Advice from a legend

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It was actress/author Julie Andrews who said, “When in doubt, stand still.”

She also says, “Everything has a beginning, a middle and an end. And I pray that the end of Covid-19 comes soon.”

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5 Tips To Help Improve Your Presentation Skills

Questions? larry@larrylitwin.com and check out The Public Relations Playbook for (all) Strategic Communicators

This comes from Dale Carnegie Training News Letter:

By Anita Zinsmeister, President
Dale Carnegie® Training of Central & Southern New Jersey

  • Word Count: 486
  • Time To Read: 1.9 Minutes @ 250 Words Per Minute

An excellent presentation is a result of being dynamic, engaging, and interesting. Without these things, you won’t be able to hold your audience’s attention, and your presentation will not be memorable. To make sure your presentation makes an impact, you need to prepare appropriately.

The Key To Success Will Be In Your Preparation.

A common misconception is this: great speakers get it right on the first try. This is seldom true. The presentation likely went through several drafts and was adjusted multiple times.

Click Here To Read Inc.’s Article: 15 Ways to Calm Your Nerves Before a Big Presentation.

To help you jump-start your next presentation, we have listed a few tips below.

5 Tips To Improve As A Presenter.

1. Focus On Your Body Language – People pay attention to your body language consciously and subconsciously. If you fidget, cross your arms, hunch over, or fail to keep eye contact, your audience will notice. Stay confident, smile, and hold yourself in an engaging way to make a connection with your audience.

2. Include Stories – Finding a way to tie in your personal experiences is a great way to make an audience more engaged. Show them how your ideas work in real life by giving them a practical example. This will draw them in and let them connect on a personal level.

3. Research Your Audience – Whom will you be speaking to? This has an effect on how you speak and what you include in your presentation. Are they experts in their field? Are they familiar with the topic? Are they looking in from the outside? If they are new to the topic, you might need to include definitions of common terms.

4. Prepare Yourself Mentally – Before you begin, take time to calm your mind. There are many examples of ways to get yourself in the right head-space for a presentation. Not all of them will work for you. You need to find your way to inner peace. Some become calm by listening to loud music. Others need complete silence. Figure out what works best for you.

5. Always Practice – The two main factors of a good presentation are how well you know the material and how comfortable you are speaking to an audience. You can work on both by practicing.

Practice in front of a mirror to get the content down and to focus on your body language. When you feel confident in those aspects, practice in front of friends or colleagues. You’ll be able to get some of the jitters out and get feedback.

Executive Summary: Your final presentation is only a small part of what the audience sees. They don’t see the research, changes, refinement, and effort it takes to make an excellent presentation. You’ll be able to stand out by properly preparing and practicing. Start by focusing on your body language, and make sure you practice in front of a small audience first.

Questions? larry@larrylitwin.com and check out The Public Relations Playbook for (all) Strategic Communicators

6 proven local email marketing ideas for small businesses

From Vertical Response – A DeLuxe Company. Questions? larry@larrylitwin.com

Email is often underutilized by small, local businesses despite the fact that it boasts a whopping 122 percent ROI — more than four times that of social media and direct mail. Whether you own or operate an auto repair shop, landscaping business, tax preparation service or other local business, here’s how you can leverage the power of email to win new customers and keep them coming back.

Local email marketing ideas

Email marketing should promote your business, but your email strategy should also feature value-added content that motivates opens, influences clicks, fosters trust and ultimately earns sales. Try these proven email marketing strategies for local businesses.

1. Create an editorial calendar around events, holidays and local happenings

A local focus will endear your business to local customers, so map out an editorial calendar based on the holidays, events and other local happenings important to your audience. Ideas include:

  • Promotions for community holiday shopping days: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday, for example.
  • Special offers for annual events: Consider homecoming dances, community festivals, parades and historical anniversaries.
  • Interesting historical facts about your city: These can segue to the importance of shopping at downtown businesses.
  • Seasonal offers relevant to your local audience: For instance, people in northeast communities need to weather the winter cold, while those in southwest communities need to beat the summer heat.
  • Promotions tied to local athletics: A restaurant can offer a pre-game special while a spa might offer a discount based on the number of points scored by the local football team.
  • Local gift guides: Considerpromoting top-selling holiday gifts in your local area or the most-wanted Christmas gifts based on local feedback — a great way to drive business to local retailers.

Want more great ideas for building an editorial calendar around local happenings? Watch Season 4 of Small Business Revolution, where our Deluxe colleagues help Searcy, Arkansas-based creperie and coffee shop Savor + Sip harness the power of local email marketing.

2. Craft valuable newsletters

The best email newsletters are packed with valuable tips and tricks your audience can use to solve their problems, achieve their goals and improve their lives. Your newsletter lends authority to your business, establishes solidarity with your audience and fosters long-term customer loyalty. Ideas include:

  • How-to tips with a local focus: For example, a beauty salon might feature tips about how to maintain skin health in cold, dry climates or a landscaper might send a tip about the best local source for garden soil.
  • Localized guides: Anyone can send a guide to landscaping a home, but only a local landscaper knows which plants grow best in your community. What unique local insights can you share with your audience?
  • Important local announcements: Is the city utility rate going up? A local hardware store might offer energy-saving tips to keep costs low. Keep abreast of local news and identify relevant tie-ins that educate and help your customers as well as naturally promote your business.

There are plenty of great email newsletter topics. Pick one, then apply a local focus to give your business a competitive advantage customers will love.

3. Promote a rewards/loyalty program

Many local businesses offer rewards/loyalty programs, and email is a fantastic way to boost enrollment. Use email marketing to:

  • Create excitement for your program and detail the benefits of signing up.
  • Ask existing customers to send referrals your way in return for a special discount or reward.
  • Send customers gifts on special days, such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and more.

You can also send reminders for customers to check their rewards account balances online and to share your program with their friends and family members on social media so they can reap the rewards, too.

4. Create customer spotlights and case studies

The proof is in the pudding, and you can use email marketing to show your audience how you’ve helped local customers just like them. It’s a great way to prove you understand their needs and can deliver solutions. Ideas include:

  • Customer spotlights and testimonials
  • Case studies that detail exactly how you solved a common local problem
  • Before and after photos for a visual experience that highlights your capabilities

Customer spotlights, case studies and photos help you show off what you know, which motivates customer responses.

5. Gain customer insights

Polls and surveys can help you learn more about your local audience, which can, in turn, inform future email marketing and boost ROI. Try these ideas:

  • Send a poll or survey to get customer feedback on local trends
  • Report the results in a follow-up email. Local residents will no doubt find them interesting, and it presents a perfect opportunity to promote a relevant product or service
  • Share the results with your local newspapers, radio stations, television stations, popular bloggers and other media members — a fantastic way to get free PR

Your polls and surveys can ask about customer behavior, favorite products and trends, or even get opinions about local hot button issues. Start by determining which questions you want to answer and if those insights will have local appeal — and if there is a natural segue to your business. If so, you have a winning poll or survey idea. (By the way, VerticalResponse makes surveying customers quick and easy.)

6. Send special offers

Email marketing is an easy way to send special offers to your subscribers. You can:

  • Send promotional emails with a single, time-limited discount to motivate quick sales
  • Include a special offer at the end of every email newsletter
  • Subtly embed references to your products and services throughout your email content

Email is a great way to reach local customers with valuable content intertwined with timely, relevant promotions that drive local customers to your door.

How to get local subscribers

These are all great local email marketing ideas, but you can’t implement them without a subscriber list. The good news is building one won’t add a ton of work to your already busy schedule. In fact, you can automate nearly everything with email marketing tools. Here are ideas for building a local email subscriber list.

  • Automatically enroll customers, loyalty card members, callers and people who email or fill out your contact form into your list. Make sure cashiers know to collect email addresses during checkout
  • Invite Facebook and other social media followers to subscribe to your email newsletter. Sweeten the deal with an instant incentive
  • Add a form to your website, either in the sidebar, in the content or as a pop-up. Offer a discount incentive or go with a lead magnet to boost your subscription rate
  • Partner with other local businesses to create a community deals email list, or share subscribers with one another (just make sure they know they’re signing up for a community-wide list that will deliver great content and offers from multiple businesses)

Check out more great ideas for building an email list.

Advanced local email marketing tips

Once you get your feet wet, you can take advantage of these advanced strategies to get more out of your email marketing.

  • A/B split testing: Test multiple versions of the same email to see which performs best. Then, send the winner to your entire list.
  • Segment lists: Most businesses have different types of customers. Segment your lists by interests or demographics to send the most relevant information and offers. Doing so can increase responses exponentially.
  • Automate email marketing: Create a series of emails designed to nurture leads over time, then send them on schedule with an email autoresponder program. Set it and forget it!
  • Measure response: Use email analytics to measure open rates and clicks. Identify which emails work best, then emulate those efforts for future campaigns so you can improve your email marketing over time.

Email is a powerful and affordable tool local small businesses can use to boost sales. Use these tips to connect with local customers, earn referrals, beat the competition and keep business coming through your door.

Questions? larry@larrylitwin.com

Job Network’s 3 old-school relevant interview rules

thejobnetwork’s Kate Lopeze offers these suggestions. Questions? larry@larrylitwin.com

It’s easy to see how job interviews have changed over time: more email, less formality, pre-interviews with chatbots, Skype interviews, etc. What’s not so easy is determining which interview principles are just as valid and necessary as ever, even as you prepare to job hunt in a modern world. Let’s look at some of the evergreen tips that are just as helpful now as they were when your parents and grandparents were interviewing for jobs.

Wear a suit or your interview best

Many workplaces are going full-on casual these days. All the same, this shouldn’t affect how you dress for the interview. Even if you’re 95% sure your interviewer will be wearing jeans and a hoodie, you should still plan to wear your interview suit—or at the very least, an above-average, impeccably clean and tailored outfit. If you get the job, there will be plenty of time to dress like your new colleagues. However, when you’re interviewing you still want to project the most professional and put-together image possible.

No one will think you’re a nerd for overdressing, I promise. But if you underdress, you run the risk of seeming unserious or unprepared. Better over than under, in this case.

Print your resume

This one may seem archaic—you likely emailed your resume to the company in the first place, so who needs paper copies? It’s still a good habit to keep. The old-school idea that you need to print your resume on the finest paper stock you can afford is no longer a must-do, but bringing copies shows you’re thoughtful and organized. Sure, the person interviewing you may be reading your resume on a screen or may already have their own printout, but if they don’t happen to have your resume right in front of them, it’s an immediate point in your favor that you came prepared. It’s also a subtle hint about the well-prepared employee you’d be—ready for everything.

This also applies if you’re doing an on-screen presentation. Always bring a few printouts (for every person you know will be there, plus a couple of extras just in case). Handouts help people follow along and also serve as a reminder all about you afterward as they’re evaluating how the interview/presentation went.

Send a thank-you note

Do you know what else never goes out of style? Polite thank you notes. (Your parents and grandparents were right about that, but you don’t have to tell them so.) An email or a follow-up text technically fits that bill in this fast-paced digital world, but sending a handwritten (or typed and hand-signed, since not all of us were blessed with great handwriting) note to your interviewers is an eternally classy move. Or you can do both if you’re worried about seeming like an ungrateful procrastinator: the quick email sent the same day, and the more traditional note following thereafter.

It’s a nice touch, and not only makes sure that you’re back on the interviewer’s radar after you’ve left the office but also shows that you’re thoughtful and appreciative of the opportunity—this doesn’t need to be a retroactive sales pitch. A brief, on-point note that thanks people for taking the time to talk to you is likely to get a response along the lines of, “I knew I liked that guy for a reason!” There’s literally no downside to following up with a simple thank you note.

The job interview has changed so much over the past decade alone, and will likely continue to shift as the workplace and hiring in general grow and evolve. Still, despite all the outward changes, the basics of good taste and solid organization never go out of fashion.

Questions? larry@larrylitwin.com

10 Principles of Authentic Communication

[larry@larrylitwin.com] and The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook for (all)Strategic Communicators by M. Larry Litwin. Visit www.larrylitwin.com

This is Play 2-4

•Truth

•Fundamentality

•Comprehensiveness

•Relevance

•Clarity

•Timeliness

•Consistency

•Accessibility

•Responsiveness to feedback

•Care

From BojinkaBishop–AssociateProfessor– Ohio University (Athens, Ohio)

[larry@larrylitwin.com]

Is YOUR personal brand doing well?

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]  From Larry’s ABCs of Strategic Communication come the following:

  1. Google yourself regularly
  2. Do frequent social media sweeps

Tips to Succeed:Do you have a brand? – Evaluate your 5 Ps

Your brand consists of a complex set of characteristics and dynamics
that play out in thousands of scenarios each workday.
You can use your brand to positively influence your image to others
and enhance your career using these five Ps:
Persona – The emotional connection and reaction you elicit from
other people as a result of your personal style.
Product – The sum of your qualifications, experience, technical
and/or functional expertise, ideas and results you’ve delivered
over time.
Packaging – The presentation of your personal appearance, surroundings
and tangible results of projects and assignments on the
job.
Promotion – The way you inform your market about your value
and impact.
Permission – The sense of legitimacy, confidence and core belief
that you have important contributions to make.

Thank you to Susan Hodgkinson – The Leader’s Edge

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11 Experts Predict the Future of Content Marketing in 2018

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From Inc.
 
Reaching the members of your audience through a content-cluttered landscape — and their ad blockers — will be harder than ever in 2018. Fortunately, there are new technologies and techniques that can help.

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10 ways to identify a fake job posting

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From the Dec. 10, 2017 issue of the Courier-Post comes this important advice from thejobnetwork.com:

BY PETER JONES

THEJOBNETWORK

The job market is hard enough to navigate without having to worry about a job posting that turns out to be a scam — or even just a dead end. Save your precious time and energy by being on the lookout for these simple signs that something just

isn’t right:

1. The company has no online presence.

You do your due diligence and try to verify the person, the company and the job listing and nothing is turning up in your online search. You can stop right there and step away. Legit jobs always have some sort of online trail.

2. The recruiter’s email doesn’t match their company.

You get an email from a recruiter who claims to represent a fabulous and well-known company. The company logo might even be at the bottom of the email. Look closely — does the email they want you to send materials to not end in the official company name (theircompany.com)? If the email associated with the posting or the invitation is a personal one (think Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc.), you might want to take a pass. And don’t respond and attach any personal documents unless you’re sure you’re dealing with the real deal.

3. You found it via a random social media post.

While it is possible to land a great job you found through social media, chances are if it’s just posted there — or sponsored or advertised — it’s probably not as sweet a deal as it seems.

Remember that the overwhelming majority of jobs are referral based, come through legitimate channels or are posted on vetted job boards. Resist the idea that you can just surf Facebook and get hired.

4. They claim “No experience necessary.”

Sure, maybe the job they’re offering is entry level. Maybe they offer training. But if the posting leads with “No Experience Necessary,” you can be almost certain there’s a catch you won’t like. Most employers want you to come equipped with some skills.

5. The language is sloppy.

If the ad isn’t well written, contains spelling or grammatical errors, is sloppily punctuated or IN ALL CAPS, consider it a red flag. A real job posting will be professional and polished.

6. They ask for an interview via chat or text.

You should be wary if your first interview is scheduled on some type of text messaging service. While remote interviews are becoming increasingly common, that means phone calls andSkype, not a typed conversation in a chat window.

7. Anything about it is too good to be true.

You’re hired immediately! The salary is crazy high! They contacted you out of the blue! When can you start? (Hint: If a job seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.) 8. Everything about it is vague.

If you can’t tell from the posting exactly what your role would be at the company, that’s a problem. A bigger problem is when you can’t really tell what the company does and get a sense of its mission or history. If all of this is very vague, leave this one in the “no” pile.

9. They want money.

If you’re asked to pay anything — such as a fee to apply or for a software program to send in your application materials — consider the job a scam. A general rule of thumb: Never give your money away to total strangers.

10. Your gut says no.

The bottom line: Keep an eye out for these and other warning signs, but your best alarm system is your own gut instinct. Does something seem off to you? If so, let it go. There are other jobs out there.

Peter Jones is a career advice journalist for TheJobNetwork.com, where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.

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Tips to Succeed: Marketing yourself online

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From Larry’s More ABCs of Strategic Communication (check it out on the website)…

1. Don’t lie – Whether on a resume, application or personal website, make sure facts about you are accurate.

2. Be professional – For college or job applications, use a simple e-mail address with your name or initials that helps connect an e-mail to you.

3. Censor yourself, and friends (if need be) – If you know a college or potential employer might Google® you or search you out on MySpace®, make sure the content posted by yourself or others is appropriate.

From the Des Moines Register

There are nearly 300 Tips and Techniques in both The ABCs and the newer More ABCs Proceeds from the books’ sales go to the Public Relations Student Society of America and Parsons (Iowa) College Alumni Association.

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