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All about the alliteration…

As I was musing over ideas for today’s post, I started doodling and making notes about the random thoughts that popped into my head. As it turns out, three of those thoughts began with the letter P: planning, polarizing, and paying. So it doesn’t take a cryptographer to figure out how the rest of the post unfolded.

The thing is, there is power in word play. As Simon Smith notes in a post for Right Spot Media:

To some, the connection between a strong brand and the repetition of sounds might seem farfetched. But researchers have studied the impact of alliteration and found that it may indeed aid memorability. In fact, studies have shown that alliteration is such a powerful mnemonic that providing students with alliterative sentences can help them more easily learn a new language.

Consider some very popular name brands:

Best Buy

Dunkin’ Donuts

Krispy Kreme

PayPal

Volvo

Weight Watchers

Phillip Davis of SmallBusinessDelivered.com notes the efficacy of alliteration in branding small companies, as well:

We made use of this technique with one of our clients: Park Place Garage. Not only did the name have alliteration with the two Ps, but it also contained a double entendre (Park Place is both a place to park a car and a name associated with high end real estate).

So here’s my stab at an alliterative alphabet of writing- and marketing-related phrases. Some are even whole sentences unto themselves! One thing to note: alliterative sounds needn’t all contain the same letters. Also, you can carry the alliteration through internal syllables.

Authentic authors aspire to achieve astute audiences.

Bountiful branding builds your business.

Conscious consistent connection creates continuing contacts.

Drip e-mail develops dedicated devotees.

Editing enhances your exposition.

Funky freelancers fulfill fantasy niches.

Good graphics generate great get-up-and-go.

Hot headlines hit hard.

Internet interest is increasing by the hour.

Journalists justify juggling jewels and junk.

Clever keywords capture knowledgeable niches.

LinkedIn allows a legitimate look at one’s work life.

Messaging makes media move.

No longer neophytes, Larsson fans await the next new novel, unaware there will be no more.

Once you overcome the obstacles, Outlook offers many opportunities to achieve your e-mail objectives.

A promising platform is the first step to prestige.

Quixotic quips … quick questions … quite the quandary.

Readers are ready to reel in this old writer’s ruminations.

Sentence structure will set your essay to sink or swim.

Trendy taglines transform text without trickery.

Once uniquely useful, Facebook has become ubiquitous and unoriginal.

Vocal variety creates vibrancy.

WordPress wizards write regularly.

eXcellent designers employ eXtreme devices.

Youthful yearning is a customary storyline in YA fiction.

Zippy zingers zap the readerz’ eyeballz.

OK, tell me what you really think. At least I had fun with it! If you decide to try it yourself and come up with anything really outstanding, please come back and share it with us in the comment section below!

Happy alliterating –

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out and register today!

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The onus of clear communication is on YOU, the one doing the communicating

More than a dozen years before its demise contributed to America’s recent financial meltdown, I was employed as a Facilities Coordinator at Lehman Brothers. I will make one editorial comment about that: the end result should have come as a surprise to no one who’d set foot within a mile of the Wall Street investment banking firm any time in those 12+ years.

My job was arranging the internal moves of staff, from senior bankers to receptionists. As a rule, if someone gets promoted in investment banking, they get a bigger office. If a new hire comes in, prior people may need to shuffle, depending on the new hire’s position. Suffice to say, we did a LOT of moving.

On a weekly basis, we updated the floorplans so that everyone who needed the information could see where each banker and associated support staff were located. In order to fit the 11 x 17 flooplans into letter-size in boxes with the floor number showing, we folded them as indicated on Diagram A to the right.

One time, I had a temp assisting me with the seemingly simple job of folding said floorplans in said manner. I showed her how to do it, gave her a sample to take back to her desk with her. Imagine my surprise – and frustration – when my temp brought them back to me folded like Diagram B: quartered and with no portion of the printed side showing, making it impossible to see the floor number. Twenty-five sheets wasted because this gal could not follow instructions.

It’s obviously been a long time since that happened, but I’ve never forgotten that incident. I was reminded of it yet again today when I supervised a recruiting event in which volunteers were asked to collect information from passersby. Depending on the circumstances of the person being questioned, they were asked to complete one of three forms. As I was doing data entry to report our results, it became apparent that either my instructions to my volunteers had been faulty, or we were back in that Lehman Brothers scenario all those years ago. Out of the 21 forms I collected at the end of the event, 4 people had completed the wrong forms.

The book marketing – and life – lesson from this: the burden of communicating is on the one delivering the message, not the person receiving it. What does this mean? Better safe than sorry – so confirm EVERYTHING. All those years ago with the temp, I should have asked her to perform the task in front of me, so I knew she understood. Today with my volunteers, I should have asked them to explain back to me what I was asking of them to make sure they fully comprehended my instructions.

YOU must do the same, regarding:

  • When your editor or graphic designer expects to finish their portion of your project
  • How many copies of your book you’ve ordered
  • When you can expect delivery
  • How much the delivery fee will be
  • The date and location of that speaking event
  • The expected duration of your prepared speech
  • Whether vendor tables are provided for the speakers
  • How many and what form of social media connections you can expect your VA to deliver

Never assume. Always double check. Make sure you understand the questions asked of you – and even more importantly, make sure the people with whom you are communicating fully understand what you want and expect of them.

Happy communicating –

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out and register today!

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VICTORY: A modern communications parable

Once upon a time, when an American wanted to communicate with someone other than their immediate family or neighbors, they wrote words … on paper … with quills dipped in pots of ink. Men on horseback carried these letters to their intended recipients, but not further than a few miles.

Then, one day, the threat of the Civil War and the need for faster communication between the East and the West spurred men on horseback to do the unthinkable: riders from each coast left simultaneously to deliver words written on paper with quills dipped in pots of ink to people on the other side of the country. This rudimentary mail service lasted for just 19 months, until a new system was perfected for transmitting messages from a distance along a wire, breaking the connection to create a code.

Unbelievably, voice messages were soon transmitted along wires, eventually at long distances. No longer did one need to hire a horseman to deliver messages; no longer were choppy sentences transmitted via broken electronic signals the norm. One shared this verbal line of communication with between two and twenty other people, and could talk only five minutes or so before someone else would want to use the service. Privacy was a concern, as anyone on the party line could pick up their receiver and listen in on another’s conversation.

Fast-forward some 70 years, and a new technology takes hold. No longer does one need pick up a phone to communicate. Now, they can type letters on their computers and shoot messages across networks of wires to receivers as close as next door and as far as the other side of the world. Just 10 years later, it is impossible to spot a person emerging from an airplane without a new-fangled object, a voice messaging device that bounces signals off of satellites, affixed to their ear.

Of course, everything just keeps speeding up. With the advent of cell phones comes the ubiquitous typing of short text messages into these magical handheld devices, followed shortly by social media. People now list “making calls” as the third most common use for their cell phones.

Today, in late 2011, we are in communications overload. Text users send and receive between 50 and 100 messages a day, while the average active email user now receives about 120 emails a day, and sends 30 of them. It’s no wonder our messages get ignored and deleted without being read.

This is where our story begins.

Our intrepid heroine has accepted the call to wrangle a minimum of 4 nominees for elected officer positions for the regional affiliate of a national organization. The jobs will entail the usual: Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer. Being that everyone in the WORLD is juggling about 200 things at one time these days, and getting people to volunteer to chair and run a group that meets quarterly would be ONE MORE THING, this seemingly innocuous task will prove more difficult than our heroine would have imagined.

The campaign begins.

One e-mail goes out to the whole tribe, announcing the election to be held in 2 months’ time and explaining the roles of each officer.

About 2 weeks later, a second e-mail goes out, reminding people that the nominations are open.

Amazingly, 2 individuals respond, throwing their hats in for 2 of the 4 positions! “Yippee – we’re halfway there!” our heroine thinks.

A third e-mail goes out, again reminding people of the positions, and encouraging them to self-nominate or nominate qualified others.

It’s now about a month away from the election, and the presidents are asked to announce the elections at each local affiliate meeting, which – presumably – they do.

Crickets chirp.

The election is 2 weeks away.

Help is enlisted to call the presidents to try to round up some interest and candidates.

Another e-mail goes out.

The election is 2 days away.

Our heroine re-emerges, this time armed with a secret weapon: that newfangled device that allows voice messages to bounce off the satellites. Please remember, this is a reluctant heroine who does not favor phone calls, but prefers the less invasive e-mail and texting as her favorite forms of communication. Nevertheless, she’s facing down the clock, so she bites the end of her pen and presses the buttons for the first number. “No, I’m not interested in running, and I don’t really know anyone else who would be.”

Down the list she goes, leaving messages and cajoling people to phone her if, sometime in the middle of “The X Factor,” they hit upon the perfect, but as yet untapped, candidate.

Then, something magical happens during call #8. “I’m not really ready to take on one of those roles. Maybe next year.”

“You’re not ready? What does that mean? Tell me more,” our heroine prods. Voila – with just a tiny bit of encouragement, Miss “I’m Not Ready” becomes a willing candidate.

Another phone call, this time resulting in the suggestion of another perhaps willing individual.

One more call, and she’s done it. Our heroine has 4 nominees for the 4 spots, all willing to step up and help run this great organization. But it never would have happened if she’d held fast to her phone-phobia and relied solely on e-mails.

You’re an SBM*, so I won’t beat you over the head with the moral to our story. But I will encourage you to pick up that phone if you’re not getting results with e-mail. Whether it’s about scheduling a book signing or inviting people to attend. Get out your contact list, sit down with a glass of water, take a deep breath, and start calling. Your results may amaze you.

Happy phoning!

Laura

* Savvy Book Marketer

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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