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Showing posts from December, 2016

Why Scheduling Regular Posts is a Good Idea

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At the beginning of 2016 I decided that I would post one new story every week on this blog. Every week. Without exception.  More than that would be too much both for me and my readers; fewer would have made the blog seem less active. That much is clear enough. But why is it so important to be regular? Creating regular content is good discipline for a writer because it reinforces one of the foundations of professionalism: dependability. Writing occasional brilliants posts at erratic intervals is much less impressive than delivering a new post every Monday morning. Any editor looking for a freelancer is going to be much more interested in your ability to deliver copy on time and take quality for granted. Other people commissioning writing work are also likely to be impressed. But unless you have no other work to do and no other distractions, creating a new post every week can be a challenge. Sometimes on a Monday I am in some conference room delivering a workshop, or I might be busy co…

One Simple Email Technique Could Have Averted Election Hacks

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When the Democratic National Committee's email system was hacked it was not through some advanced technology but rather a very simple phishing mail. You might think that people dealing with sensitive information would be extra careful, and indeed they were. According to published reports like this one in the Guardian, campaign chair John Podesta received a phishing mail sent to a private account. An aide, Charles Delavan, spotted this and forwarded it to a computer technician intending to flag it as dangerous. But inadvertently he typed "This is a legitimate mail", rather than "illegitimate".

Thanks to this typo outsiders were later able to gain access to Podesta's emails, which were leaked in the run up to the 2016 presidential election. Quite possibly this single mistake cost the Democratic party a presidency and possibly much more. Emails often have consequences but this one will end up being a case example in email workshops.

Yet this confusion could h…

Using Video Effectively in a Presentation

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Video clips can be a useful addition to a presentation. Done well they enrich the overall experience and make the speaker appear more compelling. But when they are used badly they have a negative effect, so how can you use video clips effectively in your presentations? Video Should Support Not Replace. Probably the worst mistake is to use video to replace the speaker rather than support what they are saying. A video that was originally designed as a standalone video on YouTube usually makes a poor presentation video because it is designed to be self explanatory and not need a speaker. What will work much better is a short clip that shows the detail that you need to show to support your explanation and nothing more. So if you are speaking about a movie effect a clip from the show reel would be relevant, or if you are explaining a new process for encapsulating single cells then a microscope video showing the process would be helpful. A complete video explaining something without any hel…

Learning from a Near Miss in Interactive OOH

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