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 Everywomen.co.uk 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 SpeakingandMarketingTips.com/Small-Business-Marketing.html - 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 "www.domain.com/page.htm(l)" 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.

As Featured On Ezine Articles
If you would like to consider publishing any of my articles please click on the star for details.

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 EzineArticles.com in his September newsletter - it's also posted on his web site at http://www.presentationbiz.co.uk/newsletter/latest.htm - 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 http://www.SpeakingandMarketingTips.com

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

Get your free copy of How to Get Customers Queuing up to Buy NOW.

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