Good habits, a slide show, and more

Looks like I’ve been a little lazy, distracted, or both, and have been neglecting my blog.  Blogging is a good habit to have, like flossing your teeth, because I put here all the little cob-webby thoughts that I want to jot down, share, and retain (hopefully helping others with their professional lives along the way).

Here is an interesting discovery.  For those of you who like me are fascinated by the unusual in a visual way, a slide show of interesting business cards…http://www.flickr.com/photos/dailypoetics/sets/72057594104389710/

Personally, I’m not a big fan of portrait-oriented (vertical)–as opposed to landscape (horizontal)–business cards because I still like to use an old fashioned Roladex and they present a problem for filing. 

Here’s something else that might be of help.  I hugely detest meetings as I find them generally a huge waste of time and an excruciating exercise for me in patience.  My cousin, a project manager for Gateway, usually makes a habit of attending meetings standing up.  I think her presence that way must hurry meetings along for every body.  Below are some notes that I took a while back on how to make these sometimes necessary evils a little more productive.

Effective Meetings:

 

  1. Prepare & distribute a timed agenda.  Distribute also any handouts well ahead of time to let people digest the information.
  2. Prepare the room ahead of time. 
  3. Start the meeting on time.
  4. Stick to the agenda. Some people use a white board or large pad to act as what’s called a “parking lot” to record other issues/ideas/concerns, to be addressed later.
  5. Assign someone to take minutes.
  6. Ask clear questions & encourage clearly expressed answers.
  7. Control disruptive behavior & encourage positive participation.
  8. End the meeting on time, recapping action items and setting a date for any required follow up meeting or reporting.  Figure out ways to handle items on “parking lot.”
  9. Tidy up room.  Send minutes/recap of follow up items as soon as possible after the meeting,  
Published in: on August 31, 2007 at 3:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Marketing trends…boiling it down to the jam

jamHere’s a bit of marketing jargon, “sales silos.”  This basically means different sales tactics or advertising efforts that are not integrated.  Companies are under pressure to coordinate their advertising, marketing, and sales efforts across different media types.  There is a difference between how companies are using print media, like ads in publications, their brochures, and other “hard copy” and how they present themselves online.  Print is used to strengthen brand identity, and online presence is used for a sense of immediately, with breaking news, and for lead generation.  Online points of contact can also be used to customize the customer experience. 

Another application of the term “silos” comes into play when companies look at their advertising budgets.  A huge part of online spending these days goes to search marketing.  Companies are now looking at ad agencies to incorporate search engine optimization services, including both paid and organic search functions.  As noted in a recent article on BtoB, search marketing is drawing marketing money away from other vehicles like magazine print ads, direct mail, TV spots, and newspaper print ads.

 It’s easy as a marketer to get overwhelmed with information overload.  I read a lot, and try to distill some of what I read about the marketing world here…taking the heft of ripe fruit and boiling it down to my blog of “jam.” 

And to help digest all that technical stuff, sometimes it’s nice to have a little fun, and surf some fascinating sites.  Here are a few of my favorites employing Flash, that I discovered through Rob Ford’s recommendations on the Adobe Edge newsletter site: (make sure your pop-up blocker is not active):

Serene, poetic and highly original: http://www.jonathanyuen.com/

Powerful, disturbing, and beautiful http://www.foratthastargerallt.se/kampanj/index.html

Fun detail, wonderful palette, and entertaining: http://www.bellecour.fr/

Fascinating, interactive, and whimsical, with portions reminscent of Harold and The Purple Crayon! http://www.duboismeetsfugger.com/

Hope you’ve enjoyed!

Published in: on August 27, 2007 at 5:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Ghost in the Machine, Big Brother, and Paperless Offices

It’s curious, I had sent a message to my circle of friends with adolescent and teen age kids, attaching a white paper I’d discovered about kids’ usage of social networking sites and related privacy issues.  I’m attaching it here Teens, Privacy and Online Social Networks, in case anyone’s interested.  The funny thing was, I’d bc’d all these friends on my message, and cc’d myself at another email account…a Gmail account, which I prefer to my funky old Hotmail.  When I looked at the message I’d sent myself later from the Gmail account, I saw my message with a bizarre line attached (see italics)…

I hope this email finds you well.  I came across this information and thought I’d disseminate it to some friends and family with children who are inevitably affected by the phenomenon of social networking sites.   Take a glance through it!


See what you’re getting into…before you go there See it!

I’m not a big fan of these taglines, or whatever they’re called, being appended to my messages.  I’ll need to keep an eye out to see if Gmail does that as well. Another thing that’s been bubbling to the surface in my attention recently is the concept of the Paperless Office.  The daughter of two inveterate packrats and intellectuals who sprout clippings and nest in paper like skin sheds cells daily, it’s a mind-boggling concept for me.  I own and never got around to using a Palm for managing my calendar.  There’s something comforting to me about the old fashioned little notebook, where you can stick in some postage-stamps, return address labels, and maybe a coupon for a great new deli restaurant to try on your lunch hour.  Or your dry-cleaning receipt.  It’s a concept I’ll be mulling over.  If any readers crop up, I’d be glad for the feedback in how you manage the balance between paperless and hard copy.  But here’s a good argument for paperless.  If you’re half-way decent at organizing (allowing you to retrieve what you’ve filed digitally), paperless can help you make some sound decisions about what’s worth keeping.  Here’s Argument A.  Letter template for window envelope This is a scan of something I’ve been shuffling around my home office for probably 7 or more years.  It was an 8 1/2 x 11″ page acrylic or clear something page, showing a template for a letter set-up, allowing the copy to align in a window envelope.  Pretty useful?  Not.  I never had need for it…and it was only until I scanned it that I realized how irrelevant and probably obsolete it was.  Anything I would ever need like that (for future marketing purposes?) would be available online anyway. But I’m still tumbling the idea of scanned vs. hard copy photos around in my quest for simplicity.  I’ll work on that.

Published in: on August 23, 2007 at 4:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

The blogging blah’s

I read my RainToday.com news this morning and found the following cyber-pollution report…apparently Technorati (a blog tracking site) reports that the blogoshpere has doubled every six months for the last 3 years, which means a whopping 175,000 new blogs are spawned each day.  That’s one big chunk of information overload to digest.  Will this phenomenon subside, or continue to ground-swell?  It seems it would be much like the scrapbooking craze that began around a decade ago.  It could and has created new cottage industries.  I know I’m responsible for (I blush to admit) two orphan blogs, that I created like a well-meaning Frankenstein and then, alas, I abandoned my babies somewhere in the void.  I hope that this blog is well fend, tended, and loved, and grows to be a strapping, healthy individual that I can be proud of.  And I hope, as all parents anxiously do for their offspring, that my progeny finds good, true friends in this wide world…friends who influence its growth and development and encourage it to take on new challenges. 

Published in: on August 22, 2007 at 5:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

picking up where I left off, and picking up the pieces

My last entry was about streamlining, downsizing, among other things.  So here’s an interesting query…if one scans photos, what do you do with the original?  It seems a shame to throw them away.  But if you have them digitally?  Well, I guess the answer is a mix of several things. 

 First of all, an old friend of mine (an unrequited love, actually) gave me an interesting perspective on memorabilia.  He asked me to ask myself if going throw bits and pieces, old letters, momentos, etc. really gave me joy.  I had to admit, the nostalgic feelings generally dredge up more sense of longing, regret, and wistful sadness than any great overflowing joy.  Yes, I did come across a beautifully written letter by a great aunt of my ex-husbands, a wonderful soul who lived her life for others and God, a true woman of the spirit and a nun by vocation.  She wrote to me in the last year of her life, commending my beautiful spirit, in her elegant hand, and this touching message was a joy to read.  But my decision, after reading it one last time, was to savor the moment, store up the memory of her and her greetings to me in that time in my mind and, ultimately, throw the letter away.

 Here’s another thought that I had, as I turned the key in the lock to come home after a long day.  I had recently come across in my bag, a handly large stashing container that I shuffle bits of my daily life from home to work, and back again, working towards my various professional, social, personal events/goals/dreams/commitments, an article that I’d clipped for a dear friend. 

I think I wrote about him last time.  His goal, if I have it correctly, among other things, is to pare down his possession to around or exactly (I’ll have to ask him) 500 items.  My mother, by the way, asked if a pair of shoes was 1 or 2 items.  I told her, “Mom! Of course that’s one!”  Anyway, the observation I made, mentally, upon being a big, grown-up latch-key kinda girl, was that this habit of clipping articles for loved ones really is a bit futile cycling of energy.  Because unfortunately I believe the recipient of these little clippings don’t take nearly the interest in the content of the article as the clipper imagines, and reads them cursorily, scanning the content, and guiltily pitching them.  The best we can hope for is if the well-meaning, nurturing and undoubtedly frazzled (unless bestowed with way more time than is health) clipper has gone one step further and underlined very key phrases that magically “POP” off the article and spurn some vital catalyctic transformation in the clippee.  Moi?  I’m changing my ways.  Instead of clipping newpaper articles, I’ve turned a new leaf.  I now send hyperlinks!

Published in: on August 22, 2007 at 2:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Groggy-eyed irony

The funny thing is, what occurs to me is to write about balance.  Groggy-eyed is me, at the moment, because I didn’t sleep well last night.  And I should turn in, get that rejuvenating fix of a deep sleep.  I will, soon. 

I recently read that one shouldn’t be on the computer within the last hour of waking.  It seems the bright light of a computer monitor interferes with the mind’s idea of diurnal brightness and dimness, and the brightness of the screen messes with the readiness of the mind to turn off for the day.  Word to the wise.  Maybe I’ll heed it next time!

I’m thinking a lot these days about streamlining.  A decade in the same place can lead to a lot of  accumulation.  The Anti-feng shui…having a sense of recycling that is so extreme as to cause paralysis against throwing things away.  An article clipped here, for a friend, and guitar pick saved for another.  I did a double take.  The very friend I’d saved the article for, a recent Miami Herald writing on tutoring, was meant for a nice fellow whom I admire for his Zen focus on not nesting and filling his life with dross.  I pitched it. 

Naomi Judd writes in her “Guide to Aging Gratefully” about simplicity, streamlining possessions, and disengaging from “energy vampires.”  That’s one way to look at it.  I did a double-take about the title…usually you hear about aging gracefully.  Well, grace and gratefulness go hand in hand.  I do think about how much each little item we glom onto saps that much from us, whether we have to find a place for it, dust around it, have it cloud our landscape of our home. 

 More on purposeful living soon…for now I seek the balance of sleep. 

Published in: on August 21, 2007 at 2:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Marketing bits and bytes

Blogging is not necessarily for the faint of heart.  I had a nice little scrap of writing, sprinkled with some good links for marketing information, and once again my process of trying to post lead to my efforts joining the blathersphere (or netherword of blog entries that disappeared). 

 

So, I need to develop a really keen understanding of how the simple mechanics of posting work. Either that or develop a really stodgy and unappealing habit of writing in a word processing program and then pasting the copy into my blog. How unspontaneous!  Any thoughts on that, fellow bloggers? On WordPress, I need to revive that good habit of saving often (living in the world’s lightening capital, Florida, and dealing with powersurges helps you learn that!).  And I learned the hard way that for old-fashioned desktop publishing in PageMaker you really need to do all your copy in a word-processing software and only paste the final, spell-checked copy into PageMaker for final tweaks.

One of the topics of this entry was the need to take small chunks out the huge smorgasbord of technological information and trends available to us in this cyber age.  Like learning a new language, a few words or phrases every day start building up and more fluent facility.  So I try, by trial and error, and also by with the a little help from my friends as the Beatles tune goes, to learn about how to work my computer to free it up from unnecessary programs, what the heck an RSS feed is, and what it might mean to me, etc. 

One of my recent diversions is the compilation of a marketing glossary.  I promise to put it on the website I have under development.  It’s chock full of tasty marketing terms like B2C, white paper, churn, etc. Here’s a handy glossary on terms particular to email marketing practices that I uncovered today from a site called Email Labs

I love learning new terms in almost any field, because 1) I’ve always been interested in language, and 2) there are fascinating concepts and new developments lurking behind lots of this jargon.   So I’ll learn a couple new words in Spanish during an eye-saving break from the computer, have a collegue show me ’round a program for a couple shortcuts, or Google something I’m unfamiliar about.  I’ve recently been attending some nice seminars hosted by the local SBDC (small business development center) to glean ideas and to meet new folk. Another site I like for marketing insights is BtoB, which offers a free online subscription though a sign-up link at the bottom of every page.  A recent article about new media sources that companies are investing their marketing dollars in says that big money is going into “proprietary Web sites, e-mail marketing, online ads, search engine optimization, search engine marketing and webinars. The middle tier includes blogs, RSS feeds, podcasts and video on demand. The bottom tier consists of wikis, mobile, viral video, social networks and Second Life.” 

Hmmmnnn, now there are some new terms…viral video, and Second Life.  I’d be curious how I get the latter, from the traces of last night’s insomnia catching up with me today, I could use one!

Tune in later for more on making marketing less murky, and more…

 

Published in: on August 16, 2007 at 8:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

1,328,221 bloggers can’t all be wrong!

If every day we learn a little and improve ourselves a wee bit, we just might make ourselves and by extension, our world, a nicer, better place.  My learning just now takes the form of patience, and a little technical understanding.

Let me explain.  Proudly the parent of a my first little entry in the blogosphere (at least on this site, as I’d had a toe-dipping the deepening pool of blogging previously), I discovered in my zeal I’d posted multiple versions of my entry.  So I clicked delete, delete, merrily along, deleting up to and including the last “edit” of my first entry.  But when I deleted that “edit,” the entry right before my initial entry, apparently that little baby blog went out with the proverbial bathwater, and my inital blogging brilliance was gone!

So, that erased that!  And it was so juicy too, all about online confessionals and deep, too, yes…oh my, about spirituality a bit too.  And name dropping, yes that too. But rather than be the ultimate in lazy, and not re-create any substance here, let me just thank my good friend Ioannis, who has this kindly faith in my writing prowess (where did you stumble on this belief?) and some handy technical savvy combined with au courrant exposure to this, that, and the other on the web, and who led me here.  Thanks, Ioannis.  

 But for now the little fairies of sleep come dusting me with inducement to trade my insomnia for the blissful unconsciousness of dreams.  So I will pick up soon, I promise to myself, and remember to edit judiciously in the future, and to leave my blog pretty clean, so perhaps it can multi-task.

  

Published in: on August 16, 2007 at 7:12 am  Leave a Comment