Tag Archives | communication

New headset.

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I have a new headset (thanks Kristin!).  And I finally took some time to recite the hours of text into NaturallySpeaking.  So that I can sit with my headset, and now type out what I’m saying is I’m doing right now.  The beauty of this is that there are small typos and errors in the text.  This is not to to my mispronunciation, but rather to the misinterpretation via the software.

So, I have not posted to the blog in a while.  I’ve been a bit busy as of late.  I am starting a new enterprise with a like-minded businessman, and that has kept me pretty busy.  I also have continuing work with my web communications firm.  And most importantly, my family is the busiest thing in my life.   Life is very busy right now, plenty of work and projects and family activities.  I really would have it no other way.  And in light of the current economic climate in the United States and the world at large I am a lucky guy.

So it’s kind of cool now, to be able to sit here and speak and have the words show up on the screen so that I don’t have to type.  As is said, the hand is quicker than the eye, but the hand is not quicker than your mouth. who knows.  I’ve actually might be able to post more frequently as, and on more topics.  Now that I have the ability just to talk and have word show up on the screen.  I do have to work on the accuracy of some of the words ‘has’ and ‘is’ sometimes swapped out for each other. 

So I will be posting shortly about official announcement regarding the new business venture that looks quite promising. We are not reinventing the wheel, rather we are using current best practices and best technologies in a way that makes them affordable to people that want to tap in to their power. 2009 looks to be a busy working here, but the fruits of all labor should pan out in the years to come.

That’s enough rambling for now.  Time to turn the headset off and get back to work.

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Recently Published on BizNik

printing-press

Was just notified that my “Part 2 of 6” series on Internet communications for small business. By small I’m talking less than 10 employees. Perhaps its micro business. Anyhow, here is the scoop.

Breaking Down The Multi-Headed Monster-Email Marketing

Something we all do in the modern business world is email. It is a staple to getting things done. Are you using email marketing as a tool in your marketing mix? If not, you are missing a high-return opportunity.

Here is the article on BizNik.

Looking forward to my new business blogging that will be coming 2009.

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Empty Talk Bubbles

Talk Bubble

Not being able to communicate clearly in conversation with people sucks. After returning from my vacation to Mexico and having some time to reflect I can say that not having basic language ability can hamper the full experience.

I travelled with a friend who is fluent in Spanish and when with him for the first 5 days it was no problem. He helped translate when I needed help. However, there was a tint of feeling like I was burdening him with my inability to converse with people. This came to full bearing when meeting his relatives who spoke no English and I speak ‘poquito’ Spanish. I know 2 handfuls of words and that is about it. Those moments with his relatives were an interesting experience. I could tell they wanted to ask me many questions. They did ask some through my friend, but they too were feeling the translator burden. We did manage to go back and forth with some basic questions, but we could not get past the superficial questions.

For the last 4 days of my trip I was solo at the beach. Now being on the beach for a few days with no obligations is a great experience. However, not having your personal translator with you takes the challenge to another level. There were long stretches of time where I was around many people, but I had no conversations with anyone. I am used to being in my office and not communicating with people for long stretches. It’s being around lots of people and not engaging with them that was a bit strange and interesting.

So what do you do? I would suggest bringing a cheap phrase book for whatever country you may be heading to if you are not conversant in the language of choice. I know that when I next return to Mexico I will have that book and I have already subscribed to a couple of the free language podcasts through iTunes.

Last thing I want on my next trip is the empty talk bubble.

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Flowing Not Fighting

Flowing with the Surf

I often wonder how the hell am I ever going to reach the promised land? I read many blogs on productivity and life-hacks and wonder when it will happen. When will I ever get all my crap together and sit cross-legged floating 3 inches off the ground while scanning to-do lists, doing, deferring, and delegating all the while with a blissful calm about me?

Our workloads can, at times, get quite heavy. The workload I am referring to is the professional sort. Not that I am making personal or family workloads less relevant—trust me they are very relevant and very heavy in their own right—it just that the professional workload can dominate our lives. I believe this is due to the fact that for those of us doing the 9-5 a majority of our waking time is spent in the professional workload mode.

Recently the professional workload has gotten quite heavy for me. This is not something new as workloads wax and wane as do the phases of the moon. However, when I am in the heavy workload phase I notice a slight shift in productivity—a clarity of focus and purpose if you will. Initially when the heavy workload begins its climb I tend to fight it. I will try and procrastinate, put off, and mentally deny that I have a lot to do. All during this fight phase I am typically not very productive. I can usually be found rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Then one day it ‘clicks’ and I start to get my productivity-fu going, or flowing. I cease the fight and give in to the flow. Face it, eventually if you keep fighting you will lose. You need to give in and go with the flow.

When the flow hits my lists of tasks become very targeted. My communications are more succinct and less chatty. I really start lining things up and knocking them down as I always dream of doing. The paradox of this is I seem to need to proceed through the procrastination and fight before I hit the flow–before I hit the fu.

I wonder how others perceive their fight and flow in relation to their workloads? Are you a fighter? Do you ever get into the flow? Or are you in the flow all the time?

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Disconnecting

Plugged In

I think that those of us who are plugged in to the Internet for most of our waking day are reaching a saturation point. Too much Internet, too much of the time.

I know many of us have felt the burden of going to burnout and back. However, I feel collectively we want to be unplugged more. The nature of our working lives requires us to be connected for communication, information, and news yet I know I for one could do without a bit of the Internet, for about an entire month.

I seem to remember an experiment from a while back where the situation involved some people in a house and the only way they could get stuff for the house, furniture, appliances, food, etc. was by using the Internet. I almost wonder what it would be like to not ‘connect’ to the Internet for, lets say, a month.

I have done a week without the Internet and cell phone. My family and I travel to the White Mountains of Arizona and stay at a dude ranch that is completely off the grid. Its not a spa-like retreat, so no hot tubs and massages, but it is wonderful being that detached and not being able to do anything about it. The deluge upon your return is no fun, but during that week it is nice until the night before its back to reality.

I wonder if this is just a pipe dream of mine. I would need to get work delegated and systems in place to make this happen so that my absence would almost not be felt.

It would be truly blissful.

I wonder, do you think this is feasible?

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Advertising Agencies need to wake up

Wake Up.

A blog post on NussbaumonDesign at Business Week hints that corporations may be beginning to get savvy about the future of marketing and PR on the web. Corporations are realizing they are literally wasting money. It is simply a matter of time for them to wake up and realize they are spending millions on a way of doing business that is dying a slow death and not getting very much ROI.

What do I mean?
The tools to communicate directly to customers and clients are right here on the Internet. The rise of easy, accessible web video, social networking, the blogosphere, the allure of viral marketing all provide the ability to communicate to millions of people for a much lower investment. The Internet of today is very much a do-it-yourself environment (or certainly not very much money). Think of how much bang for the buck you could get for all that Super Bowl advertising money.

A previous blog post I read and commented on at WebInkNow discussed how advertising agencies use their web sites as a form of digital ego stroking. The post goes hand in hand with Nussbaum’s above and should be a warning of things to come for agencies that are not swift to change their ways.

Here are my comments to his post:

 

Digital Ego Stroking is rampant among Ad Agencies, Architects, and Designers web sites. I own a design firm that specializes in website design and development. I can attest that a massive majority of these organizations have the logic of their own websites in reverse.

The focus of their websites should be on answering potential clients questions about their firm and what it can do for the client–giving the client substance. Not stroking their firms ego and trying to make their website look “cooler” than others.

People want content, substance, and answers from websites. They do not want animations, music, and other distractions standing in the way of what they want and need–information.

Don’t get me wrong, art and design have their place but it needs to be tempered with client objectives and goals. It is possible to design great looking websites that are information focused.

Just as the disconnect with their own websites is apparent, so too is their understanding of the power of the Internet. Granted not everyone at every agency or firm has their head in a cloud, I am not saying that. There are plenty of talented and smart people at these organizations that understand the Internet and its power. They just don’t seem to be in positions of power to make the necessary internal changes needed to cause a shift in “the way we’ve always done things around here” mentality.

What is the cause?
Perhaps its a generation gap. There is certainly some arbitrary dividing line between those that have technology integrated within their lives, and those that do not. I would say the 30 year old and under crowd is wired solid. They are using the web daily (if not hourly) for news, information, communication, and entertainment. Once you get above 30 the number tapers off unless you are involved in the worlds of technology in some way. Meaning that the older someone is, the more likely they are going to be separate from what is happening within this medium. That means knowing and understanding the power there is within the Internet. The key word in that previous sentence is understanding plain and simple.

Perhaps, are those in the upper levels of advertising agency management are just too old and out of touch?

I’m not sure, just a thought.

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Communication breakdown

I have been coming across topic of communication in many areas of my life as of late.

Presently, my wife is traveling outside the country. She is 15 hours ahead of where I am at. She is without a cell phone, and on top of that her access to the Internet for e-mail is sporadic and when she can access it it’s as fast as maple syrup in January. This is the longest period of time I have been out of communication with my wife since we first started dating some 15 years ago. Just the simple fact that we are not in communication as often as we usually are has caused me to reflect upon how well I communicate with her. I certainly know she has an opinion on this topic, ha ha, but we’ll leave that out of here for now.

With my wife being out of the country it leaves me in charge of our three boys. Communicating with three little boys who are all headed off in their own direction is not only a challenge, it’s plain crazy making. I’m thinking of sending my oldest boy to the doctor to have them inspect the amount of wax buildup there is in his ears. I find myself repeating something five to six times and only then upon raising my voice do I get any sort of acknowledgment from him. Now this could be the parental gods handing me a little payback for my years of ignoring my own parents, but I’m not quite sure. I could not have been that deaf towards my parents. Then again, maybe I was and I just am not aware of it.

I’ll have more to say about communication again soon. Still thinking about some things.

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A whole ramble of thoughts

This is my first attempt at speaking the text of my blog. I am using a headset with voice dictation software. The title of whole ramble of thoughts is somewhat appropriate seeing that I am going to try to speak about many things here.

First is the foray into voice dictation software.  I have used this stuff before but have never been successful.  This is proving to be a rather decent experience.  I must admit it is a bit strange speaking and watching the words show up on the screen.  So here is to the future of what I hope to be more frequent, interesting, and thought provoking entries.

Previously.
In my previous entry I spoke about modes of communication and since posting that I’ve given some more thought to the idea. It was brought to my attention by someone who read what I posted that there is real value in having a face-to-face meeting with people. I don’t deny the value in that experience.  However, when looking at the larger picture of where I am spending my time and what value is derived from where I spend my time it seems logical to me to be a bit more stringent, hell just plain stingy, with how I spend my time. That’s not to say that I will never have a face-to-face meeting with the person again, I certainly will.  I think what I’m getting at is assessing how important is it to meet with that specific person regarding that specific issue.  It’s more about assessment of the meeting than anything else.  Do you really need to spend that time doing that?  Or is there something more constructive you could be doing with that time.

del.icio.us
Also since my last post I have been trying to clean up my del.icio.us bookmarks and have been experimenting with some new social media sites.  One thing is for sure, the interface for editing and deleting book marks within del.icio.us is too damn time-consuming.  You are only allowed to select one item at a time when it’s clearly possible to engineer the screen for me to see 25, 50, 100 bookmarks at a time and edit them simultaneously and then submit them.  However, I have been pretty pleased with the experience of using the del.icio.us website as a way to manage my bookmarks.  I primarily work on a Macintosh and I also use a Windows XP machine to get work done. Having the ability to access all my bookmarks from both machines at any time is pretty sweet.

Pro Bono.
Presently I have about three or four websites that are in the very final stages of completion.  I should be publishing them within the next few weeks.  It will feel great to have these projects done. I have some new work on the horizon and I need to clear the decks before I can get started.   A couple of these websites are pro bono websites and I recently read a great article written by David C. Baker of ReCourses that spoke specifically to providing pro bono work for the public good.  He smartly suggested the idea of creating criteria that each possible pro bono project would need to measure up to in order for you to work on it.  He suggested gathering an advisory group that would review potential pro bono projects and objectively measure them against the criteria that you’ve established.  Furthermore, he suggested posting a simple one-page application on your website and having that promoted in the local business community.  This way you would receive applications for your pro bono services.  These applications would be reviewed by your advisory group and they would select the most appropriate projects for you to work on.  This is such a smart way to include pro bono work in your creative practice.  Presently, my pro bono work arrives in my workflow somehow out of the ether. I really don’t know how it ends up there. What I do know is that I plan to employ this strategy for working on pro bono projects in the future.

Closing.
This may be as many words as I have posted in a single entry.  This is largely due to the fact that I’m speaking these words and they are appearing on my screen.  It’s pretty damn cool .  But at the same timea bit disturbing to watch your words appear on screen.  I find myself pausing at weird times and that causes the thought process not to flow as well.  What I imagine happening is that I can eventually sit back and not look at the screen and the words will just come out of my head excuse me I need out of my mouth and into the microphone and onto the screen and here they are.  Overall I’ve only had to edit about five or six words from this whole entry.  The accuracy is amazing. Anyhow that’s it for now.

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Communication Bandwidth

We all have ways, or modes, in which we communicate. Depending on who you are communicating with and what context you are in will determine how you communicate. Modes most common in my life are:

  • email
  • instant message
  • cellphone
  • video conference
  • in person

Interestingly each of these modes of communication uses a certain amount of bandwidth. In the list above I ordered them from lowest bandwidth at top, to the highest bandwidth at the bottom. An interesting observation is that the higher the bandwith the higher the focus–meaning that the less distractions there are. But also, the higher the bandwidth the more commitment and time invested–meaning it is a richer experience but at what cost?

I find that during my workday the context I’m in determines what mode I use. Contexts in this case involve where I am. For me this includes:

  • at computer
  • walking between events
  • driving between events
  • travelling between events (passenger)
  • in office (but non-computer)
  • out of office (during working day, ie. meetings)

The bulk of my time spent working is in front of the computer. Using the computer for me = email or instant message. I have both going while I am online and they are hands down the best way to contact me during the working day. In addition, to reduce distractions when I am working on projects I will often turn off the cell phone, thus eliminating that mode entirely. Video conference is a mode in front of the computer that I can use but it is a rare event and always scheduled. Now, when I am not at the computer, the cell phone is the mode I can be reached at.

This all comes down to an issue of efficiency for me. Examining the cost/benefit between mode/effort/impact.

Always be asking the questions;

  • is it really necessary to go and meet face-to-face about this?
  • can this be done in a lower-bandwidth mode?
  • what is the most efficient use of my time, and the clients time?
  • what is the best mode to be using for all involved?

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Wishes, wishes everwhere…

There are wishes flying everywhere this time of year. Tis the season… Continue Reading →

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