neen james

This quarter, 
Key Notes On Travel is examining time management with productivity expert Neen James. During her second webinar Neen outlined three types of attention: professional, personal and global. Personal attention, she notes, is about being thoughtful. Who deserves your attention? 

"We can profit from paying attention in a very intentional and deliberate way. I created what I call systematized thoughtfulness which might sound a bit crazy but I think we need systems in place to allow us to focus on who is really important. Systems create freedom," Neen explains.


Three ways to systematize thoughtfulness

beautiful stationary pink Plush Design Studio

1. Say it

2. Send it

3. Schedule it


Say it: use names and use them often

"The easiest way to systematize thoughtfulness is to look for opportunities to say something that makes someone feel your attention is truly focused on them," says Neen.

Neen proposing starting with using people's names - often and deliberately.

"Using someone’s name is a simple, no-cost, attention-giving strategy that makes people feel special. Dale Carnegie once wrote, 'A person’s name is the sweetest sound.' Watch people as their faces light up, they stand a little taller and they smile more often when you use their name," explains Neen. "When you address someone by their name, the situation shifts from merely transactional to a transformational interaction."

Luckily, we live in a world where many people wear name tags in their workplace. "Look for names, use them often and diligently, and make it a system," says Neen.

Use names when conversing with friends, clients, on the phone and in your personal life as you interact with servers, valets or baristas. If practice makes proficiency, soon enough you will lay the foundation for a system that becomes second nature. 


Send it: engineer surprise and delight

In a digital world analogue systems get noticed

When was the last time you received a written note? The surprise and delight you feel when an envelope hits your desk or doorstep never erodes. 

"I love sending written notes and lumpy mail," laughs Neen. "The reason I use hand-written notes is because in a digital world, analogue systems get attention." 

Neen challenges advisors to systematize thoughtfulness by sending something unique to your industry. Be it a travel accessory, luggage tag, magazine subscription or postcard, creating a personal touch-point says "I'm thinking of you." 

Sending thoughtfulness need not be a physical gift. "Send a [clip of a] TED Talk, blog link or  a video message instead of text," Neen suggests. 


Schedule it: identify and acknowledge your advocates

calendarMaddi Bazzocco

Each month, Neen schedules a 20-minute appointment with herself where she sits down and pens hand-written notes, sends signed copies of her books, assembles packages and fires off e-mails to people she has identified as very important people. 

"I call VIPs 'advocates,'" she says. "Advocates are people who love your service or product – and they tell others. They recommend people work with you. Advocates work with and for you when you’re not even around."

Take a moment to identify your personal advocates and brand champions. Record their contact information in a spreadsheet or in your CRM software. What can you send them to let you know you appreciate them? 


Did you miss Neen James' KNOT time management series?

Join Key Notes On Travel to get caught up:

SESSION I: Folding Time™: Achieve Twice as Much in Half the Time in your travel business 

Session II: Attention Pays™: How to Drive Profitability, Productivity, and Accountability for Travel Professionals 

Session III: An interactive Q&A with Neen James


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