Friday, September 21, 2007

How PowerPoint can and should be great

I attended the a translation industry conference this week in London. The people involved in this industry are highly intelligent, witty and engaging people. They write for a living.

Translation is probably harder than original writing, you have to get under the skin of the original to ensure you convey the right meaning.

So you'd have thought that the presentations, using the ubiquitous PowerPoint, would have been engaging, funny, intellectual, challenging even.

No. They all used the same dull, formulaic bullet point approach.

For me getting to London isn't easy, there are cars, trams, trains and tubes involved as well as hotels well away from where I need to be. So I get quite annoyed when a presenter either just reads out loud to me what I can plainly read for myself, or uses really complex diagrams that even they don't understand or explain.

If that's what you're going to do save me the hassle and just email or post me your notes, because I can read!

Only one presentation used any humor and only mine didn't use bullets. I'd have loved to have used humour but the subject matter didn't fit.

I know everyone hates giving presentations, but at the end of the day they have to be entertaining or at least informative. Reading aloud what I can all ready see it just a waste of my time and yours. Please don't do it.

Next time you have a presentation to give. Drop me an email, I'll be more than happy to take a look and give a few pointers. Alternatively take a look at Presentation Zen, you'll never look back and bullet points will be a thing of the past.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Information overload

I love the Internet, it's made businesses, social networks and connected the world in millions of unimaginable ways. One issue I'm having though is keeping track of the information I receive. Only 10 years ago the only real communication was phone, letter and fax. How did we survive then? How did anything get done?

Today I have information overload. Here's a list of what I use daily.
  • Company Email
  • Gmail
  • Text
  • Microsoft Instant Messenger
  • Skype
  • Blogger
  • Facebook
  • Linkedin
  • Squidoo
  • Ebay
  • YouTube
  • MySpace
  • iTunes
  • Phone
  • Mobile Phone
  • TV
  • Books
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Letters
  • Second Life (not very ofter though)

It's amazing that we survive. Your brain can only take in two pieces of information at any one time so it's really no wonder so many people live online. All their attention is spent there.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Inspiring story

A colleague in our Indian Office just emailed me this very inspiring story. I thought I should share it.

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey. When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons.

The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her some chips. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted!

They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word. As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman, and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever.

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?" He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? She's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"

Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, "Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?" She replied! "I ate potato chips in the park with God." However, before her son responded, she added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime! Embrace all equally!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Using all the media you can

As Google takes over the world and acquires more and more sections of the internet. Using more and more media will reap huge rewards.

So if you've got video footage, get it on YouTube and tag it up properly. If you've pictures make sure they have targeted alt tags. If you've got a book out make sure Google knows about that too.

The more you have indexed the better, as Google begins to bring all it assets together and shows them in the search results.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

List of online marketing books

On Linkedin the other day a question was asked about what were the ultimate books about online marketing. The guy who asked doesn't have a blog so I posted it on mine. This is a pretty impressive list which also includes some of the all time marketing classics. I've not read all of them but it's a great starter list for anyone.

  • The Long Tail - by Chris Anderson
  • Citizen Marketers - Ben McConnell and Jakie Huba
  • Waiting for Your Cat to Bark - Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg
  • Word of Mouth Marketing- Andy Sernovitz
  • Strategies and Tools for Corporate Blogging by John Cass
  • "Secrets of Word of Mouth Marketing" by George Silverman
  • Scientific Advertising - Claude Hopkins
  • Tested Advertising - John Caples
  • How To Write A Good Advertisement - Victor Schwab
  • Ogilvy on Advertising - David Ogilvy
  • Triggers - Joseph Sugarman
  • Breakthrough Advertising - Eugene Schwartz
  • The Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords – Perry Marshall
  • The New rules of marketing and PR: how to use news releases, blogs, podcasting, viral marketing, & online media to reach buyers directly by David Meerman Scott
  • The new influencers : a marketer's guide to the new social media by Paul Gillin
  • Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking by Andy Sernovitz
  • Smart Start-Ups: How Entrepreneurs and Corporations Can Profit by Starting Online Communities by David Silver.
  • The Big Red Fez by Seth Godin

Monday, September 03, 2007

Real customer service from IKEA

This weekend I had to buy a new bed. Best one I could find was Ikea in Leeds. I like Ikea it's cheap yes but the quality is pretty good. I had a budget and their designs fitted it.

So off I went to Ikea to get my bed. Browsing the shop as always was easy and enjoyable. I ordered the bed and mattress very easily. Picked up the flat pack sections for the bed and paid. To get my mattress I had to go round to the collection centre. This looked pretty easy. Ikea had already got my money and I was confident that they wouldn't let me down when I picked up my mattress.

God I was wrong.

When I arrived the queue was massive, some people had been waiting for over 3/4 of and hour and were getting very irate.

But the was one beacon in all this. The smiling and very over worked lady handling all these angry and tired customers. As I stood there waiting in the queue she smiled and acknowledged each and every customer even speaking to the queue to apologise for the wait they were experiencing. The guy in front to me had been waiting for 40 minutes and when he got to the front he said he wanted to complain, rather than giving this man the usual response the lady I now know as Denise said "Certainly, just fill in this form and the customer service people will see to your complaint, I'm so sorry for the delay, I'll just have a quick check to see if your parcels are here." This instantly calmed the man who didn't bother to fill in the form. At one point Denise called for help from the front house staff at Ikea and was told they couldn't spare anyone.

This was a big mistake in the long run for Ikea. The customers who had a happy warm feeling about their new piece of furniture were now only remembering the bad and boring experience they were now having. This was the experience that they would remember. I'm sure the marketing and PR team fro Ikea would be fuming.

Denise even helped a man who's baby needed changing because the nappy dispenser in the toilets was broken. She then made sure she spoke to the mother of the baby to ensure that they were all ok.

I'll be writing to Ikea to let them know about the hard work Denise did. I hope they take note and advance her to head of customer service were she clearly needs to be.