Archives For Tips

That’s a question I get (used to get) every night. Nowadays, I just ask myself the question. Who was asking the question? My in-house dentist – yes, my wife.

One day I pondered, “What fun if I could make her ask the whole world that same question”. I know, so mean, right? I can picture all you, brush-haters, jeering at me. But it was the only way I could take the focus off me.

If you are still wondering, she started a blog and it’s called BasicOralCare.com. She started late last year and has done a great job at writing some very interesting posts. She talks about the basics like brushing, flossing, tooth wisdom (intended!) and more. She also covers advanced topics on how to identify cancer, root canal treatments and answers questions from readers. And I am proud of her.

I wanted to introduce her blog here. If you find it interesting, let her know. Thanks.

I am not a big fan of visiting the barber. So the fact that there is a barber shop right next to my house helps.

Anyways, it was not my regular barber at the shop this time. It was a young boy – maybe 16, 17 years old. There were no other customers when I stepped in and this guy was busy cleaning shelves. (Not a  good sign!)

I checked with him and he asked me to wait 2 minutes. And the haircut was on.

He was slow. Didn’t use a lot of water (which they normally do in haircuts). I was worried I was going to walk out of there with a bad haircut. I wanted to tell him to use more water because he would get better control of my frizzy hair. But I stopped myself. (My thought: Either this guy is nervous and he will nick me or he may actually have his own method for cutting hair. If I tell him to do it my way, it may put him off and I would actually walk out with a bad haircut). So I waited. He finished. And it actually looked as if my hair was chewed on.

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Presentations have been a very dear subject to me. More than the actual deck, the whole art of capturing your audience’s attention is what makes the presentation come alive. Unfortunately, I have found no easy way/cheat/hack to get that technique. Some people seem to be naturally good at it while others struggle to make connection with their audience.

The presentation deck is a tool that is used to complement your thought process / talk. But boring presentations are made and sadly, the person writing this is also guilty of the crime.

Michael Hyatt posted this presentation from Slideshare today. It is a great presentation by Jesse Desjardins and I strongly recommend going through these slides for some great points and ideas.

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In India, we have had our green and white revolutions. We are having our high-tech revolution. They are also trying for a tiger-striped revolution.

I think it is time for India to have a marketing revolution. As I make this statement, I acknowledge that, as a country, we have some great companies, products and services. We are also known for great  creatives and campaigns. But I am not referring to the few who are successful or to a particular function within marketing but to the general attitude towards marketing (and how that can apply to our everyday, sometimes personal, life).

The reasons why I think we need a marketing revolution are plenty and just to list a few:

  • Everybody seems to be doing the tried and tested. Nothing new!
  • Involvement (at different levels) seems to be at an all-time low.
  • Poorly executed marketing strategies (not just flyers, but the whole works sometimes)

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Go figure!

December 30, 2010 — Leave a comment

I made seven posts on this blog this year (eight, including this one). Yes, that is pathetic!

If I resolve to make a post every week in the new year, will I be able to keep it?

I feel like Craig Ferguson who keeps talking about his crappy set and how nobody watches his show. He actually has an amazing show with actual guests and is very popular.

Go figure!

There really is no substitute for content and consistency.

This is one of the best discussions I have seen in recent past. Martin Giles does a great job in moderating the panel. Add two of my favorite authors (the third one just got on my list), you have a WIN!

Direct link to the video on YouTube

Time-Management-LCSomeone said, “You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future”

Inundated. I have my work at full steam – and sometimes they get the better of me. Organizing and coordinating the different parts of a media & communications job can be fun. And challenging. I am learning to adjust to the lead times involved in this work and the different time zones!

But why did my blog suffer? I had time to brush my teeth. Take bath. Daily. Eat food. Why did my blog suffer? It was not fair. But I give credit to all of you who have been patient and very encouraging. I am thankful.

Time management has not always been my forte. My idea of time management is to not sleep. But my body does not agree with my theory. How much ever I try, it always gets the better of me. It just would not let me have my way. I don’t know how it does it but it always keeps me in bed for five hours every day. And if I push it too far, bam! In bed you go for a week! If someone knows how to beat that, let me know.

What did I learn about time management?

  • Use a calendar. Paper or online.
  • List your tasks/appointments.
  • Prioritize them. You could either number them or mark them in some way so you can clearly see the important tasks. Those are the ones you want to get done first.
  • Cancel tasks. There is always a “not-to-do-list” where there is a to-do list.
  • Start. Sometimes, this can be the toughest part. There may be planning that is required or information that needs to be gathered. It is important to start somewhere. It sets you in motion. You can build momentum as you move on.
  • Strike them off, once it is done. Move on to the next task.

Side notes:
– It is important to know when to stop. You could go on forever doing a homepage or cleaning the bathroom. It is easier when you realize that you will have to update the homepage tomorrow or the bathroom needs to be clean and sanitized, not polished and slippery! You could always spend more time on tasks once you have finished the other things on your list.

– Don’t beat yourself because you were not able to finish the task list. Learn to carry forward and finish it the next day.

– Some tasks are not meant to be finished in a single day. Break them into parts and split them over days.

How do you manage your time? Would love to know.

8 Steps To Writing Better

November 19, 2009 — 13 Comments

Black-Blank-Book-PenWhen I started writing this, I thought English was the largest spoken language. But Chinese Mandarin is. English is ranked third. English is the official language in 53 countries. And I kinda get the feeling that it is one of the most abused languages in the world too. (Abused may be too harsh a term but you get the idea!) :)

If you find it difficult to write something, what do you do? Do you stop? Do you give up? Do you tell yourself, “This is not my cup of tea!”. I have friends who have thoughts I have never heard before, ideas that are unique, stories that would make people laugh. But those stories get limited to our circle of friends. They wouldn’t start a blog or write a web page because they fear their language. They think it is not good enough. (And I keep telling them, who cares! They should just write.)

Here are some tips that have helped me in my writing. They may not be the life-changing stuff you expect. But I believe if you apply these in your writing, you should be able to see some improvement.

simple

  1. Keep it simple. If you use complex words, it does not make you hip. Using hard-to-pronounce words or words-that-make-me-look-up-a-dictionary-too-often is not really stylish. It puts me off sometimes. It does not mean that you don’t have to learn new words and use them at the appropriate time either. E.g. I came across the word ectoplasm used in a movie review – “When I was small, this movie would have scared the living ectoplasm out of me”. That was a new word for me. I would have just said, “it would have scared the living daylights out of me”. :)spell-check
  2. Spell it correct. Always use the right spelling. Use the spell-check feature on any text editor you use (unless of course you use Notepad!). Even browsers and online text editors come with this facility. Why is spelling so important? To give your writing a professional outlook. Your writing style may be casual, even targeted at people who couldn’t give two hoots for spellings but it definitely makes you look good. Typos, as they are popularly known nowadays, can be avoided using technology. So why not?SMS-Texting
  3. SMS is for mobile phones. But not for online writing and that includes blogs, facebook, twitter etc. Avoid SMS jargons. E.g. “I luv wrtn tis way ten so i dun hv 2 wry abt splngs.” Unless you want to give your reader a headache, you don’t want to write like that. (I don’t agree to use them even in mobile texting.) Twitter sometimes forces you to use them because of the 140 character limit. But even then, please keep such usage to the bare minimum. Maybe one word. Definitely not more than two words.coffee-cups-repeat
  4. Don’t repeat words. Not too often at least. E.g. “I could say what I want to say when I want to say it.” There is nothing wrong with that statement. But you could just say, “I can say what I want, when I want to”. This is important because if you keep repeating your words, the text would drag and become boring. To keep your readers tuned in, be crisp and to the point.glasses-reading
  5. Try get the grammar right. This is the tough part. I really don’t know how to make this easy. Reading helps. Read anything you get – newspapers, magazines, online articles, bumper stickers. Listen lots. I used to love listening to the radio when I was younger. That helped me develop my language. Television can help you there too (assuming you watch English programming). Speaking helps. The more you speak, the more comfortable you become with the language. Ask a close friend who is good at the language to correct you when you make a mistake. And when they correct you, be willing to swallow your pride and accept that correction.  You may also want to check out the Grammar Girl’s podcasts too.typewriter
  6. Write first. Edit later. You don’t have to get it right the first time. Neither the second or third time. Just keep writing. You can polish your work later. I always start with a framework – a list of things I want to cover in the article and then add the bacon and cheese. I think only Mozart was able to write masterpieces the first time he wrote it. So if you get an idea, just start writing. You can edit it later.editing-pencil-eraser-paper
  7. Definitely Edit. Having said my previous point, it would be sin not to review your work before you publish it. Someone once told me he reads what he has written at least three times before he publishes it. He catches most of what he can change in those three reads. You owe it to yourself and your reader to give it your best. If it is important work, ask your wife, friend, colleague to review it for you. They have the advantage of giving your work a fresh eye that could catch mistakes you overlooked.writing
  8. Write. And write. I am happy that the greatest writers in the world are not literary geniuses nor do they hold doctorates in literature. They are people like me and that tells me I have a chance. I believe that you only need a desire to communicate your passion to the world and do it.

If you haven’t started writing yet, will you pick up that pen (or open your word processor)?

Did you find these tips useful? Do you have any tips you would like to share. Share them in the comments below.

Pictures courtesy:
Black book & pen: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1176000 (typofi)
Bottle & Cork: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/632972 (sritenou)
Coffee cups: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1214847 (Pintaric)
Reading glasses: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1232904 (mihow)
Typewriter: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/966154 (abcdz2000)
Pencil Eraser: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1123441 (nkzs)
Paper with writing: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/441337 (hopee)

Would

November 17, 2009 — 3 Comments

wouldWould you unfollow Barack Obama’s (so-called) Twitter account, now that you realize it has always been somebody else updating the account for him?

Would you decide not to get yourself a Mac because Apple so insists on you getting their own hardware and software in the name of total user experience?

Would you continue your credit card because they charged you annual fees and reverted it back only because you called them?

Would you spend three days on a train to travel across the country? Would you still do it if airline prices were not so prohibitive?

Would you trust a business without a website?

Would you stop your doorstep newspaper delivery because you get all your news online?

Would you choose a product/service because they have a bigger/active presence among today’s social media platforms?

Would you switch from Microsoft Office to Online Office platforms because they say they will be ready? Would you switch if you think they were ready?

Would our choices remain the same tomorrow?

LucidConfusions-Handpicked-Videos-IconHere are some videos I watched and loved this week:

1. The Soda Pop Store

This was one of my favorites. The Soda Pop Store (Galcos) in LA is unique. It sells sodas. And it does not sell Pepsi or Coke. It sells 500 different varities of soda pop from around the world. To be able to do something you love and have the freedom to do it and make money off it too! And mind you, he has built and is sustaining his own eco-system. Both different, small-scale soda pop suppliers from around the world, end customers and restaurants. A definite inspiration.

2. Procrastination

You should see this video if you think you are so busy that you keep stalling from doing the important stuff. What does it mean to procrastinate? I will tell you that another day. ;)

3. Taylor Mason – The World’s Worst Blues Song

Taylor Mason is a comedian, ventriloquist and musician. He has amazing talent with puppets. In fact, he is the only guy I have seen who can talk interchangeably for six puppets (including himself :)). But one of my favorites with him is his music. He plays the blues. This one’s called the ‘happy blues’!

Do you have favorite videos? Share them in the comments section below.

psa-texting-while-driving-video-stillC’mon, who are we kidding? There are many of us who have used our cellphones while driving. I have used mine (for talking and not texting).  For most of us, we either think we are very good drivers or such accidents couldn’t happen to us. But history has proved many wrong and we wouldn’t want to push our luck that far. As Bill Gallagher said (of course in a different context), “Life’s too short to make all your own mistakes, better to learn from the mistakes of others”.

The video was made in the UK by the Gwent police department in South Wales. They teamed up with filmmaker Peter Watkins-Hughes to produce the PSA (Public Service Announcement). The film seemed to have raised quite an uproar ’cause of its ‘bloody’ details. But if you compare this with the violence our kids are exposed to in today’s video games, what is the big deal?

Here is another video made by CarandDriver.com studying the reaction times of a texting driver and a drunk driver. The results are quite interesting!

So if you are driving today and you need to use your cellphone, pull over first. At least for the sake of the others on the road. Thanks!

How to Advance Your Career Without Selling Your Soul by by Joe Hodas
http://adage.com/talentworks/article.php?article_id=140010

20 Top Blog Posts on Public Relations
http://adnews.us/?p=2185

Visions of Earth 2009 – Photos on National Geographic
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/visions-of-earth/visions-earth-2009

Will Motorola get it back with the Droid? (Strategy of New Chief at Motorola Appears Poised to Pay Off at NYTimes)
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/technology/companies/29moto.html

What tech vendors really think: The customer is a cow
http://infoworld.com/t/user-problems/what-tech-vendors-really-think-customer-cow-950