Monthly Archives: September 2014

Microsoft and the evil mutant rabbit

evil-bunnyHow a fluffy happy bunny can turn evil or how Microsoft’s best intentions can wipe your machine

I meet a lot of people who are only happy to slag off anything Microsoft produce without giving it a real chance.  I was the last to move over to Windows 8 and I knew I was going to hate it, I now love it, but I have turned it in to a Windows 7 look alike. There I would have stayed telling everyone that its not the OS its the way it’s setup, I remember doing the same for 2000, XP, Vista, Windows7 – never Millenium edition, hated that one. However I am going to join in and give Windows 8 a good kick.

Every operating system has been hated before it’s accepted and Windows 8 is no different. There are two people at CMX who loved it from the start but they are now testing Windows 9 for Microsoft but only one of them knew about this dangerous item that I am now going to tell you about.

“Factory reset” is known by everyone, and feared at the same time. If Vodafone ask you to do one you either lie and say you’ve done it or dread doing it. Well imagne they described it as the “fluffy Bunnykins button”, You wouldn’t be frightened but it would change what it is about to do would it, soon you would have a fear of rabbits – Leporiphobia, in case you wondered.

This is what Microsoft have just done. There is an optio to either “refresh” or “reset” your PC. This is Microsoft trying to be helpful and guarantee that you don’t need people like me and the techies at cmx. If you want to resell your machine you can reset or refresh it. You can make it all like new but this is what refresh does according to Microsoft:

“How to refresh, reset or restore your PC 

If you’re having problems with your PC, you can try to refresh, reset or restore it. Refreshing your PC reinstalls Windows and keeps your personal files and settings. It also keeps the applications that came with your PC and the apps you’ve installed from the Windows Store. Resetting your PC reinstalls Windows but deletes your files, settings and applications – except for the applications that came with your PC. Restoring your PC is a way to undo recent system changes you’ve made.”

Seems sagfe enough doesn’t it? The screen looks like thisrefresh

It look innocent and if you choose refresh you see this:


Looks OK doesn’t it but read lines two,  three and four. What this means is any programs you have added will be permanently wiped, such as office, adobe, printers etc.etc. Everything will be set to default, no email settings or personal preferences. Only the apps from Windows store will remain, got any of them, that’s phone type apps. So our nice friendly refreshed is more like the mad axeman than the genial bunny. But if you choose “Reset” you get:


In rabid bunny speak that means “I am going to send your machine back to year zero, the day it cam out of the production line.

So if you are tempted to “refresh” your PC you have been warned. However if you want to sell it or hand it to another family member and you don’t want them to see your files and photos, then just use the second option and “nuke” them.

What is the Point of Social Media, Anyway?

What is the Point of Social Media, Anyway?

untitledThe world used to revolve round Yellow Pages and newspaper advertising. If you had a shop it was “passing trade”. The problem now is that virtually every business has become “invisible”. No one goes to the High Streets, its all charity shops and bars now anyway and the Yellow pages is as relevant to business as an Agatha Christie novel.

The only way is mail, e-mail, telephone and cold calling, however, these are beyond most businesses, either from cost or revulsion.

So how do you become “UN-invisible”? Well its something we don’t offer so I feel I can talk about it! Its the wonder of Social Media.

Everyone is raving about the benefits of social media. It’s presented as the “be all and end all” of business interaction. Anyone worth a grain of salt in the business world has a wealth of social media accounts and the impressive connection numbers to go with each.

You’ve probably played along, creating the keyword rich social media profile pages and adding interactive buttons to your blog. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are checked on an hourly basis in the hopes of seeing the new friends, followers, and connections everyone talks about. Each check provides disappointing results as there are no new connections to be found. You slowly start to wonder what the point to social media is anyway.

Rest assured that social media can take your business to new levels. You just need to revamp your approach!

Start by recognising that the key to social media lies in the name itself. In order to generate a response from your social media efforts, you need to be social with others.

Think of it as a real life conversation you’d have with a colleague, potential client, or business partner. In order for the spark to be established you must first form a bond with this person. Whether it is shared interest in a new product unveiling or the latest industry hot gossip, you must find common ground. Seek out these types of connections online and get the conversation started. That common interest is uncovered through comments, posts, and e-mail conversations with individuals you wish to make a connection with.

Take the time to read what others are saying and make a comment, just as you would with a real-life conversation. Create a relevant blog post based on industry hot topics and share it on the appropriate social media sites. Make a valiant effort to be a part of the conversation. This will place your name and brand inside a particular industry. As a result these individuals will begin to learn who you are. The more they learn, the more respect and trust you will earn.

Another great key to social media is understanding how each site works. Just like the various levels of your marketing plan, each social media site serves a different purpose. Twitter and LinkedIn are great destinations for sharing ideas and providing feedback on the ideas of others. Facebook and Instagram serve to humanise your business, placing a familiar face with an unfamiliar product or service. This information will help you fine tune your marketing plan, ensuring your target market audience is being reached.

 In order to shine on social media you need to be, well, social! but that’s not that easy.

Like any marketing plan you have to have, well, a plan. You need to know where, how when, and what. The other thing you need is the skill to write things. It’s easy for me, I have been writing articles for years and with my own specialised sense of humour its just a matter of sitting down and writing something relevant. You also need to keep your ear to the ground. So we have the where for us, its, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and our blog. They are all linked together, I use buffer to make sure I post once and use buffer to repeat my message, there are others that do the same job. Buffer posts for us four times a day at times that I think will be least obtrusive. The when is easy. I post four posts a day, two blogs a week and do an e-mail shot once a fortnight. The what is the hardest, I trawl all the trade news e-mail’s, newspapers and listen to clients and the other people at CMX. I then just write a post, an article or I combine the two, posting about an upcoming blog item.

It’s time consuming but no one ever increased their market share by doing nothing, that’s the route to invisibility. I also network a lot. I do BNI in Ipswich and 4N in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Colchester, my face is well worn on many welcome mats!

So now you know all the answers but you still aren’t going to do it are you? Its too much to put together and you don’t have the skill sets maybe? Well I would like to recommend a friend I met through business networking and I have got to know here blogging and media skills quite well. Its the first time I have ever recommended someone in my blog but I would like to recommend Sam Brook of Suffolk Social Media.

She is young, enthusiastic and makes a living by making people like you “Get it done” for Social media and blogging. The costs start at £59.50 which is worth it just for the knowledge and kick-start you will get. To find out more click here.

You wont find fame and fortune overnight, if you do let me know how, but with steady work it will grow and grow, you will become an expert in your field and you will have to start somewhere – unless you and your business want to remain invisible. As a good friend of mine often quotes, “If you want to do something you will, if you don’t you will find an excuse”. What’s your excuse? I hope you don’t have one.

Join in a Twitter conversation. Make a thought-provoking Facebook status update. Praise someone on a well-written blog article. Before long you will begin to see what the point of social media is after all!


How to perfect your body language for presentations

10 powerful presentation tips The odds are that you’re going to wind up making a presentation, either in person, hosting a video conference or webinar sometime in the near future. With a limited amount of screen real estate to work with and varying device screen sizes that your audience will be using, it’s more important than ever that you make a great first impression. So, are you ready for your close up? It is crucial for you as the speaker to be able to establish confidence and credibility with your audience in order to hold their attention, especially on a video conference. Think about it—they don’t even have to worry about looking rude if they want to leave; if they don’t like you, they can just turn off their device. Luckily we’ve compiled 10 tips for simple and powerful body language improvement that you can follow to help build trust nonverbally with your audience. These are aimed for using the smaller (or wider? screen but they apply to personal appearances too)

Tip 1: Check your body language (before you wreck your body language).Are you sitting slouched over? Are your arms crossed? Do you appear approachable? Those are all questions that your audience asks themselves when they see you for the first time. They are looking for subtle physical cues to inform how they are going to listen to you or interact with you. If you open up your posture and appear relaxed and friendly, your audience will subconsciously mirror that behavior and be more accepting of what you’re going to say.

Tip 2: Create positive eye contact, not the creepy kind. We all know that there’s a clear distinction between “creepy” eye contact and positive eye contact. Your audience is going to be staring directly at your face for an extended period of time, so make sure that your expression isn’t too intense and try to smile with your eyes, or just relax your face and pretend like you’re talking with a friend. This will put your audience at ease, and they will find themselves smiling back at their screens. Like yawning, it’s contagious.

Tip 3: Use microexpressions to add animation.No need to maintain a blank poker face when talking on a video conference or webinar. In fact, your audience will probably appreciate you having animation as it shows them that you are passionate about your topic or empathetic to their problem.That being said, before you turn on your webcam to hundreds of (hopefully) intent listeners, take a few minutes and preview yourself in the video viewer. Do you raise your eyebrows when you’re surprised? Do you furrow your brows when you’re confused? Being aware of these microexpressions can help you shape your audience’s initial impressions of you while projecting self-confidence on camera.

Tip 4: Decide what to wear and what not to wear.It’s difficult to listen to someone or even take them seriously when they are wearing a sloppily tied bow tie or ridiculously tight clothes. You find yourself distracted and focusing on the person’s appearance instead of their message. The same goes for your audience. Make sure you have selected an outfit that is culturally appropriate for the audience you are addressing. Try wearing form fitting, professional clothes that make you feel good and colors that you know will compliment your overall appearance on camera. (Red is the hardest color to produce on video.) That small level of self-comfort will translate on screen in a big way to your audience. The more at ease you look, the more confident you will appear to people—and that goes a long way towards building credibility.

Tip 5: Know your frame game. A typical phrase used in television is to ask “What’s my frame?” It’s a way for an actor or director to understand how the camera is going to be framing up their shot. As you are your own active cameraman, you’re going to have to take the responsibility to ask “What’s my frame?” before your audience even sees you. Are you in a professional setting where you feel relaxed and ready to talk? Is your chair at the optimum height for your audience to see you? Is your webcam pointed directly at you? Is the lighting around you unflattering? These are all small things that you can adjust so that you feel ready and don’t have any last-minute scrambling, which your audience might interpret as you not being ready or not caring about their time.

Tip 6: Keep your gestures within view. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who liked to talk with their hands? While it can be a fun way to illustrate your point (or a not-so-fun way to put out an eye), it can also be a giant distraction for your audience. In a video conference, you don’t have a lot of space for gestures, and wild or large hand movements that may work in live environments might make you look erratic or completely detract from what you are trying to say. Keep your movements controlled and on-camera at all times. Be assertive with your movements without being harsh and try to keep the movement as natural as possible. Looking crazy or nervous on a video conference using fast or unnatural gestures could be interpreted by your audience as bring unprepared.

Tip 7: Sit up straight, like you’ve always been told.Do you ever find yourself hunching over to look in to your camera? Well, your audience sees that too, only it looks like extreme slouching to them. Good posture is a subtle nonverbal cue that your audience will pick up on as an indication of poise. The more open and erect your posture on camera, the more confidence you are going to project to those watching you. If you look assured of yourself and your presence on camera, your audience will trust that you know what you’re talking about.

Tip 8: Know your stuff.This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s worth repeating if it will help you build credibility and lead to a stellar first impression with your audience. Have you rehearsed your presentation? Do you know your topic inside and out? Do you know who you are talking to? Are there any cultural nuances that you should be aware of with your audience? Asking yourself these types of questions beforehand can help you avoid embarrassing pitfalls which could annoy or even offend your audience. Knowing your subject matter will also allow you keep your head up instead of buried in notes. That will give the impression of self-assuredness and intelligence—two very good things when trying to build trust and make connections with new people on a video conference.

Tip 9: Vary your vocal pitch (but not too much).The inflection of your voice, even before you get into the meat of your presentation, has the power to influence the way others will see you. Before you start your video conference, allow your voice to relax into its optimal pitch. Do some vocal warms ups, practice how you are going to say hello or even just practice the first few lines of your pitch. This will help you maintain a more even and relaxed tone when meeting your audience for the first time. Try to keep your vocal inflection varied but not all over the place. It will keep your tone interesting. Sounding confident and prepared will help establish you as a thought leader in your audience’s eyes.

Tip 10: Get familiar with your good side. It sounds funny, but do you know your “good side?” Being aware of your strengths will go a long way to establishing credibility with an audience who are going to be making a snap judgment of you based on what they see on a webcam. The  audience is literally taking you at face value when they first meet you on a video conference. Understanding how you look on camera and what angles work for you is an easy way to show your audience that you know what you’re doing and that they should listen to you.

Lights, camera, your turn! Closing that big deal or presenting to an executive board can be stressful, but using these simple yet effective tips can help you to exude self-confidence and build credibility with your audience.