The School of Communication

One of the keys to success in business and in life is good communication. There is a large gap between the meaning we intend and the meaning that the listener understands. It is a gap that has perplexed linguists, writers, artists and philosophers from the time of Socrates. In our daily lives we often find ourselves saying: 'I didn't mean what I said'. There is so much more to communication than just words. There is also context, body language and tone. Nowadays, there is also digital communication and communication between people of different native languages. These can all be impediments to conveying your meaning.

On the simplest level we cannot take language at 'face value'. Someone might be standing in the rain, waiting for a bus and comment to another person waiting for the bus 'what a wonderful day!' In context it becomes clear that this is irony. It is also to be understood in a cultural context as a conversation gambit or an 'icebreaker'. It is the invitation to interact. It is only when it is understood that comments about the weather serve often as a way of initiating communication, that the situation and the initial ironic or sarcastic comment can be understood.

We instinctively know all of this. Computers do not. When we go to a very different culture we have to learn these contextual meanings if we want to appear 'polite' and 'not strange'.

Body language plays a huge part in communication. Potential lovers use lingering eye contact and unconsciously shadow each other - sipping their wine at the same time etc. By doing so they are signaling to each other on a non-verbal level that says so much more than any words can.

There are a whole range of body language signals for all types of interaction including business. For example the firm handshake to mark consent or the two handed handshake used by politicians when they are 'pressing flesh' to signal to the general public that they care, that they are a person of sincere beliefs.

One of the big advantages of learning a foreign language from a person who speaks that language as a native speaker is that while they are pursuing their pedagogical duties they are unwittingly bringing into the classroom the non-verbal communication signals from their own culture. Studying a foreign language abroad is even better because students become submerged in an entirely new communication nexus that forces them to release their propensity for the systems inherent in their own countries. Perhaps this is why they say that those who take foreign lovers learn the quickest.

On top of all these concerns, it is vital in business to master the new technologies of communication. This means Skype, social media, tweeting, texting and so on. Mastery of both the hardware and the software is required to use all these modern mediums of communication. Those who don't keep abreast of new technologies to do with communication are those who will lose in the competitive world of business.

Perhaps the greatest tool for communication is Google.com. Those who are able to put themselves on the first page for important search phrases have the opportunity to communicate with thousands and potentially hundreds of thousands. In this sense business communication has become a cut throat competition to dominate profitable conversations. In many ways this is replacing the idea of 'branding' that sought to communicate through auto-suggestion to engender a mass response.

It is those who learn all these interpersonal, psychological, technical and SEO techniques who will be the most successful in making their communication count, in getting their message over, in being understood and converting that understanding into results.


Using Social Media Signals to Boost Your Marketing

Years and years ago, when Web 2.0 started to become the new “it” topic, nobody had any way of knowing just how many changes would be brought about in 2012. As painful as it may seem, transitioning to social media based marketing is not only necessary but really not so difficult. If you have a lack of knowledge when it comes to social sites or marketing, you need to take on the challenge, adapt and then overcome that lacking. You’ll need to do that if you want to survive with your online business. We’ll cover some of the important ways you can make better and smarter use of social media in your marketing.

Many of the issues that marketers on the web face is trying to promote a whole host of web presences effectively.  Google has fought back against the abuse of link building and can heavily penalize sites which engage in this practice.  Even savvy marketers who are careful by varying anchor text and using technologies like Smart DNS (explained here)

You should always be looking for action you can take that will help you properly leverage the properties and profiles that you have set up. Redirects and links to your landing pages, for example, are something that need to be included on your social websites. You can do this straight to your site, typical, or use it for creating an email list. You are going to need to give something away that is actually valuable though because people are more than used to getting junk. Nobody looks favorably on those who offer only older and outdated PLR. If you try to build a list using cheap or really useless content, then it just won’t work out very well. It’s important that you attract high quality subscribers because that helps make your list quite a lot more profitable.

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The subject of authorship or primary or source of content is a huge area of discussion on the web. Lots of people steal content and use it illegally on their websites which is why this topic is so popular. Have you heard of Google authorship coding? This can be used on your site to protect this content. Google will then know that you are the author of the blog, and also the content that is displayed on it.

In regard to ranking, when you have this protection, should any issue of plagiarism ever arise that affects your ranking, you would be the victor. You can find other authorship resources and tools, and it’s a good idea to check them out and use what you feel is best.

Completing your social networking profiles is an imperative step toward the success of your business. Anyone that comes across a social profile that is not complete usually assumes the worst. Being proactive is so important when you have profiles like this. Proper keyword phrases in your profile must be utilized in order to succeed with what you are attempting to do. It is not a good idea to do keyword stuffing in your profile descriptions if you can help it. Some sites are more flexible or don’t care, but you’ll find a lot of them do care. Building junk profiles is probably what they will think you are doing, which can get your account deleted without any notice. Anyone that wants to use social media strategies to do their online marketing should do so in a professional manner. From your business blog, to social sites that matter, you need to pay close attention. You will gain confidence as you go along participating in the social media process, as long as you’re consistent in your efforts.

Jane Hasker writes on her mathematics blog.

Learning German, Handy Tips to Get You Started

Learning German is a good goal to have, but if you’ve never tried learning a new language before, trying to figure out just how to do it can be difficult. Some people find that learning on their own is best. Then there are those who find the classroom atmosphere the ideal learning environment. Then there are those who would rather repeat the language or immerse themselves with others who speak the language. You’ll discover that there are many methods of learning foreign languages. Figuring out which way is best for you to learn a new language often takes some trial and error. Use these tips to help you get started.

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The only way to learn German and other languages effectively is to be completely open to the language you’re learning about. It’s simple to say that you want to learn German, but then you can’t keep away from things about German that aren’t the same as your native language. Most people have a hard time learning new languages because they try transforming the new language into the language they’re used to. Every language has rules of its own. This is the primary reason why most people find learning a language so hard. It’s important to them for things to match. When you see learning German as a lot more than just learning the new vocabulary words, then you’ll find learning the language much easier. Take a class or two!

There is a reason why many people take classes to learn a new language. Practiced teachers have learned that the best way to learn a new language is to take things a little bit at a time. Their classes will take on different facets of your new language in a specific order because they know that that is the best way to learn. When you work in a classroom, you have the benefit of working directly with the teacher who can make sure you are learning German the correct way without picking up any bad habits. Some students find that classroom learning is more relaxing because it helps to be learning with other people who are trying to learn the same things that you are. Not only that, but you will be able to use your new German abilities in front of your fellow classmates and nobody will ever get offended or mad.

Watching TV or films in German is a great way to help develop your language skills and  the internet can be a great help here.  Perhaps invest in a subscription to a German proxy, this can allow you to access German TV stations online which are normally blocked.  Watching a movie either in German or even English with German subtitles can be a real help and rapidly improve your vocabulary.

Try to think German with your thoughts. Whenever you think of something in your native language, try to repeat those words in your head with German. This will help you get into the habit of using German in your brain. Being able to think in German is the best way to ensure that you can communicate effectively in it. When you are able to figure out what someone is saying to you instantly, you’ll have a much easier time as you won’t need translators and you certainly won’t have to try to decipher what was said, and risk being wrong.

There are so many different methods for learning German. It can be difficult to figure out which method you should choose for yourself. You might have to try out a few different methods before you find the method that works best for you. ?

Written by Gert Klinsmann of  IP Anonymizer.

Modern Communication

Billige træbriketter fra bestilbriketter.dkCommunication is always very important either you are using it for personal purposes or for business purpose. Just imagine a world where you couldn’t communicate with others, pretty scary right? When thinking about modern ways of communication, we can’t comprehend how people from the past keep in touch. Once we take time to study on how our ancestors communicate each other from the past, you might say that it is not modern. Have you been watching past movies like delivering messages through the use of birds? Yes, this is true. Also, they use sending letters through post offices until the modern communication. Today, with a mouse in one hand and a mobile phone in the other hand, we can’t imagine human contacts without new technology devices such as briketter or brænde. Modern communication becomes the leading supplier of business communication services. It helps people who are in need of their services to achieve their objectives. Businesses are the top companies that need communication. This is very important for them to have communication devices for business operations. Nowadays, we have the most expansive and fastest systems of communication ever known. Everything we want to action is instant, the internet, the mobile phone, 24 hours a day and video link. There is no excuse and no respite for not knowing or responding. In return, the made on each one of us are leading to more pressure situations.

E-mailing is another type of modern communication that has been used by businesses these days. Many people have done and using this type of modern communication. Many people written things in haste and send it in a minute with just one click of the send button. Once the send button is clicked, you can send the email for many recipients. So, this can be easy for you to communicate customers. Posting an email needs to carefully re-read those words before you send it with a tool like briketter. Nowadays, they can used documents to verify legal claim. Modern communication has been widely used and is very helpful. When it comes on businesses and anything that needs communication, modern communication can be used. Social websites are another type of modern communication these days. It has been springing up everywhere and people expose themselves around the world. In this way, faceless names appear onto the screen saying they want to know you more. Also, there is this having human face-to-face introduction you use your instinct. If two people are using a device like brænde or briketter, they can each type in a message on the device and within a second the other person can read it on a small screen, without any cables or wifi. Still the range of these new devices are pretty limited, but in a few years it might be possible to send wireless signals from one device to another without any powersource other than what you can pull from the surrounding areas.

Mobile phones are also effective modern communication. The total access with private number appears to mask a sales firm. Almost all people are using mobile phones. For them, this is the simplest way of communication. Many people use mobile phones for their own reasons. It is either for personal or business purpose, but no matter what the purpose might be; mobile phones used it for medium of communication. Since our world today is ever changing and become more advance, communication has changed as well. From the traditional communication up to the modern communication today, both are useful but have been developed because of technology. Whatever new today in the society, it has a big impact onto the people.

Source:
dtvtransition.org
WEB: dtvtransition.org

Email Signatures – An Important Business Tool

If you want to get your name known among businesses, then you need an email signature. All web businesses can stand to make their brand a little more recognized. You need to be doing all you can at every place in your entire operations.

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But if you are really new to IM marketing, then you probably are not sure about how to make the best of this. There are some strategies that you need to know so your email signature will be effective.

Of course one of the major reasons, that email signatures are used is for disclaimers and security purposes.  Anyone with an email address from your organisation can look as if they’re representing your company when online.  This can be dangerous, especially in large organisations where people may be using company facilities for all sorts of things.  You may think your network is locked down, but there are ways to route email or bypass security using techniques like this.  Check this site for information on how a proxy works, for example.

You have to decide if your emails are going to be HTML or not, and if so then take care. It is possible that some programs will cause formatting issues if you use HTML. Any email really should stay pretty simple in terms of layout and coding. What you can do is merely test both of them, and then see what your subscribers prefer. You should understand that more than the look, it’s what you say that matters in it. One thing is to not have a very busy signature because that just may be too much for people. Just remember that you can achieve a branding effect, so if you want that then think about it. You don’t have to use all those conjunctions here, and the point is to send out the message to your reader. You also do not want to have any wasted words or words that have low value. You may discover that you have to write them a few times until you find the one that is just right.

Avoid using hyperlinks in your email and instead use written out URLs which is to ensure that the link actually goes through in the sent message. One of the most important parts of your email signature is definitely the link to your website, and you don’t want your readers to miss on it. But you will see some emails with the URL just copy and pasted in and not able to be clicked, too. If you write good email copy, then that will alleviate a lot from fears that your signature will never be seen.

It is really very simple to get your email signature made and then you can tweak it to be the best it can be. If you want your email signature to be powerful, then there is only one way to do that which is to learn. However, just keep in mind that your email signature should be subtle and shouldn’t come off like you are very strongly promoting something in the face of your reader. If you find that you do not understand something about this, then you need to hit the search engines and find out.

Hamilton Bridgewater

Blogger at – http://www.uktv-online.com/

Business Advantages of Social Media

If you really try hard and have the right knowledge, then it’s possible to take your business to all new heights with social media marketing. So what you have to do now is figure out the strategy that is best for you, and a big hint is to avoid trying to make the direct sale at any social media website. It can be confusing and there are tons of businesses who appear to have never figured it out. The new rules for using social media are the old marketing rules in new clothes, so that will help you out.

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Do not forget that your buyers and contacts are out to keep themselves healthy and happy. And your potential customers will be able to tell this by how you engage them and execute your marketing. The goal is to find a way to make your business more helpful and useful to them because you are serving them, not the other way around. Create a marketing funnel and thing put the customer or prospect in the center and make the world revolve around him or her. Don’t ever discount the impact that one person can have on another, and particularly on the Internet, every single person has the ability to influence hundreds of other people. Like I always say, just stay positive and remember that it’s just one person’s opinion. In time, people will respect you even more for how well you handle trolls and other negative types of people. Those friends each tell two friends and so on and so forth, and before you know it, that one buyer has built up a steady income stream for you and all because you gave them a good experience buying from you.

It helps expand your potential customer base exponentially, to countries and demographics that you may not even have considered.  Although the internet is global, sometimes we can get isolated into our own specific mini-internet.  This is partly to do with how the web is increasing being filtered and manipulated by sites themselves and the search engines.  I even had to use a smart DNS service in order to watch the BBC the other day while on a short break – the reason?  Well the web site like so many is restricted based on your physical location, it’s a serious concern.

Sometimes it’s very difficult when you are making a deliberate effort to make someone laugh and be humorous. One of the keys to make this work is to relax and just be yourself, just like you were talking to a friend. You can laugh at almost anything, but remember that you want to avoid certain topics only because you’re not Lenny Bruce and really don’t want to offend people. And another thing about being funny is you really don’t want to try and do it all the time because if you’re not funny than that can backfire on you.

There are so many developments happening every day in social media and networking, it is hard to figure out what the rules of the moment are. What you do in your marketing has to be learned and base on what is considered current knowledge. Avoid getting too stressed about what happens and do what is natural and expected.

John Hether

Citation to: http://iplayerusa.org/index.php/itvplayer-usa/

Digital Technology – Boon or Bane of Communication?

It’s a hot topic at the moment, how digital technology is changing all aspects of our lives.  From parents concerned  that their teenager’s  social life seems mostly digital to the very real perils of cyber bullying.  So is digital communication a good thing for families or not.

The good thing that most polls tend to show that families believe that technology has improved lives.  If you ask the children then that belief is even more entrenched with the majority saying that they have more opportunities due to technology.    So how does all this technology help or hinder families?

There’s no doubt that when distance is involved – technology is a huge advantage.  A family split over continents a couple of decades ago would rarely talk – perhaps a monthly phone call or a letter.  The delays and costs have now virtually disappeared, message apps like Skype and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook keep people instantly in touch.  I can see what my friends are doing at any given moment, even when they’re on the other side of the world.

Young people tend to share lots of information, happily using apps like Foursquare to update their physical location online.   There is a worry that this is a little bit too much and some young people are not thinking enough about their digital footprint.  But as far as communication goes, it’s great to be able to keep in touch with someone like a family abroad or a good friend who’s emigrated.  Let’s face it a friend emigrating to Australia 30 years ago, would likely never be seen again – now you’re likely to stay in touch using the medium of the internet.

There’s no doubt it’s making the world a much smaller place in many ways.  If a British citizen decides they want to swap the drizzle of Cumbria for the sun of Florida then it’s a much simpler transition now.  Skype will keep them in touch with all their British family and friends, Facebook will update statuses and gossip.  You can even use applications like this – http://iplayerusa.org/, so they can settle down and watch EastEnders and the BBC News of an evening.

These benefits are available to all of course, but for today’s young people there are certainly more opportunities, they don’t see the internet through eyes of fear and suspicion.

John Hetheringham

Digital TV Consultant

Nine to Five Job – Not in IT

If you want a nice easy going job, with steady hours then there’s one combination that you want to avoid – an IT job.  I was reading a story online today about a computer developer who had started a new job with a software development company.  One night, just after midnight he heard a knock in the door it was a colleague with a laptop and mobile phone.  His remit was to connect up a web session between the CEO and a Technology partner based in Japan in order to discuss their next project.

Now of course the time was mainly due to the time difference, midnight in the USA is daytime in Japan.  But I wonder how many people would be happy about that situation, remember no notice just appear at the door in order to do something work related.  The developer in question was not that surprised and after his initial shock was happy to comply, it’s something that many IT professionals have become used to – 24/7 you are an employee.

Much of this is partly due to how connected we are, instantly available by emails, laptops and smart phones.  Many IT support workers who used to work shifts on call, in order to respond to issues now get notified instantly.  Perhaps by an SMS or a custom application, they may find out the minute a piece of hardware fails, or a server is failing to respond.   With that knowledge and the ability to connect, they are often expected to fix whatever problem is involved whatever the time.

Of course to many of us this work/life balance sounds decidedly unhealthy, responding to queries and problems 24/7 means that literally you can’t switch off.   But there are some benefits that this technology has enabled to many workers particularly in the IT field.  As the set 9 to 5 working day has started to disappear, so has the restriction on working in a specific location.

Depending on your job you may find that your location is entirely irrelevant.  Take for example a web developer I know called Richard, who works for one the big pharmaceutical firms, he is extremely talented and was able to dictate a lot about his working conditions.  He was able to negotiate that although his ‘job’ was based near Manchester in the UK, his working day could be based anywhere.   He actually lives in Spain during the Summer, and rents somewhere where he can ski in the winter.

Richard has benefited greatly by the improved communication tools available today.  His working day has no set hours, his time is allocated to projects which he assigns to suit himself.  He has his own office at home, he even uses his company VPN which routes all his network traffic through the United Kingdom.  The reason for this is that he can basically operate as if he’s in the UK, access his UK banking site, watch the BBC Iplayer whenever he likes online – it’s normally blocked in Spain but this video shows you how to bypass it.

In some senses of course having an 24/7 job depends on your outlook on life.  It also is dependent on other factors, it’s not great for family life or when you get a little older.  But for many younger people it’s simply an accepted part of having a good, well paid job in IT.

For more information on technical issues noted above:

New Communications Product -Firechat

There’s a lot of buzz around the technology world at the moment around an exciting new communication product called FireChat.  This really is something new, not some repacked clone of an existing communication application or the same technology with a different interface.

FireChat is a chat tool that works on a local level, it is designed to allow communication on a much more localised level than something like Skype.  The really clever bit is that it doesn’t require Wifi or even a cellular signal to operate.  Basically as long as two devices (or more ) can connect to each other using some sort of protocol – typically Bluetooth or their wireless connections then they will be able to chat to each other.

It’s different on many levels but primarily because it operates on a completely different basis to normal mobile phone conversations.  Your smartphone is normally completely useless as a direct communication medium, it needs message relayed through another device – your operator or the internet for example.

Now obviously there are limitations, the most basic one is that you have to be in the rough vicinity of who you’re chatting with.  So is it still of much use?  I think so for instance imagine the number of subways that have no cellular coverage, trains and undergrounds are other places where you often won’t get a signal.  Ever sat in a big stadium waiting for a concert or sports match – often the cellular networks will be overwhelmed by the number of people in a small area.

FireChat doesn’t require a cellular network, it will also be useful for times when this is deliberately blocked.  How about somewhere like Iran or Turkey, where protesters can’t communicate because the government has blocked the cellular network.  There are ways and means to circumvent these by using fast proxies like this video demonstrates, but again they can all be potentially blocked.  Imagine some sort of disaster, maybe hurricanes knocked out the telephone towers or a Tsunami wiped out the network – FireChat would be invaluable in any of these situations.

But, and it’s a big BUT the system currently is very localised  – in fact the range is pretty much the same a normal sized room.   This obviously severely restricts the use of this technology to some extent.  However this could change very soon, as the company is working on developing this much further – their skills also exist in mesh networking technology.  This could potentially, extend the range exponentially by allowing devices to relay and pass messages on to other devices within range.  If this happens then the value of this application could increase greatly, but it’s still pretty neat in it’s current form and is completely free to use and download.

More technical information on  using proxies to bypass restrictions and filters can be found on this page, which specifically demonstrates how to watch British TV from abroad but the concept holds for other filters.

Need Some Sun – Just Work in Spain

If you’re fed up with  your job, want to live somewhere a little bit sunnier – then working in Spain might sound quite appealing.  The summer sun, warm winters and relaxing lifestyle might seem like a dream but an unattainable one.   So what’s the chance of switching your current working situation to a warmer one!

The first problem people think about is language.   After all if you’re working in a specific role and don’t speak Spanish it’s difficult to see how you can just turn up at a Barcelona job center and just find a new job.  But it’s not always the case, firstly sometimes there are lots of jobs for big multinationals where the native language is not so important, in fact often a native English speaker is often the prime requisite.

But there is another option, where we work is usually dictated by what we do, if language is important then obviously the location is limited.  But the internet is global and to a certain extent if you build a business online it doesn’t matter where you live.  Obviously there are some professions that are more suited to remote working, an accountant can work from pretty much anywhere, for a shop assistant it’s not so easy.

SO I’m not going to turn this into a lecture, I want to highlight an option that perhaps you haven’t considered – I’ll do it with a brief story.  My friend was working very hard in a job he didn’t like, it was physical so got harder the older he got and took up most of his time.  He also loved Spain, not sure why he loved it so much, although the warmth had a lot to do with it. He yearned to live there, but wasn’t rich enough to retire, his job wasn’t transferable and was unlikely to master the Spanish language any time in the future.

So here’s what happened, on one trip to Marbella he was trying to get access to the BBC to watch match of the day on his computer.  He discovered it was blocked and started searching for a solution – of course this is the internet so one was easily found here in this video – BBC Iplayer in Spain. But the search resulted in some more knowledge, that you could actually make a living out of selling stuff on the internet.  Which suddenly struck a chord with my friend who for years had been writing and maintaining a web site about fishing his other passion.

This was his solution, his hobby was the answer, the fishing site got thousands of visitors a week.   Everyone of these visitors was a potential customer who was happy to buy fishing stuff from this site. A few well placed adverts, nothing too pushy suddenly he had an income from a hobby he loved.  Better still when he moved to Spain on the basis of this income he had a whole bunch of new stuff to put on his site -all about Spanish fishing.

Here’s another example – Watch Hulu Outside US

 

Promoting Your Website Online

The days when you could just upload a website and wait for the visitors to arrive are long gone.  If you rely on casual visitors you’re likely to have completely wasted your effort, you need to drive visitors to your site.  There are two basic methods for this – normally referred to as organic and inorganic traffic.

Organic traffic refers from visitors who naturally find your web site from using directories, social networks and search engines.  For instance if you run a online store selling Christmas decorations you could receive traffic from google search queries relating to Christmas decorations.  You might receive traffic from posts on social networks like Facebook or perhaps if you build up a following on Twitter.  These visitors can be very valuable and should really form the long term strategy behind your web site – the most obvious advantage of this traffic is that’s it’s free.

The other sort – inorganic, is traffic that you’ll have to pay for, but it can also be a very valuable source of revenue.  You can place adverts on sites like Facebook and Google which target potential customers.  The methods for targeting customers varies depending on which platform you use – through search engines like Google and Bing you’ll pay per click based on search queries.  For example you can specific that your advert appears when someone searches for ‘buy Christmas decorations’, if someone clicks and visits your site through the advertisement then you’ll pay for that click.  It can get expensive but this is highly specific advertising if you target the right keywords – it’s essential you carefully track your ROI (Return on Investment) for each campaign.

To get the high rankings in the search engines for free, then you’ll need to study Search Engine Optimization to help promote your site.   It’s quite a complicated subject though and you need to be very careful that you don’t get your site penalized by using aggressive tactics, it’s easy to do and some very big businesses have fallen foul of penalties from the search engine giants.  If you do build some links and promote your site, ensure you are careful and if possible – this is a useful video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqIYc0-spyc which explains how to hide your IP address.

Both methods have their advantages, but in the long run organic is certainly more sustainable.  You can supplement the traffic by posting updates and statuses on Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, try to get people to follow you so they see your new posts.  Online marketing can be combined with physical promotion techniques, hand out cards with your addresses, try and gather email address in return for discounts and special offers.  Any business will benefit from an all round digital strategy in fact many wouldn’t survive without the internet.

If you travel away from your business a lot then it’s worth investing in some sort of VPN service to protect your connection.  There are other advantages to using these in that you can connect to your home country and locale restricted sites.  I use mine so I can watch the BBC Iplayer when I’m overseas just like this.  It’s important to be aware of all the advantages and potential that the internet can bring to virtually any business, even one that might seem to very localised.  The reality is that a customer might live around the corner from your business yet find it by using the internet.

 

 

Communication is the Key to Business

For today’s small business, the ways that you can now communicate with existing or potential customers in very varied.  The options used to be a listing in the telephone directory and perhaps some adverts in newspapers and the occasional shop window.  Those times have long gone and now there are many ways to put your service in front of thousands of potential customers.   Let’s take an example, let’s imagine you’ve opened up a new cafe in a small town,  perhaps tucked away off the main street.

Survival depends upon reaching out to potential customers and letting them know you’re there.  The internet gives you this chance particularly using the medium of social networking sites.   Of course you’re not interested in reaching out to an international audience, your customers are not going to come from far and wide but will live in the local community.  The obvious tools to start off with are Facebook and Twitter – you need to establish that initial link with people who may become customers.  You could start by getting people to follow your Facebook and Twitter feed, offer special discounts perhaps initially for people to follow you.   In Facebook particularly you’ll probably find local groups and advertising all read by your local audience.

Try and capture people’s contact details especially email addresses so you can mail out special offers, promotions and offers.  It’s important to respect peoples details after you’ve got them, nobody will appreciate spam from a local business.    The beauty of these tactics are that although they do require some level of effort, most don’t cost much at all.   Establishing that link early on will pay huge dividends, there’s no reason why a small local business shouldn’t build up a substantial following with these methods.

You only have to watch people going about there normal business to see the possibilities that social media bring to a local business.  In years gone past it used to be quite difficult to access people by digital methods, it only takes some effort now.  Now people use their phones, laptops and tablets for virtually everything, most people are highly connected digitally so if you want to reach them then this is the way.  My friends are a case in point, both spend hours every day using tablets and phones, they even took them on holiday as they figured out how to watch BBC Iplayer in France by using this method.

This is another interesting development in how the web has changed over the years, frequently web sites determine your location using your IP address.  Web sites will tailor what they show based on your location, they also use this to serve advertisements – so if you connect with a British IP address you’ll get UK based content – this video explains.

Being Able to Do It!

What is this ability that some people seem to have that enables them to get on and do things that most of us just never seem to be able to achieve? On the surface of it as we often hear about in the media such as TV, radio and the news, the people who are the real achievers in this life do not seem to be any different from the rest of us.

Yet there must be something that separates the go getters from the go sitters who sit around all day dreaming of achieving something but never quite getting things in motion.

There is actually no great secret to any of it. In fact, when you have a task to perform and you really belief in yourself, then the amazing becomes the norm and you wonder why you ever thought it would be difficult. Achieving anything is all about your inner belief that you can do it.

It is said that there are two ways we can look at a problem. One is with an attitude of “I can’t do it” and the other is the attitude of “I can do it”. The funny thing is that either way, you are right!

If that sounds like the kind of double talk you hear a lot of on the TV (www.tvaf.org), it isn’t really. What that is saying is that you can believe that you cannot do a thing and there is no way that you will ever do it, until you change that attitude to one that you can do the thing and you will invariably succeed in doing it. It is all down to the inner conversation that we are constantly having with ourselves.

When we perpetually remind ourselves that a task is beyond our capabilities and is best left to someone with the greater ability to complete, then we are literally defeating ourselves with our own inner conception of what we really are capable of. Yet the opposite is also true in that when we constantly remind ourselves that a certain task is within our capabilities, we seem to gain the necessary abilities to perform it.

It is all about belief and when we believe we can do a thing, we are invariably able to do it. Do you think that if the Wright Brothers did not believe they could create a machine that could enable a man to fly, that they would ever have gotten off the ground? It’s highly unlikely.

They believed they could do it and they did it. You can do the same for whatever task is before you.

Lucid Ways to Communicate

For most people, it has become perfectly natural to take today’s communications networks for granted on many different levels. We get home from work and switch on the TV set to watch the news or a favorite show without giving it a second thought. We turn on the radio and listen to some music or a talk show and the idea that it might not be there doesn’t even enter our heads.

Yet these and other means of getting a message across from a single broadcasting point to anywhere in the country or even in the world have become commonplace occurrences that we simply expect to be there on demand. But several decades ago, such complacency would not have been so widespread. Television as a communications medium for advertisers as well as show makers to display their ingenuity was still in its infancy compared to its presence today. Viewers were held in awe over the ability to see moving pictures of places they could only ever dream of visiting or watch drama shows that came to life and filled the imaginations of the masses.

With the twenty first century now into its second decade, the evolution of communications is continuing at an incredible rate. The Internet has brought the world of information to the fingertips of people around the world while mobile comms devices such as smart phones and touch screen tablets have taken it to a whole new level of interactivity and accessibility.

While this explosion in technological advancement into the way we stay in touch and gather information has altered our lives for the better, it has also created a spin off effect that may not be quite so well received, especially from the education systems of the civilized world. Due to the nature of handheld devices such as mobile phones and the restrictions placed on the ability to type messages cheaply, or even for no cost depending upon the application or service provider contract you may have negotiated, the art of “texting” has created a sub-language all of its own.

This texting language has all manner of words deliberately shortened to facilitate faster typing and sending of messages to the point that to the uninformed, they can appear almost unintelligible. This reduction in lucidity of the sharing of information may or may not have a negative effect on the learning and cognitive ability of upcoming generations. This balance needs to be addressed and more information on improving your mental capacity for achieving your creative potential can be found here www.axcp.org.

The need for better education to incorporate both sides of communication has manifest with standard language needing to be emphasized alongside the truncated texting language that is fast taking over. As long as people don’t lose sight of the correct form of language and grammar, the two forms can and doubtless will live together harmoniously for generations to come.

Turkey Embraces the Internet

Although Turkey is often in the news for the wrong reasons about the internet with tales of censroship, filtering and arrests.  There is no doubt  that it is one of the countries which has embraced the web and modern communication in all forms.  In fact there are a huge number of online business running in Turkey which represent one of the biggest sectors.

It’s not surprising that there are so many internet companies in Turkey.  The population is large and on the whole very young – over 50% of Turks are under 30.  Needless to say this young population are heavy users of the internet and social media, in particular on the South Western coastal areas like Kas.  They actually are in the top 10 of Facebook country users which is particularly surprising given that the social networking site has actually been banned for short periods.

There is no such restriction now, with companies like Peak Games producing games which are played by over 35 million people – many of them on Facebook.  Half of their users are in Turkey the rest in nearby countries.  The games in this country are so popular it is even producing a surge in demand for a Turkish proxy used to bypass restrictions in some of the Middle Eastern countries which block such social networking sites – for more info try here..

There seems to be much more potential to come, which is why internet companies are flocking to the country and being started up all around.  Having such a huge potential home market is obviously attractive and there is more potential to come.  The penetration levels are reasonably low with only 44% of Turkish users currently online compared with levels of 80%+ in the majority of European countries for example.  In the Netherlands that figure is now at 88% which hints at the potential growth that may be to come for Turkish internet companies.

There are those who are slightly worried about the huge rise in this sector of the economy.  They think that the economy is unbalanced and leaves the country at risk because of the high reliance in e-commerce.  There is also a worry that the boom is creating relatively unsophisticated companies who are not investing in management skills and investing in themselves.  Internet companies in smaller countries llike Ukraine and Estonia have to extremely efficient to survive without the large domestic market to rely on.  The worry is that these companies end up overtaking the more relaxed Turkish ones.!

Breaking Down the Internet Barriers

There didn’t use to be many barriers to communication online, the internet in it’s infancy was pretty much completely open.  Sure I remember a few passwords were required for certain BBS systems or perhaps when you logging in to an online library or something like that, but nothing much else.

Nowadays there are many forces seeking to restrict, block or filter access to huge areas of the internet.  Their agendas are varied ranging from political, security to the increasing commercialism which rages across the web.  The worse thing is that half the time you have no idea you’re even being blocked.   That ’Page not Found’ error might not be a genuine problem but rather a Government tampering with the underlying infrastructure of the internet.  They may have decided that you don’t need to see that particular blog or site for some reason.

It’s difficult to say which source of this censorship is the most worrying.  To be honest a lot of it was fairly predictable, countries ruled by a despotic regime like Iran or Syria where always going to heavily filter the internet.  As a communication medium it is unsurpassed particularly if you’re organising demonstrations or protests.  A couple of weeks Syria closed down the entire internet for over a day  – in order to block communications between the rebels and protestors.

I think this sort of filtering is always going to happen, by their very nature Governments like Iran and Syria are always going to be worried about free speech, blocking everything is pretty much the only way to stop people communicating online.  The reason is that although there are many different methods to block access to specific web and social networking sites, there are many ways to circumvent these blocks.  Proxies and VPNs can be used to disguise your location and sidestep the firewalls that these regimes use.

In the commercial sector a prime example of internet filtering is by the big media sites like Hulu, BBC and ABC for example.  They’ll normally restrict access based on your location so if you’re in the UK you can watch ITV online but not anywhere else.  The same with Hulu they’ll restrict normal access to teh US mainland only.   Again these blocks can usually be bypassed fairly easily, this site has a video showing how you can use a proxy server to watch BBC Iplayer abroad on your PC – http://www.theninjaproxy.org/tv/how-to-use-a-bbc-iplayer-proxy/.

Many experts think that countries like Iran and China will eventually block all access to the internet as a whole.  It’s just to big and too uncontrolable for their liking, and there are too many little ways to stay anonymous if you know what you’re doing.  The alternative is that of North Korea which consists of entirely Government produced websites – which are of course stunningly dull anyway!

The Demise of the Letter

It’s looking pretty certain now to me, that the use of post and in particular letters are in their death throes. We all of course know the reasons, there are quicker, more available and simpler ways of communicating your thoughts to someone else.  But the availaibility is not the only reason, the fact is that the demand on our time is also a significant factor.

We write letters in our leisure time and to be honest if you have a job and children that is probably one of the scarcest things going.  I often think of the lifestyle of the world great communicator – Socrates, someone who’s life was devoted to communication.  He spent most of his waking hours wandering the streets of Ancient Athens simply talking to people, well ok mostly arguing!  What he would have made of a world where you could send a message to thousands of people across the world instantly I’ve no idea.

I suspect that Socrates would have been rather disappointed though. In reality although the internet increases the scope and level of communication the evidence in my inbox seems to suggest that the quality is sufferring. It’s no big surprise to find that a note typed into a small smartphone whilst you’re stuffed into a cylinder under the City of London can’t really compete with a letter crafted onto paper whilst you relax with a glass of Burgundy in a chair on your back garden.

There is no time to remember, no time to contemplate when clicking buttons.  Writing a letter is a very human exercise, it’s slow and contemplative and perhaps one of the few ways to properly share a mood.  Have you ever tried writing an annoyed, cross or affectionate SMS or text?  I can assure you after critical analysis they alll pretty much end up the same.

Anyway my time here is up, it takes soooo long to write a blog post that nobody will ever read. The same time could have been spent sending 100 text message, a couple of YouTube videos or perhaps liking a thousands of Facebook pages. I forgot my title and subject about the demise of a letter, but I suggest that writing one may be a very worthwhile activity.

I’m going to end this post with a tip, at the moment I’m having a wonderful time in Italy, living and working on the beautiful Amalfi coast.  But I am English and I miss the news on the BBC terribly, however I discovered that you could watch it online – http://www.iplayerabroad.com/.  It’s not a recommendation and I offer no support or insight but in the quest for communication being able to watch the BBC News is something I’m sure Socrates would have approved of!!