Confessions of a Public Speaker author Scott Berkun
celebrated the paperback release of his book (check it out!
) by offering up a checklist
to help people make the most of their next presentation. If you, or someone in your company, is on the speaking circuit - whether it be major industry conferences, or smaller seminars - Berkun's checklist for before, during, and after the event, is well worth reviewing and bookmarking for future use.
Email certainly plays a critical role in how we communicate, but we all know it can be overwhelming at times (I all but break into a cold sweat if I have a high number of unread emails). Yet despite my maniacal level of control over what gets to stay in my inboxes, Inbox Zero
remains the El Chupacabra
TED Curator Chris Anderson called out the problem in a blog post
earlier this month:
We all love the power of email connecting people across continents. But... we're drowning in it.
Every year it gets a little worse. To the point where we can get trapped spending most of our working week simply handling the contents of our in-boxes.
And in doing so, we're making the problem worse. Every reply, every cc, creates new work for our friends and colleagues.
We need to figure out a better way.
A "better way" is exactly what Anderson is pushing with Email Charter
. Signing the charter is a mutual agreement to help end the madness through 10 simple rules:10 Rules to Reverse the Email Spiral
1. Respect Recipients Time
This is the fundamental rule. As the message sender, the onus is on YOU to minimize the time your email will take to process. Even if it means taking more time at your end before sending.2. Short or Slow is not Rude
Lets mutually agree to cut each other some slack. Given the email load were all facing, its OK if replies take a while coming and if they dont give detailed responses to all your questions. No one wants to come over as brusque, so please dont take it personally. We just want our lives back!3. Celebrate Clarity
Start with a subject line that clearly labels the topic, and maybe includes a status category [Info], [Action], [Time Sens] [Low Priority]. Use crisp, muddle-free sentences. If the email has to be longer than five sentences, make sure the first provides the basic reason for writing. Avoid strange fonts and colors.4. Quash Open-Ended Questions
It is asking a lot to send someone an email with four long paragraphs of turgid text followed by Thoughts?. Even well-intended-but-open questions like How can I help? may not be that helpful. Email generosity requires simplifying, easy-to-answer questions. Can I help best by a) calling b) visiting or c) staying right out of it?!5. Slash Surplus ccs
ccs are like mating bunnies. For every recipient you add, you are dramatically multiplying total response time. Not to be done lightly! When there are multiple recipients, please dont default to Reply All. Maybe you only need to cc a couple of people on the original thread. Or none.6. Tighten the Thread
Some emails depend for their meaning on context. Which means its usually right to include the thread being responded to. But its rare that a thread should extend to more than 3 emails. Before sending, cut whats not relevant. Or consider making a phone call instead.7. Attack Attachments
Dont use graphics files as logos or signatures that appear as attachments. Time is wasted trying to see if theres something to open. Even worse is sending text as an attachment when it could have been included in the body of the email.8. Give these Gifts: EOM NNTR
If your email message can be expressed in half a dozen words, just put it in the subject line, followed by EOM (= End of Message). This saves the recipient having to actually open the message. Ending a note with No need to respond or NNTR, is a wonderful act of generosity. Many acronyms confuse as much as help, but these two are golden and deserve wide adoption.9. Cut Contentless Responses
You dont need to reply to every email, especially not those that are themselves clear responses. An email saying Thanks for your note. Im in. does not need you to reply Great. That just cost someone another 30 seconds.10. Disconnect!
If we all agreed to spend less time doing email, wed all get less email! Consider calendaring half-days at work where you cant go online. Or a commitment to email-free weekends. Or an auto-response that references this charter. And dont forget to smell the roses.
I've signed the charter, and hope you will too. And if you have other tips on calming the email madness, I'm all ears!
[12:50 p.m.] The Grand Finale
Who do you have a (social media) crush on?
Vyqué White, Director of New Media, USO: Time Warner, HBO, True Blood For their captivating presence on Twitter
Joe Chernov, VP of Content Marketing, Eloqua: Jess3 (even though they didn't show up for the panel?) He agrees they're not the most punctual company, but notes their remarkable thinking and creative ideas. They're "critical and creative at the same time".
Matt Spielman, GM Northeast/VP Strategic Partnerships, Eventful: Like everyone, Matt admits his appreciation for Apple, but really wants to give a round-of-applause to xBox Live, which has managed to lose their "for 16 year-old boys only" imagine to sneak its way into the living rooms of America.
Sonny Ganguly, Chief Marketing Officer, WeddingWire Sonny: Sonny thinks Zynga encompasses a "science to no other" and feels the companies growth speaks volumes. The company is responsible for Word with Friends (I'm currently playing seven games simultaneously) and Farmville.
[12:40 p.m.] Empower your People
What tools are you using to help with social media marketing?
All panelists agreed that the peeps within their company were their greatest asset in utilizing social media. They encourage educating your team about the different outlets and defining appropriate use to get out relevant and timely information.
[12:10 p.m.] Running behind, but the social marketing panel finally kicks-off!
Help us be the most tweeted panel! Shoot us a note or social marketing question @speakerbox!
Looks like the audience is mostly looking for B2B or B2C-related information.
Elizabeth kicks it off with a strong icebreaker: What does social marketing meant to your business?
Social Media allows us to go from 1 to 1 to many, Sonny Ganguly states, with the backing of Matt Spielman. Most agreed that social media is all about building relationships, developing thought, changing minds, and getting feedback.
Joe would like to start a blog entitled Social Media is for Suckers. He explains this by stating that with social media marketing, you never really have the opportunity to completely check anything off of your to-do list it is a 24-hour/day job (I agree!)
[11:40 a.m.] SpeakerBox Takes the Lead at Digital Media Conference
In just a few minutes, SpeakerBox President and CEO, Elizabeth Shea will run the floor for the Digital Media Conference's Social Marketing: Techniques, ROI, & Developments Panel. She will be moderating some of the industry's top players in today's social marketing arena, prompting insight on how to take advantage of social media outlets to drive results and reach your bottom line. If you weren't lucky enough to break through the Pentagon Abandoned Car Crisis traffic barriers this morning to join us, stay tuned to get the highlights from Elizabeth and company, including:
- Leslie Bradshaw, President & COO, JESS3
- Vyqué White, Director of New Media, USO
- Joe Chernov, VP of Content Marketing, Eloqua
- Matt Spielman, GM Northeast/VP Strategic Partnerships, Eventful
- Sonny Ganguly, Chief Marketing Officer, WeddingWire
Energetic atmosphere - Should be a great day!
|From Left: Linda Hagopian, Hagopian Marketing, Elizabeth Shea, President and CEO, SpeakerBox Communictions, and Paul Duning, Publisher and Co-Founder, CapitolCommunicator - Hanging out, pre-conference || |
The calculus of buying a song tomorrow just went down from $1.29 for a legal download to $0.00099 (25,000/$24.99) for ... a legal download. Which am I going to choose? Who has so much money and so olittle tim ethat they wouldn't look online or get a rip for a friend and save themselves 99.997% of the full cost?
I recently came across this infographic of 10 commonly misunderstood words in English and it instantly spoke to me. I am certainly not an expert on language and word definitions. However, when I am uncertain about the meaning of a word, I will either look it up or just use a word I do know. I figured it's better to use small words you understand than to use a word incorrectly and risk making a fool of yourself.
Two things in particular stuck out to me about this list.
- Plethora. Maybe I'm the only one but whenever I see this word used I immediately think of the exchange between El Jefe and El Guapo in The Three Amigos.
- I was surprised that the list did not include the word "irregardless." Every time someone uses this word it makes me cringe. It makes me want to scream "IT'S NOT A REAL WORD!" Even dictionary.com says "with its illogical negative prefix, is widely heard, perhaps arising under the influence of such perfectly correct forms as : irrespective. Irregardless is avoided by careful users of English. Use regardless to mean 'without regard or consideration for' or 'nevertheless'."
And, while not appropriate for this list, but a pet peeve of mine anyway, I also struggle with people who misspell the word lose as loose. I promise, there is really only one "O" in lose.
Are there any words that are either on this list, or that were left off, that you are surprised by? What's your biggest spelling mistake pet peeve?
Buzz surrounding the announcement of iTunes Match
has been more than unequivocal. Most seem to be blatantly acknowledging the Apple products intention to provide illegal music downloaders with a clean slate for a small price of $24.99/year, happily swapping their choppy, homemade quality media downloads for the real deal. The new product works by pairing up your music library, whether purchased from iTunes or purchased/ripped elsewhere, with songs available for purchase on iTunes.
Web site evades the illegal download issue all together, of course, stating: If you want all the benefits of iTunes in the Cloud for music you havent purchased from iTunes, iTunes Match is the perfect solution. It lets you store your entire collection, including music youve ripped from CDs or purchased somewhere other than iTunes.
Despite all of the upheaval, however, you cant dispute the facts Match will save you loads of time frivolously uploading your entire library. The only songs you will have to manually download will be any not found in the 18 million-strong iTunes collection. And, we could all use more time. That is, if you are hell-bent on getting your music to the cloud. Amazon and Google were already on the boat as far as music to the Cloud, and the new iCloud product was surely a way to combat their efforts.
Issues that havent been addressed with Match include what will happen to your music if you decide to unsubscribe Im assuming you would keep your music and revert to the free iTunes for the Cloud product, but this hasnt been confirmed. Also, it looks like you cannot stream music to your phone or other devices, a service offered through both Amazons Cloud Player
and Googles Music Beta
As far as insinuating approval of music piracy, I guess that will be on the conscious of the user. Personally, however, Ill probably become a subscriber come fall, when Match is expected to be available.
To see what some real techies have to say, check out these articles form Times Techland
, PC Magazine
, and The New York Times.
We all use them and some are more creative than others, but where did the hashtag come from? And who figured out its function?
Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic posted an interesting article this week, filling readers in on How the Twitter Hashtag was Born. According to the article, the hashtag came from the community and not from Twitter itself. The lightweight solution was spawned from “Groups for Twitter” discussions that would group like content, but Chris Messina’s hashtag idea eliminated the management that is inherent with a group.
The hashtag apparently took a while to catch on and is still used for its original purpose today, but has also morphed to a more humorous use, adding an element sarcasm to otherwise normal content. A few examples:
- Ali Smith
Since the dawn of time, English majors of the world have been desperately searching for somethinganythinguseful to do with their ridiculous training. Its a history fraught with sadness, booze, frustration, sad frustration, boozy sadness, and the occasional drink. But perhaps things arent so bleak as they seem.
Last week, The Atlantic
s Alexis Madrigal investigated
The Metaphor Program, a super-secret defense initiative that quite possibly involves the CIA, Seal Team Six, the Carlisle Group, Parker Brothers, Bono, and the League of Women Voters.
In a nutshell, this potentially nine-figure public expenditure (Side bar: Remind me to tell you later about an idea I just had for balancing the budget) seeks to automate the large-scale analysis of foreign and domestic linguistic data (a.k.a. words) in order to parse metaphorical content for any hidden revelations it might contain.
Theyre reading Bin Ladens dream journal, okay?
Ha. Thats actually not at all what theyre doing. But its a metaphor, see? If you had better software, youd have picked up on it.
Turns out, metaphors affect the way we process information and solve problems. Who knew? In fact, Stanford's Paul Thibodeau demonstrated
just this year that when people are asked about crime using a crime-as-virus metaphor, theyre much less likely to favor harsh criminal punishments than when asked about the same issue using a crime-as-wild-beast metaphor.
Infer what you will from that (though it should be noted both test groups favored the death penalty for Lance Armstrong). But perhaps, if we could unlock the secret language of metaphor, we could use that power to counteract foreign propaganda, oreven bettermake our domestic propaganda all the more fun and convincing.
Organizing this whole crazy enterprise is the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity or IARPA, commonly referred to as DARPAs slow-witted cousin, andone can only assumeheaded by powerhouse project co-commanders Michael Chertoff and Maya Angelou.
I wonder, though, if there are enough English majors out there to staff this project, or if well have to recruit more. And if we do, who will deliver Americas pizzas? These are the questions that keep Obama up at night when hes pretending not to be smoking.
Now, back to my idea for balancing the budget: Medicare voucher system.
No more Susan Lucci syndrome for SBX. After being named a finalist for the past two years, SpeakerBox won a 2011 Apollo Award! Helios HR honors businesses that truly believe their employees are their core and have built corporate cultures of intention that keep employees engaged and happy. As a SBX employee, I have to say, we deserved it. Not only does our management team work hard to implement benefits and development programs that surpass what others are doing, but they also listen to our feedback and take it to heart. A prime example of this is the One Team initiative our new corporate philanthropy program. In addition to the recognition, great benefits, investments in development and parties, we feel appreciated, needed and valued through everyday actions. Thank you to Helios for recognizing the hard work of our leadership team and thank you to SBX for doing the work it takes to be recognized. Also, a big congratulations to the other winners: Rose Financial Services, HPTI, Edelman and Pariveda.