Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What I'm reading and listening to

I get asked all the time where I get my ideas, how I can write so many blog posts, and why I'm able to work intelligently across many sectors and topics. My secret weapon? Reading, something you'd think I wouldn't have time for.

Technically, I don't, but my mom could've told you that the kid who came to the dinner table with a book in her lap could figure this out. So these days, my Kindle Fire is with me whenever I know I'll have wait time, and I'm a big fan of audiobooks when I'm moving around, which might be during a workout, a walk, driving, or taking public transportation. The books I dive into are in addition to the podcasts and RSS feeds I follow...that's a longer list, for another day. Here's what I'm reading and listening to, book-wise, right now:
  1. The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users, by Guy Kawasaki. I'm looking forward to finding out what I've missed in my power usage. When a guide like this comes from someone as smart about the topic as Kawasaki, I am sure to learn.
  2. Poetry for the Winter Season is an audiobook staple for me in the dark months. If I'm going to be out in the cold, may as well have some poetic narration to lend perspective. These are the poems of many authors, with a variety of views.
  3. Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement, by Katy Bowman. Bowman's a biomechanist I follow to figure out how to keep my body in shape, and she's got a compelling thesis here. I, of course, chose this in audiobook form to listen while walking and moving.
  4. The Zigzag Principle: The Goal Setting Strategy that will Revolutionize Your Business and Your Life, by Rich Christiansen. This came highly recommended. As a business owner, setting goals and reaching them, despite obstacles in the path, is what it's all about.
  5. Men, Women and Worthiness: The Experience of Shame and the Power of Being Enough, by Brene Brown. This is a short, two-hour audiobook, but extremely powerful, distilling the different ways men and women experience shame, embarrassment, and vulnerability. I've already put this to use in a blog post and in my speaker coaching.
  6. Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche and We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love, both by Robert A. Johnson. As a coach--even a coach of public speakers--I can't get enough solid psychology reading. Johnson's classics are thoughtful, eloquent reads.
  7. Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience, by Shaun Usher. Letters serve the same function as poems, giving you short, quickly digested inspiration and shots of wisdom. I took this one in ebook form so I can pretend to be reading real letters. Love this collection.
  8. Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing, by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, MD. Natterson-Horowitz and I worked together at TEDMED and her talk about what human medicine can learn from veterinary medicine prompted me to dive further into her work.
  9. Lincoln's Citadel: The Civil War In Washington, DC, by Kenneth J. Winkle, lets me explore the city where I live, from another time's perspective. I live close to one of Lincoln's residences here in Washington, and am eager to learn more.
  10. Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace, by Sharon Salzberg. Mindfulness meditation keeps me calm and ready for action. I've heard a few interviews with Salzberg and am eager to see how she applies meditation to the workplace.
There's a special deal on if you want to go the audiobook route: You can get 2 free audiobooks when you try Audible. And if you're a Kindle owner, you'll appreciate the sync feature that lets you go between an ebook and an audiobook, always landing right where you left off.

Come to my pre-conference workshop at the Spring Speechwriters and Business Communicators Conference in Cambridge, UK, this April. What goes into a TED-quality talk will help speakers, speechwriters and conference organizers understand how to craft and deliver a talk in the style of TED, whether you're getting ready for a TEDx conference or just a presentation in this popular style. Go to this link  for more details on what's included, as well as a significant discount. The workshop is on 15 April, and the conference is 16-17 April. Please join me!

Friday, February 20, 2015

The weekend read

Pow! The end of the week may have slammed you in the head like a snowball, communicators, but I think that calls for celebration. After all, the weekend's ahead and there's still time to get smarter by Monday. Here's my strategic pile of snowballs, aka my finds of the week, shared via @dontgetcaught on Twitter, then curated here for you. Duck and cover:
  • Well-aimed snowballs: It's not too early to remind you to start watching how the U.S. political campaigns use social media, since elections always bring out innovations. The Wall Street Journal takes a look, noting that Hillary Clinton--with no official campaign yet--far outstrips other candidates in Facebook mentions.
  • Está nevando, all of a sudden: It's 2015, and the New York Times is experimenting with translating certain stories into Spanish.
  • Will you be on my snowball team? Twitter's rolling out TweetDeck Teams to help you manage accounts with multiple posters.
  • Poor visibility: This article on the digital black hole suggests that you may lose many memories--in the form of photos and other media--when social sites get updates. What are you doing to preserve them?
  • Snow removal: Pinterest is getting rid of affiliate links.
  • Just missed me: Earlier in the week, I posted about the latest in online video options and trends, including new players like Snapchat and Twitter, as well as what the stalwarts are doing to stay current. Lots of good data for you, plus a take on what your viewers are thinking as they look at your videos.
  • The snow has drifTED: Seats are filling for What goes into a TED-quality talk, my pre-conference workshop at the Spring Speechwriters and Business Communicators Conference in Cambridge, UK, this April. The workshop will help you learn how to craft and deliver a talk in the style of TED, whether you're getting ready for a TEDx conference, writing a speech for someone else, or aiming to do a presentation in this popular style. Go to this link  for more details on what's included, as well as a significant discount. The workshop is on 15 April, and the conference is 16-17 April. Please join me!
It's like free hot chocolate at a snowball fight for me when I see you here on Fridays. Warm up and sign up for my free monthly newsletter, register for my workshop, buy my new ebook on moderating panel discussions, or let me know how we can work together in 2015 with an email to eloquentwoman at gmail.com.

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Katie Campbell)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Online video: Updates, options, insights

Online video is still the king of social content, and its empire is ever-expanding as even more players get in the game and the regulars up their game. Seth Godin recently created a smart list of the questions that go through the viewer's mind whenever she watches a video online (and you'd do well to memorize them). He says:
Everyone can publish video now, and in many ways, almost everyone is publishing video now. A video won't work because everyone watches it. It will work because the right people do, for the right reason. The occasional video viral hit has blinded us to the power of long-tail video to build the culture and change minds.
That's a smart way to reframe your expectations. Take a look at these essential updates so you know what your options are:
  1. A distinction for personal video sharing: We're watching a lot of video on Facebook, which reported 1 billion video views per day recently. Lots more data at the link. A study says more people shared personal videos on Facebook than YouTube. Personal is key here: If you want people to post and share videos of themselves doing something, you might want to follow the crowd to Facebook. 
  2. But don't ditch YouTube: Despite that, YouTube is still the 500-pound gorilla of online video, with an unmatched 1 billion unique views each month. For perspective, you might recall that YouTube reaches more 18-to-24-year-olds than any cable television network. Here's another good look at YouTube and its competitors as the site turns 10. It's not sitting still, either: Auto-play is expected to soon roll out to all YouTube videos.
  3. And here comes Twitter: Twitter just rolled out video capability that lets you shoot, edit and post video from all the Twitter apps, and you may not have noticed that all the photos and videos you share on Twitter are collected and linked on your profile, making them easier for others to access.
  4. Snapchat gets in the game: Snapchat's Discover videos--from selected publishing partners like CNN and ESPN--are getting millions of views per publisher, per day. More important, they reflect the new direction of reaching users in messaging apps and getting them to hang around longer.
  5. Even more options for FB pages: For page administrators, Facebook is expanding video options, including which videos you wish to feature and organization options for your video collections. And its native video capability will even further expand options for brands as it continues to roll out.
  6. And that's why the tube is being abandoned: Regular TV is on the wane: Forrester reports that the percentage of Americans age 18 to 88 who watch regular old television fell below 50 percent, thanks to many online video options.
Still a little breathless? Mashable offered this look at the evolution of video, from technicolor to streaming 4K.

(Creative Commons licensed photo by LoKan Sardari)

Come to my pre-conference workshop at the Spring Speechwriters and Business Communicators Conference in Cambridge, UK, this April. What goes into a TED-quality talk will help speakers, speechwriters and conference organizers understand how to craft and deliver a talk in the style of TED, whether you're getting ready for a TEDx conference or just a presentation in this popular style. Go to this link  for more details on what's included, as well as a significant discount. The workshop is on 15 April, and the conference is 16-17 April. Please join me!

Friday, February 13, 2015

The weekend read

Delicate, fragile, difficult to preserve. Oh, snap. You though I was talking about orchids, but that could well be you at week's end, couldn't it, communicators? Let me get some plant food for you, my delicate flower, in the form of my curated collection of finds of the week, served up every Friday for communicators. I pick the best ones via @dontgetcaught on Twitter, then present them here for you, a bouquet to celebrate the weekend ahead:
Like a watering can to a flower, I'm always delighted to see you here on Fridays. Take some time to sign up for my free monthly newsletter, register for my workshop, or let me know how we can work together in 2015 with an email to eloquentwoman at gmail.com.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My 15 secret weapons for staying productive...personally.

I've written a lot about the tools I use to stay productive professionally, but let's face it: Productivity in the office also depends on your ability to be productive in your personal life. Here are the apps, tools and services I use to keep the personal side organized and moving smoothly. Each of these 15 options, in its own way, saves me time, my most precious commodity--and that has a good effect on my work productivity, in turn. Where I'm able to do so, I've included links that give you a bonus for signing up:
  1. Uber: I use Uber, "everyone's private driver," for airport runs, errands, and more--it's part of my current ability to live car-free. I love that it works all over the world with the same app and account information, so I can catch a ride in London or DC without thinking about it. Washington, DC, rates for Uber just dropped 15 percent. If you're new to Uber and take your first ride by February 16 using my linkyou'll get a free ride up to $30.
  2. Amazon Prime: Delivery is a core component of my personal productivity. I run a business, not errands. Amazon Prime has brought me everything from patio umbrellas and fire pits to clothing, shoes, and supplies--for free, in no more than two days. Membership includes many more benefits: free music, free cloud storage for photos, and thousands of free movies and TV programs. Well worth the annual fee. Amazon's Subscribe & Save program is another stalwart: Once a month, I get a curated-by-me delivery of staples I need on a regular basis, saving 15 percent and many trips to the store. 
  3. FancyHands: This virtual assistant does it all for me, both work and personal. Appointments, waiting on hold, figuring out refunds, finding gift suggestions, sending flowers, cancelling and rescheduling, updating my calendar, researching options or products, finding me discounts, you name it (within reason, and if it can done by phone or online). Their best coup: Getting a program printed and delivered on a rush basis, with a 50 percent discount, for a wedding in which my houseguest was the best man. Made me look like a rock star. The bride still calls me her wedding program fairy. My link gets you half off your first month.
  4. Priority Pass: I get Priority Pass--access to many kinds of airport lounges--through my American Express card. I love that it's one app I can use to find and get into lounges in airports all over the world. Time-saver, and travel-easer.
  5. OneMedical: My primary care provider makes it easy for me to set up appointments and request prescription refills online, confer with my medical team via email at all hours, and get face-to-face care here in Washington and many other U.S. cities, a real bonus when I'm on the road. You pay a flat annual membership fee and they work with your insurance. Use code OMLOVE15 by February 15 to get 3 months free, or check your Klout Perks in case you qualify for a discount there.
  6. Peapod: This grocery delivery service works with different supermarkets in different cities all over the U.S. I like its online ordering interface, which will store your lists, show you deals, and lets you reschedule and add things to your order until 6pm the night before delivery. Delivery is a reasonable fee, you can add a tip for the driver, and they'll bring the groceries in for you, or deliver them in insulated coolers left outside if you won't be home. Use my code to get $20 off your first order. Protip: Sign up for Peapod's Facebook page to get discount codes that change frequently.
  7. Instacart: For same-day delivery--something Peapod doesn't do--I use Instacart. You can schedule delivery in as little as an hour or two. Instacart works with a variety of markets in my city. Get $10 off your first order with my link.
  8. Ultra: Ultra will ship or deliver wine, beer, and liquor via an easy-to-use ordering interface that connects you to a local store. I'm planning lots of parties this year, and Ultra will put years back on my life at party time.
  9. Evernote: If you read this blog, you know I use Evernote for everything from book writing to business travel. But my biggest notebook holds recipes clipped from the web, making Evernote my kitchen assistant. I plan gifts, manage my medical care, collect information for my hobbies, keep track of home repairs and maintenance, and much more. Use my link and once you've signed up and signed into your free Evernote account, you'll get a month of its Premium service, with expanded search capability, storage, and other features.
  10. Pocket Casts: I left iTunes behind, using Amazon Music for tunes and Pocket Casts for my podcast listening. It's effortless, and lets me listen to cooking shows, interviews, and much more when I'm cooking, exercising, or doing chores.
  11. MOO powers my business paper and printing, from letterhead and business cards to flyers. But I also use it for holiday cards, personal note cards, and more. Moo operates in many countries, offers pre-made designs, or lets you upload your own. Use my link and get 10 percent off your first order.
  12. Zipcar lets me rent cars of all sizes for short-term needs that might be as little as an hour. There are daily mileage limits, but if you plan well, you'll be fine. The app is fabulous, letting you quickly text if you need to extend the reservation, when the car is available. I've made Ikea runs, moved small items of furniture and large shopping hauls, and taken joyrides for daytrips out of town. Zipcar works all over, even in other countries, and insurance and gas are baked into the rate. Use my link...the first 2 people to do so get a $25 driving credit.
  13. Parkmobile lets you pay for metered street parking with your mobile device. In Washington, when I drive a Zipcar, my street parking is free--but I use Parkmobile for everything else. No more collecting coins! They also offer access to gated parking and other options, depending on the locations, which are all over the U.S.
  14. Airbnb has been my preferred hotel alternative when I'm in a city for more than a few days. I love renting an entire flat and having access to cooking equipment, laundry, and space I can't get in a hotel--not to mention a better price. (FancyHands pointed me to a flat in London I've rented many times now.) Use my link and get $25 in Airbnb when you rent, or when you host.
  15. OpenTable isn't new, but it's a stalwart, whether I'm at home or traveling. Entertaining guests in Washington to see the monuments, I've pulled out the app and made a reservation just before arriving at a restaurant, or taken advantage of Restaurant Week in a faraway city.
(Creative Commons licensed photo by William Warby)

Come to my pre-conference workshop at the Spring Speechwriters and Business Communicators Conference in Cambridge, UK, this April. What goes into a TED-quality talk will help speakers, speechwriters and conference organizers understand how to craft and deliver a talk in the style of TED, whether you're getting ready for a TEDx conference or just a presentation in this popular style. Go to this link  for more details on what's included, as well as a significant discount. The workshop is on 15 April, and the conference is 16-17 April. Please join me!

Friday, February 06, 2015

The weekend read

Mmm, gumdrops. I see you slinking toward the office candy bowl that is the weekend read, my curated collection of finds of the week, served up every Friday for communicators. I shop around and post things via @dontgetcaught on Twitter, then present them here for you:
Let me sweetly remind you that I'm always delighted to see you here on Fridays. Take some time to sign up for my free monthly newsletter, register for that workshop or webinar, or let me know how we can work together in 2015 with an email to eloquentwoman at gmail.com.