Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Black Mock Turtlenecks Attend Signing

If you have read my book, this photo is funny. If you have not read my book, you are wondering why I have posted a photo of two guys wearing black mock turtlenecks holding blueberry muffins.

An excerpt from Make the Right Choice:

This book is not for managers in black mock turtlenecks. They won't turn away from their presentations of upside-down triangles and convoluted mission statements to read a book. They only learn from other black mock turtlenecks.

Take a moment to watch and study the black mock turtlenecks in their natural habitat. Look down the hall at the cubicle on the right, the one with way too much college sports memorabilia on the walls, and you might see a black mock turtleneck (BMT). Or, maybe you are attending a conference and you see a BMT near the coffee station. They tend to circle near blueberry muffins. You don't have to be quiet when you observe the black mock turtleneck. They don't listen very well. He won't even notice you watching. He is too busy eating the muffin, staring at his phone and answering e-mails about fungibles.

Every so often, the black mock turtleneck manager must feed. He feeds on those he manages after a larger and stronger black mock turtleneck requires quarterly performance improvements.

Now, you understand the photo. I do want to thank my friends from HOBY-Texas North for really getting into the spirit of my book signing. By the way, Rich and Brian are not real black mock turtlenecks.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

10 Tips to Energize your Creativity

Jan Norman at the Orange County Register included some of my creativity tips in her on-line column today. Jan had asked for some ideas on creative thinking and brainstorming.

I have posted the complete article below. For more tips on creativity, communication, teamwork, passion at work, and leadership, please take a look at my book at

You can purchase the book at your favorite book seller. For convenience, here is the link to Amazon.

And now the article:

We all have brainstormed the same way for years. Everyone spends an hour in the conference room, bored and uninspired. Somebody throws out a recycled idea. Everyone rallies behind the idea because they really just want to leave the conference room. Brainstorming should be fun, energetic and productive. Here are a few tips that hopefully will inspire the next great idea.

1. Choose a leader during the creative process. Someone has to keep everyone on track, or you will spend the entire session talking about television shows about attractive detectives solving crimes; attractive doctors saving lives; or attractive detectives and doctors solving crimes, saving lives and romancing each other.

2. Notate everything. Yes, it is a pain to write every idea down. If you don’t, you will forget. We always forget. Take notes, audiotape or videotape the session.

3. Change your location. You don’t always have to meet in the conference room for a brainstorming session. Creativity wants variety. Take a walk to another floor, go outside and sit on a bench or stand around the parking lot. Go to a nearby museum, store, mall, coffee shop or park to brainstorm. Use your surroundings to inspire and motivate you to create.

4. Create fast brainstorming sessions. Do not linger. Nobody looks forward to spending an hour in the conference room to brainstorm. Instead, use quick energy bursts. Everyone run into the room for 15 minutes and create as many ideas as possible. And then everyone must run out. Do this a couple times a day as a surprise. Use the energy to focus and produce ideas. Shorter idea sessions will create more ideas.

5. Relax, and create ideas each day. Take five minutes each day by yourself and think. Don't think about anything in particular. Just think. Take a walk around your building. Go sit on a bench. Leave your cell phone and Blackberry on your desk. Now, just think. Each time you do this you will have an idea. Sometimes it will be a little idea. Sometimes it will be a big idea.

6. Stop creating rules where rules do not exist. If someone says, “This is the way we have always done it,” run away in horror. You are not safe. He or she is a creative zombie and may infect you.

7. Eliminate some of your fears (the fear of failure, the fear of making a mistake, the fear of looking foolish) and your creative energy will increase. Nobody is keeping score. Every great idea in the history of the world was foolish or stupid. How many people walked by Orville and Wilbur Wright’s workshop to tell them they were fools?

8. Expand your possibility box. If the box is bigger, there will be more possibilities. When people want to create ideas, the first instinct is to shrink the possibility box. If you shrink the box, there will be nothing there. Try to expand the possibilities.

9. Find new ways of doing something. Remember, there is always more than one path and way. Don't be so quick to judge.

10. Stop trying to analyze and create at the same time. It is impossible. Someone will offer an idea and our first instinct is to attack like a pack of hyenas. We are analyzing, and we have stopped creating. Instead of attacking, build on the thought and create more ideas. When you have finished creating, then you can start analyzing. Build on each other's ideas. Be open to each other's ideas. Don't have an ego in the creative process. Creativity wants momentum and energy.

Joel Zeff creates energy. His spontaneous humor and vital messages have thrilled audiences for years. As a national workplace expert, speaker and humorist, Joel captivates audiences with a unique blend of hilarious improvisational comedy and essential ideas on work and life. Corporations and organizations nationwide seek him out to motivate and energize their employees on such topics as creativity, communication, teamwork, passion and fun. A former newspaper journalist and public relations executive, Joel started his own consulting business in 1994. His first book, “Make the Right Choice: Creating a Positive, Innovative and Productive Work Life” was just published by John Wiley & Sons.

Joel Zeff and Joel Zeff Creative retain the ownership and rights to this article. This article cannot be reprinted or published without the written consent of the author.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Mighty, Mighty PR Machine is Rolling

The mighty PR machine is chugging up the mountain. Meeting the reporters and dealing with the PR game reminds me of my past lives as a newspaper reporter, PR writer and account executive. I am having a great time and am really enjoying getting the word out about my book.

It is quite interesting to see what messages/ideas/thoughts different members of the media pull out of the book.

Here are a few links:

The Miami Herald:
The Fresno Bee:
The Houston Business Journal (two stories and two links):

I also did an interview with FOX 26 in Houston. They were kind enough to post the interview on their web site. Please notice that at different times during the interview I have no control of my hands.;jsessionid=48C81416E4307CCF839D13A5DC8864A6?contentId=4312589&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1&sflg=1

I have a couple big stories coming out (hopefully) in the Dallas Morning News and Houston Chronicle.

And, if anyone has a connection, friend, parent, spouse, child, relative, neighbor, vendor, partner, colleague, Jedi, they know in the media, please forward information about the book.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Welcome, friends of Vince Poscente

I just received my Vince Poscente Full Speed Ahead newsletter and saw he mentioned my book. So, if you ended up here from Vince's newsletter, thank you for visiting.

You can learn more about my book here:
You can learn more about my keynotes and workshops here:
If you want to purchase the book, click here. The book is also available where other fine books are sold.

And, if you live in Dallas/Fort Worth, I have two book signings coming up in Plano. Please scroll down the blog for more information.

Take care and continued success.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Book Signings in Plano, TX

Announcing Two Book Events in the DFW Area

Located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area? I have two upcoming book events. And one has a free appetizer buffet. Here is the information. I hope to see you there.

Sept. 15th Book Signing at Barnes and Noble in Plano, TX

I think the reality of finally writing a book and having it published will finally hit me on Sept. 15th. My goal is for several people - not related to me - to actually buy a book and have me sign it at this event. Be a part of this historic occasion at the Barnes and Noble in Plano, Texas.

Purchasing and reading Make the Right Choice is a stand against every boring, mediocre, cliché-riddled, pompous, egotistical, bunch of bull crap business book that is spewed out each year. Stand with me at Barnes and Noble in Plano, Texas for the ideals of truth, realistic ideas and tips, fun, passion and humor. Who stands with me? Who stands up and proclaims that he/she is Spartacus?

2 p.m.

Sept. 15th

Barnes and Noble
Preston and Park
2201 Preston Road, Suite E
Plano, TX 75093

Sept. 24th Author Event at the Plano Centre

Looking for an excuse to get off work a little early on Sept. 24th? How about the coolest networking event in Plano (that happens to occur on Sept. 24th)? I have invited four other local authors for a book signing/meet and greet/a really great reason to have an appetizer buffet.
Four other local authors and I will sign copies of our respective books. Ask questions. Eat fancy appetizers. Drink cold beverages. Buy cool books from local authors. Talk to fun, interesting and exciting people. Sit in free air conditioning. Free admission. Free appetizer buffet. Free beverages. And, of course, you get to leave work early. Or, stop by on the way home for work for some great food. Seriously, what is better than an appetizer buffet? The answer is absolutely nothing.
Visit this link for more information on this event.

4 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 24th

Plano Centre
2000 East Spring Creek Parkway
Plano, TX 75086
The five authors:

Joel Zeff
National Speaker and Humorist
Author of "Make the Right Choice: Creating a Positive, Innovative andProductive Work Life"

Bill Cochran
Children's Book Author and award-winning creative director at The RichardsGroup
Author of "The Forever Dog"

Colleen A. Rickenbacher, CMP, CSEP, CPC
National Speaker
Author of "Be on Your Best Business Behavior"
Soon to be released: "Be on Your Best Cultural Behavior"

Dean Lindsay
National Speaker
Author of "Cracking the Networking CODE"

Vince Poscente
National Speaker
Author of “The Age of Speed”

One book at a time.

Right now, my book marketing efforts are very similar to waking up in a dark hotel room and trying to navigate a path to the bathroom. I keep reaching out my hands hoping to find a light switch. Sometimes I find a switch. Sometimes I bang my knee into the wall.

My PR/Marketing efforts are a little slow going right now. I was interviewed on the morning news program (Fox 7) in Austin two weeks ago. The interview went very well (I will have a link as soon as receive my copy). Plus, it was a great excuse to take the family to the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop, TX. I highly recommend the resort.

And, I have a couple big interviews on Monday in Houston (one with the Fox morning program and the other with the Houston Chronicle). The best part is I get to go see the KC Chiefs/Houston Texans game on Sunday. And, that is what you call perfect timing.

Hopefully, the PR/Marketing efforts will pick up soon. I did just send out my second e-mail newsletter. And, somebody must be purchasing the book today. Here is the Amazon ranking: Sales Rank: #20,707 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)
Popular in these categories:
#63 in Books > Business & Investing > Business Life > General
#82 in Books > Business & Investing > Small Business & Entrepreneurship > General
#93 in Books > Business & Investing > Management & Leadership > Systems & Planning

Well, the ranking was better a few minutes ago, but I lost my link. I am sure the big business book boys would scoff at being the #63 general business life book, but I am pretty damn excited.

And, if anyone is reading this blog, please take a few minutes to rank the book and/or write a review on Amazon. Here is the link.

Monday, July 30, 2007

One Minute Later

See, now I am getting the hang of this blog thing. I am giving you two posts on the same day. And, I am adding a photo to the blog.
Two thoughts about this photo:
1. Yes, that is me. Yes, that is Hootie and the Blowfish. No, this has nothing to do with anything.
2. I look like I am actually in the band. Please notice the casual way I am holding the Evian bottle.

The big news is that the web site for the book is up and running. My good friend Shea Duet designed the site. And now for the address:

The other big news is that I received my advance copy of the book. It was very surreal to actually hold the book. Now, I know it is real. The next step to the reality is hearing what people think of the book. Amazon says it is now shipping the book (almost two weeks before the actual release date). I am sure the other book sellers have copies in stock as well.

I look forward to hearing what you think of the book.
The mighty PR machine behind my book is planning the first ever Joel Zeff e-mailed newsletter. Even though you could sign up for my "newsletter" for years, it never materialized. You can sign up on my web site or send me an e-mail at
Until, the next posting, take care and continued success.

24 Days Later

Well, a mere 24 days has passed since I started this blog. I know. You are supposed to blog more often. People want the blog. They need the blog. They live for the blog. Okay, good tip.

The PR machine is revving up for the release of the book. Unless you have spent the last week or so camping in the mountains, you should have heard about "Make the Right Choice: Creating a Positive, Innovative and Productive Work Life." As of this post, I have done one podcast interview for something called BNET and an interview for the Houston Business Journal about hiring speakers.

I don't think the podcast is ready yet. As soon as the interview hits the podcast world, I will provide a link. My goal is to speak to one person at a time. And with a podcast, that is pretty much what I am doing. This was my first podcast and I am still tingling.

I would like to provide a link to the Houston Business Journal. Unfortunately, I can't even access the story because you have to be a paid subscriber. I like my Internet content free. It kind of makes more sense, and I am sure the Houston Business Journal, like many other on-line publications will figure that out sooner than later.

And, that is the extent of my PR. Obviously, you can see the similarities between my PR machine and the PR machine for the new Harry Potter book. Unconfirmed sources tell me that the publisher moved up the release date for the new Potter book because they didn't want to be overshadowed by Make the Right Choice.

Here are just a few similarities between Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Make the Right Choice:

Number of Sold Copies:

HP: 10 million copies sold in the first weekend.
MTRC: Slightly less.

Number of cover stories about the book in major publications:

HP: Every magazine. Every news show. Every newspaper.
MTRC: Did I mention the podcast on BNET?

Reports of people camping out and standing in long lines to receive their copy:

HP: Yes, in every city people were standing in line and camping out.
MTRC: There is an unconfirmed report that my mom had to wait until my dad was off the computer before she could order the book.

Friday, July 6, 2007

The beginning of the blog.

This is my very first blog posting. Ever. I am sure all the Internet-savvy kids are rolling their eyes as they read this blog, suck down their Starbucks cappuccino, and download really cool songs for their iPod. I don't even own an iPod.

I am not sure where this blog will lead to during the coming months. The main focus of the blog will be my new book, Make the Right Choice: Creating a Positive, Innovative and Productive Work Life.

I always wanted to write a book. My clients would ask me, "Do you have a book?" Audience members would ask me, "Do you have a book?" Other speakers would ask me, "Do you have a book?" People on airplanes would ask me what I did for a living. I told them I was a speaker. "Do you have a book?" they would ask.

Now, after starting my own business in 1994 (I didn't really start seriously speaking for a living until 1997) I have a book.

What is the book about? Good question. Here is what I wrote on the book's jacket:

In Make the Right Choice, Joel shares
his experience and insight on creativity,
communication, teamwork, passion, and
fun. With wit, a sharp observational eye, and
playful irreverence, he discusses the choices
we all encounter in our careers. We each have
the ability to take initiative and make the right
choice to live a more creative, passionate,
effective, and productive life.

I think that is a pretty good description. As soon as I figure out how to post the entire book jacket, I will. Remember, I don't even have an iPod.

This blog will discuss upcoming book related events; thoughts on work and life; and musings from my travels and speaking events.

Thank you for taking the time to visit the blog. Take care and continued success.