How to get to the point quickly

how-to-get-to-the-point-quickly-photoI hate websites that dilly dally around and never get to the point. I also have a great disdain for presentations and speakers who don’t get to the point.

People respect speakers who can get right to the information they need.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned:

Ensure everyone knows the goal of your discussion – Sometimes meetings are called without a clear purpose. Have one and ensure it is communicated properly.

Work from bullet points – No one likes people who read from a prepared document. Bullet point your discussions and stick to the relevant topics.

Use less words – No need to clutter your writing or discussion with superfluous words.

Should I buy the cheapest or most expensive

should-i-buy-the-cheapest-or-most-expensive-photoMarketing is much about psychology than anything else. You want to put the consumer in a frame of mind where your product is something they need or desire.

Price is usually a secondary concern to some people, but in today’s economic climate price is reigning as the king consideration when buying.

Does it make sense to buy the cheapest or most expensive of anything? As with most things in life it depends, but in 90% of the situations (yes, I made that up), you can get away with the cheapest of something. Remember, getting you to buy something is a marketer’s goal and price plays into that.

Never assume you know more than your audience

never-assume-you-know-more-than-your-audience-photoAs humans we have a tendency to believe that our expertise is much more in-depth than what reality shows. Still, it takes consideration and simple reminder:

You don’t know everything.

Many times I’ve spoken during large meetings and remembered this simple fact. It’s helped me do the following:

Engage more people: When you interact with people and listen to what they know, your engagement is more fulfilling and lasts longer.

Earn trust: Most people will increase their trust level with you when they realize you’re valuing their knowledge.

Learn: This seems like a “duh” thing, but in business settings it’s important to learn when interacting with others.

Your audience expects your knowledge, but they also deserve respect.

Air conditioning was a hard sell in the old days

air-conditioning-was-a-hard-sell-in-the-old-days-photoForbes magazine recently reprinted an article from 1938 that discussed the trends in the air conditioning market. It is a fascinating look at an industry that we take for granted right now. In 2007 65% of American households had air conditioning.

The article describes concern for the future of air conditioning:

In spite of all this, FORTUNE’S return to the air-conditioning industry is tinged with disappointment. For the industry has not made the progress that the public looked for.

It seems the main pressure was confusion over the technology and not availability:

Probably no industry in the nation is the prey of so many economic, engineering, and  merchandising forces within and without its own bailiwick. As a result there is confusion in the public mind as to what air conditioning is.

Cicada food sources and government regulation

cicada-food-sources-and-government-regulation-photoCicadas descended upon St. Louis this year and they have been a treat. While some don’t like the constant buzzing, I find it reassuring that time moves on. Our species of cicadas occur every 13 years, so it is a nice reminder of the passage.

As an insect, Cicadas are full of nutritional value. Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream in Columbia, MO brought to market a cicada flavored ice cream and it was a hit. They sold out within a day. Plans to make more were scuttled, though, by local government regulators:

The food code doesn’t directly address cicadas. We advised against it.


While there are food safety laws for great reasons, you have to think that people can choose whether to eat a cicada flavored ice cream or not.

Best practices for software demo / presentations

best-practices-for-software-demo-presentations-photoHacker News is an awesome resource. People always post questions, advice, news and the such related to startup processes. Someone posted an article on how to do better software presentations. The article was ok, but the real gold was in the comment section.

ChuckFrank had a fantastic list of to dos. Here are my favorite:

Practice Early, Practice Often. Practice Everything. – This is the number lesson for any presentation. Just don’t go over an outline, but walk through everything you’re going to cover. Take questions from a group prior to the date.

Bring some drama. So true. You have to tell a story and allow the audience to participate in the unfolding.