Category Archives: Announcements


Pink Slip Party Welcomes Networkers

Just over 100 people were in attendance at the Chamber’s first Pink Slip Party held on May 19. Everyone from new grads to victims of recent lay-offs came to Natalie’s Sports Bar & Grill to commiserate about the job market and learn about the resources Lakeland has to offer. Presenting Sponsor Action Professional Recruiters was on hand to review resumes and offer advice on open positions.

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According to Marsha Leap, Leap Ahead Professional Development, job seekers are charged with finding new and more creative ways to market themselves and their skills. Not only was Marsha on hand to dispense advice, Leap Ahead Professional Development offered a resume review/interview coaching session as a door prize.

Even though Deb McCutcheon, with sponsor company Action Professional Recruiters, didn’t have many open positions to offer job seekers, she was encouraged by the positive attitude of those in attendance. She and her co-workers were available to accept resumes and offer a friendly ear to those out of work, some for as many as 18 months.

WUSF’s Robin Sussingham was on hand to interview some of the participants. Read more from WUSF here.

Many thanks to our generous sponsors: Action Professional Recruiters; CreativElaborations Design Studio & Natalie’s Sports Bar & Grill! Without you, this event would not have taken place!

With the success of the inaugural Pink Slip Party, plans are already underway to schedule one in the Fall! Look for more information coming soon!


2009 North with the Tigers

NWT_webButtonDetroit Tigers –vs.-Minnesota Twins

August 7-8-9, 2009

Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan

Friday night hospitality & Game tickets

Saturday night game in Hospitality Suite

Sunday (Optional) Picnic Game

Accommodations at MotorCity Casino

Contact Jackie Johnson at or 863.688-8551, ext. 223 for more information.

July Forum will include a flyer for pricing and registration.


Chamber Champions’ Corner

BryanMauEach month, the Chamber enlists the help of 20 volunteers to mentor new and current members with involvement in  Chamber events and programs. This dedicated group of professionals is rewarded for their efforts through a points system, and the Chamber Champion of the month is announced via our blog. Each quarter, the Champion with the most points will be featured in the Forum for Business Monthly.

This month, the Chamber staff would like to recognize Bryan Mau with CPS investment Advisors for his outstanding attention to Chamber members and attendance at events! Bryan is a wonderful asset to the Chamber and to the Lakeland community!


Marketing Mondays | 7 Tips for Leaving Great Sales Voicemails

The SAMBA blog offers the following in regards to leaving excellent voicemails:

One of the biggest hurdles (and most frustrating) to making a sale is getting the right person to call you back. As ancient as voicemail seems to be these days, it’s often the primary tool you have to persuade someone to talk to you. Here are 7 great tips for leaving good voicemails.

  1. Explain the benefit of the call, not the service - Don’t try to sell your service in a voicemail message (you won’t have enough time), just sell the conversation. Tell them what will they get by calling you back? A free assessment, advice, peace of mind…what will motivate them to want to talk to you?
  2. Understand unconscious language triggers #1 - Don’t start out your message with “Hi, (customer’s name) my name is (your name)…” because most telemarketers and strangers start that way, it often evokes a negatively conditioned Pavlovian response. Try using “Hi (their name) it’s (your name)” this is the language a friend or acquaintance might use, and usually accesses a positive unconscious trigger.
  3. Understand unconscious language triggers #2 - Robert Cialdini describes how the word “because” is an unconscious trigger that increased the likelihood someone will comply with your request. If you use the word “because” when you describe why someone should call you back, you might be surprised at your increased response rate. Click hereif you’d like to understand why.
  4. Create curiosity - If all the information you want to convey is already in the voicemail, why would they call you back? Create curiosity. Tell them you have information that is really valuable to them, but they have to call you back to get it.
  5. Express urgency - Why do they need to call you back right now? How can you create an emergency? What will happen if they don’t call you back right away? But don’t just focus on content. The urgency you create will be largely based on the tone of voice you use. If your family was being held hostage and their life depended on this person calling you back…what tone of voice might you use?
  6. Use good VM etiquette - No one likes a really long VM, keep it as short as possible. And say your number in the beginning of the message and at the end – not everyone has an iPhone.  If the person misses your number the first time they hear the message, and they have to playback the entire message to retrieve it, it’s less likely they’ll call you back. Just use common sense.
  7. Sell your message second by second - Just like any written sales copy, realize that if the first part of your message sucks, they’re likely to press delete right way. Make your first 5 seconds compelling so they’ll listen to the second 5 seconds, and make those 5 seconds make them want to listen to the next 5 seconds and so on.

Great advice for anyone looking to increase their call-back rate!  Julianna posted the following caveat in comments, which is well worth considering:

My husband who receives tons of sales calls gives everyone 10 seconds to make him want to listen to the rest of the message. If someone starts out pretending to be his friend, and he doesn’t know them, not only does he hit ‘delete’, he’s annoyed, feels lied to and is not likely to communicate with the rep in any way. So be careful about advice in #2. When I write sales scripts, I try to stick with being professional (Mr., Ms.) and honest (reps first and last name). Big fan of the rest of the list.

What advice would you add to this list?


SBDC offers free workshop on “Understanding Small Business Administration Stimulus Loans”

(Lakeland, Fla., May 29, 2009) — The Small Business Development Center at the Central Florida Development Council presents a free workshop, “Understanding SBA Stimulus Loans,” June 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Jim Miles Professional Development Center, 5204 U.S. 98 S., Lakeland. The presenter will be Jim Parrish, certified business analyst.

“Small businesses suffering financial hardship as a result of the slow economy may be eligible to receive temporary relief to keep their doors open and get their cash flow back on track through a new loan program,” said Doretha Brooks, Small Business Development Center director.

Beginning June 15, the U.S. Small Business Administration will start guaranteeing America’s Recovery Capital loans. These deferred-payment loans of up to $35,000 are available to established, viable, for-profit small businesses that need short-term help to make their principal and interest payments on existing qualifying debt. ARC loans are interest-free to the borrower, 100 percent guaranteed by the SBA, have no SBA fees associated with them, and repayment will not begin until 12 months after the final disbursement.

To register visit or call (863) 667-7913.

The Small Business Development Center at the Central Florida Development Council is a non-profit organization that designs and delivers a collection of programs directed towards strengthening the economic benefit of Central Florida. Services include free one-to-one counseling, on-going educational entrepreneurial training workshops, and support of the activities of the Florida Small Business Development Center Network.