Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Tropical is what I'd like to write about today. The warmth, the humidity, the sun, the flowers, the palm trees, the warm never-ending ocean waves, the lifestyle. Why is it we don't all live in the tropics?
While I enjoy all of the comforts of the tropics when visiting, I image it takes a stamina for slow, for laid back, maybe today...or tomorrow living. I was born to multi-task and to put 30 hours of activity into every 24 hours I get in my life. I would love to retire in the tropics...maybe.
Visiting the tropics is what I like best. Living in the tropics probably would not be good for my personality. Of course, maybe in time I would be able to adjust that multi-tasking, hurry up and get it done so I can move onto the next project and let all of my go, go, go - go out with the tide.
I think for now, I am thinking too much. For the rest of the trip, I am going to leave the computer packed away and enjoy the surf, the sand, the sounds and of course all of the food of Hawaii.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
We are also recycling paper and cardboard - it is very distressing to realize how over packaged products are these days. Just in one box that we got a new ceiling light in had cardboard inside and out, Styrofoam, plastic, tape and paper. It is also very distressing to realize how much paper we waste when it comes to printing in the office.
Regardless of past practices, we have printers that can print on both sides of the paper and we are using that feature to the fullest - we have recycle boxes at every printer - we are recycling junk mail, newspapers, magazines and packaging paper. We are also recycling the cardboard that soda is packaged. In the near future, we will be recycling soda cans.
On the post-consumer side, we have been trying to buy recycled paper products - they are still just a bit more expensive than the non-recycled products.
We are trying to use less electricity, less gasoline by making fewer trips to wherever whenever we feel like it - instead we group all of of our errands together and try to take the shortest routes to get everything done.
It is not that hard to take notice and take action to get yourself and your family green. Every little bit helps and we need every one's every little bit. Try on green -it looks good on you.
Friday, May 02, 2008
The author is hailed as an expert in complex sales strategies and has become a sales trainer and expert to selling to the big corporate accounts. As with many of the sales advice books I've read over the years, her tips and tricks are more like common sense. I find it so hard to believe that some people don't do some of the items she mentions.
Take for example - she recommends to concentrate on the customer and the customer needs and looking for a good fit in being able to offer solutions. The author states many times that a sales person should NOT make sales meetings all about them or their company or product - make it and keep it customer centered.
Show your value - show your worth - demonstrate your ability to make a difference - but keep it all customer centered. Don't waste the client's time - don't spend too much time trying to build a friend-to-friend relationship by asking about vacations or family, etc - don't wing it.
Konrath provides insightful ways to script cold calls and then suggests memorizing and practicing the script but don't use it when actually making the calls. She also gives advice on creating effective sales letters, sales e-mails and other types of correspondence.
This is one of the first books suggesting that some of the organizations floating around out there may not be the best place to network when prospecting for the big companies. If you want to network, go to the community events, functions and organizations where the big company decision-makers go.
The book is well written - a fast read - and will make a good desk reference book when writing those e-mail blast messages. Which by the way the author suggests that you take the time to individualize each e-mail in a campaign instead of sending a generic e-mail.
Konrath suggests that many big client decision-makers may answer an e-mail faster than returning a cold phone call. I agree and I've seen this happen first hand. I've sent e-mails to big company decision-makers and have gotten positive responses as well as sales resulting from a cold e-mail.
Again, this book really enforces some common sense sales techniques with a splash or two new ideas on relationship building, networking and e-mailing. It is worth writing about today and is worth reading.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
As it turns out - recycling has continued to be practiced at almost all levels from the one person apartment renter to business, government, schools and universities. We now have an entire generation that has grown up seeing those recycle bins in their homes, schools and workplaces. And, it continues to make a difference in the environment.
Bach details 50 ways you can take going green up a notch from paper recycling. He starts by telling you how to determine your impact on the environment or your carbon footprint. From there he provides easy and doable ways to go green in one area or all areas of your life.
For many people, changing vehicles to smaller and hybrid is not as feasible as changing health and beauty products to organic or buying green based household cleaning products. Turns out that we can now get green mortgages and green credit cards.
There are many simple and unobtrusive ways to go green. My own personal business is doing a few things such as recycling paper, buying as many post-consumer paper products as we can afford and as they are needed, we have changed out almost all of the light bulbs to energy-efficient models, we give away used business and reference books (actually we have done this for years and years - we very seldom throw out a book) and we give away our old computer equipment to those who may not be able to afford new computer equipment.
We also recycle magazines, paper bags, newspapers and of course printer paper. Also, we try to print on both sides of the paper as often as possibly. I am also trying to write and publish pieces about going green as much as I can as well as reading as much as I can about going green. We also turn our computers off at the end of the day - all but the server which has recently been replaced with an energy-efficient version.
On a personal level, we buy organic products for our dogs and we do buy organic fruits and vegetables when available where we shop. We read most of our newspapers online but those we do buy such as the local Sunday paper or our subscription to the Wall Street Journal, we recycle.
The point of all this is that all of us can pick at least one area of our lives to go green and it will make an positive impact. Bach reports that Americans spend $45 billion a year on electricity for things they are not using. He also reports that by replacing one light bulb - CO2 emissions can be reduced by 67 pounds over the life of the light bulb. Or, how about this, you can save up to $798 in gasoline each year by keeping your car tires properly inflated, your car properly tuned up and not carrying around extra weight in your car.
Save the air - save on fuel needs - save money. This going green is looking better all the time.
Monday, March 31, 2008
This is not one of those cover-to-cover reads - it has over 1,300 pages and thousands of bits of information. The inside book cover flap reads, "This one volume is designed to offer more information than any other book on the most important subjects as well as provide easy-to-access data critical to everyday life."
It has facts and figures on science and technology, business and finance, geography, literature, dance, music and the environment. I love being able to read about the history of mathematics or why the currency exchange matters.
Granted, I could type any of those questions into google and find information. Nonetheless, flipping the pages of this bible-size book, I find answers to questions that I didn't know I had in the back of my mind.
I'm not a stage in my life that I can memorize much of the facts contained within those 1,300 pages but, I can always flip back through and re-read what I forgot. Many professional writers have a copy of one of the World Almanacs desk side - as do I - but this essential guide to knowledge is or should be essential to all professional writers.
The flip side is that print advertising dropped over 2 billion dollars for the same periods. So what does that mean to the consumer or to those working in or with advertising? It could indicate that Internet usage is up by all age groups. It must mean that those advertising in the online newspapers must be seeing a return on their investment. On the green side of life, it could mean that there is less paper and ink waste in the world (although energy usage would be increased).
Is there a downside to less print advertising? Well, there could be because print newspapers can only be printed when there are advertising dollars to do so. Newspapers are still making money with the online advertising so they could just be printing fewer newspapers in order to be able to show a net gain.
Media markets are shrinking everywhere. There are fewer printed news sources these days - which equates to fewer editors and fewer reporters. Everyone who uses public relations and sends press releases has to move their news online and for some reason or reasons it seems that the online news markets are not as prolific as the past news print resources.
We have more news tossed about than ever in more places than ever before, but it is more difficult to get press out for companies and community organizations. Why?
In some ways the increase in online advertising could be having an effect on online news in a different way than we thought it could. I know many people who shop online - who click on the advertising - who click on this and click on that - but never stop to read the actual news.
I am just as guilty as anyone. I keep the New York Times as my home page but lately I've gotten into the habit of scrolling down to the section of podcasts and video casts. If the news isn't contained in one of those slots, I just don't seem to read it.
On the other hand - I still get the printed Wall Street Journal delivered to my home every morning and I look at every page - including some of the advertising. I never read the Wall Street Journal online.
So back to the original question - what does the online advertising increase mean to me or to you? It certainly means any company who wants to succeed with their advertising has to be doing online advertising in addition to their printed advertising.
It also means that Internet users are going to continue to be bombarded with advertising popping up everywhere. It means a new paradigm for reaching the consumer. I say new because in the more recent past, businesses had to think about adding online advertising to their print -but now they will have to consider adding print to their online.
Companies have to add to their advertising by sending online coupons. I get Borders Books coupons in my email and never see them in print advertising. I guess what is really important in today's economic worries is that you pay attention to the advertising - be it online or in print - and go out and shop.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
That would be a great thing but that he writes everything - in my opinion - as if writing poetry. His writing is filled with in-depth descriptions - to the point that you feel as if you are in the book and a part of his story.
When going through my bookshelves recently and revisiting some old favorites, I stopped at my section of Steinbeck's and picked up Sweet Thursday. So, I decided to give it a re-read. It feels comfortable and much like visiting an old friend - Steinbeck that is.
Here is passage out of Sweet Thursday as an example of how Steinbeck's writing takes you away with it - "Change may be announced by a small ache, so that you think you're catching a cold. Or you may feel a faint disgust for something you loved yesterday. It may even take the form of a hunger that peanuts will not satisfy. Isn't overeating said to be one of the strongest symptoms of discontent? And isn't discontent the lever of change?"
In the prologue to the book, Steinbeck's character Mack is written to have said to another character, "Sometimes I want a book to break loose with a bunch of hooptedoodle. The guy's writing it, give him a chance to do a little hooptedoodle. Spin up some pretty words maybe, or sing a little song with the words."
Steinbeck put two Hooptedoodle chapters in his book - Hooptedoodle 1 and Hooptedoodle 2. Sweet Thursday is a quick little read that really does sound like Steinbeck broke loose and wrote a novel that reads like a song.
I have tried to read my share of the classics. Of course, I like Hemingway and I like Steinbeck - who got the worst side of the critics in his time. I really do prefer today's writers but as a writer, it is a must have to have an appreciation of why some of the classics have survived so long and what made some of those writers so great - so long living.
Sweet Thursday is great place to start with Steinbeck. It is actually a continuation of his book Cannery Row but the story is self-contained enough that you don't have to read Cannery Row to read and enjoy Sweet Thursday.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
She is my absolute favorite columnist and if I'm ever asked who I would like to most write like - it would be Anna Quindlen. I don't always agree with her position but I do always agree her writing is top-notch and never off pitch.
She is sharp - she is smart - she can be humorous - she writes about what's important today and she is the total writers package. To get to know her and get a good sense of her writing, read her two books, Thinking Out Loud and Loud and Clear.
In my own writing career, I would like to be a syndicated columnist even more so than being a top selling author. I cannot write fiction of any genre. I can only write non-fiction so all of my future books will be business, technology, marketing or public relations related. These are the topics that interest me and this is the type of writing I feel passionate about.
When I think about creating non-fictional characters or story lines - I freeze. As such, becoming a columnist would be a great level to aspire. There is no better teacher than Anna Quindlen. She writes on everything from social change to raising kids to political and global events.
Her book titles are so on spot because that is exactly what she does in her Newsweek columns, she speaks out loud and does so loud and clear.
Take her March 2001 column about Our Tired, Our Poor, Our Kids: "Here is the parallel universe that has flourished while the more fortunate were rewarding themselves for the stock split with SUVs and home additions. There is a boom market in homelessness. But these are not the men on the streets of San Francisco holding out cardboard signs to tourists. They are children."
Anna talks about all of the important issues of our time at the time. She is sublime. Read her for yourself by getting the next Newsweek with her column in it or try one of the two books I've mentioned.
I have been surrounded by engineers most of my life - my brother was an electrical and mechanical engineer - my husband is an electrical engineer - my son is a mechanical engineer and my father inlaw was a civil engineer. So reading Dilbert has been a part of my regular repertoire of things to do for many, many years. And, will no doubt continue long into the future.
Scott Adams has also written several books including The Dilbert Principle, Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook and his most recent Stick to Drawing Comics Monkey Brain. The Dilbert Principle was Scott's attempt (he confesses to it on the inside cover flap) to "cash in on the lucrative business book market".
The book was published in 1996 and I do remember it as being a top seller and having many discussions in meetings and luncheons about what the tidbits and points of ridiculousness (and many laughs) included in the book. The book offers secrets to management success such as: Swearing you way to success, Great Lies of Management, How to Tell if Your Company is Doomed and The Importance of Hair for Male Leaders.
His latest book is not so much a business book but more of a commentary on life book. He takes a not so serious look at his Fear of Birds, Dangerous Donuts and The Problem with Being Clever. He also includes some of his Dilbert comics that did not make it into the newspaper exactly as written because they were not politically correct or were to saucy for the general reading public.
Scott's workplace humor is visible everyday in his cartoon and with his Dilbert Principle . His everyday, real-life humor is exemplified in the Monkey Brain book. For example, he has a favorite conspiracy theory, "My favorite conspiracy theory is the one that says the world is being run by a handful of ultra-rich captialists and that our our elected governments are mere puppets."
He also discusses why he wrote this book by saying in the introduction that he has failed at 90 percent of the things he has attempted. But then he goes into details that read as though he has won 90 percent of the things he's attempted. So he has a bit of contradiction in the opening pages.
The book is a good and laugh-along read. Scott does have some unique views of many mundane occurrences. The Dilbert comics included are alone worth the price of the book and the time to read it.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Having written all of that - I also have to say I've read so many books on selling such as:
- The Nordstrom Way
- The Greatest Salesman in the World
- Words that Sell
- Zig Ziglar's Secrets of Closing the Sale
- Cold Calling Techniques
- The 10-minute Salesman
- Marketing Minds
- Guerrilla Marketing Attack
- Several Peter Drucker books
- Several Tom Peters books
- McDonald's Behind the Arches
- Value Added Selling Techniques
- Why People Buy Things They Don't Need
- Why This Horse Won't Drink
- Writing Advertising That Sells
- and on and on and on.
All of the theories and all of those great minds have one basic underlying premise: Take care of your customers/clients/readers and they will buy and read.
The article in Selling Power - How to Deliver Persuasive Presentations is aimed at training sales managers to deliver an effective sales presentation. The piece describes the basic structure of any presentation which includes:
- The introduction
- The body
- The conclusion
- The close
This basic structure can be applied to any profession or almost any situation. As a writer, I follow that structure for every piece I create be it a feature article, an editorial, an promotional piece or a press release. Just think how many places this structure can serve you - can you name 3 areas without thinking overly hard?
Back to the article - the author also suggests that every sales presentation has to answer 3 basic questions:
- Why you?
- Why your company?
- Why now?
Answering those questions will lead to making the presentation informative and persuasive. And, don't forget - you have to make it all entertaining so as not to lose the interest of those you are trying to inform and persuade. The article is short and to the point and brings home the theory that is written about so much - and for which I am writing about now.
To be successful in sales or selling or really in life itself - you have to first listen to what is needed - second find relevant solutions - and third present the solutions and yourself as a viable option to help the customer/client/reader. That's all anybody really wants - is to be helped.
If more sales persons would boil all the advice, all the training and all the special effects of selling down to that one point - really helping the client - the act of selling becomes invisible. Think about it - nobody likes to be sold - they like to buy what they believe is the answer to their current problem. So stop selling - start helping. Instead of asking "Can we sign you up today?" ask, "What do you think? Do you think this will work?"
The article also gives a list of most frequently asked questions about sales presentations. One asks the nine most common mistakes made by sales pros. Number one on the list of mistakes is winging it and number two is being too informative and not enough persuasive. Both of which can be eliminated by thinking of the problem and looking for the solution. When you present the solution - you will be talking the same language as the customer/client/reader and you will not have to worry about having to wing it or to being too informative.
I've had so many people tell me that they don't understand how I can close so often (at one time in my career I was closing around 90% of the time) because it doesn't appear as though I sell at all. By all outward appearances - everyone perceives my selling technique as pure and simple conversation. Ok, I'll agree with that. And, more importantly, so can my customers/clients/readers.
I am just as guilty as other sales professionals of reading all of the new and improved (or really restated) sales theories. I read the Selling Power magazine after all. This particular article is very good because it does take us back to the basics. You can watch the 5-minute video of the article at www.sellingpower.com/video and then search for Sjodin. The information presented is worth the 5 minutes.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
My first impression is that this book has a three-fold purpose in this world. First, it is meant to help dog owners be the leader of their pack of dogs. Second, it gives an excellent perspective on getting to know who you are inside. Third, it is a really good lesson in human pack leaders of human packs.
Cesar's mantra is to help you understand and read your dog's energy and then use that understanding to better connect to your dog. Good advice. You could easily substitute the word human for the word dog and a second powerful piece of advice is garnared from the statement.
He also suggests that you use the calm - assertive energy that you use to be the pack leader with your dog or dogs in your relationships with friends, co-workers and family. Calm - assertive - energy - once again this is very good advice.
To be an effective pack leader, Cesar's writes that we need balance in 4 very distinct areas of our lives: 1. Intellectual 2. Emotional 3. Spiritual 4. Instinctual. Humans - according to Cesar - will follow a leader if they are intelligent, emotional or spiritual regardless if the leader is stable or instinctual. Dogs on the other hand will only follow a leader that is stable.
The book tells us that nature takes care of the unstable or threats in 4 ways: 1. Fight 2. Flight 3. Avoidance 4. Submission. And, that a dog's natural goal is to be connected - to live harmoniously - and be grounded and balanced with mother nature.
Mother Nature uses dominance and aggression to keep things in balance. And, she is ruthless on the weak.
Does any of this ring true in the world that you live in? It really resonates with me and all of the turmoil and troubles of my life.
Cesar suggests that your dog knows who you really are inside - no matter how hard you try o hide - they know if you are unbalanced or stable and sure of yourself. You can maybe hide yourself from yourself, but your dog knows everything. WOW! I Believe! I Believe!
I have been a dog owner (most of my life I've owned two dogs at a time) and all of my dogs seemed to be better intune with what I was really feeling than I ever seemed to be. Because of my history with dogs, the message about dogs in this book is really signing to the choir - what has really caught my attention is how much of the research can be applied to human relationships.
I've also read so many self-help and feel good theories and books (I am a writer after all and need all the feel good I can get) and this information just seems to cut to the basic instinct and cuts out the complexity of life.
I still have over 260 pages to go. I'll be writing about this book again, and possibly a third or fourth again....
As an aside, Cesar's wife's name is Illusion. This means nothing to the book or the message of the book - it just provides an huh? moment.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
The secret, according to the Web site is, "The secret teaches us that we create our lives, with every thought every minute of every day."
Big secret! I think I've known that since birth. The true secret is how to change your thinking when your thinking is destroying your life. The book does try to provide ways to change one's thoughts to be more positive and more grateful. I've tried these tips and techniques to no avail.
It's hard to turn over 40 years of thinking one way to thinking in another. I've tried. I've failed. Nonetheless, I believe in the secret and thinking the book is the ideal self-help book. The secrets of a successful happy life are simple and the book does not try to complicate matters.
It tells it like it is. If you think it, feel it, see it in your mind's eye, believe it --- it will happen in real life. Be it good or bad -- it will happen in reality as it happens in your mind. One of the strongest parts of the book is the secret of the law of attraction.
This secret says you can have the life you want if you:
1. Have positive self-language (I am good, I am worthy, I know I can do)
2. Are grateful for what you have and where you are now
3. Visualize in detail
4. Bring on the details by seeing yourself driving that new car or taking that dream vacation
5. See the dream as already happening
6. Move in the directions of your dreams and the hows will take care of themselves
7. And, if you don't feel it, it won't happen.
All of these items are such common sense. Somehow we all seem to lose perspective in our lives and we lose control of all of these actions. Passion, feeling, visualizing, being happy with who and where you are today, believing it will happen are all feelings that have existed for hundreds of years.
Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, Christopher Columbus, Beethoven are all secret practitioners.
My life has had so much tragedy touch it that is difficult for me to turn my thoughts back to the positive side. I've been on the dark side so long -- I feel too often that all hope may be lost. I do continue to think of all the positives but so much of the good things in my life were integrated into the lives of those I've lost over the years (12 deaths of close friends and family in the past 15 years) that all thoughts seem to lead me back to the dark side.
If there is one self-help that I feel can help, it is The Secret.
Print media is still king. One of our local newspapers had an editorial last month by the city editor that claims the newspaper's sales for the printed version are stronger today than ever. And, the full paper is online for everyone to read for free but they continue to sell the printed copy. And, they have even increased readership and sales because of the online version.
Selling Power magazine's publisher wrote in his editorial (November/December 2007 issue), "Last month I asked Selling Power readers to share your thoughts about print vs. online. I was floored by your overwhelming response in support of print."
Readers sent in commentary about their experiences with print vs. online. One reader commented about a business in northern Ohio going paperless then going out of business. Another reader commented, "We're still far away from replacing print. We have PDA's and text messaging but we still write on the back of cocktail napkins, on newspapers or the backs of envelopes."
One reader questioned the life span of blogs and stated that, "It's a blog eat blog world."
Being a longtime Internet user (I first used online resources in the days of online bulletin boards and I can remember logging onto AOL in its start up days), I find myself using online resources less and less these days. There was a time where I went to the Internet for everything including leisure reading, gaming, chatting, etc.
Not so much so now. I am still what I consider an Internet Power User. I am proficient at searching, I still enjoy the thrill of finding new and interesting sites, I prefer e-mail to any other form of communication and I do a tremendous amount of shopping online.
But I have reaffirmed my love of holding and reading a shiny magazine. I never lost my love of holding a book. And, I still find a phenomenal amount of data and research in the bookshelves at my local library or my favorite Borders Books.
The thing is - and I know many people just like this - I print almost everything I find on the net anyway so I probably generate more paper and produce more printed materials than I did before the Internet (there really were days before the Internet).
So print lives on. It is a blob eat blog world with blogs in a battle for their very existence. Digital is still a strong contender. And sadly, I am too old to share my life on myspace - but with all things digital - some day myspace will be too old for new technology.