Friday, 30 April 2010

Newsletter Issue 182, April 2010

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 182, April 2010
Hi guys,
What preparation do you do before you put out communications to clients? Read the Pre-Communications Checklist below to see if there is anything you can add to your toolkit.
Presentations a worry? Use the PowerPoint Checklist to polish your delivery. 
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Pre-Communications Checklist

In a piece I read recently by Debbie Mayo-Smith, she explored the key things that she felt we needed to ensure before marketing to clients via email (go to to view her original article).
On reading her list, I felt that there were some great reminders in there, but also a couple of things missing and it perhaps needed a bit of a shift in focus to make it really useful for a client who was less expert at thinking through the communications and marketing process.
  1. Strategic Plan: Whenever you undertake any communications, it needs to fit with your overall strategic plan, vision, mission, values, goals and objectives for your business. Ensuring fit with that comes first.
  2. Comms/PR Plan: (hopefully you have one of these too!). Check fit with your comms/PR plan strategy, goals and objectives.
  3. Determine outcomes: determine the outcomes you would like from this piece of work - how many converted sales etc, and how you will measure that (then you can decide whether the programme was successful or not). This is the second-most commonly not completed step in this process.
  4. Segment your market: Analyse who your key market segments are. It is likely that you will have several markets.
  5. Identify target market: Clearly identify who the target market segment is that you want to reach with this piece of work. Think through an average  customer profile of your target market - call me if you need some help doing that. Double-check that they are really potential purchasers, not mere tyre-kickers (NB: keep in touch with tyre-kickers, but don't spend too much money doing it).
  6. Communication channels: Identify the BEST communication channel to reach your target market. It may be email; but equally it might be flyer, newspaper, radio, company website, blog, social networking or fan page, text, phone call or a personal visit.
  7. Check the WIIFM: (What's In It For Me). Check that you are giving your client a clear message as to what is in this particular item for them. Make it interesting - have a hook that pulls the client in. Ensure you have clearly spelled out the client benefits, information, ideas, discounts, added-value. Enable the client to pass it on to others of similar interests - and ensure you capture their details and so swell your database with like-minded people.
  8. Review outcomes: check that your outcomes were acheived. If not, tailor your approach for next time (and this is the first-most commonly not completed step in this process!).
If you think through each piece of communications you do, you will ensure you get a much better hit rate - more profit in your pocket, rather than in the radio stations' or the newspapers'. Got to be good for you, eh?!
PowerPoint Checklist

If you are about to give a PowerPoint presentation, then this little checklist might save some blushes:
  2. Technology: check there is a datashow, screen and/or laptop at the venue! Do not assume there will be.
  3. 40: Maximum number of 40 words per slide. Trim, trim, trim your slide text down to that, and put the rest into your notes pages. Remember the slides are an aide memoire for the audience, to key them in to what you are saying.
  4. DO NOT read verbatim from the screen. People who do this lose their audience very quickly because (a) your audience can read faster than you can recite and (b) you look like you lack confidence. Practice your presentation many, many times, using your notes pages, to ensure you can talk around your ideas, not have to recite them.
  5. KISS. Keep it simple - avoid the fade-ups, things whizzing in or flying out; use the slides to support your presentation, not to become the focus of your presentation. If you can use a remote - or even the keyboard - to change the slides, it is better than having your presentation on auto, then having the slides change again and again while you pause to answer a worthy question.
  6. Print: Print your notes pages and double-treble-quadruple-check that you have them with you.
  7. Data: Have your presentation in the earliest form of ppt - eg 2003 or 2000 - to ensure maximum compatibility, AND have it on memory stick, AND on a CD, AND email it to your webmail account, AND email to the person who is hosting you. You are better to have it many times than find you are unable to access the only transport medium you have.
  8. Images: use only images that relate well to your presentation - and ensure they are small enough to load quickly on what might be a very small system at the venue.
  9. Hyperlinks: If you have to have hyperlinks, check that they all work on that particular machine BEFORE you start your presentation.
  10. Acknowledgements: ensure you honour all the people who have contributed to your presentation - including your own bio. Reference all images, quotes, contributors and information. Have a bibliography for the audience to seek further information with.
Small things can make a big difference!

Fix Blurred Photos

There are lots of photo-edit tools which will sharpen your photos, but few of them can remove blur created when a subject, or the camera, shakes. However, deblurring tools got a boost when Hubble scientists needed to fix the fuzzy images - it's cheaper to repair digital images with software-based mathematics than repairing a bent telescope lens.
So there's now some nifty pieces of software out there, and one piece of freeware called Unshake (at that will analyse your photo and figures out the type of blur correction your shot needs.
Available as a download from the author's site, Unshake is written in Java, and should run on any operating platform with Java installed.
Installation is a wee bit complicated — you unzip the downloaded file into a convenient folder and then run launch.bat each time you want to use the software. If you have any trouble unpacking the zip file, try using the free 7-Zip which you can download from the 7-Zip site.

TLAs for SMEs

Who would have thought that one little TLA (Three Letter Acronym) could have so many meanings:
  • ABL, Atmospheric Boundary Layer. The region where the atmosphere interacts with the surface of the earth
  • ABL Automatic Brightness Limiter. Protection circuitry in CRT monitors Science and Technology
  • ABL, Airborne Laser. A weapons system designed for use by the United States military
  • ABL, American Beverage Licensees. An association representing off-premise licensees in the "open" or "license" states and on-premise proprietors in markets across the US
Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
In this newsletter, we are going to look at all you can do with a forward or a back slash in what:
  • Excel "Select cells in a row that don't match the value in the active cell in that row. You must select the row starting with the active cell." Ctrl & \ (Back Slash)
  • Excel "Select the current array, which is the array that the active cell belongs to" Ctrl & / (Forward Slash)
  • FrontPage "Display HTML tags" Ctrl & / (Forward Slash)
  • PowerPoint "Turn character formatting on or off" NUM & / (Forward Slash)
  • Word "Hide or display character formatting when working in a document outline" NUM & / (Forward slash)
  • Word "Toggle between a master document and its associated subdocuments" Ctrl & \ (Back Slash)

Hot Linx
If you are considering setting up a board of directors for the first time, there is a great on-line resource from the Institute of Directors at to help
Want to simplify your date data entry? TechRepublic has the step by step gen on how to install a calendar form into your Excel spreadsheet at
How about having an axe list as a new idea for people management? Check out this blog article at
Virgin Atlantic have come up with a way for their customers to save money on taxi fares by sharing the services - and the fares. This has the added bonus of reducing your carbon footprint. Check it out at

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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