Wednesday, May 4, 2011

No stupid questions at business seminars

The audience chuckled last week when I opened a seminar by saying:
We all know intellectually that there's no such thing as a stupid question, but...sometimes we're not sure about our own.  Take advantage of the lunch break, or take a business card and call from the privacy of your own office.
I think it was an effective ice-breaker, so I'm sharing it with you for your speeches.  I wish I'd added
Your questions are important, so please ask them.
The follow-up from the seminar was encouraging.  Nothing is more effective than face-to-face communication, when you can convince people to take time off from their busy schedules.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Take our kids to work

Yesterday I enjoyed my first paid speaking engagement.  Now I can put "professional speaker" on my resume, along with my public speaking prizes.

The crowd wasn't very demanding: 3- to 12-year-olds visiting the office for Take Our Kids to Work day.  After my speech, they had pizza and then they were supposed to go across the street for cotton candy and bean bag tosses.

My speech, of course, was entertaining and educational.  But for the rest of the day, what did these children learn?  That when Daddy and Mommy go to the office their bosses shake their hands and offer them hot chocolate?

When I visited my father in the office I saw the stock tickers.  When I visited my stepmother I saw the Linotype and the manual exchange switchboard.  That photocopy machine made my day.  Once I figured out how to use it, I wrote and illustrated books.  Unfortunately I wasn't invited back...

When my kids visited me in the office they watched me stare at the computer and yell at them if they interrupted me in mid-sentence.  Or they helped me address mass mailings. 

When they visit Lloyd, they see a real chem lab with spectrometers and safety glasses and everything.

In other words, my children and I saw real work.  I hope all those children who participated in Take Our Kids to Work Day yesterday saw a little of that as well.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Product Mix

A hint to the ladies of the Landmark Apostolic Church:

If the lady at the Shell Station at the Danville, PA, exit off Route 80 tells you that you need to bring in more peanut butter chocolates, do it.

She knows what her customers are asking for.

I like to buy local products, so I bought the coconut kind--that's all that was left.  I was sorry to have missed the peanut butter ones, though.

Anyway, good luck with your fundraising and happy Easter.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

We need more Brazilians

After hours of research, I conclude that the world would be a better place if more of us were Brazilian.

The research was at the airport, where I looked for people who flew more or less regularly to South America.  The Brazilians were uniformly courteous, even the ones who declined to take my survey.  How pleasant the world would be if more people were so civil.  I didn't even have to use my Googlely-translated script. I can't even fake Portuguese.

Though fewer of them actually took the survey, I'm proud to say that Spanish-speaking travelers complimented my pronunciation.  I credit Pimsleur, which is a great way to learn a language, better, in my opinion, than Rosetta Stone.  (Travel, of course, is the best way, but I don't do enough of that.)

Gracias lo mismo y buen viaje.

Friday, April 1, 2011

What the ???

Here's my LinkedIn "People You May Know" page today

It took me at least 22 seconds to figure out what was going on.

Poisson d'avril!

Monday, March 28, 2011

But it's not good enough

Harry's gone now to that great Toastmasters meeting in the sky.  He honored me once by asking me to advise him on one of his speeches.  "It sounds unrehearsed," I said.  "How many days did you practice it?"  He told me that he'd only practiced it for a couple of days.  "Why didn't you give it more time?"

He didn't rehearse it more because he was still writing it, he said, right up till the end.  He could always make it better.

I sympathized.  You can always improve and tweak.

I feel now about the fundraising cookbook the way Harry felt about his speeches.  I felt the same way about the low-budget mailers I sent out as a realtor.  I wrote them.  I laid them out and printed them.  I prepared the address lists and printed the labels.  I folded and stamped them.  By the time I did all this, they irritated me.  Who'd want to look at junk mail like this?

Nonetheless, imperfect marketing is better than none at all. 

The same is true of imperfect fundraising.  Now I'm up to my elbows in the cookbook.  Without the cookbook committee I'd have given up long ago.  Still, it doesn't look good enough.  It looks as if a volunteer laid it out in Word.  I want it to look better!

At some point you have to say, "This is as good as it's going to get."  Boy, it's hard.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

you mean I can do this with Word 2010?

I know it's not beautiful (yet).  Still, I'm amazed that I'm able to create this cover art for my fundraising cookbook using only Word 2010.  I used to crave Indesign, but maybe I don't need it, given the awesome power of Word.  Thanks, Microsoft!