Showing posts from January, 2016

Cats on a Plane: The Downside of a Notorious Audio Brand

Audio branding is important; more important than most people realize. I have written about this topic before in Not Just a Jingle, Why using sound to brand your business could be more effective than you think but the message was driven home unexpectedly by a curious incident on an airplane.

Recently I was sitting in an airplane waiting for takeoff at Marseille Marignane airport. During the wait I heard a "meow" sound. Then I heard it again, and again and again. My first reaction was to roll my eyes and curse the ringtone department at Samsung, the company that gave the world the whistled "over the horizon" ringtone, probably the most disliked ringtone in smartphone history.

But then just after the plane rotated a flight attendant jumped out of her seat, ran up the aisle and came back carrying a terrified cat that had escaped from it's bag, returning it to its owner.

There are many reasons for taking good care of your audio branding. Probably the most important…

What to Do When Speakers Talk Too Long

One thing event organizers dread is the speaker who talks too long. This makes it impossible to maintain the planned schedule and annoys practically everyone.

Speakers should always be very careful to make sure that this doesn't happen. First of all find out how much speaking time you really have. This is not the same as the slot time because you might need to allow a few minutes for introductions at the beginning and questions at the end. When the program says that you start at 10:00 and the next speaker is at 10:30 this does not mean that you have 30 minutes to talk. But always check with the organizers because some give the slot time and some give the actual time. It's good practice to double check with the moderator when you arrive at the venue.

Once you know how much time is allowed the only way to be sure that you can respect this timing is to try several timed practice runs before the event. If you see that you are consistently over the time budget start to simplify th…

When It's Time to Clean the "Lost Soul" from Your Profile

Looking through the short profile bios on Twitter, Quora, Pinterest and dozens of other social media sites you will see that many people describe themselves as "lost soul", "optimist", "work in progress", "another brick in the wall" and other generic labels.

This might be fine if you are still in high school and only interact with your classmates, or if you have an anonymous or pseudonymous account and you are trying to hide who you are. For everyone else this is probably not a good idea. What works much better is to write something helpful about who you are, what you do and, if appropriate, where you are. This is extremely helpful for several reasons.

Helps People Find the Right Account. Let's suppose that I meet someone called Mario Rossi at a party. I know Mario is a graduate student and is based in Zurich. When I search Twitter to see if Mario has an account I find dozens of Mario Rossi's. I might be able to recognize him from the ph…

How to Make People See, Open and Read Your Emails

Most people get more email messages than they can handle comfortably. This means that before you can convince someone to do what you want you first have to make sure that they see, open and read your emails.

Sleazy clickbait style subjects and other ruses just don't work anymore, or they work just once. To earn and keep a reputation as a sender of useful messages that are worth opening and reading there are a few simple methods you can apply:

WRITE A MEANINGFUL SUBJECT. The message subject is extremely important, working like the headline of an article. People decide to open your message mostly after reading this subject line so you should always write it very carefully. Make sure that it is specific enough so that it doesn’t look like spam and try to state already the main message of your mail. A very vague subject like “Proposal” will sometimes be stopped by a spam filter and humans will not find it appealing.
PUT CONTENT IN THE FIRST TWO LINES Today the first two lines of  the …