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Five Tips To Help Notaries Work Smarter From NNA 2015’s Keynote Speaker


Today’s Notaries face pressure not only to stay competitive, but to meet ongoing challenges — from new requirements for the mortgage industry to being threatened at signings. At NNA 2015 in Orlando, Florida, keynote speaker Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, Ph.D., offered five tips to help Notaries work smarter in a changing economy:

Avoid ‘Functional Fixedness’

“Functional fixedness” means staying too focused on what something is intended to do, instead of looking for new ways to apply it. Think of a can opener, Woodward said. Most people only use it to open cans. But it also can be used to break those pesky sealed plastic casings around products from big box stores.

Notaries need to avoid “functional fixedness” when looking at their skills. Instead look for ways to use your talents to diversify the services you offer, Woodward said.

Become ‘Opportunity Focused’

There are generally two types of mindsets when approaching business, Woodward said. “Prevention focused” people are accurate, reliable and conscientious, but they focus on playing not to lose. “Opportunity focused” people are optimistic, forward thinking, always looking for opportunity and not afraid of taking risks. “You have to get out of your comfort zone. You will make a lot of mistakes when you are opportunity focused. You have to expect it and plan for it. And you have to be willing to learn from it,” Woodward said.

Build Your Network

Most Notaries know what it means to build a professional network to help secure new business and boost your professional development. But Woodward argues you shouldn’t stop there, because there’s a lot more to building “the right network.”  “You must have access to things or people that others in your network don’t have,” Woodward said. “You want to be an information broker, and that means connecting with people who are influencers. Try to find people who can open doors for you.” For Notaries, that could mean targeting real estate agents, title representatives, auto dealers, health care professionals, attorneys and more.

Look For Trends

Keep an eye out for business or social trends that may open new opportunities. Woodward noted, for example, that there are 77 million Baby Boomers in the nation. This aging market segment will have an increasing need for notarizations on powers of attorney, advance health care directives, trust documents and reverse mortgages, among others.  “Immerse yourself in their world,” Woodward said. “Become their ‘go to,’ in-house expert on notarization in places where they congregate.”

Stand Out

‘Standing Out’ means doing things that your competitors don’t and creating multiple channels of business that help you grow. But the real key to standing out is providing top-notch customer service.

“Do what you do best and do it the best. Deliver them integrity, trust, reliability and security for their documents,” Woodward said. “Keep yourself educated and informed about all of the changes happening in your industry…Believe me, your dedication will be evident to your customers, and that will keep them coming back.”


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Cant believe it

29 Jun 2015

Was a Notary in OH 38 yrs. We & banks provided a convenient FREE service. MA???

Jack A Erb

29 Jun 2015

Good info for development of my services and expertise .

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