Friday, October 07, 2005

Speak about real Experiences - become a Storyteller

A couple or weeks ago I wrote about the importance, when speaking to network meetings, of answering the question "What do you do?" in a way that tells people how you can help them. I said then that I spend quite a lot of time on my Presentation and Communication Skills for Networkers Workshop on this topic. Still my frustration has always been that despite the fact that I get people early in the day speaking with passion, the moment I tell them to talk about their job they revert to boring corporate speak.

Last week running another workshop by accident I seem to have stumbled on the answer. One delegate, Liz was struggling with how to use stories in a speech about her work as a recruitment coach. "How specifically do you help people?" I asked. As she started to answer generally I asked her to be very specific. She started to tell a story about one client she had helped to be more effective in job seeking but still wanted to keep it anonymous and rather general. "What is her name? What was her problem? How did you help her overcome that problem? I asked.

As Liz became specific about the case, as she started to tell the story her passion and animation returned and I realised what was happening. People take a story and then generalise it instead of retaining the individual story. I immediately started to ask other delegates to tell me their stories - and all were doing the same thing.

Having identified the problem, with a bit more guidance and group diasussion I managed to get most of them to switch to telling specific stories about how they had helped a named client(they could change the name if the felt more comfortable). For the first time I saw these business networking presentations start to come alive.

So if you are explaining what you do at a networking meeting - either one to one or to the group let me suggest a simple approach.

First answer the question, "Who do you specialise in helping and how do you help them? Be very specific - No one person is able to sell to everyone. We all have a niche or preferred market and the more you focus the more successful you will become.

When you have the answer to that clear in your mind, pick a client who typifies the kind of work you do and then answer these questions. "What is their name? What was their problem? How did you help them overcome that problem? You are not trying to sell yourself to an entire audience at a networking meeting - what you are trying to do is make sure that everyone understands clearly what you do - and a real story is the best way to do that.

OK it's possible that only one or two people in the audience will identify personally with the story and approach you, but when you are presenting at a networking meeting the audience is not your target, especially if they are women. You want is for them to recommend you to their network. You want them to be thinking, "That's exactly the problem my friend Jane has - I must tell her about this."

Telling a real life story is the most powerful way to convey what you do and how you help people in a way that is memorable and likely to result in people referring you on to their friends.

Professional Speaker
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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Focus on Positive Outcomes not Problems

I ran a public speaking workshop last week for about 30 life coaches, two of whom were there only because they had been persuaded to be there by the organiser. I can only describe their feelings about speaking in public as near phobic - extreme discomfort.

Because the group was so mixed in abilities I was unable to do any specific phobia cure work and decided to press on with the course as planned, which it transpired was exactly the right action. Had I focused on them specifically I would have brought about the one thing they feared most - being made centre of attention. It's not speaking in public that is the problem for most people it's being the focus of everyone's attention.

As the day progressed they were able to follow the short and simple speaking exercies in groups of six getting loads of really positve feedback from the group and by the end of the day both admitted to me that they were actually excited about having their turn to speak next - what a total transformation.

The whole experience has made me sit back and think hard about how we as speaking coaches work with people who fear speaking in public. That day they were totally focussed on having fun, being positive, speaking from personal experiences, telling life stories and exploring their passions. In fact what we did was to counter balance all the bad experiences of their past and create a set of really good experiences.

It all makes sense now that I look at it - but all too often we focus on the problem. I remember when my children were young watching one of them come into the room with a very full glass of milk. "Don't spill it," I said and or course they immediately did. Why? Because I focused their attention on the idea of spilling it.

Focus on the outcome you want and on having fun achieving that outcome.

Professional Speaker
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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

GenderShift - The Greatest Social Change in History

I have just read an article about why the world needs more women leaders - a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with but I couldn't help noticing that the article was written by a man and that there were huge assumptions about the commercial world that were entirely male in concept.

Let me explain. I changed gender four years ago - that is I present a female gender my id documents all say I am female and for the most part I am treated by people as a woman. What a shock that was. Interestingly last week I met someone on a course who told me a story about a friend who had changed gender and then decided to revert to male - the reason. He could not handle the loss of status and recognition that came with being a woman.

Its actually more than that. Now I am going to generalise a lot here and I know what I say is not all men - but in my experience it does apply to the majority. The public world has been created by men for men. Men from child hood are essentially competitive, and position against each other in determining where they rank. Power is determined according to the circumstances - sometimes its money, sometimes its physical strength, sometimes its daring, sometimes it's who can pull the best women. Men don't need a reason to compete just a set of criteria for measuring who won.

So they organise business along the same lines as they used to organise armies. Command and control structures that institutionalise competition and positioning. In business today they call the leaders Captains of Industry, the staff the troups and they all go out to do battle with their competitors. It really does not take a genius to see why women are going to struggle to succeed in this enviromment.

Women are collaborators, they work together not in competition. I am not saying no women compete, but many compete because the system makes it so that they must and they get reputations as "bitches" - Margaret Thatcher revelled in the title the "Iron Lady" - she is I believe in a minority.

When I first experienced networking as a woman I was quite taken aback at how different the experience was. Women made a point of finding out what support I needed and went out of their way to connect me with the right women who could provide it . One women(and I have lost the reference) said "I don't want to be at the top of my organisation, I want to be at the centre of it." This is a totally different structure of organisation based on networks not heirarchies.

Women can and will be great leaders but first they will have to dismantle the male dominated heiracharcial structures which is why so many are bailing out of the corporations to start their own businesses. Why competition - surely if we all collaberate we can overcome the huge disparities of wealth and create a more equitable planet. Why when a corporation is worth $100 billion is it still so focused on economic growth - why not human growth. Because wealth is power and for men the ultimate goal of business is power - it's not the amount that is important, it's having more than the competitors.

We are experiencing GenderShift, the most signifcant social change in recorded history where the influence of women will ultimately transform the world - it's going to be a very different world and one men are going to have some challenges in coming to terms with, but change it will - because one thing the human species is good at is survival and if we continue with the male dominated culture of greed and competition we will not survive.

The GenderShift will take place because the survival of the human race requires it to happen.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Focus on Positive Memories to Grow

I have been very busy the past weekend trying to complete my ecourse on how to Overcome your Fear of Public Speaking. I got to day five of the 7 day course and then found myself questioning it and ended up rewriting the first four sections. Throughout the time I have been researching and writing this course one issue keeps coming up - focus on the positive. It's all too easy to focus on the negative.

Last week the USA remembered September 11th and all though the summer in the UK we have been remembering the war, yesterday it was remembering the Battle or Britain and it horrifies me that the media keep reminding us of July whatever date it was (I refuse to remember the date of a bomb attack). It's not that I feel any disrespect for those who lost their lives, far from it, but millions of people lose their lives every day, some in horrible ways. I just don't want my life filled with memories of death and distruction. It happened, I pay my respects to those who died, and move on to fill my life with a celebration of life and renewal and transformation.

It's the same with overcoming fear of speaking - the reason people have that fear is that we anchor powerful negative emotions connected to traumatic events of embarrassment and ridule and then connect them to the act of getting up to speak. To remove those powerful negative anchors we have to erase the memory of the negative experience turning it into something comical. Thats the essence of the NLP Phobia cure.

But here was my dilema - I enjoy speaking because I have attached to the act of speaking in public powerful positive emotional anchors. I do an exercise when I speak about speaking getting people to look at what they like about themselves - very difficult for a lot of people. Another exercise is cataloging all our Moments of Triumph - all those successes in life - We forget so many which is why I like to get out my certificate folder from time to time and look through to remind me of my achievements.

So that was why I had to do a big rewrite. I needed to make sure that the focus on overcoming fear of speaking is to focus on the positive, rebuild or even build self confidence and encourage people instead of focusing on the reasons for the fear, to recall and relive the rich resources and successes of their past.

I am nearly complete - and if you have a problem with fear of Speaking in Public - I really need your help - I am pretty sure that what I am creating will be one fo the most powerful courses ever in helping people to put that fear behind them and actually enjoy speaking in public. The course is available free if you register now - provided you agree to provide some feedback.

Take the Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking in 7 days course for free in September - this really is a once only offer.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Finding a sense of purpose and an inspired vison

Its been a busy couple of days. Having risen at 4:30 am yesterday to travel over 3 hours to London and deliver an intensive presentations skills workshop before returning home, I was back up again this morning at the same time to travel across country to Blackburn where I was the closing speaker for a fabulous Women in Business conference organised by East Lancs Chamber of Commerce.

One thing that is so wonderful about being a professional speaker is that I get to hear and meet some of the worlds greatest inpirational speakers and today was such a day. Opening the conference was Richard Olivier, son of the the late great Laurence Olivier. Richard's own story is an inspiration in itself. Coming from a family of actors his early life was predictably in acting, and he spent 5 years directing productions at the Globe Theatre in London, but then realised that this was not where his passion lie.

The speech today looked at Shakespeare's Henry V, but not in a literary way, Richard delved into the leadership lessons the play teaches us. I have always been a great Shakespear fan, but today has renewed and further inspired me and 200 other women. Coming from a literary background the presentation was packed with wonderful quotes, not just those of the bard, but others inspirational thinkers on leadership.

My lesson from all this was the inportance of creating an inspired vision and I can best convey some of the message with a few of the quotes that inspired me.

"If you do not know what truly inspires you, it will be impossible to inspire others" Richard Olivier

"This is the true joy in life - being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one" George Bernard Shaw

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve". Albert Schweitzer

"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - that is to have succeeded" Ralph Waldo Emerson

There were so many more but from it all emerged a strategy to reflect back on those moments in my life when I have felt myself to be truly connected with what I was doing, when I couldn't wait to get up in the morning to start work, and from that to analyse what truly inspires me to find my purpose. Then having found a sense of purpose connect to that a vision, a felt reality that others can join and share.

I will keep coming back to this as my project progresses.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Answering the question "What do you do?"

I have just delivered a one day workshop on public speaking for a group of Women in Business on behalf of and I am exhausted, but exhilerated. The group were very positive and eager to learn and we had a very productive day. The focus of this course is not just on public speaking but on how to use speaking to promote your business, especially at networking meetings.

One of the tasks on the course that always seems to be the most challenging for everyone is where I get them to really focus on what they do and who they do it for, in simple terms how to answer the question "What do you do?" Most people in the UK tend to answer that question with a job description and when I asked it at a conference in Singapore in April I was surprised to get similar answers there. Sometimes I get an elevator pitch - a sixty second tightly structured promotional speech.

Both answers don't work. The job description vitually ends the conversation unless it's an interesting sounding job description, the elevator pitch stops people asking any more questions and start looking for an exit. 60 seconds is too much. The 30 second elevator pitch has its place but later in a conversation.

I believe that you have only 5 seconds to answer this question but you need to answer it in such a way that the person asking is prompted to ask, "Really, how do you do that" or "tell me more." I have a few prepared answers. "I help women in business to make outstanding business presentations" or "I help women in busines to make more sales and have fun while they are doing it" or "I help women to be more successful in Business and teach men how to understand us."

The key to this is that I have a clear focus on who I work with and how I help them. Helping people to create similar statements is very challenging.

When the first statement emerge there is a tendancy for them to be very broad. I help all businesses to be more successful. Or the way they help is too woolly and full of marketing speak.

The key to it is that you have to realise that an individual cannot help the world. The best we can do is work with a few hundred people. I might speak to thousands, but the people who book me to speak are a few hundred in a year. I can provide information and support to thousands, even millions, but not everyone is going to be interested in this blog or my web site.

I focus on working with Small businesses and in particular women in business - Its a very clear focus. It will probably get more focused with time. But it means I am able to develop a clear set of strategies. I understand the marketing problems of small businesses, I know where to find small busines owners, I can work hard to connect myself to small business marketing keywords.

It meant I had to let go of people I didn't want to work with, I had to find a financial model that would work in a market that is not flush with corporate cash. I made a decision that I only work with people I like - so I get up in the morning and I am passionate about getting to work, I love what I do - and so when I answer the question "What to you do?" the answer comes from my heart and people know that.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Take care - Links can damage your PageRank

I have been delving into the depths of Link Exchange and discovered it's a lot more complex and dangerous than I first expected and it's all down to understanding Google's PageRank, a complex mathematical calculation of the value of a web page. The higher the PageRank the better the page does in Google.

The first thing I learned is that Google is not ranking web sites, it is ranking web pages. As far as google is concerned the entire internet is one big network of interlinked pages. This is important to know because you need to decide which pages it is important to get ranked well and which do not need to be ranked so well. In other words which pages do you most want people to find before they reach your site? And are there some you want Google to ignore entirely.

First important point about Links is that Incoming links are absolutely essential - the more you have the better BUT it is equally essential to link your primary keywords to the page link. Most domain names do not contain keywords, and google therefore cannot index them.

Second important thing - every page gives away some of its page value to the page it links to. To increase the ranking of your page - you need to link to pages that have a high rank. An Inbound link from a page with no value is if limited value. Now the bad news - every outbound link from your site gives away value to that site. Fine of you have a reciprocal link but beware. If your inbound link is to your homepage that improves your home page value - but if the outbound link is to a links page you are taking value away from that and if your links page has low value people will not way to link exchange.

Can you see how complex this gets. There are a lot of Link Farms and Google does not like them so it penalises them - therefore the inbound link has limited value but worse any outbound link may result in your site being penalised. There is an excellent article on this at the Web Workshop

Now I set that link on Blogger's composer - the link below which is one of the links I try to get accepted has built into it a number of features to significantly improve inbound links for me. This one points to my Newsletter page, the link is in bold and there is an incentive of a free ebook if you sign up - that's the human design. But more importantly it is highly optimised for search engines from my current understanding (it keeps changing I may be wrong). The link text contains my primary site and newsletter Keyword Phrase "Small Business Marketing" - the page address is - Lots of keywords. Hover over the link and "Subscribe to Speaking and Marketing Tips today" appears for a moment - more keywords. All of these are indexed by Google. Follow the link and there is a page equally optimised for those same keywords.

Low Cost Small Business Marketing Strategies From Rikki Arundel
Content rich site to help your small business to Get Attention and Be Remembered - Free ebook - How to Get Customer Queuing up to Buy

I am learning to use a lot of attributes with the html for the link. target="_new" to make it open in a new window, title="keywords text" for that little pop up when you hover over the link and a new one rel="nofollow" This tells google not to follow a link and therefore not to rank it. I will use this whenever I have a link and no reciprocal link exists.

Which reminds me that finally you need to watch out for that being used in your reciprocal links because then you are not getting the value of the Link exchange. Other tricks are using links in java script, or having a "nofollow" meta tag on the page. It is also important to check that a page you are linking to is indexed. Type "" into Google (with the quotation marks) and you will soon find out.

That's it for today - bit tekkie if you don't do your own web site - but it has really opened my eyes today.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Struggling to get people to read my Blog

I don't know whether you have noticed this but the world is made up of two kinds of people. There are those who know what Blogging is and there are those who sort of glaze over as if in a strange trance whenever they hear or read about Blogging. Technology is funny that way - people love it or hate it.

I have a very good friend who at my encouragement now has a web site and a blog. I say she has them, when she writes an article it's a good days work for a couple of paragraphs. The reason is that she just gets bored and goes off to chat to someone. I keep trying to persuade her to get a microphone and start using the MS voice system which would help. I shall not give up.

But it struck me that there is a divide now between those of us who write online and those who don't and I notice that those who do not write also tend not to read much. Now I am a prolific reader and writer. I can sit down and write 1000 words for a post on a forum. My challenge is write succinctly. Winston Churchill is credited with saying, though I think he was paraphrasing Somerset Maugham, "I'm sorry this is such a long letter, I didn't have time to write a short one."

That said it concerns me that there is such an emphasis on sound byte communicating. It's as if everyone wants to know everything, but "Can we have it in a single paragraph please." One technique journalists use is to tell the story in the first paragraph and then to progressively reveal more of the detail like peeling the layers from an onion. There is an maxim in speaking from an old Baptist minster whose name I forget, that you "Tell 'em what your gonna tell 'em, then you tell 'em, then you tell 'em what you told 'em."

Back to Blogging - having got into it now, I find myself having an even harder challenge getting people to read what I write, but interestingly I notice more and more web sites now with Read My Blog clearly positioned on the site. I suspect however that another step is required, to educate and encourage people to even look - that will be my project tomorrow - to find a way to make the idea of visiting my blog more appealing to my friend. If I can reach her, I can change the world.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I finally launched my Speaking and Marketing Tips Newsletter

It's taken nearly 6 months, but yesterday, actually I lie, this morning I finally pressed the send button and off my newsletter went to 250 people.

Now there is the first great success - 250 people - Achieving that has been a huge task. I allowed the names to build up very slowly at first. I quickly learned that people needed an incentive to subscribe, so back in March just before travelling to Singapore where I was delivering 5 presentations and seminars, I wrote an ebook, How to Get Customers Queuing up to Buy.

I had thought of using someone elses, but realised then that my newsletter eventually would be the means my which I kept in touch with people who have heard me speak or have networked with me, so it was important that the ebook set a standard for what could be expected in the newsletter. However it had only attracted 100 subscribers by August so I emailed everyone who hade exchange business cards or networked with me online - about 700 of them and 150 signed up.

Then there was the problem of "what did I have to do differently to get people to read a newsletter." I look at my inbox and the huge number of newsletters receive - actually they are not in my inbox - they are all filtered to folders to read later - some of those folders have 1000 unread newsletters in them.

The whole concept of my Speaking and Marketing Tips web site is to present information, lots of practical advice on Small Business Marketing Strategies particulary employing public speaking and technology and public relations with a strong emphasis towards gender issues. Essentially encapsulating my personal strengths.

I decided to theme each newsletter around a specific marketing strategy and look at it in some detail, simultaneously developing a number of web pages to provide additional support. I think it works. I have had a few very nice comments back - most of the subscribers are people who know me so I hope they will take the time to complete a survey I have set up.

If you would like to see the first edition of the Speaking and Marketing Tips Newsletter they are all being archived on the site so please take a look and if you have a moment let me have some feedback - I will be publishing the results which may help you in you Ezine development for the future.

Writing articles to promote my business is paying off.

For the past month I have been actively developing my skills in the the area of using article to promote my business. Now this is not a new area to me. In the past 10 or so years I have had over 600 articles published by trade magazines, mostly for a writing fee or ghosted for a client, but a many were purely to help position me as an expert and I have secured quite a lot of business as a result.

However I simply had not kept up to date and I had missed the explosion that has taken place in this strategy in the past couple of years with the emergence of ezine article directories. Of course it make perfect sence. There are at least 300,000 ezines and gzillions of web sites all desperate for one thing - a regular supply of topical and interesting content.

So far I have actually used 6 articles I found in directories this blog, on my web site and in my Speaking and Marketing Tips ezine. Last week I started to see some returns.

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Oh yeah! What's the catch?

No catch - Author Daniel Hall read one of my articles and emailed me to offer a joint venture deal to sell his new book Speak on Cruise Ships. He takes three or four Luxury Cruises every year absolutely Free. Oh alright there is a catch. He has to deliver three of four short seminars while they are at sea and there is nothing else to do. The idea of taking a cruise somewhere every year definitely appeals to me and as I can add value from my site by helping people to ovecome fear of public speaking and improve thier presentation sklls, it is a perfect product match and a great result from my articles.

Then I got an email from a Professional Speaker friend Graham Jones with some nice compliments about my site but even better he informed me that he had just used one of my articles in his September newsletter and it was now on his site. I checked and it is already coming up on Google. Now the interesting thnig is that Graham and I are competitors both speaking about presentation skills and internet marketing, but of course Google likes that. I had already been looking at Grahams articles and will be using one in my next newletter so we are both helping each other to imprive our Google rankings and both driving traffic to each others site. Co-operation is far more effective than competition.

Finally I was struggling with a decision about the first article I submitted to the directories - it is about 1700 words long and everyone was telling me that long articles don't get selected by publishers. I could see the point having already rejected a couple of good articles myself because they were too long for what I wanted. So I was about to remove the article and replace it with three shorter ones when I received an email from the Malaysian Junior Chamber of Commerce asking if they could use the article in this months newsletter to their 1200 members. There are no rules, only guidlines.

The hard work is paying off – I typed "Rikki Arundel" into Google and was stunned to see nearly 400 web addresses where my name now appears.

If you are interested in finding out more about how to use articles to promote your business you are welcome to have a look at my September Speaking and Marketing Tips newsletter.

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Overcome Fear of Public Speaking by eCourse

The Book of Lists of often quoted by presentations skills trainers for listing Speaking to a Group of people as the number one human fear, just ahead of fear of heights and fear of spiders. Fear of Death is number seven - which is why I suppose so many people say "Speak in front of a groups of people? I'd rather die."

Now everyone gets a bit of nervous tension before a major speech and I remember a few years ago when I was still a very active member of Toastmasters, helping a lot of people with real challenges, angry rashes, stammering, incoherance, fainting - the fear comes out in all manner of forms. But the thing we often bemoaned was that we only got to see and help the people who already had enough courage to walk though the door. What about the thousands who were so terrified of speaking in public that the possibility that they might be asked to say something on the first visit was enough to ensure they never made it past the front door.

It's these people I am trying to address with my latest eCourse project - Overcome Fear of Public Speaking in 7 days. But here is my challenge. Many of the techniques I would normally uses are designed for face to face training and consultancy sessions. Can I deliver that over the internet, by a daily email.

I have decided to test it and see if it works. If your fear of speaking in public is more of a phobia, or so dibilitating that is makes you ill just thinking about it. If you spend your life avoiding situations that will result in you having to "say a few words" thereby limiting your career - I have an offer for you.

Go to Overcome Fear of Public Speaking in 7 Days and the first 50 people to enrol in September get the eCourse for free, provided you are prepared to help me by meeting a few conditions about commitment and feedback. It's as simple as that. I promise to do my best to erase your fear or phobia of Public Speaking if you will give me some feedback on how it went.

Have your got your free copy of How to Get Customers Queuing up to Buy

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Marketing with articles through your network

Things are getting better and better. Today I received an email from a speaker friend Graham Jones as a result of my mailings yesterday, telling me that he has used one of the articles I posted on in his September newsletter - it's also posted on his web site at - now thats a high traffic web site - so very good news for me.

Now you need to understand something - Graham Jones is a competitor to me. We both speak about speaking, we both speak about the internet and internet marketing - so why would he use my article on how to set up a room for a meeting effectively? Well it enables him to add other expert opinion to his newsletter, but there is an even greater advantage. I know I am very soon going to repay the compliment by using one of Graham's articles in my ezine for exactly the same reason.

That way Graham has promoted me to his network, and I have promoted Graham to mine and simply by sharing our expertise we have both doubled our reach, we have both helped each other to raise our profiles as experts, we have both increased our presence on the internet and improved the rankings of our web sites thereby gaining more visitors each and we will add to this with a link Exchange.

Can you see the power of this strategy. If we multiply that effect by the size of our networks, and add in the effect or our networks now referring us both to their networks, we have what is called a "combinatorial explosion." By working together we double our combined efforts, ie 1+1=2x2=4 It's strange maths - in practical terms it means that two people supporting each other can be hugely more successful than two people competing against each other.

Get your free copy of How to Get Customers Queuing up to Buy at

If your would like to Publish articles by Rikki Arundel - follow the link below for details.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Keeping in touch with your network by ezine

I have been pondering today just how infrequently I connect with the people I consider to be my "network". Now I am not by the standards of the big hitters a prolific networker, but I have a real problem staying connected to the 700 or so people I do connect with.

This all came to a head this morning. I have spent the past week preparing for the launch of my first monthly Speaking and Marketing Tips ezine. That has involved making sure that the follow up links from the ezine are in place on the web site, including the Link Exchange I wrote about yesterday, and emailing the 300 people who have exchanged business cards with me in the past year of so.

Then it struck me - What about my network? They at least know me and what better way to keep in touch with them than to share my knowledge and expertise in sales and marketing communications. An ezine lets my network know what I do so they are much better able to let other people know about me and thats the secret of networking. They may not be prospective customers - but they know people who are.

So where is this network of mine. I am a member of three primary online networks - The Ecademy, LinkedIn and Open BC. In addition to that my email address book contains about 300 people I consider part of my network. All four sources overlap but in all I have been able to email today about 700 people - some of whom I have only had contact with once or twice. I don't know what the response will be, but so far it looks encouraging.

My blinding flash of the obvious today was realising that my network, and that includes my existing clients who still evangalise about my speeches, really are the primary target audience for my ezine. By thinking about them when I write it encourages me to be less formal and more personal. I am writing to friends after all and that personal style means that new people signing up are going to also feel that they have become part of my network.

If you would like to become a part of that network you can sign up simply by downloading your free copy of How to Get Customers Queuing up to Buy today.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Link Exchange - An important small business strategy

I have been struggling to understand how to fit this blog into my marketing strategy and today, trying to explain what blogging was all about to someone, it all became clear. It was inspirational author Richard Bach in his wonderful book Illusions who said "You teach best what you most need to learn.

I still find that I learn something new every day, infact it sometimes alarms me that every day I discover new things about which I know absolutely nothing. However the focus of this blog is Small Business Marketing Strategies so what I am going to do is recount my daily learning experiences as I try desperately to keep up with a world in which the only contstant remaining is that, "It will change tomorrow."

So my lesson today is about Link Exchange. This is a simple idea - You put a link to my web site on yours and I'll put a link to your web site on mine. Why would we do that? Well research shows that most people visit web sites as a result of a link from another web site. This is why Google adsense is so popular and successful. But surely you think, "If I have managed to get a visitor, the last thing I want to do is direct them somewhere else." The reality is that if someone is looking around on my links page it's a pretty good bet that they have not found what they were looking for on my site. f I am about to lose them why not refer them to someone who refers back - its all about co-operation rather than competition.

However there is an even more important reason for a Link Exchange program. Search engines look at how many incoming and outgoing links there are on your site in assessing how popular it is. The more links the better your ranking. They are also looking for relevance. Are the sites you are linked to relevant to the primary keywords on your site. So this a real area where synergy works - The best links I can have are with the people who I am most likely to compete with.

My lesson however was all about how to create those links on other peoples sites so that I benefit at least as much from the incoming traffic as I lose from the outgoing. It's too much to explain in detail here - but have a look at my Link Exchange page for full details about how to link with my site but also how to set up a Link Exchange program yourself.

My criteria for a successful Link Exchange program are
  • The url link is connected to associated primary Keywords for my site
  • The link has a short discriptive paragraph next to is laced with keywords
  • The link copy contains an incentive to visit me
  • I provide the exact HTML code for the way I want my link displayed
  • I help you to make your programme work well
  • The best recipricol links are to similar businesses
  • The links on my site open up in a new window so my site stays on the desktop
  • I organise the links pages well to make it attractive for people to link to me
  • The exchage is strictly like for like - its got to be a win win agreement

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Public Speaking: Getting the Room Set-up Right

I don’t know why it is, but no matter how carefully I brief a hotel on the room set-up I want for my seminars, workshops and training meetings, more often than not when I arrive, they have provided a standard hotel room set up. What I find even more alarming is the number of times that I attend a meeting either as a guest speaker or audience member to find that the meeting planner or speaker has not bothered to think beyond this standard room set-up which is often quite hostile to the audience.

Seating Arrangements

The standard hotel set up for seating is theatre style with a centre aisle, set square with about 20% more seating that you need, based on your audience expectations.

  1. A centre aisle means that the speaker stands in front of empty space, or more often a projector, with the audience split to right and left. Theatre style means that the audience cannot interact or even see each other and they also tend to fill up from the back. More seats means that people spread out and the room feels empty, i.e. unsuccessful.

  2. The larger the audience the more likely you will have to use theatre style – but try a herring-bone or semi circle shape with no centre aisle. Instead have two aisles, one either side.

  3. If you expect 100 people set out 90 seats and have the extras on the side – let the room fill up, then bring in the spare seats for the late comers. This creates a great sense of the meeting exceeding expectations.

  4. If you get less bookings than expected for a meeting which will result in an empty space problem – switch to classroom (rows of tables) or cabaret style (round or square tables) layout. Bringing tables into the room fills it up and helps to convey the feeling of success.

  5. If your workshop seminar style is interactive seriously consider a cabaret style or horse shoe style set up. Each has its benefits, but they share the fact that the audience can see each other and interact. People will simply interact more is the room layout is designed to encourage it. Numbers in attendance often dictate which style to use – Horseshoe is not really practical for more than about thirty and cabaret is not really practical for less than about fifteen, but don’t take either as unbreakable rules – be creative.

  6. Above all – think about the room set up as an essential part of the programme, and be creative. Design a room set up that provides you with the best chance of making the meeting a success. Put yourself in the audience and see things from their perspective. How you set the room can literally make or break your meeting.

Stage Set-up

The standard set up is a top table with two or three chairs behind set to one or other side of the room, a flipchart on the other side, a screen in the centre of the room and a data projector blocking the centre aisle.

  1. If you have to use PowerPoint don’t make it the centre of attention relegating the speaker to the role of narrator. If possible move the screen to stage left (if you are right handed) at an angle and move the projector off there as well (same for OHP). That way the slides are a side show and remember the “B” key. Pressing “B” when you are showing a PowerPoint slide “Blacks Out” the presentation until you press “anykey.”

  2. Place the Flip Chart on your left, if you are right handed so that you can write on the chart without standing in font of it.

  3. Get rid of the top table – I even do this at other people meetings, I hate having someone sitting at the table behind me when I am speaking.

  4. Look at the stage set up as a member of the audience from every angle. Make sure that nothing interferes with your ability to communicate.

The entire room set up should be something that the audience don’t really notice. It should work naturally with your seminar or meeting and contribute to making it flow. Anything that gets in the way of that – change it.

If you are speaking at someone else’s meeting you will be more restricted in what you can do, and they are often reluctant to stray from the hotel standard, so I try to work with them, rather than being demanding, to make the room set up work. That means asking for changes as a big favour and it also means getting there very early with plenty of time to make changes if they are needed. Make yourself a resource for the meeting planner, and demonstrate the focus of your recommendations to be in support of their meeting objectives.

About the Author:

Founder and First President of the Professional Speakers Association, RikkiArundel is an International Keynote Speaker, Trainer and Writer and an expert in sales and marketing communications with an impressive track record.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Personal Branding: Characteristics of a Strong Personal Brand

By Thomas Murrell

How many times have you been at a networking function and been lost for words when asked "what do you do"?

We all have. But do you see this as a threat or an opportunity?

Developing a Personal Branding Statement or PBS can be a powerful way to help market yourself to prospects, clients or potential employers.

Here are 8 characteristics of a strong personal brand:

1. WOW factor. It must be memorable with high recall. Hearing it makes people say 'WOW that's interesting ...... tell me more'. Be truthful, accentuate interesting or key parts of your role without fabricating the facts.

2. 10 words or less. The fewer words the more powerful it will be. Often a strong summary will work for all networking functions. However tailor your spiel for the conversation, people will be more interested in something they recognise.

3. Focus on benefits. The statement should address the age old marketing question 'What's in it for me', known as the WIIFM.

4. It should reflect your values, beliefs and personal mission in life rather then just a profession. Be passionate about what you do and relay this in your message.

5. Saying it should give the impression of confidence and energy.

6. Use it as a 'Teaser'. Don't tell the whole story - think of the analogy of a newspaper, radio or TV headline encouraging the target audience to want to find out more. The questions generated by your opening spiel should act to direct the explanation to the person’s needs. Let them identify areas they are interested in rather then covering it all.

7. Positioning. Marketing is all about positioning - use it to position and differentiate yourself in the marketplace.

8. Be flexible. Slogans, brand names and themes change over time and in different situations. Change it to fit your market, interests and career aspirations. Know enough about what you do to be confident and flexible, uncertainty can portray distrust or other negative implications.

Thomas Murrell MBA CSP is an international business speaker, consultant and award-winning broadcaster. Media Motivators is his regular electronic magazine read by 7,000 professionals in 15 different countries.
You can subscribe by visiting Thomas can be contacted directly at +6189388 6888 and is available to speak to your conference, seminar or event. Visit Tom's blog at

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Marketing to Women -- Can I Buy You A Clue?

By Denise O'Berry

A while back a small business owner paid me a visit. He wanted help marketing his fitness business to women. Before we even started talking, he handed me his business card. The card was very professional and said all the right things. But it also included a huge blunder.

He was pretty smart to target women as prospects for his business. After all, experts say that in the average household women control over two thirds, 75 percent, of the finances and are responsible for 80 percent of purchasing decisions. That means women wake up in the morning ready to spend money. Will they spend it with your business?

And what about women-owned businesses? Well, that's a huge market too. According the the Center for Women’s Business Research, 10.6 million firms are at least 50% owned by a woman or women and the average growth rate of women-owned firms is nearly twice that of all firms. On top of that, women-owned firms employ 19.1 million people and generate $2.5 trillion in sales.

So if you're targeting women as prospective buyers, you better make sure you know how to sell to them. And don't make marketing blunders like my client did. Make sure your visual materials scream "women are my market" too. His didn't. On the front of his business card was a photo of "rock hard men's abs." Ack.

Denise O'Berry helps small business owners take action to grow their business. Find out more at

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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Are your newsletters reaching anyone?

Do you send out newsletters or eZines to your customers and contacts? If not you should. But at the same time to you need to be aware that there are significant growing problems with using newsletters. It’s all down to SPAM, the scourge of modern day business. There are now laws in most countries making the sending or unsolicited electronic mail illegal and it is absolutely essential that you make sure that everyone on your email list has "opted in" to it and that you honour any requests for removal immediately. If you don’t you will most likely find yourself at the very least on an email black list which means that email from your address will be filtered without every reaching its destination. Of course you also may find yourself facing a hefty fine.

Unfortunately despite the legislation and most businesses now mailing only to op in lists, Spam is still a major problem. Because of the global nature of the internet, if any country fails to implement and enforce Anti Spam legislation, the world’s serial spammers simply start trading from there. As a result most internet service providers (ISPs) have installed software to filter out the spam and in addition you may be using a software product or service yourself to clean your mail. And here lies the problem.

Anti Spam software looks for features, words formatting, etc., common to most unsolicited mail, but in the process is lets some spam through but filters out some important mail that you wanted to keep. I have lost count of the number of requests for quotations I have rescued, and almost all of the newsletters I subscribe to have now had to be added to my "White List". All anti spam software and services offer a feature to "Black List" or "White List" email addresses. Each has its own procedure but essentially you list the portion of the email address after the @ symbol, and specify that email from that address either "is Spam", your Black List, of "is not Spam", your White List. It is very important that you do this or you will be losing important email.

It is also increasingly important if you are sending out email newsletters, or even standard sales letters and responses, that you check the content to make sure that the email is not likely to be filtered out. There are a number of free and commercial services available to help you check your content – there is a free service you can use at and I will be listing others on my Speaking and Marketing Tips Web site as I test them out. If you use a list manager for managing you email newsletter you may find that they have a service for customers.

More and more web sites are providing information about white listing and there are also a few products around to help deliver the newsletter to the desktop without using the email system. Blogs like this are one particular popular option, but there is still a long way to go before everyone is able to understand this new technology and easily set up a means of reading and accessing them. You will find a few ideas in my new eBook How to Get Customers queuing up to Buy, and you can download a free copy from my Speaking and Marketing Tips Web site.

If your have registered for my newsletter please also add to your White List.

How to Get Customers Quening up to Buy

I attended a networking lunch recently and the speaker, a well respected and very influential figure in the Yorkshire business community, talked a lot about overseas competition and the threat it posed. Most of the women business owners I spoke to were not worried. Many of them are already buying stock from China and India anyway. What they wanted to know was how to get more customers. And that’s what this Blog is all about.

I have recently published an eBook entitled How to Get Customers Queuing up to Buy, worth $27, but I am giving a copy free to all new subscribers to my Speaking and Marketing Tips Newsletter. Just click on the title to go to the web site. In this Blog and the newsletter I will be expanding on the book and providing a wealth of further low cost/no cost ideas for getting more customers. However before I talk about getting more customers I am aware of the possibility, especially if you have come here following an invitation from me, that you have absolutely no idea what a blog is.

A few months ago I was in the same happy state of blissful ignorance, however since spending a day in the company if one of the world’s most successful internet millionaires I have realised that, in this instance, ignorance is how to lose customers. BLOG is short for WebLog, and it is essentially an online diary. There are literally millions of people now using them, mostly as a means of keeping in touch with friends and family, and the entry of Google into the market with this service I am using, has started to make blogs the "latest big thing" on the internet.

But why are Blogs important to you as a Small Business Marketing Strategy. Well because this site is owned by Google, they index it in their search engine very quickly. So if you create a blog and post interesting content related to the needs of your customers, you are going to get listed in Google very quickly. In addition if you post links to your web site here the search engines prefer to find links than have them submitted.

However here is a very important tip on linking to your web site. The domain name is not very useful in search engine placement unless it contains important keywords, and most don't. My Speaking and Marketing Tips web site contains lots of further tips, but I am listing it here to demonstrate how to list links, and this applies wherever you list your web site. My site domain name is so you can see that it does contain keywords, but not easy to read. The site is all about Small Business Marketing Strategies.

Now in both instances in that previous paragraph I have listed a descriptive phrase, and turned it into a hypertext link. You can do this easily when you make a post by selecting the text you want to link, clicking on the Hypertext symbol (a chain link + globe symbol) and adding the web address. Why is this important? Well now when the search engine checks out this entry in my blog it will find a link to a web site and a "keyword phrase" to index it under. I happen to know that "Small Business Marketing Strategies" is a quite popular phrase people use to search the internet, but that not many web sites use it, so my chances of getting a good listing on Google and therefore of having customers visiting my web site are greatly enhanced.

I know it's possible that this Blog may have prompted more questions than it provides answers to. Don't worry - that’s why you should visit regularly. I will be providing a regular flow of ideas to demystify speaking and marketing and help you to get more customers without spending a fortune on advertising. I strongly recommend that you register with this blog now - please feel free to post any comments - I will respond and if your comment is appropriate make the answer a feature in a future blog. And take a little time to check out the help pages for more information on blogging.

And finally a reminder that if you register for my free Speaking and Marketing Tips Newsletter, I'll give you a copy of my new eBook, How to Get Customers Queuing up to Buy worth $27 absolutely free. Simply click on the link above and sign up to access the download page.

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