Sunday, April 28, 2013

How does a small business deal with the changing technology?

So we have entered the beginning of our second decade of the 21st Century. As a small business owner it is important to stay on top of many different types of technology that change at a rapid pace. 

From hardware to software to cloud-based applications, it can sometimes be too much. I find that I am the go-to person for computer help, yet  I am sometimes quite overwhelmed with the multitudes of NEW.

With the help of friend Paul Faustine (the owner of the former Red Dragon Toys in downtown Brunswick) I have updated my website.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Author Talk: Barbara Kent Lawrence

Barbara Kent Lawrence is a former Maine resident, owns property and spends time in Maine as she can. Barbara called and asked if I would read her book, Islands of Time. I did and found that it was a book that resounds with a love of Maine. Publishing it is a joy.

I’ll let Barbara tell most of her story.

JWB: When did you start writing?
Lawrence: I’ve loved to read and write since I was a small child, but two periods in my life stand out as times when writing became a lifeline: adolescence and for the past fifteen years. I lost the habit of writing in the midst of earning a living and raising children. It is a gratification of being older that I can look back and by writing begin to make sense of where and who I’ve been.

JWB: What are some of the themes that you return to regularly in your writing?
Lawrence: I’ve written about eating disorders in men, about education, and about myself. I’m fascinated by the ways in which people of different cultures interact, by the ways in which social structure structures interaction, and by the accidents of history.

JWB: What is one event that has shaped your writing?
Lawrence: When I was studying at Boston University for a doctorate in education, I took a writing course to help me with my dissertation. I’d been married for many years to a man who is eating disordered. The first assignment was to respond to an essay titled “On Food and Happiness” by Charles Simic. I felt as if someone had slapped me, and I thought my return to graduate school was over because I could not write about that topic. I finally realized, however, that I could write about food and unhappiness, and I did. The resulting half page became my first book, “Bitter Ice,” and was an opportunity to understand more fully my own role in the story. That’s why I write—to understand more fully who I am and the world in which I live. It is a self-indulgent selfish enterprise, but it reminds me that the flight attendant tells us to put the oxygen mask on ourselves before we try to help the passenger sitting next to us. Writing is my oxygen mask.

JWB: What are three of your favorite books to reread?
Lawrence: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, Health Culture and Community by Benjamin Paul and Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne.

JWB: Any advice for young authors?
Lawrence: Just write. At first don’t think about anyone reading what you write, just write. As you craft the piece, you need to think about your audience, but at first, I think you just need to give yourself permission to let the chaos in your mind flow onto the paper.

JWB: What are you currently working on?
Lawrence: I’m in the process of finalizing Islands of Time: A Novel for publication with Just Write Books. For the past three years I’ve been researching the story of my mother and other members of my British family during World War II. My mother was an actress, who immigrated to the US in January, 1941 with the help of Ambassador and Mrs. Kennedy, during a time when no one between the age of 16 and 60 could leave Great Britain and it was extremely difficult to get a visa to the US. Although I will never know the full story, I’ve untwined many family myths from reality, and learned a great deal about how the war affected ordinary people. I’ve found this fascinating, and I hope others will as well.

Author Bio

In 1948, Barbara Kent Lawrence fell in love with Mount Desert Island as a summer kid, and in 1979 she became a “year-round summer person,” a status more compelling and complex than she could then have imagined. In 1998 she wrote her dissertation: Working Memory: The Influence of Culture on Aspirations about the gap between the high rate of achievement Maine’s fourth grade students evidenced on national tests, and the low rate at which they went on to college. Lawrence has since written books about education and eating disorders in men and she’s working on a manuscript about her British family during World War II. She draws on her love of Maine and her experience as a researcher and writer for her first novel Islands of Time. Though Lawrence no longer lives in Maine year-round, she spends as much time as possible on Mount Desert Island.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rick Dacri tells about selling and marketing his book

Rick Dacri's Book Uncomplicating Management was published a couple of years ago. He is an HR guru to business owners and managers. His insights about marketing and selling his book were interesting to me. I think they will be helpful to most people who pen a business book.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

10 Keys to a Good Meeting

As a owner of a business, member of an organization or volunteer with a nonprofit, there may come a point when you need to act as the leader for a meeting. Many times people leave a meeting feeling like it was a waste of time. Below are ten things to ensure that your meeting is productive, concise and ends in an hour.
  1. Start well. Every good meeting starts off with something to break the ice. Whatever the purpose of the meeting, find relevant ice breaker to get everyone involved. These can easily be found through a Google search.
  2. Be prepared. Send out the agenda and talking points before the meeting so everyone knows their roles and if they need to bring anything.
  3. Getting to know you. Introductions are key to any meeting. Make sure everyone at the table knows everyone else and identify everyone’s roles. Are there formal titles (Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, etc.) or less formal (include a timekeeper, scribe or monitor) or a combination of both?
  4. Set expectations. Have an agenda that identifies what the meeting intends to accomplish. This avoids the meeting for the sake of meeting problem.
  5. Be respectful. Everyone’s ideas are personal to them, so have consideration when critiquing the ideas. And always, always critique the idea, not the person.
  6. Stay focused. Only one person should be speaking at a time. This allows everyone to hear the ideas and know what may require their input or decision-making. Avoid side conversations since you may then have to repeat everything to the group as a whole in order to gain consensus.
  7. Encourage diverse ideas. There won’t always be only one way to accomplish your group’s goals, so make sure everyone has a chance to express their opinions. Who knows, maybe a combination of several ideas may provide the perfect solution.
  8. Create an action plan. Keep track of anything that must be done outside the meeting and assign the tasks to specific members.
  9. Have fun. This is definitely important in order to keep attendees coming back. Encourage participation, listen to each other and generally enjoy your time together.
  10. Document the meeting. Send out meeting minutes promptly after the meeting and include the action plan for everyone’s records. This will ensure that everyone is ready for the next meeting.
What are some things that help you stay on track when running a meeting?

Monday, April 8, 2013

10 Steps to Prepare for a TV or Video Interview

You’ve landed a TV or video interview. Great! Let’s talk about getting the most out of this opportunity. That means being prepared. Here are some of the things you can do to ensure the experience is both rewarding and enjoyable.
Watch the show. Catch several episodes of the program you’re appearing on to get a sense of the camera work, questions and its general feel..
It’s visual. Unlike with radio, when you have video interview, you need to be concerned about your appearance. Sit up straight. Your face matters to the audience. Use makeup to conceal certain features and accent others.
Sleep well. Getting a good night’s sleep with prevent your eyes from being bloodshot and keep those pesky bags away.
Dress the part. Make sure your clothes don’t distract from your message and convey the proper message. In general, dark colors are best and avoid white if possible. Make sure your outfit has a convenient location to pin a microphone.
Project confidence. Make sure you sit or stand up straight. However, do sit naturally to avoid looking rigid and uncomfortable.
Use non-verbal techniques. Keep track of your important points on fingers and talk naturally with your hands.
Mind the camera. Be careful of blinking too much or darting your eyes… close-ups will exaggerate these movements. Do not look at the camera when answering an interviewer’s question. Maintain the appearance of a conversation. The audience is observing.
Balance your approach. If you need to be firm or even aggressive with someone you’re talking to, be sure to balance any negative perceptions with a smile.
Use props. If you have visuals that will support or clarify your position, be sure to include them.
Pay attention to the host. Watch the host’s body language for cues when transitions are coming.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Just Write Books to give 3 Free books to a Library (Deadline April 19)

Help us help your library and
Register to win Three Free Books
Register your library as a customer on our website by April 19.
1. We'll assign your library a 40% discount on all books ordered with us.
2. We'll register you for our 3 Book Giveaway.
3. We'll notify you of the winner.
4. Registration will assure your library of getting the best price.
* Person who registers must be staff or board member of library.

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