Lee's 'Better Communication Results' blog

A blog to help YOU communicate better for better business results!

Friday, July 29, 2005

And apologies...

...to Donna for passing on her details to Shel and Neville, and in particular raising their interest over the INA.

I was putting together a podcast with an audio report from Donna about her disappointment with the INA and her distancing herself from them. But my hard drive crashed so I had no chance to get the word out.

Having just read her post about the whole issue I am saddened that I didn't follow journalistic protocols, but I'm not a journalist. I admit I should have checked with her first.

Donna, if I have caused any damage I am truly sorry. Let me know if you still want me to play your report on my next podcast.

Thank you's

Just wanted to say 'thank you' to some very kind folks who mentioned me even though I had dropped off the radar.

Heidi Miller very kindly mentions my blog and podcast in her Diary of a Shameless Self-Promoter #15 podcast. Heidi just gets better and better at this podcasting thing - as indeed a professional presenter should. If you haven't already caught her shows, you need to catch up. NOW.

The marvellous Shel Holtz mentions me in an extremely erudite (as always) post on why 'amateur' podcasting won't die and he continues to keep me amused over at his travel blog (hey, Shel: guess who is going to be staying in Melbourne in December in a hotel with a proper ironing board and iron?!). I'll be back recording shows for FIR and my own podcast next week, Shel.

And thanks again, Seth, for sending me that ebook. It lead me to ChangeThis and some superb manifestos, including Tom Peters (I had stopped reading him for some reason, lack of time to read everything I want to read probably). His TomA[h]to manifesto is superb!

Normal posting/recording will resume next week.

And yes, the holiday (nearly two weeks instead of the planned one) was superb. It helped me realign some aspects of my life, including organising how I am going to fit in two Masters subjects this semester as well as cope with podcasting, blogging, husbanding, fathering, customer servicing, reading, thinking...

One of my decisions was to not post as often, and perhaps reduce my own podcasts to fortnightly. Let me know what you think...

p.s. and it was great to see a great web designer's business is growing. I worked with Darren on a project and he's a fantastic designer.

One size fits all - off the planet and out of touch

It's been nearly a fortnight since I last set foot in the blogosphere. What's happened in the meantime - anything I should have worried about?

1/26th of a year is a long time for the blogosphere: 14 days, 336 hours, 20160 minutes, 1209600 seconds…

Did I really miss anything by not being plugged in, anything that couldn't be collected from my aggregator once I eventually got it working?

Well, nothing life-threatening, no.

  • The mainstream national media kept me informed on more London bombings
  • Land Rover's PR team 'enjoyed' the transformation of a client from a rabid fanatic to a rabid antagonist, their own silly fault and something for which there is ample historical blogospherical (?) precedent (as an aside, perhaps we should run some contests to see how ludicrous and self-referential we can become via syllogisms based on the word 'blogosphere')
  • I missed producing two reports for FIR
  • I missed producing two of my own podcasts
  • …err

Well, not a lot else. Perhaps my wife was right all along about how comparatively unimportant the blogosphere in particular and the internet in general are.

Sure, there was hot air a-plenty, much discussion and disagreement between folks (which is to be welcomed -- as Tom Peters says, you WANT creative types to vehemently disagree), but did the world fall apart because I wasn't plugged in?


Robert Scoble may have considered me dead, but I was just enjoying a holiday (partly planned, partly dictated by a failed hard drive).

The very nice Seth Godin sent me an ebook he'd written which I had previously read, but had lost in a previous hard drive failure (history definitely repeats for me, I just sometimes don't learn from it) and so was very grateful to read again.

I got a couple of nice emails from online friends offering me condolences over my hard drive and a peaceful holiday. That was unexpected and very nice (especially since it turned out that one of the readers of my blog was someone more important than me -- but then isn't everyone, really?).

But perhaps one of my clients is right -- the wheels won't fall off the pram just because they aren't blogging corporately yet. Their only real risk from not blogging is not having a tactic in place for dealing with criticism/death-by-blogging; but apart from that there is, I suggest, no life and death need for them to commence blogging other than to simply build up competency before it becomes a marketing necessity, like having a website once was.

And has it has not been proven that companies who were early adopters of websites back in the mid 90s cashed-in to a massive extent just because of their website. In 1995 I built my first website (for a business I part-owned at the time) - I'm still working for a living.

Blogs are great at showing one's thought leadership (owning an intelligent blog immediately differentiates we business communicators from the other 99% of our colleagues) and for making ideological connections that span geographic divides. But apart from a very few exceptions, blogging and its nascent sister podcasting have yet to prove their economic worth as either promotional or knowledge management tools outside of our own fraternity. I blog and podcast precisely because I love to do so, not for financial gain (although I'm not turning down any clients who come via those routes).

And my desire to blog frustrates the blazes out of my wife, who'd rather I not bring my noisy notebook to bed with us.

Sure, blogging is important, but let's get some perspective here. The advent of blogging technology is as important as the advent of www technology, but the technology is still very young and with plenty of room for improvement (I detest the loops I have to go through to trackback to someone's post, for example).

No one died from not having a website; there are still plenty more businesses around today that don't have websites than businesses that do and bizarrely they are surviving. Perhaps my nearly-14 days of being unplugged is a useful reminder to me that life is very long, one size does not fit all and there is still much to learn.

Or is anything less than evangelical enthusiasm infra dig?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

All quiet on the Western Front


I bought a lemon!

Having almost completely backed up my notebook's hardrive, but not having backed up Outlook, my hardrive failed. Without warning.

I was backing up simply because I wanted to format+c: to reload Windows and try and partition my drive (everything is on C: which is a very dangerous place to have things - and PartitionMagic wasn't co-operating with Windows for me).

I am now without notebook for at least two weeks while it gets sent to Sydney for repair.

So please accept my apologies for the non-arrival of my podcast and my FIR report, as well as replies to your emails.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible, but that is at least two weeks away, not the one week my wife and I had planned...

Friday, July 15, 2005

Seth's purple car

I know, I know... I'm supposed to be on holiday.

But when you get an email from someone as mind-bogglingly brilliant as Mr Godin you sit up and take notice.

He very flatteringly took the time to email me and thank me for thanking him for stretching my brain.

As I pointed out to him, I have sent his idea of a teenager's car to loads of friends -- and his email has strengthened my resolve to email it to Mitsubishi and Holden (the two car manufacturers here in Adelaide).

Okay, so NOW I'm on holiday -- but thanks heaps, Seth, for making my millenium.

(and thanks to Andy for the instructions on how to do my first trackback)

The wheels on the bus go round and round...

Having been firmly reminded by Donna of the importance of giving good heads, I saw this post's headline on a bus this morning and it instantly cheered me up (try living with a teenage boy for testing your stress levels! {grin}).

I found myself humming the song over and over again in my head, bringing back wonderful memories of my estranged step-son in England (long story, don't bother...)

But that's not why I am posting...

Actually, I was deep in thought about 'stuff' when I saw the ad on the side of the bus. I was ruminating about what I'd miss in my week without rss feeds. And above all the usual delights -- Shel, Shel's hilarious blog on travel, Neville, Rubel, Jack, Amy, Kathy, Scoble -- but the person who's ideas I will miss the most is Seth Godin.

I've been reading his stuff since his first publications. I haven't got all of his books (despite them regularly appearing on my 'Christmas Wish List' on our fridge) but every day his posts stretch me, grow me and make my brain sing. Just love his little cotton socks...

Lee goes on holiday - is Lee dead?

I still have to get my head around Scoble's recent multiple assertions (latest one here) that you either be first into the conversation or be considered dead.

That's easy for a well-connected A-lister with tons of time on his hands (okay, maybe an exaggeration, but blogging IS a part of his job), but what about your average SOHO businessperson who is juggling family, business, travel and community responsibilities?

Should your blog be the only window you have into the world and the only front door that guests can enter by?

And does Scoble cease to exist (like radio announcers fear) if he goes on holiday?

Blog versus website - usability issue

Following on from the 'Net Rage' report by Catalyst that is definately shaking up a few heads within our community, I am going to take the break to think about how I can improve the usability of this blog for non-blog-savvy guests.

I've already added a 'What is RSS' button courtesy of Alexandra Samuel, and I've added the word 'blog' to my tag on the masthead, but there is no doubt much more I can do to make it easier for the first-time visitor and blog-newbie to navigate around the site.

Blog terminology is a very 'in-group/out-group' thing; I have only recently installed trackback facilities on my blog and still don't know how to use them properly (and thanks to Andy for further help with this). It took me a long time to get to grips with the vastly different mindsets needed for blogs and websites.

Update: link to net rage report and Alexandra's rss buttons updated; thanks to Graham for pointing out my links were screwy

Holidays are here again...

Just a heads-up...

I'm off next week for a break. My wife has insisted I don't bring my notebook so unless something really big happens and I can find a web cafe I will be sotto voce.

It will be interesting to see what happens to my subscriber numbers if I am not posting...

Donna, if you can still send me that mp3 I would love to put it into my next podcast (which I will record before I go). I'm fascinated to learn the difference between nanocasting and narrowcasting (if, indeed, there is one). And thanks for the link to Crawford Killian's fantastic blog on English usage, Ask the English Teacher.

Oh, and yes, I agree that giving good heads is crucial... (I wonder how many people will follow the link, Donna {wink}
Aside: I think the coding for the page is 'broken' - you may need to fix it up a tad.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Podcast Number 14 now 'live'

BCR podcast #14 now onlineShow no. 14 is now available for download and this week I discuss the importance of a communication strategy during a time of strategic change

Comments/Notes: Donna Papacosta and the INA; Heidi Miller's new blog; why podcasting won't go away; blogging for promotion

Of course, if you subscribe to my podcast feed you will have already have downloaded this.
At just 8 minutes and 51 seconds long — and worksafe — it's a bargain!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Backbone have blog

Backbone, who gave us the Backbone Corporate Blogging Survey I've mentioned a few times now (a great read) now have a blog of their own.

You can subscribe to their rss feed by cutting and pasting this link into your rss reader, or visit their blog to download the Survey (and if you haven't already I suggest you do).

Podcasting gets professional

One of the subscribers to my blog, Donna Papacosta over at Trafalgar Communications, belongs to an interesting group that I didn't realise existed - the International Nanocasting Alliance.

Recognising that internet radio is different from terrestrial radio, and keeping 'podcasting' in its grass roots corner, the INA is encouraging professional broadcasters to consider the internet as a way of transversing global markets (a totally different audience from the broadcaster's local market) with different business models and different audience attraction and maintenance issues.

Rather than deliver content to a broad audience (hence 'broadcasting'), the INA works with broadcasters to deliver nano content -- content delivered to a very small but highly interested audience.

If you are a professional broadcaster looking for a way of narrow-casting to a specific audience (and an audience reach that has a business model attached to it) you should check out the INA.

And if you are in Canada and are looking for a seasoned, highly experienced communicator to sculpt your message, you might want to check out Donna's resume (pdf).

the blogger code

It comes from having too much caffeine in my system...

It's 1am, I'm highly unsuccessfully trying to set up a network connection between my notebook and my desktop (both winxp) and nothing is working.

So I browse through my rss feeds to keep up to date and come across, via a convoluted string of links originally starting here, to the blogger code.

A marvellous waste of time!

My blogger code: B2 d+ t- k+ s u-- f+ i+ o x e l- c- (decode it!)

Blogging your way to a new and better job

Trevor Cook has a link to a great post by Matt at CitizenSpin who quotes...

Don't you love the blogosphere and it's meme-spreading ability?

Time spent on your resume or CV could be better spent blogging according to an article in the latest edition of The Economists Intelligent Life (Summer 2005, p141). The article Blogging up the Ladder suggests that an intelligent blog can be an aid to creating and individual online brand, which in turn can be used to further your career.

At least a blog gives you the opportunity to prove you can:
  1. string two words together
  2. string two ideas together
  3. communicate your passion

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Why podcasting won't go away

I was listening to Neville and Shel's very kind comments about my weekly report on FIR #49 this evening and something they said about the difference between the voice and the written word struck me.

They are, of course, right; podcasting won't go away.

It won't go away precisely because there are inflections and meanings that can be communicated by voice that just cannot be replicated in print (or screen/blog).

I can archly comment on something, enthusiastically endorse something else, bury my sarcasm deep (but not so deep as to be unnoticed) on something else.

All through the power of the voice as a communication channel.

As they said, some podcasters are able to express more of their personality through the spoken word than through the written. I may be able to express my knowledge through the written word, but it is the spoken word that emphasises the importance or relevancy of that knowledge. It is the spoken word that is able to communicate more than just mere knowledge (because knowledge is not enough to survive these days).

In business, no matter what your business is, you need to be able to communicate. You can communicate through various mediums: print, screen, iconography, visual design... and through voice.

Neville and Shel's podcasts are knowledge-fests; Adam Curry's are entertainment-fests; my little podcasts and audio reports are hopefully a hybrid of the two.

And I am grateful for the opportunity to express my knowledge through the medium of my voice.

Podcasting: a fabulous how-to guide and a sceptic's view

Thanks to young master Rubel for this.

Kirk McElhearn has put together a fantastic 'how to' on creating a podcast. Kirk goes into mics, Audacity, publishing and links to other resources. Great reading!

Update: I was listening to Heidi Miller's great (as usual) podcast this morning and amid the noise of the rabble that makes up my travelling companions heard her mentioning something about a great podcasting article. It turns out, having just scanned her show notes, that the very same Mr McElhearn has published a shortened version of the above article over at his own blog, kirkville. Apols to the ever-delightful Heidi for not putting the two together earlier!

And to balance that, Mark Cuban has a scathing view of podcasting as a business tool, asking us to consider history before we proclaim podcasting as the 'next big thing'. The comments he has attracted also make this a fascinating read. (thanks to blogspotting for the 'heads-up')

Jack Kerouac and The Essentials of Life

Thanks once more to the wise and witty Doug for a fantastic link piece on Jack Kerouac and his 'List of Essentials' for both writing and life.

I love the line about trying never to get drunk outside yr own house...

Holoscan has deleted my comments

Thanks to the ever-wonderful Alan Jenkins and the marvellous Stuart Bruce for pointing me towards haloscan for trackback thingies.

Hmmm -- have added Haloscan's trackback facility (which gets bundled with Commenting) but it has wiped any previous comments to my posts.

As the famous Toyota ad says down here, "bugga!"

Might have to visit haloscan again to figure out how to undo the commenting change.

Update: have sorted it now, with help from blogger help and haloscan user forums. The old comments are back...

And the ever-helpful Andy Beacock has also let me know he's put haloscan's trackback facility on his blog, so if I need any help... Cheers, Andy!

Typical, isn't it? Saw trackbacks on others' blogs and determined that I needed that facility on my own. Finally get it installed... do you think I can find many blogs that have trackback urls to their posts? More often than not they don't. But at least I now have the facility, anyway...

Monday, July 11, 2005

Off topic, but my student memories sadly jogged...

Richard Whiteley, doyen of Countdown for 23 years, passed away yesterday.

As a mature uni student I spent many a happy hour counting the clock while he smarmed and grinned through the screen, while Carol Vorderman blitzed everyone with her maths skills and good looks.

Sad to see you go, Richard.

How do I trackback?

Look, I'll confess my ignorance right here, right now...

I see Trackback links on others' blogs, but because blogger doesn't have trackback facility I don't know what they are or how you tap into them.

Obviously I want to pay the compliment forward when I find something of value on someone's blog.

Do I link to the blog post and the trackback software searches the web and finds my post link, or is there a special code I need to copy from the original blog post and paste into my link?

I stand with my lack of whuffie exposed (and thanks to the wonderful Kathie Sierra for the link to whuffie)

IE and bloglines extensions

Great extensions for IE over at Dan Grisby's blog if you are looking to add bloglines or technorati extensions

Podcasting: a waste of time? Not in my books...

Dave Taylor has a fascinating think-piece on the valuelessness of podcasting as a business promotional tool.

What's of interest is not just Dave's views (always a good read) but also those of the commentors ("commentators"?).

Having worked in radio as a DJ and producer for a couple of years I agree with David Lawrence that the poorly-produced shows will die once the novelty wears off -- people are going to come back to what radio has learned to do so well, which is package and brand.

Doing the 'radio' things -- like proper intros, outros, signature tunes, audio inserts, etc -- doesn't have to mean 'selling out' (maaan), but it can raise the professionalism of the production and make it easier for the listener.

And I get favourable reviews of my own podcast on other blogs, which drives traffic to both my blog and my website. So all in all a useful business promotional tool for me...

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Blogs versus website articles - a case of delayed gratification over spontaneity

A friend was asking me about why I have just posted some fresh articles on my website, since I spend most of my writing time blogging.

"Because of the long tail" I answered. "Blogs are great for meeting my spontaneous needs to communicate. But full articles, rather than blog posts, are where I get to crack my knuckles, spread my fingers, and write at a deeper level.

"Article writing is a form of delayed gratification. It seems to take much longer for the search engines to catch up with articles on my website than it does posts on my blog. But the resultant stream of traffic to my website lasts longer than a (usually) flying visit by readers of my blog."

This long-tail effect is also why I take the effort to submit my articles to article databases. One good article can generate quite a few long-term links into my website, whereas a blog post is only good for a day or two.

Blogs are great for immediately satisfying my need to communicate, full articles on my website are better for the delayed gratification of traffic that is more enduring.

Blogs: easy to write; appeal to my spontaneous nature
Articles: harder to write; appeal to the rewards that can come from delayed gratification

Whilst they are much harder to write, the sense of satisfaction that comes from writing a complete article, posting it on an articles database and having it rated by others is fantastic. For example, I am a 'Platinum Expert Author' over at Ezine Articles (that's only one rank less than 'Galactic Imperial Space Commander', allegedly).

I use Jason Potash's EzineAnnouncer to submit my articles to the various article databases; to great effect, I might add. He has just announced a new tool -- ArticleAnnouncer (audio interview about it here; look for the post titled, "Oh no… here come the critics!") -- which looks really cool, and I may have to lash out and give it a go.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Nonverbal communication: new articles on my website

I've just posted three new articles on nonverbal communication, dealing with time, touch and an overview of the subject (including how we use our eyes and hands).

I've linked to them all via a new index page dealing solely with nonverbal communication, as well as my regular articles index page.

You'll find a total of eight articles on nonverbal communication on my new nonverbal communications index page


Blogging and perspective - any psychological research?

John Cass, one of the authors of the Corporate Blogging: Is It Worth The Hype? report, emailed me and asked me this:
How does a person's perspective on the world change? Has there been any research on having a blog and what it does to a person's perspective on being able to communicate and contact with other people?

Off the top of my head I can point him to research looking at online identities and cognitive dissonance, but nothing that looks directly at blogging. Anyone know of any research?

Brilliant: guess the google

Hat tip to Jack for this, who got it from Frank, who... I love the power of the blogosphere to spread memes, don't you?

Grant Robinson has created a stunning game where you have to guess the search term used on google to pull back the resultant bank of images.

As Grant says,
After creating Montage-a-google, several people wrote to me suggesting I make a game based on the same technology. Montage-a-google is a simple web app that uses Google's image search to generate a large gridded montage of images based on keywords (search terms) entered by the user. Guess-the-google reverses this process by picking the keywords for you, the player must then guess what keyword made up the image - it's surprisingly addictive.
Fabulous stuff!

Friday, July 08, 2005

CastBlaster - thoughts so far...

Downloaded Adam Curry's CastBlaster beta and have given it a quick run-through.

Great tool that would no doubt be of value to podcasters who, as Todd Cochrane says, record live to the hard drive. But there's another type of podcaster, one who employs the cross-time recording capabilities that downloadable audio allows.

For example, in recording my report for The Hobson and Holtz Report, I may record different segments at different times. I also edit out my umms and ahhhs and bits that don't 'work' like words running into each other, mispronunciations, and so on.

A simple 7 or 8 minute report can take up to 3 hours to record and edit -- but I choose to take that amount of time for three reasons:
  1. Out of respect for this show and its owners
  2. Out of respect for its audience
  3. Because I detest delivering shoddy work
I therefore use SoundForge to record and edit my voice, then Audacity to mix the various elements together and output to mp3.

But I can definitely see a use for CastBlaster and its 'live to the harddrive' paradigm for putting together my own Better Communication Results podcast and I'll give it a try for my next show.

OneNote as notetaking tool

As I have blogged recently, I have been using OneNote for a week or so now as my primary knowledge management tool. I use it to jot down notes for my work, thoughts for my blog posts, and so on.

Haven't come to grips with the intricacies of it by any means, but definitely enjoying using it.

One really nice feature is that it cuts and pastes really tastefully into my blog posts. When I use UltraEdit (a hangover from my code-cutting geeky days) I have to manually enter extra line feeds to break up the text into paragraphs on my blog, even though I've broken the text into paras in UltraEdit. But OneNote carries across the paragraph breaks into the blogger text entry blocks.

It also carries across any links. I haven't tested if it carries across formatting such as bold and italic, but no doubt I'll test that soon. And who cares if it doesn't? Not having to re-enter double linefeeds as paragraph breaks is a real time-saver for me.

And I am doubly impressed that with SP1 it now offers password protection. Very handy for keeping all of my username and password data easy to find, as well as login addresses for emails, ftp for sites and so on.

OneNote? - definitely a recommended tool for knowledge management and bloggers.

Condolences and prayers

My condolences and prayers go out to the people and their families affected by the bombings in London.

Happenings like this and 9/11 scare my youngest daughter to tears, and I am not far behind her.

Irrespective of one's religious or political leanings ("one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" as was said in the last James Bond movie), the taking of innocent life is always to be condemned.

One hears/reads of people that we care about are safe and we breath a sigh of relief and are grateful, but immediately one thinks of the anguish that families must go through when they don't hear good news, or hear nothing at all.

Many here in Australia sometimes smugly think that we are immune from the risks of terrorist activity, being so far away from the major centres of the world. But many are also scared that the 'Coalition of the Willing' raised our country's profile as a target. And our borders are so large that they are impossible to police; our saving grace being our isolation from other major land masses.

Perhaps one benefit of the internet and communication technology in general is that I don't have to travel to Melbourne or Sydney (or London or NY or Madrid or Paris or [name your city of terrorist activity]) nearly as much as perhaps my late grandfather did when he was a travelling salesman for a communications technology company after WWII. He travelled all over Europe, repeatedly, for his employer. I don't know if he ever feared for his life in the aftermath of the war as much as Londoners have had to after the IRA atrocities in the 70s and 80s and now muslim extremists in this current generation.

But I also say a prayer for those innocent muslims who will inevitably be caught up in a racist reaction to the London bombings. Here in Australia, after 9/11, police and security guards had to protect muslims from the emotional outpourings of irrational Australians. Thankfully, much good work was done by all faiths coming together to condemn the racist backlashes and work towards re-integration of muslims back into a largely secular (and unfortunately rascist) society.

'Peace in our time' seems such a long way off.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Visibility, pre-selling yourself and common sense

Thanks to Scoble for this: as I was just emailing back to Heidi Miller on a question she was asking me (a great conversation), just having a blog and no support material (e.g. a website, some photos, a video of yourself) risks creating a lop-sided portrait of yourself.

Scoble advises we all consider getting out more.

Doug Johnston and To Do Lists

Just love this cartoon - superb!

Many thanks to Doug for sharing a brilliant satire (and so true) about teh stress that 'To Do' lists can inflict on us mere mortals...

What you can do with RSS

Hat tip to Ben.

Tim Yang has created a wiki on all things RSS, cunningly entitled 'things you can do with rss'

A great read - thoroughly recommended for non-geeks who are wondering if rss can do more than just fill bloglines accounts...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

BCR # 13 now live - how plantar fasciitis can help your website communicate better

BCR podcast #13 now onlineEdition no. 13 is now available for download and this week I let you in on a little secret - how the medical condition plantar fasciitis can help your website communicate better!

Of course, if you subscribe to my podcast feed you will have already have downloaded this.

At just 5 minutes and 39 seconds long — and worksafe — it's a bargain!

Links: Andrew Beacock; Fred Zelders; Neville Hobson's experimental blog; SearchIt!; heelspurs.com; Nick Usborne; Content, Traffic, PreSell and Monetize (CTPM) online model

Source article: Plantar Fasciitis

Two more articles up on my website

Two more articles put up on the website:
  • Non-verbal communication: Brand Identity Design and the Role of a Visual Vocabulary by Erin Ferree
  • Cell Phone Do's And Don't During A Meeting by Scott Ginsberg
Check them and all of the other 59 free articles over at my website.


Newsletter now online

Yes, slightly (aka 'very!') late, but finally there.

The June issue of my monthly newsletter on business communication tips is now available for your persual over at my website.

Subscribe to receive every issue and access the June edition all from the one page!


Myers and great customer communication

Really impressed with Myers.

I bought a new headset mike a couple of weeks ago, after my trusty unknown-brand headset snapped in two.

The new Sony DR-220 headset worked fine for a day, then started really playing up. The sound lost its bottom end and the entire mic audio starting wavering in and out.

But I had thrown the receipt away with the packaging (after all, it did work when I tried it) so I totally understood when the nice chap at the sales desk apologized but said he couldn't accept my headset back and replace it with a working one.

As he said, he needed the original receipt to prove to the manufacturer/wholesaler that it was under warranty.

I was disappointed, as I had spent $60 on it, but I totally understood the sales person's position.

I wandered down to 'Information' to see if there was any hope of an appeal process. So they contacted a senior manager, Michael, who came down and 'checked my story out'.

To his credit (as far as I am concerned) he accepted the headphones back as a 'return' and gave me a $60 gift voucher so that I could go and purchase another headset.

To me this demonstrated great customer care.

He was able to discern that I was genuine and not trying to return something they hadn't sold me. He didn't know that I was a shareholder of his company (and neither did he need to know).

But what impressed me most was not his sympathy for my situation, but that he chose to override the company's returns policy and solve a customer's problem.

In my eyes, he communicated more about the values of Myer than any glossy brochure full of marketing BS ever could.

Myer is currently facing a challenge for market share from a rival upper-market department store chain David Jones. But here in Adelaide, on a sunny, wintery Tuesday afternoon, one manager named Michael sold me on continuing to shop at Myers.

OneNote as a blogging tool

I've had Microsoft's OneNote software since I got office 11, but apart from installing it once and not understanding it, I haven't touched it.

So when I came across Chris Pratley's blog on OneNote (via Scoble) I reasoned that I really ought to get back in touch with this note-taking software.

Others had commented before to me about how useful it was. I am rather skilled in Word, and use UltraEdit as my text editor of choice, rather than Notepad (a hangover from my html coding days when Notepad would put all sorts of bizarre page breaks into code), and so saw no value in learning yet another sophisticated text editor.

That was before I read Pratley's blog.

Now I see that OneNote is far more than a note-taking tool. As Pratley intimates, it's a Knowledge Management tool.

Yes, it's yet another piece of software I need to learn, but if it helps me organize my life better, then rock on!

Monday, July 04, 2005

New RSS specs? One person's view

Tristan has written a fascinating potential specification for RSS, seeing as how different groups are writing different extensions to the basic 'formula' and especially in light of iTunes making a huge noise in the podcasting world ("podosphere"?).

Note: the link is sometimes dodgy, but go the the top of the site and look for the link called "RSS and Media: Can't we all just get along?"

Hat tip to Nova for this (and the blog post about the cat video is amazing!)

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Thanks, Max

Max Hansen has restarted his blogging efforts after a long pause.

Not sure that I deserve to be mentioned in the same blog that discusses Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Einstein, but I'm very flattered that he finds value in Better Communication Results the podcast.

Wimbledon is over for moi

Oh Lleyton -- once again our hopes were dashed against the mighty rock of Federer.

As Newk was saying in the commentary box, if only our Lleyton would have gone up to the net more - just about every time he did he won the point.

Ah well... now that Lleyton's out it's off to bed.


Debbie Weil's B L O G

Don't know about anyone else, but I'm certainly interested to see how her book pans out, especially now that Scoble and Israel have set such a high standard over at 'Once Was Red Couch'.

I don't always agree with what Debbie posts on her more usual blog, but she is usually provides a great read on the CEO blog, so I await with interest more in-depth content than the discussing of title and subtitle.

But good on yer, girl, for snaffling a no-doubt nice contract...

Blog stats

I see that Andy over in Lancashire has started using MyBlogLog.com.

I've been very happily using StatCounter (as recommended by Blogger) and think their stats are great, especially as they're free (always a price point that appeals to me).

BCR #12 finally here

BCR podcast #12 now onlineBeen flat out like a lizard drinking (which, for non Australians means 'extremely busy' )...

Edition no. 12 is now available for download. Of course, if you subscribe to my podcast feed you will have already have downloaded this.

And in this week's edition I give you seven ways to make a GREAT first impression! At just 6 minutes and 52 seconds long — and worksafe — it's a bargain!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Corporate Blogging Survey

Backbone have released the results of a survey of corporate bloggers.

Their discovery? That it is a company's blogging strategy that will produce the strongest community goodwill, and that goodwill brings the most marketing and sales returns.

Interesting reading... and hat tip to young master Rubel for the link

Email triage

Hat tip to Jack for this link to the mathmagenic Lilia who cites a 4-page paper on coping strategies for email inboxes.

Great read!

Currently giggling inanely to myself...

Read a post by Alexandra on domain names and sleeping -- the last line just cracked me up!

BCR and FTP woes


I recorded edition 12 of Better Communication Results the podcast during the week and uploaded it via Dreamweaver's FTP interface.

Have been flat out like a lizard drinking (for non Australians: 'extremely busy') so didn't get around to posting the link onto my blog until today.

Went to check the link and found that the mp3 file wasn't sitting on the server where it should have been, but don't have access from where I am at the moment to move it around.

Apologies -- my latest podcast should be appearing in a podcatcher near you within the next few hours...