so long ago, all you “digital natives” as Gina Schreck called you in last months’ Credential News, probably weren’t born. And I can’t remember when it was because I am a “digital immigrant”, thanks, Gina, that’s almost as exciting as when someone called me a “pioneer” in the speaking industry.

Here’s what I do know as Oprah would say (oh I’m just full of clichés). I LOVE this designation!, Why? Because I EARNED it. Not to take away from our prestigious Cavett Award or the CPAE designation but there is a source of pride knowing that you earned something by your own merits; that you set and met criteria; that you set a goal and achieved it. AND, that you did all that paperwork, oops, sorry, back to being a digital immigrant, it’s probably done electronically now, duh! As my buddy, Warren Greshes used to say, CSP stood for Certified Specialist in Paperwork.

So how do I use it and more importantly, how do you use or abuse it? Abuse it? Yes, by not using it, OK so now I’m resorting to cliché with rhyme. This will not be brain surgery, folks but here are some simple ways that I use it and would hope each month someone would write in (do we still say that?) and add your uses to this so we can indeed “count the ways”. Hey, it’s the title, I had to do that, kinda’ like when you throw the convention theme is your speech to show how much you customized☺

Then once this suggested list has evolved, we can give it to all new CSP’s to use as a template. Do they do this now, who knows, I wouldn’t be writing this article if I knew that. Oooh, touches of Dale Irvin sarcasm.

OK, here’s the obvious;

1. It’s on every correspondence with an explanation as to what it is.
2. The logo is on the home page of my website.

3. It’s in every introduction at every speech

4. It’s in the program of every convention brochure.

5. It’s on the cover of my media kit

6. The CSP brochure is on the inside cover, (do they still make them, I bought 1000’s so I still have them?)

7. It’s on my social media sites (or it will be, just thought of that one)

OK, enough about me, let’s talk about me. No, no, time to send your creative juices regarding uses (couldn’t resist, I know, it’s kinda like my matchy matchy with clothes, earrings and shoes) I’m easy to spot at conventions.

So as Robert Browning meant to say, “How Do I Love CSP, Let Me Count the Ways!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


My girlfriend told me the funniest story tonite so I just had to share. She has been single for awhile and not missing the dating scene but missing sex, yes, I wrote that...real women miss sex:-) Sooooooo she decided to carry one, only one condom with her with the hope that the law of attraction is really true. Well, she was in a studio, filming, and the microphone kept slipping off her body because the lights made it so hot she was sweating. An old trick...wrap mike in saran then put a condom over it to hold it in place (she would have preferred a real Mike;-). She asked all the guys, c'mon guys, who's got one, none of them would fess up to it so she had to turn over her solo one to save the day. Not exactly the usage she was hoping for:-)

My Dinner with the Blackhawks!

So I was having dinner with Kristen DaRosa (friend and member of one of my Vistage groups) on Thursday at Tavern on Rush and who comes in to join us for dinner? The Blackhawks! Carrying the Stanley Cup, no less. Okay, okay, they didn't really join us for dinner but they were there. How cool is that?
Can you find the Blackhawks in the pictures? Me either, but they were there...honest!

And here's lovely Kristen with Goldie Hawn. You'll have to ask Kristen about that one. She's just a celebrity magnet, isn't she?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Love in Bloom in June, Part 1

June is for weddings, love, graduations, it seems appropriate to talk about marriages (no...not mine!). But I have been inspired over the years by a few. So much so that I tell everyone about these couples every chance I get. I asked my favorite married folk to share with you the secret of marital bliss and longevity. Now I get the chance to share it with you…in their own words.

Linda and Jean Pierre Marques
Who knew a Frenchman born in North Africa would meet and marry an American-Armenian from Los Angeles and be celebrating their 25 years together (and 20 married years)? It has been a deep love and friendship, and each year it gets stronger and stronger. The amazing thing is that, even today, people still ask us if we are on our honeymoon. We feel the biggest factors in a long, happy marriage besides a deep, true love, is unconditional love, respect, compromise and communication with your partner.
From Jean Pierre:
As a man I learned very fast, the best 2 ways to a healthy, happy lifetime relationship is: 1. A Happy Wife is a Happy Life And a very powerful, positive mantra to make this happen is: 2. Learn to say to your wife, “Yes, Dear.” (Mikki, of course, I am just kidding) These are my thoughts about my beautiful, loving relationship with my wife. First, it doesn’t matter the race, religion or culture. Always I respect and enhance the individuality of Linda, compromising when I have to and, more important, to realize that a man has a different way to think, see and feel than a woman. Therefore, when I put myself in the place of how a woman thinks, feels and sees, I can understand and make the change necessary to have more harmonious and playful and peaceful communication. Vice versa, I do believe if a woman can understand that, love, peace and harmony can be forever with a couple. I do know I achieved that with Linda. My philosophy is that we have to let go of our egos and negative conditioning of what women and men are. Knowing that we are human beings yearning for love, care and peace. That is my personal experience of how we can make the world a better place as well. By first changing ourselves, then as a couple, family and the rest of the world. Each day when I wake up, as the years go by, I realize I am still on my honeymoon knowing in my soul that my union with Linda will be for the rest of my life. Wow!
From Linda:

When we married it was my first marriage and I was 35 so I knew exactly what I wanted and what I didn’t want. I loved Jean Pierre the minute I met him for his passion, his character, his love of life, his teaching and care for his students, and his sense of humor (let alone his good looks!) and all I knew is that I wanted to be around him (and I still do!!!) Every day is a new adventure, and through the ups and downs of life, which is just a part of life, I know my husband is there to support me unconditionally and me for him.
Two funny stories: When I was growing up and well into adulthood I remember thinking I would never date anyone who was under 6’ tall. My whole family thought I was nuts and quite unreasonable. I had opportunity to date some nice men but no, the height trumped everything. I had a nice selection of shoes and boots with the 3” and 4” heels that made me close to 5’10”. Well, the day I met Jean Pierre (who is about 5’8”) and the months and years after, my gorgeous “heel” shoes seemed to be going into boxes and into garage sales. What was replacing them were lower-heeled shoes and flats. My dad especially couldn’t believe it. He knew this was the “real thing” if I were giving up my shoes and my “never under 6’ thing. He even told the story at our wedding. So now I tell my family and friends and students “never say never.” Second story is the fact that humor and laughter and fun are a big part of any lasting relationship, especially with a Frenchman. For 25 years the Frenchisms keep us laughing and Jean Pierre is such a good sport about it. I tell him I’m not making fun but that it’s so darn cute….
The latest funny was when Jean Pierre insisted someone looked like “champagne.” I said, "How can someone look like champagne?” and after about 10 minutes of back and forth we realized he was talking about “Sean Penn.”
Another time we were having coffee on a Sunday morning at our favorite café. Jean Pierre said, "I’d like Myco Mix.” I said what is Myco Mix thinking it was a French cereal. He just said “myco mix, myco mix.” Getting frustrated I said, “I don’t know what Myco Mix is.” After about 10 minutes of this he slowed down and said “My Comics”!!!!!!"

Linda and Jean Pierre's Businesses, based in Coronado, CA
Coronado Yoga & Wellness Center
Zen of Movement, Inc. Behavioral, Wellness and Spiritual Consultations

Love in Bloom in June, Part 2

Susan and Rick Roman
Rick and I had our 29th wedding anniversary on May 22nd. In those 29 years we have had 2 children (Angela, 27 and Dominic, 22), lost three out of four of our parents (my Mom died before Rick and I met), moved only twice (which may be why we are still married), and have run The Signature Room at the 95th for 17 of those years! At the altar, one of the three priests that witnessed our nuptials (you can never have too many of those, you know) asked us who will be the boss? Rick and I looked at each other like a couple of deer in the headlights and I blurted out, “He wears the pants in the family, I just tell him which ones.” Turns out that he STILL asks me what to wear almost every morning. Our secret to longevity….hmmmmmm….I would have to say appropriate communication and respect for each others’ differences. That combined with something we learned at an Anthony Robbins workshop: being each others’ “raving fan”! It is imperative to know that when everyone else appears to have it out for you in some way shape or form, you can go home and know with every fiber of your being that your partner has your back and will cheer you on to the next day. We toast with our coffee every morning, declaring, “We get another one of these!” and as many nights as possible we have a cup of tea before bed and talk about the day or just veg out and watch a TV show from our Tivo list. We also make it a habit to focus on growing together, not apart from each other. We try new things as a couple so we can continue to have new things to talk about. And we laugh! We started laughing at the altar and we still laugh and laugh and laugh. In the end that is the most important thing…laughter.

Rick and Susan Roman

The Signature Room at the 95th Chicago, IL
For more information call Susan at 312.280.0460 or email her at

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Social Not-working!!

Is there anyone out there like me who is so totally linked out, face cooked and twittered to the state of overwhelm? Yes, it was fun to find my college beau from $%^&* years ago (and yes, we did connect) BUT I find it tedious, not fun, not necessary, and just not-working. OK, now that I've vented I've go to go update all my profiles, arghhhhhhh!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Success in the City

OK, OK, I saw the movie, of course, I did, with the requisite posse of gal pals and a pair of to die for shoes. And the "success" of single women and the dating challenges they face resonated with me on several levels. I've told my friends no more online dating, I've coined a new phrase, "organic dating", you figure it out. It's working already:-)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Everything Old is New Again

Facebook is the ultimate when it comes to reconnecting. Had breakfast with my college beau that I haven't seen in over 40 years on the same day that I saw the movie, "Letters to Juliet" about a woman who seeks and finds her long lost love that she hasn't seen in 50 years. Well, that wasn't the case nor was it planned to be but it certainly was fun to chat about marriages, deaths, divorce, jobs, travel, experiences and just laugh over old memories, styles and insider info.
Try it you might like it:-)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Age Inappropriate

Whoever decided we shouldn't wear white until Memorial Day, stop at Labor Day, dress "appropriate" for our age, etc? I will not conform (what a surprise) to the fact that "they" think after a certain age, we should stop wearing sleeveless, mini's, I have a 70 year old friend with killer legs who happens to look great in a mini, so more power to her. Don't bear your midriff, don't show off your chest, stop wearing stiletto's...are you kidding me? I think it's a choice of recognizing your own attributes and playing them up no matter what age and if "they" disagree with me, well, "they" have the right to be wrong:-) Amen, sister!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Mother of All Weekends!

Happy Mother's Day...and it was:

The son came to FL to celebrate and celebrate we did, with food, shopping, sunning and capped off tonite with miniature golf which I hadn't played in decades. Then there was the free gelato for Moms, the free golf for Moms (I had a purple ball, surprised?) and so it goes, one day to honor Mom and the rest of the year to cater to the children but wouldn't trade it, I mean him, for the proverbial world:-) Forgot my phone cord or you'd see lots of photos..., maybe tomorrow.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Marian the Librarian

Who knew when I choreographed the song "Marian the Librarian
from The Music Man, decades ago that I would be speaking for 1000 librarians. I loved working with them probably due to my passion for reading and for books. I am indeed voracious and can't see myself with a Kindle or Nook as I LOVE the feel of books, the action of turning pages, the smell and being surrounded by them in my office library. Now go on out there and read something!

Monday, April 26, 2010

To Join or Not To Join...

Reading Jay Goltz' blog today triggered my feelings around business groups. Yes, I drank the kool aid 15 years ago and believe in them wholeheartedly. Based on comments, people are confused as to what is a business development group versus a networking group. Vistage International is for business owners who want to grow their businesses and themselves exponentially, it's a proven model, over 50 years young that works. While I have spoken for and familiar with the YPO's, EO models which are also good (OK, OK, I'm a speaker for Vistage and Chair two of my own peer advisory boards for them) I have been privy to watch, coach, support the development of many entrepreneurs and small business owners. Check it out!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Customer servicing?

Checking out of the gorgeous five star resort today Rancho Las Palmas in Palm Desert was a challenge. The service was great my entire stay so it surprised me that checkout became such a hassle. I wanted my complete bill before I left so I told them what I had from the mini bar but they couldn't put it on my bill till the inventory lady went to my room to officially write it up. Reallllllllly! An hour later, they were still trying to coordinate the "inventory lady" with the front desk with me. Sometimes we need to review our systems and policies to match the quality of the experience. Nuff' said!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Join us on April 22-24, 2010. CLICK HERE for more information and to register.
Speakers School is new and improved with a Learning Lab on day two. This is where you get to practice what you've learned, and receive immediate feedback from me and your fellow-attendees. It was a huge hit when it debuted in February.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I Love This Book!

Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World's Largest, Fastest-Growing Market
by Michael J. Silverstein and Kate Sayre

The authors studied 12,000 women in 40 countries and discovered that the relentless upward climb has left women feeling stressed out, time starved and overburdened. Heck, they could have just interviewed me and I would have told them that... duh! As a result they look to products and services that will help them claw back time, juggle multiple roles and capture a few moments of enjoyment. Women want MORE... much more in every category of goods and services. And no matter what their age or economic situation or where they live in the world women will spend trillions of dollars over the next decade on the brands that truly deliver.
This book will provide business leaders with the understanding and practices they need to capture their share of the rising "female economy." The authors predict that market will help bring us out of the economic downturn and also create one of the most dramatic market opportunities of our lifetime...bigger than the rise of China and India; more sustainable than any bailout package.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Next Mikki & Friends Teleseminar On Wednesday the 31st

Do you fumble and mumble every time you get up to
give a speech? If you put your foot in your mouth
whenever you have to give a presentation,
then listen to the next Mikki & Friends teleseminar.

Don't miss it. It's happening on Wednesday, March 31st.

Conversations with Mikki on Speak Loudly and Carry a Big Shtick™
MM&I (as in me, myself and I, get it? Mikki and Friends?) will be interviewed by my new Director of Opportunities, Sue Ryan (see profile below) on how to give a great speech. No matter who you are or what you do, you ALL need this info. Whether it's your brand differentiation, your internal customers or client prospects, your kid's bar mitzvah or your own eulogy, you'll at some time be giving a speech. And wouldn't you want it to just knock their proverbial socks off. Listen to this live interview with tips, tactics and techniques excerpted from my Speaker Schools and my coaching clients. I believe it's not about being different, it's about being unique. Everyone can copy different, no one can copy unique!

NO CHARGE! Just dial 724.444.7444 and use the Call ID: 75014 followed by the # sign.
Call in at 12:00 noon CST on Wednesday, March 31, 2010. That's 1:00 p.m. on the East Coast, 11:00 a.m. Mountain Time and
10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.
Or listen on your computer. Just CLICK HERE.
And if you miss it on Wednesday you can use that same link to listen to it at your convenience.
Go to for more info or to set up your own podcasts. It's a fabulous, free service!