Archive - May, 2011

UnStuck at the Crossroads

Sometimes we can get stuck at a crossroads in life.

We might try logic as a form of navigation, or we might go by way of our gut. Getting stuck in the intersection of indecision is a dangerous place. Recognizing opportunity as it comes is key.

Me? After a season of logical-izing, I'm trusting my gut and getting unstuck. It's by Amazing Grace that I didn't get run over at the intersection

Aside: The beautiful and talented Lari White offers guidance in the Cast Away clip, and an amazing voice in the song above.

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Story Listening: Is Harry Potter About Witchcraft?

Is Harry Potter about witchcraft?

Or is the story about perseverance and friendship? About the constant battles of good vs evil or self vs community?

A wise friend teaches the important distinction between "book story" and "life story" in works of fiction.

With such in mind, Harry Potter might be – in part – about witchcraft. But alas, that is the "book story." The "life story" is about . . . well, I would think the "life story" might be different for each reader and maybe for each season of life of said reader.

We hear much talk about storytelling and the art of story. I'm not close to tiring of the term, but it has become so widely used, the term may end up on some Buzzword Bingo soon.

Storytelling is becoming a more important part of our creative communication and conversation than ever before.

Storylistening: determining the "life story" within the story you hear, see, or read – or at least the "life story" that pertains to you – is just as important. For both the listener and the teller.

Begin with Listening in Mind.

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Small Business Contest – Big Prize Packages

Virtuosi Media is having a contest and if you’re a small business owner, you have a chance to win big! We’re giving away over $21,000 in prizes, with the Grand Prize package featuring a free business website valued up to $10,000 and other prizes from our sponsors, all designed to boost your business’ success online.

Interested in increasing your bottom line, improving the image and visibility of your business, and doing it all for free? Read on!

How To Enter

So how do you enter the contest? It’s easy, free, and it only takes 3 simple steps to enter to win. (You must be a business owner or be entering on behalf of a business to be eligible to win. Sorry, no personal or non-profit websites this time around.)

  1. Share the contest online.
  2. Fill a web design quote request form.
  3. Tell us why you should win in our comment section.

You can enter at the contest page here: Ultimate Business Contest: Win A Free Website – $21,000+ In Prizes.

The Prizes

Virtuosi Media is giving away prizes to 5 lucky business owners. You could be one of them!

Grand Prize

Win a free business website up to $10,000, free hosting for a year through Media Temple, free online invoicing for a year through FreshBooks, and a $500 copy editing certificate from for a total prize package of $11, 849.

First Prize

Win a 30% discount on a business website up to $10,000, free online invoicing for six months through FreshBooks, and a $500 copy editing certificate from for a total prize package of $4,429.

Second Prize

Win a 15% discount on a business website up to $10,000, free online invoicing for three months through FreshBooks, and a $500 copy editing certificate from for a total prize package of $2,339.85.

Third Prize

Win a 10% discount on a business website up to $10,000 and a $500 copy editing certificate from for a total prize package of $1500.

Fourth Prize

Win a 10% discount on a business website up to $10,000 and a $500 copy editing certificate from for a total prize package of $1500.

Enter To Win

The contest ends at 11:59PM May 24, 2011, so be sure to enter before then. The best and most detailed entries will win.

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10 Legit Ways to Gain a Twitter Fast Friend Following

Free twitter badgeImage via Wikipedia

There are many ways small town business owners and independent contractors can use Twitter.

Heck, there are as many ways to use Twitter as there are flavors of Jelly Belly (50 officially. Jelly Belly flavors, that is).

Of course, in this era of stream n’ scream and fast-food friending, most folks want to see instant results.  So with respect to the “law of the harvest” here are some ways the small folks can level the conversation station that Twitter is:

70-20-10 – It’s a formula I’ve coached for years. Our Twitter mantra is 70-20-10. Split your messaging up with this ratio: 70% Resource Sharing; 20% Chit-Chat n’ How’s Your Cat; 10% Pimp Your Stuff. Most folks do it in reverse. Don’t. Be the Resource.

Hashtags – Consider these labels. They help categorize your tweets and make you more findable in searches. They can also be valuable to you for RTing or following others  Further Reading: Hashtags Demystified

Searches – You can save Twitter searches and periodically go back on look. You can search for hashtags or “phrases that are important” by using quotation marks around a specific phrase.

Lists – By creating lists, you are creating a resource for yourself and others, and also creating a bit of good will to those you place on the list. The list should be more a resource to your audience than a bait to those you list. More on How to Use Twitter Lists

RT Others – As you find valuable tweets to share, it’s best to ReTweet manually (not the ReTweet button). Remember, it’s about your audience first; the person you RT second; and you are third. How-To: ReTweet on Twitter – Create your own daily online newspaper (or follow someone else’s) with this cool tool. There are many ways to customize, so feel free to experiment and gauge your success. Dive Deeper: Follow Smart People 5 Ways with

TwellowTwellow helps you find people based on keywords or location. Think of it as a reverse yellow pages for Twitter. Additional Read/Resource: 27 Tools to Help you Find and Manage Your Twitter

ReSked & ReTweet – Using a tool like HootSuite or another Twitter scheduling tool, you can take your best Tweets (even the RTs of others) and schedule them at various times throughout the week

Leave 20 characters – As often as possible, try to leave 17-20 characters of space in your tweets. This allows others to RT and add your name (count the RT, the @, the ___ space, and your username).

Twitter Chats – Join in and participate or create your own (using a hashtag). If you can keep up, this is a great way to engage and learn. At the end of most chats (a stream of tweets around a central topic) offer a transcript and a list of participants. Here’s a tip that includes a Tweet Chat video tutorial.

There are many other tools, tips and tracking you can do – but this is a quick-start for those that are looking for creating a fast food following.

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Don’t Speak TO Your Audience; Speak THROUGH Your Audience

Kiss the microphone. Spill from your gut. Speak to the back of the church.

Quieting your voice as a form of modesty is going to kill the message and end your days as a messenger.

It's easy to fall into the trap of talking softly when confronted with a microphone and in audience (seen or unseen). But don't be tempted. Instead, amp your voice up just a notch to overcome the natural tendency to quiet down.

Think Al Pacino in the movies or The B52s in music videos or Troy Polamalu on the football field. That's the kind of follow-through you're seeking.

Much like a fighter punches through his opponent, speak through your audience. Speaking at them — even to them — may fall short of their hearing and listening capabilities.



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