Tips/Tricks/other “stuff” to help you cut-through the clutter

business handshakeDoes this happen to you?
MOMENTS after you’re introduced to someone, you forget his or her name? Oops.
Tip: Say the person’s first name aloud, as you’re shaking hands and making eye contact.
Doing so not only makes-a-deposit in your memory bank, it acknowledges the other person.

Is Email you send getting read? Or deleted?
We’re all hip-deep in spam. On the Heidi Harris radio show, HC offers a simple tip that will result in people actually READING Email you send. NEVER send a follow-up Email asking “Did you get my Email?”
Email 101: If it didn’t bounce back Undeliverable, it got where you sent it.
WORSE: trans-media pestering, i.e., calling-to-ask “Did you get my Email?” Or Emailing to say “I left you a voicemail.”
More tips from a productivity expert.

Occasional Emailers unintentionally torture those-of-us-who-work-online (and feel like we LIVE there), by replying-to the-entire-list to-whom the-message-received was-sent.

Example: I was recently among 100+ invited to a corporate reunion, always a warm affair. And that’s the problem. Enthusiasm for our upcoming get-together caused (too) many recipients to RSVP the organizer with a cheery Reply-to-All, i.e., “I can’t wait!”

Then, others piled-on with a Reply-to-All to THAT!
THEN, the “I’m out of my office now” auto-responders joined in.

When I begged the organizer to ask — in his next alert to all funsters — that we be careful to Reply, rather than Reply-to-All, he didn’t know that these were separate options. Hey, he’s retired. This — and family messages and photos and other Reply-to-All stuff — are probably the only Email he does.

So I did a Reply-to-All, explaining the situation. SWEARING that “I’m not a party-pooper…honest,” and promising that “I’ll be there, WEARING the lampshade,” I asked that, in-the-interest-of spam control, we all Reply-only-to the-organizer. And that, by doing so, we’ll help him avoid RSVP confusion.

Hey, at least I tried. One invitee, apparently also retired, shot-back: “point taken, but the truth is I really like seeing the responses, especially since they are coming so rapidly and are so positive,” with a smiley face.

This better be Open Bar.

Hear more about how Email and Social Media can help AND hurt your communication skills.

Voicemail 101: Getting your call returned:

From our forthcoming English-to-Survival Speech Dictionary, this definition:
re-think: verb \rē-ˈthiŋk\
When your boss says that he or she would like you to “re-think” a decision you’ve made, don’t take it literally. Smell the coffee. He or she is telling you do-something-different. “Re-think” is a face-saving euphemism. You get to own the preferred outcome, and the boss doesn’t come-off autocratic.

Unleashing The Ideavirus“Sneezers:” Find ’em. BE one.
This is the #1 most downloaded eBook in history.

Download your FREE copy, courtesy of the author, and read why.

Definition of “sneezer?”
“Some people are more likely to tell their friends about a great new idea. These people are at the heart of the ideavirus. Identifying and courting sneezers is a key success factor for ideamerchants.”

Consider using The Element of…Surprise!
Three examples of how counter-intuitive factoids can grab attention:

“Chocolate is better for your teeth than Fluoride.”
Try THAT on your dentist! From host Marcy Smothers, quoting Tulane researchers.
“The biggest beneficiary of many peoples’ IRA is the IRS!”
Financial planners I heard interviewed by talk radio
“Just about the only thing you should NOT use duct tape on is ducts.”
Duct tape has thousands of uses, but it’s no good for ducts, according to AOL Home Improvement Editor and “Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show” host Tom Kraeutler. Yes, leaky heating ducts are a major cause of energy waste. But duct tape applied to those seams just dries out and falls off.
Why? Duct tape is basically adhesive-backed cloth. And heat evaporates the adhesive. Poof!
Instead, Tom explains: Use a high-tech tape called UL121 tape. It’s metal and has a specially treated adhesive that isn’t compromised by heat.

Interviewing The Interviewer
Bill Thompson worked for me three times, in three different news organizations that I managed. Today you hear him doing news on WMAL Radio in Washington DC. And you can hear him interview literally hundreds of the most famous, most thoughtful people in the entire world, at

Just listening to how he does what he does will be instructive to Talk hosts. And I’m delighted to be able to share the following with you, interview techniques Bill recommends:

Homework counts for most of your grade. Absolutely nothing substitutes for proper preparation. If you’re going to interview an author, read the book (or at least skim it thoroughly). For an athlete, know his current stats. A doctor? Be familiar with her specialty. With the Internet, there is no excuse for being unprepared (if there ever was before.) Listeners can tell when you’re “winging it.”

Warm up your guest. Make small talk. Offer coffee. Art Linkletter had a clever way of making children comfortable on his TV show. He told me that having a child say her name, age, and grade in school allowed her to “test” her speaking voice — and then, properly warmed up, Art was free to ask her if her parents slept without any pajamas on.
The people you interview need an opportunity to “test their voice,” too. [While setting levels] I ask authors to billboard the interview by reciting their name, the title of their book, and the name of their publishing house. This also helps ensure that I pronounce their name correctly.

Give ‘em an essay question. A few years ago, I noticed people were tucking 3-by-5 cards back in their pockets as they were leaving my studio, saying, “Gee, I sure wish you’d asked me about….”
No interviewer can possibly think of everything a guest might want to say. So I now end every interview by asking, “Is there anything else you wanted to add, or any question you wanted me to ask you that I didn’t?” About one third of the time, the best sound bite of the interview comes from their answer to that question.

Break a rule. You’ve no doubt seen interviewing how-to’s that say, “Never ask a yes-or-no question.” Horsefeathers. I ask yes-or-no questions daily, and get great answers. The likelihood of a guest giving a monosyllabic answer is almost nil.

For heaven’s sake, let them talk! Presumably you have asked for the interview for a reason, and that reason should not be to show off how smart YOU are.

Prefer fresh, not canned. Getting your guest to put down those 3-by-5 cards filled with canned answers and just talk to you from the heart requires genuine interest and empathy on your part.
Eye contact, a nod of the head from time to time, and a smile will make your guest forget that they’re being interviewed. Remember how easily Art Linkletter got great answers from children, the hardest people to interview?
I’ve literally had hundreds of people tell me after an interview that they were astonished at how relaxed I made them feel. I use no magic — just human-to-human contact.

Have fun! After all, isn’t that why we’re in this business? We get to meet the most fascinating people in the world, we have them all to ourselves for thirty or sixty minutes at a time, we can ask them anything we want, and we get paid to do this!

Just to see if they’re awake:
If anyone ever asks, “Why do you always answer a question with a question?”
Reply: “Do I do that?”

This company gets it right.
If you fly Southwest Airlines, you know why its customers are consistently happy campers. They’re value shoppers who understand the deal, know-how-to-play-the-game, and enjoy the show that SWA’s enthused cast puts on.
Companies have personalities.
What’s yours?