Thursday, May 30, 2013

Three Simple Ways to Use Online Video That Every Business Owner Should Know - and Use

Online VideoIf you're a business owner, you can't ignore the power of online video to generate leads, turn prospects into customers, and bring you repeat business. Online video is no longer difficult or expensive, so it's time for you to take advantage of it.

According to Google, which owns YouTube, over 60 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. Yes, that's 60 hours every minute! That means that if you wanted to watch all the video uploaded to YouTube in a single day, it would take you 10 years - and that's watching it 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

Here are three simple ways to use video in your marketing.

1. Create a welcome video on your Web site home page.

This video sits near the top of your home page, and is a nice, simple, friendly video that introduces people to you, your business, and your Web site. It shouldn't be more two minutes long – and one minute is even better. What should you say in it? Here's one simple formula: Start by stating the biggest problem that customers face when dealing with other people in your industry, then explain why you're different, then tell them what to do next on your Web site.

For example, if you're a plumber, you might say something like this:

"Hello, I'm Julie Bloggs from No More Leaky Taps. One of the biggest problems people have with a plumber is that they don't tell you when they will turn up, and sometimes even when they do, they don't turn up on time. So you have to hang around for hours waiting for them, which wastes your time, and sometimes messes up your entire day.

So you'll be pleased to know that we're different. All our office staff know about plumbing, so we can give you an exact time for your appointment, and we can even tell you how long it will usually take. We're so confident that if we're more than 5 minutes late, we'll give you $100 cash on the spot!

So if you want an on-time plumber – for a change – then get in touch with us. Have a look at our Web site for the nearest team member, and give them a call today!”

Record this video and upload it to YouTube. Try it out – it's easy!

2. Send a private video using EyeJot.

If you're worried about splashing your face on YouTube right away, here's how to start with something simpler: Send video e-mail using

You log on to their site, record a short video, and then send it to somebody as an e-mail. They get the e-mail and click the video link to watch your message.

This is perfect for keeping in touch with people, and it has a “Wow!” factor because it's impressive – and unexpected. If you're a plumber, imagine your customer's reaction if you send a video e-mail like this 24 hours before an appointment. Or if you're a real estate agent selling a home, you could send a video to the owners after a Home Open, just telling them how it went. Or if you're a personal trainer, you could send a short motivational video to a client after a training session.

This is so easy to do, because people expect e-mail to be friendly and casual, so it doesn't matter if your video isn't slick or elegant.

3. Ask your customers to create a video

Ask your customers to record a testimonial video and send it to you. That gives you instant marketing material for no effort at all!

You can ask customers to just record themselves talking to camera about your product or service, but that can be a bit dull. So get creative! For example, if you sell some sort of gizmo or gadget they can use, you might run a competition, where you tell customers to record a short video of themselves using the gizmo and talking about it. And you give a prize to the most creative video. Or whatever.

Get started with video!

So those are three pretty simple ideas for you to use video marketing in your business. The most important thing: As Nike says, “Just do it!” The more you do it, the easier and more natural it will become.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Co-creating a culture of creativity

This weeks sparkenation.

"... everyone has huge creative capacities as a natural result of being a human being.  The challenge is to develop them.  A culture of creativity has to involve everybody not just a select few."
Sir Ken Robinson in 'Out of our minds'.

What are you doing to co-create a culture of creativity?

My contribution is The Enhancing Their Gifts System and The Changing What's Normal Torchbearer Tribe.  Will you join me in either or both of these?

Please let me know what you are doing as well.  I am happy to spread the word for anybody who has their shoulder at the wheel of co-creating a culture of creativity.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Together we can change the rules

Inspired by this blog post by Jeffrey Hollender I joined The Rules.

Across the world, the gap between the rich and poor is getting wider. This is not just bad luck, and it's not an accident. It is a direct result of rules: the laws, policies, practices and beliefs that shape our world. 

Will you join me in changing the rules? 

For the first time in history, people around the world have both the opportunity and the ability to work together to change these rules so that they benefit everyone, and not just the few. I took action this week by joining The Rules--a citizen-powered movement to change the rules that perpetuate inequality and poverty. By joining The Rules, you will help build our voice and shift the balance of power back to the people. 

Be the difference you want to see in the world by joining The Rules.

Friday, May 24, 2013

“Disconnect from goals and results: Be in the moment.”

This weeks sparkenation.

Each Friday I look forward to reading the musings of Kevin Roberts CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi.  

The words “Disconnect from goals and results: Be in the moment.” standout out for me.

Below are links to further thoughts about focus and time that I have shared on this blog this month:

If you are attached to goals/results and are time poor your self-leadership is off course and therefore so is your leadership for others.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's the preparation that makes the paint look great

For a few weeks now my wife and I have had paint colour cards distributed around our home to help us decide on the colours for our indoor repaint.  The real work begins however after we have chosen the colours.  The real work is getting the surfaces prepared as well as we can.  We know from past experience that when you prepare a surface well the paint looks great.  The painting is the easy bit.

Whatever we do well in our lives clarity, decision, and preparation precede execution.

The clearer we are and the better prepared we are the greater the outcome.

Reflect on how clear you are and how well prepared you are with all your major goals.
Maybe adjustments here and there and greater diligence is need to ensure premium results.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday, May 20, 2013

“You manage things, processes, systems and performance, never people"

The statement “You manage things, processes, systems and performance, but never people” was highlighted in a recent advert for a course about performance reviews in the May 2013 issue of Management Today.  The statement by course facilitator Angela Williamson jumped out at me because minus the word performance it is a statement I have been making for 20+ years!  Is this crucial aspect of performance leadership finally catching on?

Elsewhere in the same issue of Management Today are reported reflections from Dr Marshall Goldsmith, perhaps the preeminent leadership coach in the world today - “Most organisations focus on what they can do to engage the employee, not what employees can do to engage themselves.”

Lead people.  
Leadership is about inspiration and influence.  I describe leadership as
the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

Co-create with your people a culture that inspires leadership being everyone’s business.  Such a culture enables people to engage themselves.

Your success however will largely be determined by how much management is in harmony with leadership.  

I describe management as
the practice that makes it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

How could your leadership be more inspiring and influential?  
And how much simpler do your systems and processes need to become so that people are consistently able to bring their best to the work?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

How to Have Better Webinars in Half the Time: Webinar Templates

Get Things Done in Half the TimeAlthough webinars are very efficient for participants, they can be very time-consuming for presenters. It takes time to prepare the material, organize it into a slide deck and rehearse for impact and timing.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution.

When an architect designs a new building, he/she has some ideas in mind, even if it’s a new, unique design. When a songwriter writes a song, he/she follows a certain structure – words, rhyme, rhythm and chord progressions. When a sports team takes the field, it plans certain strategies, plays and tactics to execute.

This doesn’t mean the architect, songwriter and sports teams can’t be creative, different and innovative. They can – it’s just that they work within standard structures.

You should do the same when designing the slide deck for a webinar.

Don’t start with a blank slide deck.

Don’t start with a blank PowerPoint file and start building the slides one by one. That’s the most difficult way to build a slide deck, because you’re starting from nothing and trying to construct the structure at the same time as creating the content.

Of course, you do have to fill in some slides with the unique content for this webinar. But you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by starting with a standard template, which puts most of the structure in place for you.

Using a template offers a number of benefits:

  • You focus on the most important slides – those with the unique content for this webinar.
  • You have a structure in place already, rather than trying to design the structure at the same time as the content.
  • You can reuse some “standard” slides – for example, running a poll, introducing the presenter, stopping for questions and so on.
  • It’s much faster to create your slide deck, which is especially important if you present a lot of webinars.
  • When you become familiar with the template, you spend less time rehearsing and preparing each webinar.
  • Everybody in your organization can use the same template, which means a consistent approach to all your webinars.

If you don’t already have a template for your webinars, a simple way to get started is to strip back a slide deck from an earlier webinar. Even if this isn’t perfect, it’s still better than starting with a blank slide deck!

Here are two templates for you to use.

An even better option is to start with a well-designed template, crafted to suit the typical sort of webinar you present.

To make this easier for you, I've teamed up with the folks at Citrix - who provide the GoToWebinar software - to create two PowerPoint templates, especially designed for webinar presenters. One template is for a marketing webinar, and the other is for internal communications:

Both templates include standard slides, template slides (for you to complete) and instructions on how to use them.

You have our permission to download and use the templates yourself. Modify them to suit your organization’s needs and use them as the starting point for your next webinar!

Monday, May 13, 2013

You are not your thoughts rather the being who is having them

This weeks sparkenation.

You are not your thoughts rather the being who is having them.

What thoughts do you need to modify or change to achieve what you want?

Maybe you need to modify or change your intentions and feelings as well.

Intentions, feelings and thoughts precede actions.  If your actions are not leading you to where you want to be consider modfiying or changing your intentions, feelings, and/or thoughts.

"The realm of consciousness is much vaster than thought can grasp. When you no longer believe everything you think, you step out of thought and see clearly that the thinker is not who you are."
Eckhart Tolle

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Commitment and high performance with David Penglase

Here is the recording of the changing what's normal candid conversation with David Penglase, author of the great book Intentionomics.

The next changing what's normal candid conversation on June 4th is about connection and high performance.  My very special guest is Amanda Gore.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Learning from a Car Breakdown

Today was a very important day. A Monday, there was this meeting with our Director Mr Ram Kumar, which made me get ready earlier than usual. Though a normal meeting where my role was more of 'downloading' what our director had to say, there was still an air of anticipation which made me even miss my regular breakfast of eggs and parathas. I had planned to travel by the local train, which would give me at least an hour in office before the meeting.

 As I gave that last bit of extra shine to my shoes  and prepared to leave, my wife Harpreet requested, " I have this packet to be given to Rajesh, who is on his already on his way to office and will pass by. Why don't you hand it to him? It will save me the effort." Not wanting to complicate matters further, I grudgingly took the packet and quickly made my way to the crossing.

Within a minute Rajesh (our family friend) also reached. I smiled and waved, indicating him to open the door. He offered me to sit and I reciprocated, claiming my 5 minutes to reach the station faster. As we moved ahead, his car gave a sputter and slowly lost throttle. 'Heck, this is the second time I have done it, this week', he exclaimed, and requested me to proceed while he figured his next move. 'It doesn't happen this way, don't worry, I have plenty of cushion time' was all I said, and I could sense a lot of relief in him.

With the thought of pushing the car being not even considered by any one of us, we both walked up to the gas station hoping to find a way to get diesel in a container only to find out that they did not have any container available. Suddenly I remembered there being some spare parts and scrap dealers across the road who could be having one.

Our probing visit across the road was fruitful, as we found a 10 liter can outside a locked shop. After intimating a few onlookers, we 'borrowed' the can and got it filled up. As Rajesh was getting the diesel filled, the owner of the can caught up and inquired what was the problem, and got satisfied after being assured that the can would be returned immediately.

 Managing to finally get the car started, Rajesh offered to drop me at the next auto rickshaw stop. He expressed his desire to drive back to return the can. Realizing that even he was getting late for office, I suggested that he return the same on his way back in the evening."No, Navinder, I have to return this now." I got off and took the first available auto and we wished each other a great week ahead.

Now for the learnings: -
  1. Be flexible and allow sudden events to take their time. No point stressing over situations you cannot help. Neither the job of handing over the packet, nor the car running out of gas was foreseen. Any signs of stress can impact relationships big time.
  2. Never ever leave someone in lurch, even at the cost of your impending plans. What you will gain in those times of difficulty sharing will surpass other opportunities. Dependability is a great attribute that builds confidence of others in you.
  3. Keep your promises, however small they appear.  Small demonstrations of your intent build character over a period of time. Character builds trust. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How are you being a disruptive influence for good?

I vividly remember the fear of going home one day when I was 15 with a school report card that was dominated by the same words from most teachers “Ian is a disruptive influence in class.”  My father, well known for doing good, exclaimed “I don’t know why you can’t be a disruptive influence for good!”  Seed planted.

It took awhile for the seed to grow and quite awhile longer for me to nurture it until it became a blessing rather than a curse.  

Being disruptive is in my nature. It’s a part of my DNA. Sometimes my being disruptive has caused challenges for others. I still don’t get it right all the time, yet years of enhancing my gift means most of the time my disruptions are valued by others.  And so I was delighted last week when a client introduced me to a prospective client as a “disruptive influence for good.”  Circle complete 44 years later!

Disruption is somewhat of a buzzword today.  I think it is much more.  Our calling as differencemakers is to disrupt the status quo when same no longer serves humanity and to bring about change or influence change that is good for people and our planet.

In your own way how are you being a disruptive influence for good?

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Very few good outcomes are solo efforts

This weeks sparkenation.

Very few good outcomes are solo efforts.  Success is usually a combination of several factors.  Here is one of my favourite combinations that has stood the test of time for me.

"The unique combination of desire, planning, effort and perseverence will always work its magic."
Jim Rohn

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Friday, May 3, 2013

You may have to shift your strategy to fully unleash your talents

If you find yourself not doing your best work every day you may have to shift your strategy to fully unleash your talents.

In a recent blog post Seth Godin said “Your talent deserves the shift in strategy that will let you do your best work.”

I couldn’t agree more.

You are a unique person.  Do you truly know what is unique about you?  Are you bringing your specialness to your work every day?

The Doing Your Life’s Work Pulse Check may help you.   And completing it means you can also download my Changing What’s Normal book with my compliments.

Not sure about what’s special about you?  Need to shift your strategy to unleash your talents?  Take up my Monday morning mentoring complimentary offer and I will help you. 

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Are You Using the World's Second Biggest Social Network?

It's official: Google+ is now the world's second biggest social network.

In June 2011, Google released its new social network Google+. It started with a bang, rapidly reaching 40 million users, but then its growth slowed. I've been a big fan of Google+ (for reasons I'll explain soon), but most experts weren't optimistic. It was famously labelled a "ghost town", and has largely been ignored by people talking about social media.

Well, a new report has found that Google+ is now the second biggest social network - behind Facebook but bigger than Twitter and LinkedIn.

I think this is great news (and not just because it proves me right :-).

Why? Because a successful Google+ means better results when people are searching Google. That's good for everybody searching Google, and it's good for all of us who want to be found by the right people.

Why is this important?

If Google+ wasn't owned by Google, this wouldn't be such a big deal. But because of this connection, it means Google can use what you do on Google+ to decide how to display search results.

Here's an example ...

Fringe Festival PerthIn summer, Perth is alive with art and culture. One weekend in February hosted the official opening of the Festival of Perth, the middle of the Fringe Festival, the Chinese New Year's celebrations in the city, the University of Western Australia's centenary celebrations, and more.

If you were Google trying to help people who wanted to know what to do in Perth that weekend, how would you decide? All of those events are good, but they appeal to different people. So Google can't just decide based on which has the best Web site, or which is the most popular, or which has the best SEO (search engine optimisation).

It turns out there's a pretty good solution to this problem - and Google has been doing it for years: It shows different search results to different people. And the way it chooses what to show you depends (among other things) on what your friends, and their friends, like.

This makes sense, because birds of a feather flock together. You probably share similar interests, incomes, lifestyles - and even body weight and health - as your friends (and their friends). So if Google knows what they like, it can tailor your search results to show you what's more likely to be relevant.

That's where Google+ comes in.

Facebook knows your "friends" because you've accepted them as friends. But Google doesn't have access to Facebook data.

Twitter knows your "friends" because you follow them and they follow you. But Google doesn't have access to Twitter data.

But Google does know who you connect with on Google+. And it uses that information when feeding you search results.

More importantly, it uses that information when feeding search results to your clients, colleagues, and other important people in your network!

Here's how this works in practice ...

So, for example, if you're a leadership speaker and a conference organiser is searching Google for a leadership speaker, Google will give you priority if you're already connected to that conference organiser on Google+ or you're connected to somebody else who is connected to them.

That last bit is the key to getting found on Google. You don't have to be directly connected to somebody, but you can be connected indirectly via somebody else.

If you think about it, this makes sense. It's a small world, and the conference organisers you want to deal with probably know other conference organisers you've worked with, clients you've worked with, and other speakers like you. They would value those people's recommendations in the offline world, so why not in the online world as well?

It's time to get active on Google+

All of this means you can't ignore Google+ anymore. If it still looks like a ghost town to you, that's because you haven't been using it.

So get started!

Create an account, start connecting with people you know, and start participating in it. At the very least, every time you write an article for your newsletter or blog, copy it to Google+ as well.

Would you like to learn more about Google+?

Soon after Google+ launched, I ran a webinar about it and what it means for you as a marketer and business owner. As I pointed out at the time, it's not a Facebook killer or Twitter killer, but it might turn out to be the biggest change in search engine marketing in the last decade.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Are your people practices 21st century or do they belong to another era?

Two statements jumped out at me in the Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study that involved 32000 people from 29 countries:

“Companies are running 21st century businesses with 20th century workplace practices and programs.”

“It’s essential for organizations and their leaders to have a clear understanding of what matters to employees, and why and how that affects their productivity and behavior on the job.”

I wrote my paper “The most significant shift you can make in your business is the one from performance management to performance leadership", to inspire you to ensure your people practices are 21st century and to fully unleash the talent gathering in your workplace.  

Be the difference you want to see in the world.