Feb 13, 2012 by Aaron Rubman
Effective communication has been a critical part of progress since before we had written language, and the Internet age has provided us with new communication tools that would have baffled even Gutenberg and Edison. Email is by far the most common in the modern business world.
Email is essentially private, but can be shared with a small or large audience at practically no additional cost. It’s good for memoranda and one-off communications, leaves a record, doesn’t require advanced coordination, and moves around faster than post.
But for all those advantages, we’ve all had moments when we’ve realized that email just …
Sep 5, 2011 by Aaron Rubman
All this month the office has been abuzz with activity to bring back the Webshop, a collaborative website creation workshop for business people to work on their sites side by side with the MB/I team on-hand to guide the process and tackle the sticky technical problems. We’ve been doing our very best to address every obstacle we’ve ever encountered to producing a website, then we’re parceling that process out into manageable pieces so that everyday people can walk through the process with us.
Outside the Bowl
Webshop isn’t just about our process; it’s about people like you.
Jun 6, 2011 by Lindsay Gower
Talking with a colleague the other day, I was startled to learn that he does not write down the project details when he takes on a new client project. No written contract.
“Spell it out” is my advice, and I guarantee it will save you time, money and headaches.
I have written Agreements with all my customers to spell out at the least what I will do for them, how long it will take, and what it will cost.
My Agreements evolve out of my proposal to the client. Having discussed the essentials with a client, I put together a proposal using my …
Oct 21, 2010 by Lindsay Gower
This just in: You are fallible!
Based on a scrupulously scientific study I conducted on everyone I have known for more than six months, 102% of them have failed at perfection in either speech, writing or good taste.
Embrace your ineptitude! Strive for adequacy!
As a reformed perfectionist, I follow General Patton’s advice: A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later.
The path toward perfection is a trail of tears
You aren’t perfect and you never will be. Stop trying.
You can be excellent. You can even be exceptional. Even though you are very good at some …
May 27, 2010 by Lindsay Gower
If you’ve read The Gold Mine over the months, you know that we believe that it is possible to use Powerpoint well. Earlier this month, I used Powerpoint to enhance a talk I gave to a group of colleagues in my professional network. Valuable lessons were learned, by me. And now, I share them with you.
I mapped out the overall message, and the component sections, of my talk. Then, I got it ready on Powerpoint. That part was so much fun! Too much fun! What a monstrous time suck!
I’d start searching through istockphotos.com. Let’s find photos of typewriters. Oh, …
May 5, 2010 by Lindsay Gower
Call them memory crutches or call them mnemonic devices, they can help you remember to turn right at Maple Street, and which planet is closest to the Sun. Don’t we all need that?!
Most mnemonics are verbal, a word, phrase or rhyme, but they can be visual, auditory or kinesthetic: I still move my right hand if I want to double-check left from right.
Why do mnemonics work?
We could just learn the order of the planets: Mercury Venus Terra Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto. But it was easier for me to learn them by remembering: Mother Very Thoughtfully Made Jelly Sandwiches …
Apr 7, 2010 by Lindsay Gower
In Part Two of my series on writing clear e-mail messages, we’ll consider good word choice.
I’m obsessed with words, I know. I’ve got Merriam-Webster’s homepage not just bookmarked, but on my bookmarks toolbar. Most of you are more relaxed than that, but using the right word correctly matters if you want your e-mails and other business writing to be (a) read all the way through and (b) understood.
So let’s look at a few words that confuse and how to use them correctly:
Literally and virtually are not superlatives
Virtually means nearly, almost, and for all practical purposes. …
Mar 31, 2010 by Lindsay Gower
Let’s look at ways to write e-mail messages that get results.
When you are sending information that you want your readers to act upon, and that’s the reason for most business e-mails, you want your readers to understand the message as you mean it to be understood.
First, always read your e-mail before you hit the Send button. Re-reading helps you correct typos and spot inaccuracies so that you’ll make at least a neutral impression rather than a bad one.
While re-reading your e-mail, consciously look for words that you can delete. Deleting unnecessary words gives your message the simplicity that …
Mar 24, 2010 by Lindsay Gower
Your web site and marketing materials are protected by copyright.
Copyright is a form of intellectual property law that protects the authorship of original works of fiction, non-fiction, music and lyrics, poetry, plays and screenplays, computer software, and architecture. On your web site, copyright protects original text as well as original artwork, music, sound recordings.
Instant copyright: Just add ink
You own the copyright on your work as soon as you put it into a perceptible, tangible form. As soon as you jot it onto notepaper or type it up on a MS Word doc, the copyright is yours. It doesn’t …
Feb 23, 2010 by Aaron Rubman
Online Content Management Systems allow you to consolidate the entire back-end of a website into a single secure yet easy to access location.
Traditionally any time you wanted to make an alteration to a website you needed to contact your Webmaster, who would in turn render your changes into code and and then use specialized programs to upload this code onto the servers which shared your information with the rest of the world.
No matter how responsive or dedicated your webmaster, the need to work through an additional person would build in a lag - one which would only be exacerbated by …