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  1. This article originally appeared on the networking university blog

    So question for you? Do you network strategically, tactically or just day to day?

    What's the difference and does it matter anyway?

    First, a few assumptions.

    I assume that networking is part of your marketing. I can assume this because very few people I know are going to get up at 6am, get booted and suited to go and meet strangers over a lukewarm coffee.

    If networking IS part of your marketing, then marketing 101 says you must test and measure this and anything that you do.

    Networking is the same.

    So, here we go

    Day to day networking is just that. The random act of meeting people. Networking everywhere is a concept that I subscribe to.

    Do you ?

    Do you openly speak to people where ever you go? Remember, anyone within 3 feet is a talk to (and crucially to listen to).

    But here is the kicker with day to day networking, it doesn't cost me any time or money. I do it in deadtime. For instance, waiting for our kids at swimming I discovered that the coach knew my brother in law. Connection, face, name gathered done.

    In zero time at zero cost.

    Bizarrely, I see lots of people spending time and money actively looking for random connections. This is plain stupid.

    Sure you might get a random connection on linkedin but like they really help paying the bills.

    Tactical networking is something I see all the gurus talking about.

    Hold you card in this hand, hold your drink in this hand, put your cards in this pocket, put other people's cards in this pocket. Get a procedure, get a system, get organised. Get a life more like.

    Tactical networking is doomed to failure. Absolutely totally doomed.

    Why?
    It is just one step up from day to day networking.
    Sure you might go to organised events and sure there may be people at that even. But even given all this, you are still at the mercy of who else shows up.

    What else is there? Of course you are going to practice all the classic listen (with your body as well as your ears), pay attention, avoid all the annoying habits etc but tactical networking by definition will leave you with only half the picture.

    THIS IS the reason why people are unfulfilled.

    STRATEGIC networking on the other hand puts your networking at the very heart of your business. Everything (and I mean everything) is answered by strategic principles. The laws of networking are like the laws of physics if you like.

    Once you understand these, watching tactical networkers at work is like watching the deck chair attendants on the titanic arguing about what colour deckchairs to put out.

    So what's the solution?

    The solution is to check out the networking university where we go deep, deep into strategic networking and rise above all the tactical networkers.

    Jonathan Senior is the founder of the Networking University. You can read more at his head of training blog
  2. This book review. "To be or not to be intimidated". first appeared on the Sharp End Training blog.
    Not sure how I ended up reading "To be or not to be intimidated". A trusted colleague had been telling be of Robert Ringer writings on The Truth.

    I couldn't find that nor could I find what it turned out to be Robert Ringer's original and most important work "winning through intimidation" So I settled on this which it turns out is a total re-rewrite of "winning".

    Ringer is a real estate broker and I'm not sure what the exact equivalent English version of one of these is - maybe an estate agent?

    "To be or not to be" is Ringer's rules of life as told through his dealings as a real estate broker. Some of the language and technical jargon didnt really make sense to me but this mattered for nothing.

    To be or not to be is a laugh out loud tale of the 'real' rules of life and business.

    There is none of this positive thinking slogan chanting and theorising so popular in the sort of help community.

    In a few sections it was painful reading as Ringer walks us through his graduation from 'Screw-U' helped by his three professors, and the tools and techniques he uses to make sure he doesn't get shafted.

    No cheesy self help mantras to type and no higher thinking required. Life for Ringer is distilled down into four cornerstone assumptions to base all your dealings.
    Three types of people - yes only three. and remarkably (or maybe not) they all ultimately have the same goals in life, and around a dozen theories.

    Some simple bluff theories - "the secret to bluffing is not to".
    some rather more complex such as organic chemistry theory.

    Ringer obviously has a very sardonic sense of humour and I have no doubt that he is or could be a very slick operator - for instance- when he talks about being palmed off with 'moral support' as a reward he wryly remarks that neither his mortgage company or local store accept moral support as a form of legal tender.

    To be or not to be is (and he mentions this several times) the only book on sales you have ever read or and most likely will ever read with a section on getting paid. Don't believe me ? Go look at your bookshelves now!

    All in all a thoroughly readable book. I would suspect that Robert is a very funny speaker as his observations on life really would come alive.

    Off for some more Robert Ringer books now.

    You can read more book reviews and thoughts at my head of training blog
  3. Hi, quick blog post to say that I am recording the using forums training.
  4. Worldwide business opportunities for entrepreneurial minded people.

    Sharp End Training

    First floor Valley
    View House
    Wales Bar
    Sheffield
    26 5QL
    England

    PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Contact (UK) Jonathan Senior 01909 772729
    Patricia Weber (USA) 757-258-1073

    Sharp End Training announces worldwide business opportunities for entrepreneurial minded people.

    Sharp End Training is delighted to be giving 3 lucky people a unique opportunity to be a part of the exciting and fulfilling expansion program planned by the company.

    Sharp End Training, the first world wide virtual training company is asking
    “Do YOU have the skills, flair and talent to join one of the most forward thinking virtual organizations in the world?”

    In the US, under the guidance of country leader Patricia Weber, the company is looking for dedicated leaders in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Colorado.

    “Involvement in this business would be a great opportunity to work with your established network, build connections with more business professionals, and develop another stream of income”, said Chief Executive Jonathan Senior.

    Successful candidates will have an extensive personal network, experience of small business marketing and be open to working with people from different cultures and in different time zones.

    In return, the company can offer the rights to sell a whole range of online training courses and be seen as the face of Sharp End Training in their territory.

    “We have spent two years building a trusted worldwide network from the ground up, now we feel it is right to spread our wings and expand” said US leader Patrica Weber.

    Over the years Sharp End Training has organized many events and activities with experts handpicked for their knowledge and expertise from around the world, to inform and educate businesses so that they can build, develop and advance their business objectives.

    “Applicants who meet our criteria and are accepted will increase visibility for their company or organization and have fun,” said Jonathan.

    Sharp End Training founded in 2003, is an online training company covering statutory business skills and developing courses that are as wide ranging as possible to cover world wide business training.

    All business activity is done online. Sharp End Training is headquartered in Sheffield, England and has licensed country leaders in the USA, Netherlands, India and Russia.

    Applications are being accepted now, for more information visit THREE UNIQUE opportunities for the RIGHT people | Sharp End Training USA or contact us for a no obligation discuss as follows

    Contact (UK) Jonathan Senior 01909772729
    Patricia Weber (USA) 757-258-1073
  5. I must admit that I know Lee very well and I am pleased to say that I am not only name checked in this book but I have a signed copy also.

    The book is a breathless trip round 22 pain points commonly found in most small and medium sized businesses. Lee is not your typical touchy feely coach. Expect no abstract concepts and blue sky thinking. Lee doesn't mince his words and you get both barrels. This make the book both easy to read and provocative at the same time.

    Covering complex topics ranging from understanding your accounts to dealing with problem staff. ("Get professional HR support" is Lee's blunt advice for this by the way...)

    The short punchy nature of the book make it easy to dip in and out of and this is what Lee intended (because he says so at the front...)

    All in all a book that punches way above it's weight - You won't get templates and instant answers like a lot of similar books promise but it will help you understand for yourself...

    This short review is written by Jonathan Senior of Sharp End Training.
  6. Brand it like beckham

    Being away for a few days I picked up this little book from one of those "read, return or replace" rooms you find a holiday relaxation spots.

    Mixed in with endless Catherine Cookson and romantic adventure books, I picked this up because it is something I probably wouldn't have read otherwise. And they do say a change is as good as a rest.

    Anyways, despite being a little dated, it was published in 2004, brand it like Beckham is an easy to read account of Brand Beckham.

    It seems like only yesterday that we were all talking about the Beckham hairstyle on the eve of yet another "crucial" England match but it really is 10 years.

    The book explains to us in simple language the complexities of brand and how the Beckhams work it. There are even a few logos to help...

    The author is quite clearly a Mr Beckham fan. Not so much Mrs.

    He shows us how the Beckhams diversified the portfolio of products they endorse to cast their net as wide as possible.

    From Marks & Spencer kids clothes - to make them seem like the family next door. (At the time of writing this, David is endorsing Sainsburys vouchers - because everyone is collecting those right..) To "police" sunglasses - to make him appear cool and stylish.

    Nothing to eather shattering either on the branding front but a few interesting tit bits.

    1. In his last contract with Manchester United, Beckham was paid £20,000 a week for Manchester United to use his image rights despite him having no obligation to promote Manchester United.

    2. As far as details are concerned - many are "suggestions" but the one thing that is confirmed (presumably because they are publicly accessible) are the number of trademarks the Beckhams own.

    3. That big clubs like Manchester United operate "threes politics." Whenever the club is promoted in whatever way - at least three players (rotating around) are dispatched to represent the club. So no one player can represent the club.

    So the easy to read book passed a couple of hours on a rainy day.

    Did I learn anything new? A few things

    Did I prefer it to Catherine Cookson ? Yes

    Would I have read it when it cam out? No

    ---------------
    This short article was originally published on the Sharp End Training blog. The home of online training. You can read more of Jonathan's posts at his Head of training blog
  7. Not sure how I found ‘commun.it’ although I am glad I did
    What is ‘commun.it’?

    Its a twitter intelligence tool!

    A what?

    A twitter intelligence tool!

    Remember old school twitter where you went out and auto followed people by keywords, keywords in bios, keywords in tweets?

    If they even sneezed your keyword you were on them, of course you followed them and if they didn’t follow back within 12/24/36 hours they got auto unfollowed.

    Now this mass churning of followers is something that twitter hierarchy dislike.

    Because for them its about the conversation.

    Of course the irony of this following and unfollowing was that no-one actually read any, or very few tweets.

    It was a case of throwing lots of mud at the wall hoping some of it would stick.

    Fast forward to 2012 and ‘commun.it’ allows you to search for people with influence on a specific topic.

    Ask yourself – which would you want – 100,000 followers who have no idea who you are or 100 followers who hang on to your every word and pass on your stuff without thinking about it.

    I think the answer is obvious.

    So you set up ‘commun.it’ and off it goes and scans your network, both near and far, and suggests influencers you may want to talk to

    You can tweet from ‘commun.it’ if you want to although this is not its main function. If you want full featured ‘add to list’, RT, add to faves stick to tweetdeck,hootsuite or pluggio.

    After a short delay your data is ready. It gives you key metrics on each person it finds. The reliability of these metrics is a whole separate debate. As long as you are looking at the same figures across the board, your figures will be be sound.

    We use these figures for internal purposes only. For some people the whole klout etc. score has become a vanity thing in itself.

    The tool is easy to use with all the clicky, slidy, things you come to expect from the other tools – it does what it says on the tin. That is. It finds people of influence you may wish to talk to.

    The creators seems nice guys, and reply to twitter DMs and suggestions.

    Think about givng commun.it it a try…

    Here is the link >>> http://www.commun.it

    This short article originally appeared on the Sharp End Training blog. You can read more of Jonathan's personal thoughts on his Head of training blog
  8. Elearning defintions or ..elearning is dead – long live elearning

    I was talking to a couple of people recently about elearning.

    I had to explain that we don’t use the word elearning we prefer the words ‘online training’

    Why?
    Elearning conjures up all sorts of images and means many things to different people. Different people have different definitions.

    One of the people I spoke to when I mentioned elearning imagined “comic sans” fonts and cheesy Clipart.

    Another said they couldn’t get past the idea of an American styled
    ‘smile training’.

    Elearning has a wide variety of definitions - to listen to a ‘podcast’ is classed as elearning and that is seen as sexy and sophisticated but watching a ‘Youtube’ video (depending on the content) is also elearning but is seen as a waste of time by many.

    It all comes down to – definitions - when you ‘pays ya money’ you ‘takes ya choice’

    As soon as you say “elearning” to someone – be they prospective client or someone at a networking event, they put on the definition they have in their head and play the record. It’s a hard job once people have pre-conceived notions in their heads to change them.

    Although using the phrase “Online training” is fraught with danger.

    Almost without exception, people these days want knowledge but don’t want to do anything and sometimes nothing at all, about acquiring it.

    The words ‘training’ and ‘learning’ imply that you will have to spend some time taking action.

    However – Online training is what we do and our definition of learning is clear.

    To see what it is like – click www.sharp-end-training.net
  9. So, the gotomeeting application is superb. It just works. Straight out of the box.

    Even better, when I click record, it just records the conference onto my (external) hard drive.

    BUT (and it's big BUT)

    The .wmv file output won't go into camtasia for editing. Well it will but when I try to edit the gotomeeting output the rendering gets to 1.9% and then hangs.

    (If you are really interested that I *think* it is to do with "time points" on the recording). Whatever the cause - it is a problem.

    This is no problem if I don't need to edit the gotomeeting recording at all. (And assuming my viewers are all windows based and happy to watch .wmv files). Gotomeeting also records the WHOLE SCREEN - toolbars and all the other required junk on my screen.

    There are loads of blog posts about this but I sorted (and I am using camtasia 7) doing the following workflow.

    Take the raw .wmv file and make a copy of it - so whatever happens - that isn't changed. By default it will be stored in your "My documents" folder if you are on PC. (You can change this in your gotomeeting settings). Store this somewhere safely elsewhere.

    I downloaded windows media encoder (free) - just google for it. I got version 9.

    Next, I imported the COPY of the gotomeeting .wmv into media encoder and clicked the "convert"

    This takes a while and you now end up with three versions of the same file. Obviously the longer the event (or the bigger the file) and more activity on the screen - the longer it will take to encode. While this is happening, you can't do anything with that machine - so plan when you will do this task wisely.

    The original, the copy and the windows media encoder produced. They will all probably be called the same thing although you can specify where the "output" file will be located.

    So I rename them "raw" and "final." Then I can edit the "final" in camtasia or any other video editing program.

    Then I can export to flash video or mp4 or whatever I want. I can also add intro's, outro's and so called "callouts"

    You can also rip out the audio with camtasia - "export as mp3" and voila - you have a podcast. Two for the price of one..

    (By the way - this procedure also works exactly the same for gotowebinar).

    A bit messy but anyone got any other suggestions?

    Let's 'ave em...

    This short article originally appeared on the Sharp End Training blog. The first worldwide virtual online training company. You can read more about their worldwide operations at the Sharp End Training site
  10. This post got me thinking about the booming DIY web design industry.

    However, there are millions of people out there who have never heard of wordpress - so this post is for all those who are forced to consult a web designer but really don't know where to start...

    Very few businesses can survive these days without a website.

    Unless you have such loyal customers or are in a niche so small you have no competitor the decision to have a site is a no brainer.

    Unfortunately, web designers are everywhere and the technology is relatively cheap and accessible that you need to be o your guard.

    Here are a few things to watch out for.

    1. What do you want the site to do?

    What is the purpose of the site? How will it help your business?

    The web designer will design a site but will it make your customers pick up the phone or contact you.

    Does the designer understand marketing?

    Remember, it is you who is paying the bill. Therefore, you have the final say on what is in and what is out.

    The job of the site is to sell for you right?

    NOT for the designer to put in their portfolio and impress their designer buddies on how smart they are.

    2. Who will actually own the end product?

    Unscrupulous designers may sign you up to a contract where they lock you in. You may find a nasty surprise if you ever want to move to a different designer.

    3. Do they own the rights to the artwork they use?

    Photographs, video and sound should be licensed for commercial use.

    Sites like Flickr are easy to use and make everyone a photographer these days. You need to make sure that the

    You don't really want a legal battle on your hands because the designer didn't have the relevant permissions.

    4. Manage the site building like a project

    Depending on how you are paying the designer and how complex the project is, you need to build in time for testing, building content, those annoying but required pages like "terms of service" and "privacy"

    Agree deadlines and deliverables in writing and in advance.

    5. Who owns the domain name and where is it hosted?

    Who owns the domain name - the www bit.

    It's fine letting someone buy a domain on your behalf but if they vanish without a trace - you have a problem if they registered it in their name.

    If you are not sure check nominet.org.uk for .co.uk and whois.sc for everything else.

    Free hosting is good but if it at the expense of popup ads, banner ads, prolonged downtime - then it isn't so good.

    What do you think ?

    Have you employed a web designer?

    Have you had any experiences?

    We would love to hear your comments below.

    This short post was brought to you by Jonathan Senior, Head of Sharp End Training You can read more of Jonathan's thought on his personal head of training blog
  11. Most web users of a certain age have grown up with outlook (or for those of us who are old enough - outlook express).
    Outlook though, has it's limitations. Here are ten tell tale signs you may need to look for something else.

    1. You have bookmarked more that 2 microsoft technical help pages.

    2. You saved an attachment but you can't remember where

    3. You get an error message when you open outlook "An unexpected error has occurred"

    4. You have mistyped someones email and now it is in your address book wrong seemingly forever,

    5. Your machine has crashed and you have lost your entire history of messages.

    6. You have had an outlook or email related virus.

    7. You find yourself on the "wrong" computer unable to send or receive email.

    8. You have set up signatures and mail filters (to be more efficient) more than once (ever)

    9. You work mobile or on more than one machine.

    10. You don't use any other microsoft products.

    This short article was published on the Sharp End Training blog. You can read more of Jonathan's thoughts at his Head of Training blog
  12. What to blog about is a question that crops up quite often - most new business owners use wordpress (because it is free). But wordpress is a blogging engine and they don't know WHAT to BLOG about.

    I read a lot (and I mean a lot of blogs). For someone who has a first wordpress indexed post in 2005, I feel I can talk with some confidence about what to blog about.

    Firstly, take a step back and think - before you even write.
    What is the purpose of the blog. Is it engagement, is it to get signups to your newsletter or list, is it to show your expertise in a topic.

    Once you have this - you can start to construct a plan. (Yes I know thinking and planning are boring but jumping right in is never a good thing).

    Once you start writing a blogging plan, bear in mind, one thing the blogging gurus continually bang on about is your "authentic voice." Writing in corporate speak isn't for me - I had enough of it in a previous life. So you will find my writing peppered with questions, brackets and generally broken up.

    (This has the added benefit of making it easy to skim read).

    How does all this help you with what to blog about?
    As an aside, many people seem to make the mistake of confusing blogging with selling. If a blog post is a veiled sales piece (or even an unveiled one) - it leaves the reader very little scope for doing anything meaningful.

    For a sales blog post, all you will ever get comment wise is
    1. Great blog post (Difficult to distinguish these from spam comments - reap what you sow and all that).
    2. People complaining they have used your product or service and it was lousy.

    Neither very good if you blog goal is engagement.

    So, what's the £63,000 answer
    Take ideas from this list (assuming you have a business blog related to your expertise..)
    Product reviews
    Book reviews - You do read don't you?
    TV programs (No - the ones RELATED to your expertise)
    Industry events, conferences and exhibitions you attend.
    What YOU personally think about news or current affairs and how they affect your industry. (Maybe you want to be controversial, maybe you don't?)
    Things you did recently - No not what you had for lunch - more interesting stuff. Did you see something unusual or strange related to your industry.

    See this blog post from a while back - which is really about nothing at all.

    What to blog about (not)

    You should probably avoid one or all of the following

    Revealing personal information about yourself or your family. (Unless you are a publicity seeking, no shame celebrity whose scruples know no bounds). It's probably easy enough to find all this anyway.

    Overtly selling (as discussed)

    Knocking your competition (The laws of libel apply online just as they do anywhere else).

    If it helps decided what to blog about

    Buy a notepad and carry it with you. You can jot down thoughts where ever you are.

    Oh and one more thing - If you can't write - maybe you can speak. Record your blog posts as audio and get a virtual assistant to transcribe them for you.

    Leave a comment if this helped you with what to blog about.

    This short article originally appeared on the Sharp End Training blog. You can read more of Jonathan's thoughts on his head of training blog.
  13. As you know, we have featured a stellar package of webinar guests in the last few weeks.
    If you haven't managed to get to an event - then BOY have you missed out...
    BUT all is not lost..
    We are having a bit of a break and taking on board the SUPERB feedback you have given us and we are back in planning mode.

    We need your help...
    We know to know WHO would make you show up - which guests would get you to stand to attention..
    That's why we have prepared ONE QUESTION.
    We NEED your help to serve up the BEST guests possible..
    Please help

    Here is the link
    This short post was originally published on the Sharp End Training blog. You can read more of Jonathan's thoughts on his head of training blog
  14. Pluggio is a web based twitter management tool,with a few twists. Maybe it has struggled to compete with the massive higher profile tools like hootsuite but having spoken to pluggio creater Justin Vincent a couple of times I am not sure this is his goal.

    So what is pluggio

    Pluggio is first of all web based. This means there is no software to download, no incompatabilities, no "an error has occurred" error messages. Having software on the "wrong" machine" is a thing of the past.

    Once you are signed up, just link your twitter account,and away you go!

    The pluggio workflow isn't totally intuitive, although it does have a certain amount of logic to it. There are a stack of "start" tutorial videos to get you going.

    Pluggio helps you to be 'the signal not the noise' and whereas most twitter software helps you get more followers pluggio does this if you want it to by the way)pluggio helps you get more followers by using a two pronged attack -

    specifically

    a. By finding interesting people
    b. Tweeting cool stuff

    Lets take each in turn.

    Finding interesting people.
    You can find people who are tweeting certain words and phrases, hashtags and specific locations. You can turn this feature on or off. Once 'found', people are not alerted in any way. They are saved (not is a twitter list - Justin assures me that this is coming soon). At the moment, I have around 100 people who pluggio thinks I might want to talk to.

    Tweeting cool stuff
    With this cool feature you can add an RSS feed, any RSS feed!, and post from it to your twitter stream.

    Thinking about it - you can any RSS feed posts and comments from; a blog, from a forum, anything. The logic here is

    that if you can't be the source, be the REsource.

    One final feature is that you can add tweets to a 'rolling schedule'- In essence this means you can add tweets to a heap which will then be tweeted at random intervals.

    You can add anything onto this queue and give the illusion that you are sat at your desk, when in fact you are nowhere near it!

    There are several feature which I don't use so can't pass comment on and these include bulk upload of a spreadsheet of tweets, (Of course pluggio gives you the spreadsheet template to download) and i tend not to upload photos to twitter so I can't comment on this.

    All in all, if you want something that is reliable, funky and where the top man answers emails personally, look no further than pluggio.

    This short article was originally published on the Sharp End Training blog. For more thoughts on twitter and life in general visit Jonathan's Head of Training blog.
  15. CONTACT: Jonathan Senior
    EMAIL: press@Sharp End Training.co.uk
    TELEPHONE: 01909 772729
    WEBSITE: Sharp End Training

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Sheffield training company announces it’s global intentions

    In a daring move to help increase global visibility, Sheffield based online training company Sharp End Training has secured a new country leader based in Russia to become the first company to offer online training to the global translator community.

    Russian translator Olga Arakelyan has agreed to take on the role of 'country leader' with her expertise in the

    languages of Russian, German and English. As an associate she is helping Sharp End Training to expand their footprint into Russia.

    Based in Russia, Olga will be able to offer more localised services to customers online while maintaining partnership with Sharp End Training worldwide. The company is looking at developing an entirely new suite of training targeted at freelance translators.

    Sharp End Training values the benefits that Olga will bring to the company with contacts within Russia and around the world.

    Olga is Qualified to teach both English and Russian as a second language. She specialises in the translation of education, music, tourism and travel.

    She is currently working with translation and marketing material for Russian musicians.

    Sharp End Training can offer multiple customer touch points for training courses online which can be accessed through the web and through country leaders in the US, UK, Netherlands, India, Australia and now Russia

    Jonathan Senior, Chief Executive of Sharp End Training said “We are delighted to welcome Olga to our team. We are lucky that expertise of this quality is available for us right now!”
    “Olgas first job is to undertake surveys and get our online training courses accepted within the translater community.

    Olga has said “I was impressed by the quality of the team that Jonathan has got together and I look forward to the challenge and the targets he has set me”

    Olga can be contacted through Sharp End Training Russia

    About Sharp End Training

    Sharp End Training is the first worldwide virtual training company. With dedicated country leaders in the UK, US, Netherlands and Australia, they offer training that is both global and local.

    Sharp End Training was established in 2004 in the UK by Jonathan Senior. They operate entirely online and have around 30 short training courses for all aspects of business and management.
    They are currently virtual training department for intelligentVA.com (A UK based organisation for virtual assistants) and the Wow Network Alliance (A US organisation of professional women).