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Archive for April, 2009

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Mark’s new column is worth a read

The best studies we can find say we are a nation of over 20 million bloggers, with 1.7 million profiting from the work, and 452,000 of those using blogging as their primary source of income. That’s almost 2 million Americans getting paid by the word, the post, or the click — whether on their site or someone else’s. And that’s nearly half a million of whom it can be said, as Bob Dylan did of Hurricane Carter: "It’s my work he’d say, I do it for pay." 


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NEW Dell SERVERS In Action

Great showcase of new Dell servers in action

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The Perfect Pitch


Put the Perfect Pitch on your “Marketers Must Read” list. Whether you’re on the Agency or Client side, you’ll get a ton from Jon’s ideas on giving the Perfect Pitch. The run-down on how London won the Olympics is worth it alone.

There are weeks when I seem to motor from one set of PowerPoint to another. Not all of Jon’s ideas will work so well inside the large corporation where it is less about winning via the perfect pitch. But the principles still apply and could make those weeks more effective and enjoyable.

Here are a couple of complimentary thoughts directly at those people inside the business:

  1. Answer First: Get your answer out. Then support it. This is very different to, say, an agency pitch, where you might want to build to a crescendo for effect. Internally, Execs don’t have the time. Headline your point and hammer it home. To help do this, make every .ppt slide title a headline. Focus on your headlines and let them tell the story. Good summary of Answer First over here
  2. Ask in Advance: If big decisions are going to be made, get the asks in front of the decision maker in advance. I’ve sat through many a presentation to discover they want something I would have said “yes” – and in some cases “no” to over the phone.
  3. Control the room: The is the most common breakdown area. Folks will sit down, behind a laptop screen, and proceed to speak. It’s neither engaging or effective. Get out of your seat, command the room. Use a clicker (this is my weapon of choice). Ideally you want to position yourself at the front, in good proximity of the whiteboard. Tip – remove the pens and put them where you can get to them. When at Sun, we called this getting “whiteboarded” – you put all this effort into a presentation and some “expert” proceeds to redirect attention away from your goal to their graphic mastery on the whiteboard. I started timing meeting delays related to computer-to-projector issues. Here’s the reason – lack of preparation. Get the the room in advance and test the connection. And if you are relying on a customer’s kit, get the presentation to them in advance and have them run it from a system they know works.
  4. Demand that folks “be here now”. Tell them how long you need and why you need their attention. Keep the agenda, printed out, in front of them. If participants have sunk into Email or Blackberries, ask them to stop and focus. Or, ask them to leave. I reckon it’s a one in ten thousand chance that they are actually taking notes. I once sat in a keynote where a well known TV producer was speaking. he suddenly stopped mid flight and asked a lady in the front row if he was boring her – “should he leave?”he asked. “No”was the response – he then pointed out, very publically how rude she was being – that he had put a lot of effort into the presentation and being there. Damn right.
  5. Get away. Too often you get the sense folks have spent so much time on the presentation and data they haven’t put any time into their views and ideas of what to do about the problem or opportunity at hand. Allow enough time to get away from the data and reflect on what you want to say about it. Your biggest insights won’t happen while preparing slides. They’ll come when you take a walk around the campus to reflect on what you are doing. Or, when you hit the gymn. Get away from the slides and they’ll get better.
  6. Go raw. Most of the time you don’t need PowerPoint. Speak to your key points. Use Excel or whatever tool you pulled the data together. Think about other ways of bringing data to life: “PowerPoint presentations may improve 10% or 20% of all presentations by organizing inept, extremely disorganized speakers…” PowerPoint inflicts “detectable intellectual damage” on the remaining 80 to 80 percent. – Edward Tufte
  7. Information vs. Insights: Be clear on what you are communicating. Half the slides I see try to deliver insights but all they are doing is delivering information. Get information out in advance. Put it in back-up. Focus on the insights that support your case.
  8. Words Matter: Labor over the words. As Edward Tufte says, most .ppt presentations suffer from “over-generalizations, imprecise statements, slogans, lightweight evidence, abrupt and thinly veiled claims”.
  9. Manage Input: Jon gives a great example from a colleague of his’5/15/80 percent rule. Often you are bringing the 5 percent you know, learning the 15% you know you don’t know, and discovering (and hopefully, opening your mind) to the 80% you don’t know you don’t know. The more senior the executives, the more likely this is to be the case. So, how are you going to proactively manage input in the meeting?
  10. Be Clear on the Outcome: And be clear on how you plan to move the audience from A to B. “A presentation is much, much more than a message. What you a re seeking to communicate is just one of a number of factors that influence your ability to move an audience. What you say, and what they see and hear, should not be the same” – Jon Steel. In other words, make sure you aren’t reading the slides, you won’t get the outcome you desire.

I can’t recall who recommended the Perfect Pitch – it might have been Mitch – but thanks!

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"Dealing with Recessionary Times"

Great and entertaining post from Tom Peters. Well worth the read

You forget about "the good old days"—nostalgia is for wimps.
You buck yourself up with the thought that "this too shall pass"—but then remind yourself that it might not pass anytime soon, so you re-dedicate yourself to making the absolute best of what you have now.
You eschew all forms of personal excess.
You simplify.
You sweat the details as you never have before.
You sweat the details as you never have before….You mind your manners—and accept others’ lack of manners in the face of their strains.
You are kind to all mankind.
You leave the blame game at the office door.
You become a paragon of accountability.
And then you pray.

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… from marketingvox

Chinese Social Media Use Surpasses US
Related research from Netpop also examines the social networking environment in China and finds that 92% of the 243 million broadband consumers in that country (224 million) ages 13+ contribute to social media. This is compared with only 76% of the American broadband population.

Additional findings about Chinese users:

  • China has a sizable proportion of social media contributors who participate in many Web 2.0 activities, including blogs, micro-blogs, social media, video and photo sharing
  • 43% of Chinese broadband users (105 million) contribute to forums and discussion boards.
  • Young professionals ages 25-29 are the most active users of social media in China. They use more online modes of communication more often than any other age group.
  • 37 percent of bloggers, or 29 million bloggers, post to blogs on a daily basis.
  • 41 million Chinese are heavy social media contributors (6+ activities) who connect with 84 people on a ‘one-to-many’ basis in a typical week.