Face Reader

Recently, I said something that a friend took completely out of context.  My statement was a bit of a "jab," yet I did not mean anything seriously or maliciously.  Unfortunately, he was really offended by what I said. This incident was a good check into being wary of what your body language might tell someone.   It is amazing all the small cues you can pick up or give off. 

I am currently reading Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port.  It goes over body language and getting the right message across.

"It's More Than Just Words - The 55/38/7 Rule

There are so many different way to articulate your message.  Don't just depend on your words to do it.  How you communicate goes far beyond the spoken message. Dr. Albert Mehrabian, a communications researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, reported in his book, Silent Messages - which was based on extensive clinical experiments on communication, attitudes, likes, and dislikes - that 55 percent of the way that people respond to you is based mostly on facial cues, 38 percent is based on your tone, and only 7 percent is based on what you say - the information you provide."

So much time can be lost in business if you aren't getting the proper message across. Always be conscientious of what your body might be telling someone else.

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The Client (Customer) Isn’t Always Right

Properly serving clients is by far one of my greatest challenges when it comes to doing Internet consulting.  Where do you draw the line between doing what’s right and doing what a client requests?  This specifically pertains to requests that go against good Internet practices.

Last year, I lost a prospective client because I took a hard stance on their request.  In my professional opinion what they were requesting was not in line with their online goals or good web standards. 

The person wanted me to do some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work on their web site.  Nobody could find their web site searching with Google. They insisted on having a Flash animation on their home page. At the time they had no back links or HTML text on the home page. Both of these are important to proper SEO. I told them it would be a liability doing all Flash on their home page without concentrating on back links, page titles, proper search keywords, and HTML text. They further insisted on Flash and I responded again with my concerns.  I wasn’t about to take their money for something that would not benefit their business online. Because of my stance they decided to use someone else.

Many clients or perspective clients can get caught up on the latest and greatest Internet trinkets.  Trinkets are synonymous with cool web sites.  People see something neat or cool on a web site and want the same for their web site.  My belief is that it is more important to have a useful web site rather than a "cool" web site.  Google is our favorite example.  There is nothing cool about Google, except that it is easy to use and is worth billions of dollars.

This forces me to ask the following: Are clients paying you to do what they request or are they paying for your skill and experience?  When a client insists on doing something that won’t benefit their site what do you do?

You should always treat the customer professionally and provide them with the best service possible.  Deliver them value in everything you do.  But, I don’t believe you should do something the customer requests because they are “paying you to do work for them.” 

Work with people who value your opinion and take your expertise for all it’s worth.  My favorite clients are those who give honest feedback on our advice and willing to try new things with their web sites. They are also the same people whose sites outperform the sites of people demanding something their way.

The Written Word

Here is an honest admission: I've never been the best at writing thank you cards.  But, I also believe it is never too late to start.  There are some good friends of mine from Florida who inspired me to write on this topic.  They do an excellent job of sending hand written birthday cards to all their friends year after year.

What do birthday cards and the Internet have to do with one another?  Everything . . . well almost!

In today's chaotic world of Internet, movies, TV, radio and everything else, it becomes easy to forget the simple things in life.  Hand written cards are becoming a lost art.  For most people, it is far easier to open up our email program and write a thank you letter.

Be different! If someone does something above and beyond the norm, send them a written thank you card.  The positive impact of a written card is far greater than any email. You can achieve far more impact with less words.

Here is what someone told me after receiving a written thank letter: "Thanks for the card, I didn't think people did that any more."

If you get a chance, write a hand written thank you card. 

Additional Resource:

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On Being Late . . .

I'm sure everyone has been late to a meeting.  Having been through the experience on more than one occasion, I thought it may be helpful to pass along some observations.  You can always make more money in life, you can't make any more time.  Make sure you hold other people's time in the highest regard! 

If you know you are going to be late, do something about it!
This is the most important rule, and by far the most effective. As soon as you think you aren't going to make your appointment on time, let the person know immediately.  Over the last ten years, nobody has ever been upset at me when I called ahead and informed them I was runnning behind.  Most of the time the person was very amicable, "You're gonna be late, no problem ... I need a few more minutes anyway ... thanks for letting me know!"  When you know you are going to be late, call at least 30 minutes ahead of time.

Plan accordingly
How many times have you been headed to any appointment and thought to yourself, "oh no - I'm going to be late."  In an attempt to make it on time, you become a lead foot and speed through a number of yellow/red lights.  In order to avoid this, think about the drive ahead, well in advance of when you should leave.

  • Is there going to be traffic? 
  • Any construction along your route?
  • Are there going to be weather issues?

Plan your meetings when traffic won't be a concern.  If you plan accordingly, you can eliminate some of the challenges of getting to your meeting on time. 

Be on time, neither too early or late
I'm a firm believer in being on time.  Too early is just as frustrating as late.  One colleague of mine would show up to meetings 15-20 minutes early.   When I was running 5 minutes late, he'd complain that he had been waiting for 25 minutes.  In a different, but all to common scenario,  job interviewees are notorious for being way too early.  Yes, show up to a job interview a few minutes early, but not 20-30 minutes early.  Make sure you are at your meeting location, plus or minus five minutes of your scheduled time.

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