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How to Give a Winning Pep Talk

As a leader, a major part of your responsibility is to influence the thinking and behavior of other people.
And sooner or later you’ll be standing in front of a group who need to hear a “pep” talk to motivate them to achieve something special, something beyond their self-limiting beliefs.

Working with great sales leaders on their kickoffs the past two weeks (shout out Midwest and California!) we focused a lot on the importance of inspiring people to greater achievement.
We all have vague ideas, mostly from sports movies, about how to give a motivating talk, as in these memorable scenes:

Hoosiers: Where Gene Hackman as Coach Dales tells his team they are winners to him no matter what the scoreboard says: “Forget about the crowds, the size of the school, their fancy uniforms, and remember what got you here...”
Remember the Titans: Denzel Washington as Coach Boone, who took his players to visit the battlefield at Gettysburg to heal the racial rift that divided the team: “Take a lesson from the dead. If we don’t come together, right now, on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed—just like they were.”
The drama of these movies might make it seem that only in movies or sports can we motivate people with a talk.
We know there’s an art to giving a motivational pep talk. But is there a formula, perhaps a science, to giving a winning motivational speech? It turns out there is.
For decades, researchers have been studying what makes for a successful pep talk. In fact, two researchers at Texas A&M International University have reviewed pep talks and considered how they might be most effectively applied to the corporate world.
For 30 years, Jacqueline and Milton Mayfield, a husband-and-wife research team, have done the most extensive study on what they call Motivating Language Theory (MLT) and found that the most successful speeches have three important elements: direction giving, expressions of empathy and meaning-making.
Let me break these down in plain English for your use:

1. Clear Language [“direction giving”]
The researchers call this “uncertainty-reducing language.” What they’re saying is, give your team clear and concise instructions on what you’re asking of them. What exactly do you want them to do?
2. Support Them [“expressions of empathy”]
“Empathetic language” that might acknowledge how difficult the task will be, as well as offering them encouragement, praise and thanks. Basically, be real; be human.
3. Connect to Purpose [“meaning making”]
“Meaning-making language” is helping them find meaning in what you are asking of them. How does this connect to the purpose of your organization or their own personal purpose?
The researchers concluded that a winning pep talk should include all three elements, but to be effective you’ll need to mix them to fit the audience.
If your team is experienced, it may not need as much direction as a new team; some teams will need more empathy than others; but purpose, in my view, should always be strongly emphasized because it’s ultimately the key to motivation.
So mix and match these three elements — clear direction, empathy and purpose — to give your team a winning pep talk.
For example, if you’re speaking at a sale kickoff in, let’s say, January, you might:

Give clear direction: Talk about the specific sales goals that must be met in 2018 and any new strategies or tactics you will employ this year.

Be empathetic: Describe their heroic efforts in the past year, the obstacles they overcame and your deep gratitude for their work.

Provide meaning: Connect with the purpose of your work: Do you protect people’s lives? Do you help small business owners and their communities thrive? Do you sell a product that saves peoples’ lives? By linking to purpose, you give them direct access to the energy and commitment we all draw from meaningful work.

As you speak to purpose, telling a story that relates this meaning can have a powerful effect.
And don’t forget that how you say something is as important, and sometimes more important for motivation, than what you say. Use confident body language, vivid words and all of your passion.

To motivate people as a leader it's critical to speak from your heart.
Here’s to your winning pep talks and the success of your team in 2018!

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Photo by Paul Bence on Unsplash

The Real Key to Success for Leaders

What's the one thing that all successful people have in common? Intelligence? No. Good looks? Nope. Hard work? Not so much.  Give up? The real answer is relationships.

Behind every successful person … or more accurately, around every successful person, is a network of people who are there to provide the appropriate support at the right time.

Think about it. No one has done anything alone.

Steve Jobs? He had Steve Wozniak and a legion of other great minds contributing intellectual capital and engineering skills.

Meryl Streep? (Another Oscar?) She has the writers, directors, supporting actors, agents and others who’ve supported her talents.

LeBron James? He had four other starters, a bench full of role players and various coaches and trainers, as well as a community that protected and nurtured him in his journey.

No one has ever done anything alone
Even accomplishments that seem to be individual achievements are backed by a lifetime of relationships that brought that person to that moment. 

In fact, it seems the more established and influential the network someone has, the greater the person's ability to achieve — to champion ideas, to solve problems and to lead others.


There are no exceptions. Personal and professional success is and forever will be tied to building a network of relationships.

Unfortunately, the term “networking” has been tainted as negative by people who think it’s all about schmoozing at business functions and handing out business cards.

The truth is that great networking is really about creating, building and maintaining relationships. And at the heart of any relationship — whether personal or professional — is communication. It’s that simple.

My friend Frank Agin makes his living helping others create successful relationships. Frank is the founder and president of AmSpirit Business Connections, a franchise organization that helps people to develop stronger business relationships through structured weekly meetings.

Frank is also an author. In his book Foundational Networking: Building Know, Like and Trust to Create A Lifetime of Extraordinary Success, Frank writes that effective networking is not about rehearsed statements or formulaic activities. Rather, effective networking is about getting people to know, like and trust us.

Frank says there is no magic to this; no secret tricks.

In Foundational Networking, Frank writes that building these relationships is merely a function of our attitudes and habits surrounding three things: presence, altruism and integrity. Here is how he describes those attributes:

Presence involves your attitudes and habits toward how you carry yourself and how you appear to others. In other words, what do your words and actions communicate to the world around you?

Ask yourself, who are you are drawn to …

  • The person who is happy or the person who is gloomy?
  • The person who expresses optimism or the person who is pessimistic?
  • The person who demonstrates great courage or the person who lives in a state of fear?

No doubt you are attracted to the happy, optimistic and courageous person.

Now answer this: When people see you, what do they see? When they hear you, what do they hear? In a quiet, private moment, give yourself that honest assessment.

To build relationships which, remember, ultimately drives success, you need to adopt attitudes and habits that communicate happiness, optimism and courage. These things will attract people to you.

Altruism is next. It involves all your attitudes and habits related to your disposition toward contributing to the lives of others. That is, to what extent are you committed to giving to the world around you — not just money or physical assets, but also time and talent.

Ask yourself, who are you drawn to, the person who is focused on giving to the world around them or the person who is focused on getting from it? You likely answered the giver. And that answer is consistent with the research Dr. Adam Grant reported in his book Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach To Success.*


Here’s what I wrote about how you can apply Grant’s research: How to Be Successful at Work as a Giver, Not a Taker.

Now honestly assess yourself. To what extent do your words and actions communicate benevolence? What do you give? To whom do you give? Why?

You need to remember that when it comes to communicating an altruistic attitude, it’s not really about what you give, or how much you give. Rather, what matters most is the spirit that moves you. Know that people are drawn to those who genuinely communicate a generous spirit.

Integrity, finally, involves your attitudes and habits concerning how you interact with others. Who are you drawn to, the trustworthy person or the person whose integrity comes into question?

While the answer to that question is rhetorical, you can make a candid assessment of your own integrity. Are you trustworthy, doing the right thing even if it might not be in your best interest? Are you reliable, doing what you say you are going to do?

It’s important to understand that you shouldn’t answer these questions on the basis of major interactions or significant transactions alone. While those are important, to be sure, 99.9 percent of the population passes those tests.

Where this assessment is most critical is the little things. After all, this is where others judge you the most, looking to see how you communicate your integrity when the stakes may not be as high and when very few people are watching.

Success is relationship-based
In summary, Frank notes that your success is tied to others. It is your relationships and how you communicate with the people around you.

As such, Frank says your attitudes and habits need to be geared toward communicating …

  • A happy, optimistic and courageous existence;
  • A willingness to contribute to the people around you; and,
  • An air of honesty and reliability with everything you do.

This is how others will come to know, like and trust you, leading to relationships that foster success for you, and for them.

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Image Credit: Maryland GovPics via cc

Photo by on Unsplash

How to Make Your Resolutions Stick in 2108

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.  -- Aristotle

As we begin the New Year, most of us get the urge to change our lives and make a fresh start.

This year’s Marist Poll finds the usual suspects as our top five 2018 resolutions: being a better person, losing weight, exercising more, eating healthier, and getting a better job.

We make bold resolutions and ambitious plans to achieve these and other aspirations.

And we fail. We fail miserably: Research reveals that as few as 8 percent of us are successful with our New Year’s resolutions.

Of course, this is why fitness centers may sign up 5,000 new members in January for a facility that will hold only 500 people at a time.
As we enter 2018, how about considering a different approach?
Try making just two small changes this year. One now, and one in six months. I’ve put this into practice over the past few years with great success. This approach means that every year you will have changed two of your habits by the end of the year.
Small Changes are Powerful
Changing two habits a year might seem too small, too easy. But science proves that the lasting changes in our lives come from making small changes that are easier to implement.
Consider this small, but powerful example: “Replace a soft drink with water at just one meal — say, lunch. With this small change, you will drink approximately forty more gallons of water per year, while not drinking forty gallons of carbonated sugar. You also save up to fifty thousand calories and as much as five hundred dollars.” From Small Change, Little Things Make a Big Difference by Susan and Larry Terkel.
The Power of Habits
I’ve always worked on continuous self-improvement, but never understood how to change habits until a few years ago when I read this great book: The Power of Habit, Why We Do What We Do in Life and Businessby Charles Duhigg.

Duhigg explores the neuroscience of habits, using vivid examples from sports, business and life, including the NFL, Michael Phelps, Target, P&G and Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, among many others.
Conserving Brain Energy
Habits are critical to our brain function. To conserve energy, our brains run routines by habit that we don’t have to think about. Duhigg says up to 40 percent of our daily activities are done by unconscious habit. This becomes clear when we drive to the same location so often that we sometimes arrive and don’t remember how we got there.
But the key to this book for me was understanding the simple process of how habits function and how they can be hacked to make a positive change.
The 'Habit Loop'
Duhigg calls this the "Habit Loop.” He explains: "This process within our brains is a three-step loop. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which behavior to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is the reward.”
Here’s how it worked for me: I like to work out a lot, so I’ve never had a weight problem, but a few years ago I found myself with a severe nighttime sweet tooth. I didn’t need the extra sugar and calories and started getting some extra winter “insulation” on the tummy.
CUE: At a certain point in the evening, whether I was watching TV, reading a book or doing work, I’d get the feeling it was time for a snack. You know, The Craving.  ;-)
ROUTINE: I would wander into the kitchen for a snack. It would usually be a nice helping of ice cream or a few cookies.
REWARD: I got the sweet taste of the dessert and the rush of blood sugar.
I wasn’t consciously being a Cookie Monster; I realize now that I was just caught in the loop.
I'm simplifying Duhigg's advice here, but his research found that the secret to changing your habit is to identify and tweak your routine.  I successfully used these steps to change my nightly dessert habit.
CUE: For me, the tweak was this: when the cue occurred, my evening dessert craving, I would still wander into the kitchen.
ROUTINE: In initially changing the routine, I told myself I could still have ice cream or cookies, but first I would have a piece of fruit and a glass of water and wait for 15 minutes. I did that and went back to whatever I was doing.

REWARD: This is the interesting part. I was shocked that from the very first time I ate an apple, drank the water and refocused on what I was doing, I was satisfied and not craving more sweets. My substitute reward gave me a sweet taste, the act of chewing and the water quenched my thirst. (Nutritionists say that often what feels like hunger is dehydration.)

Mistaken Rewards
Sometimes we are seeking a reward that is not necessarily what we might assume. Duhigg details getting up from his desk every day at 3 p.m. to get a cookie from the cafeteria at the New York Times building, where he is a reporter.

Then he would walk around and socialize with his colleagues. The reporter tweaked his routine to skip the cookie and go to the social break, which was really his reward.

The other interesting thing that happens is that when you change one habit, positive changes seem to build on one another. If you exercise regularly, you might find yourself wanting to eat healthier foods.

How about You?
What habit do you most want to change?

Think about this habit: What are cue, routine and reward of this habit and how can you tweak them to rewire your habit?

Would you consider skipping the New Year’s resolutions and instead change just two small habits this year?

Give it a try. I believe that if you change your habits, you change your life.

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How to Manage Your Personal Brand in 2018

As we come to the end of the year and you plan for your personal and professional development in 2018, it's worth considering how others perceive you in the workplace.

Last week, I wrote about Your 7 Favorite Stories of 2017

Today I'll offer one of my favorite articles, which I originally wrote in February 2016, titled How to Be A "Tough" Woman Leader with leadership and personal brand advice from successful financial services leader Carla Harris, including a 90-day challenge.

For your use, at the end of this newsletter, I've also included a link to my popular post, Personal Branding: What 3 Adjectives Describe You?  which will give you a simple exercise to learn how you are perceived by others.

Wishing you happiness and success in 2017!


How to Be a Tough Woman Leader
February 2016

Over the past couple of years, a long-time friend of mine has invited me to join her table at the annual meeting of Women for Economic and Leadership Development here in Columbus, Ohio.
That means it’s me and a few other guys in the midst of some 500 smart, enthusiastic businesswomen. The speakers have been awesome. Last year’s keynote speaker, Carla Harris, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Morgan Stanley, gave some really great advice for women, and men, on achieving success by differentiating yourself in the workplace.
As an African-American woman on white-male dominated Wall Street, Harris faced unique challenges and learned to position herself in a way that allowed her to thrive while being true to herself.

She offered a wide-range of wisdom. These are three core messages. People loved her third idea as much as I did and I would recommend you seriously considering trying it in your workplace.
1) Be Authentic
Too many people try to act in a way at work that is not really who they are. This causes anxiety and disconnection. Harris says being your authentic self positions you for success:

  • “You are your own competitive advantage. No one can be you the way you can be you. The last thing you should ever do is to submerge that which is uniquely you.
  • “Anytime that you are trying to behave or speak in a way that is inconsistent with who you really are, you will create a competitive disadvantage for yourself.
  • “If you bring your authentic self to a relationship, people will trust you and trust is at the heart of any successful relationship.
  • “Most people are not comfortable in their own skin, so when they see someone who is comfortable and confident in their own skin, they will gravitate toward you.”

Harris, who also is a highly successful gospel singer, said early in her career she would bristle when her colleagues would tell clients about her singing. She would roll her eyes when they said, “Carla is an amazing gospel singer, with three CDs and four sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall.”
She changed her mind when she saw enthusiastic client reactions. Potential clients would ask about her career and whether she would talk to their daughters about integrating business and the arts in their lives. 
A Different Lens
“We ended up having a 15-minute meeting before the meeting,” Harris said. “When I sat down to pitch, they heard me with a different ear, they saw me through a different lens.” These conversations helped her to win business as it differentiated her “from five other investment bankers pitching that IPO.”

From that moment on, Harris said she brought to business “all my Carla Harris’s” -- singer, prayer warrior, golfer, football fan because you never know who will connect with something you love.

2) Take Risks
A second way to differentiate yourself is by showing you can take risks, Harris said. During challenging times in a workplace, Harris said everyone tells you to keep your head down so you can fly under the radar.

She recommends the opposite. “When everybody else is besieged with fear and everybody else is ducking, you have a clear vision to see the opportunity,” Harris said.
“In a difficult environment, it’s time to speak up. The issue with keeping your head down is you submerge your voice and your voice is at the heart of your power. Fear has no place in your success equation.”

She said to ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that can happen? She said you might fail, but failure always brings a gift: experience, and leaders will see you as a person of action, who should be kept around.
3) Manage Your Perception
Harris said the important thing she has learned after two-and-a-half decades on Wall Street is, “perception is the co-pilot to reality. How people perceive you will directly impact how they deal with you.
She said that after five years in her career, a senior director told she was smart and hard-working, but he didn’t think she was tough enough for the business of Wall Street. Harris was outraged.
A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard and a graduate of Harvard Business School she had overcome significant challenges to land at Morgan Stanley. In her colloquial speech, Harris shouted to the crowd, “You can call Carla Harris a lot of things, but ‘ain’t tough’, ain’t one of them.”
Not 'Tough' Enough
She thought to herself, “suppose he really doesn’t think I’m tough enough?” One can’t be seen as weak on Wall Street. “I decided for 90 days I would walk tough, talk tough, eat tough, and drink tough, use tough in my language.”
It’s important to have consistent behavior and language, Harris said, and to “use this language in your environment, particularly when you are talking about yourself. You can train people to think about you in the way that you want them to think about you.”
Harris had a reputation for being very good at critiquing management presentations, so much so that before company road shows for a multi-million dollar IPO or stock transaction, her colleagues would ask her to listen to a presentation and give the CEO feedback.
“Next time, after I’d gotten that feedback about not being tough, I said wait a minute, tell me about this guy, is he sensitive, does he have a thin skin? I don’t want to hurt nobody’s feeling, ‘cause you know I’m tough,” Harris said, drawing laughter and applause.
90-Day Challenge
“I kept using this language over and over to describe myself. Sure enough, after 90 days of work, I was behind a group of people, they didn’t know I was behind them.”
She said she heard a VP beating up an associate to make sure they were fully prepared for their meeting:
“We’re going to see Carla Harris, and you know, she’s so tough.”
Carla Harris succeeded in one of the world’s most challenging business environments, Wall Street, by making her authentic self a positive differentiator.
She didn’t need to hide herself -- she let the real Carla Harris shine through.
It may have been tough, but that’s Carla Harris. She’s tough.
Questions for you:
How are you perceived in your workplace?
Is that perception consistent with who you really are?

Would you consider the 90-day challenge to change the perception of you?
Carla Harris recommends an exercise of choosing three adjectives you want people to use to describe you when you are not in the room, because that’s when all of the important decisions are made about compensation, promotion and new assignments. The adjectives should be consistent with the position you seek.

I previously wrote about a similar exercise: 
Personal Branding: What three adjectives describe you?

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Photo Credit: Carla Harris' website

Your 7 Favorite Stories of 2017

Dear Friend,

As we come to the end of the year, I thank you for reading and being a part of this community of thousands of leaders and high achievers from around the world. I am grateful for your support, your ideas and your feedback throughout the year. We help one another grow and develop personally and professionally.

Today, I offer the stories you read most, liked best and shared most frequently during 2017. I've included a taste; click Read More for the whole story.

I wish you Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas and great happiness and success in 2018.


1) How to Stay Calm Under Stress
All of us have issues, concerns or people who push our buttons. Especially people. They create an emotional response that can send us over the edge. We might respond with anger, defensiveness, disgust or hurt.

These are normal human reactions, but when you're giving a presentation or doing a media interview – something where your reactions are on display – it's important to control your response. Read More
2) 7 Ways to Organize Your Presentation
A lack of clear organization in a talk is a problem that plagues presenters in organizations everywhere. It drains productivity in meetings and causes deep employee frustration and resentment. I urge my clients to follow a simple process of using a whiteboard, flow chart or legal pad to mind map their major idea or argument with all the supporting points and evidence.
Once you have all of that in front of you, find patterns that emerge to cluster information and organize your talk and potential slides around the key messages that emerge. To help you in building your presentation, here are seven of the best strategies for organizing your talk. Read More
3) Why I Write and You Should, Too
This week marks two years that I’ve published these articles every Sunday. I appreciate your support and thought it would be worth sharing why I write. But first, let me share with you the exact moment decades ago that my attitude about writing — and my life — changed forever.
I was raised by a hard-working single mother and started life in the housing projects of Philadelphia. We moved to California when I was eight and though our quality of life improved, I was never motivated by anyone to achieve academically. It was mostly C’s and D’s in my early life.
So, when I signed up for a journalism class in my junior year at Hawthorne High School (where the Beach Boys had graduated years earlier), I had no particular intentions. But something startling happened. My teacher, Konnie Krislock, dropped my first draft of a news story on my desk with this handwritten at the top: “Great work! A+” and she said, “You’re a great writer.”
Read More
4) Less is More in Presentations
It’s estimated that we are exposed to some 5,000 marketing messages a day. Our phones constantly beg for attention. We have endless emails, texts and social notifications…
All of this distraction means it’s more important than ever that we focus our messages to be as clear and concise as possible. As subject matter experts, our biggest job isn’t knowing what to say, it’s knowing what not to say. We have an obligation to cut the clutter and focus on what people really need to know. Read More
5) Are You Coachable?
To change, we need to leave our comfort zones. All of our personal growth happens outside of our comfort zones. If it were easy to change, we would all do it right away. We wouldn’t need coaching. We’d see our own blind spots and change.
But it doesn’t work that way. I’ve learned over the years that until someone recognizes the need there will be no movement.
This is true in all aspects of human behavior. We see it all the time, in common areas, like behavior toward others, weight loss, social anxiety, smoking, even smartphone addiction. Until people see the issue and ask for help, they are unlikely to change. Read More
6) How to Control Your Ego
Excerpt: If you overhear someone talking about a person’s ego, you can be sure it’s not positive. You never hear, “I love the ego Bob brings to his work!” More likely you’ll hear: “Phil’s got a huge ego!” “Pam’s ego is out of control!” “Cameron’s an ego maniac!”
It’s unfortunate that egos have such a negative reputation because a healthy ego can drive ambition, creativity and accomplishment. Cambridge Dictionary defines ego simply as, “The idea or opinion that you have of yourself, especially the level of your ability and intelligence, and your importance as a person.” Read More
7) Your Most Important Communication Skill is Listening
Excerpt: When I say “your most important communication skill,” you might think: public speaking, handling questions, or reading people. That’s because we normally think of communication as outgoing. We think that if we’re transmitting we must be communicating.
That leads to people speaking at one another instead of really listening. It’s become the hallmark of our current social and political environment that people spend a lot more time shouting at one another than listening. It turns out that two monologues, however loud and impassioned, do not equal a dialogue. Read More

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Photo by Adam Whitlock on Unsplash


$80 Coffee Mug! and Other Last-Minute Cool Holiday Gifts

If you’re like me, you might wait until the last minute to decide what gift to get that special someone this time of year.
With this in mind, I opened up and tested a few of my favorite gifts early to give you ideas for last minute shopping.
Since we’re having Sunday Coffee together, let me start here:


Ember, the “Temperature Control Ceramic Mug,” allows you to use a smartphone app to precisely control the temperature of your coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
First I thought it would be crazy to purchase an $80 coffee mug, but last week I read this article in Wired I Can't Stop Drinking Coffee Out of This Temperature-Regulating Mug and I started to consider the possibility.
This mug started off as a Kickstarter campaign and was named one of Time's Best Inventions of 2017. Ember has perfected the technology to deal with my pet peeve, which is lukewarm coffee. I’ll be intent on reading or writing and reach for a sip of hot coffee and instead, I get a mouthful of tepid taste.


With this app, I actually made a discovery that I like coffee much hotter than the average person, which seems to be about 131 degrees. Drinking from the mug this morning, my ideal temperature was 149 degrees. The mug will either lower or raise the temperature of your beverage and keep it there. I’m not sure how long its battery lasts, but definitely long enough for a couple of morning cups.
The Ember website says that due to high demand they can’t ship it for 6-8 days, but you can pick it up at some Starbucks locations, as I did this week. For some odd reason, the company lists the mug on Amazon for $185. I wouldn’t buy it at that price but you might find the customer reviews valuable.
My final opinion: $80 is not so crazy for a mug that will give you a satisfying hot drink experience for years. If you know someone who cares deeply about coffee, this is the right gift. They'll be thinking of you warmly every day. ;-)
BUY NOW: $79.95 Ember website (ships in 6-8 days) or pick it up at a local Starbucks (Call ahead, not available in all stores)



Speaking of coffee, sometimes you just want a latte at home. For years, I dragged out my big French press style frother, filled it with milk and started pumping. Eventually, I’d get some decent foamy milk, but it was inconsistent and required washing this pot.
For the past few months, I’ve been using the IKEA frother. It’s a clever little $6 device that is fast, produces better-frothed milk and requires little cleanup.
It’s a battery-powered device about the size of an electric toothbrush. You stick the head into the milk, hold for 30 seconds and you have perfect foam. Rinse off the stem and drop it in your kitchen drawer. Done. Enjoy a quick, creamy latte. It’s great for hot chocolate, too.
BUY NOW: $6.49 Amazon


My current iPad is six years old and has finally slowed to a crawl. I recently upgraded to this model of the iPad Pro. Beyond it beautiful design, this device has remarkable power, storage (I got the 256 gig version) and features.
I use it for business and pleasure; virtually anything you on your laptop, you can do on the iPad Pro. I use it for writing, email, web browsing, video edits, slide edits and sometimes even note-taking by writing on the screen.
A great gift for any age.
BUY NOW: $717 Amazon


I shopped for about a year, looking to upgrade the small Canon camera I use to record videos. I wanted something that will work for high-quality video, as well as still photography.
My research kept bringing me to this versatile DSLR camera and my professional photographer friends confirmed the decision. During the past few days, we’ve shot great video and stills and I’m so impressed with the ease of use, durability and beautiful results.
There are many different options, but I kept it simple and purchased the basic camera with a standard lens. I’m very happy with this choice.
This is a great camera for beginners as well as more advanced photographers. Perfect for prospective YouTubers on your gift list.
BUY NOW: $1,049 Amazon

My pledge to you: I only recommend products I know and trust. If you purchase using my Amazon affiliate link, I may receive a small percentage of the sale. You will not pay any more for the product. We use these fees to purchase books for use in producing the Sunday Coffee newsletter.

If you buy these gifts for yourself or others, leave a comment in the future or use our contact form to let me know about your experience.
I wish you happy holidays and much success in the New Year!

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