Monday, April 30, 2007

Seven Great Ways To Start A Letter

We have had enough entertainment for a while, so here is a technique to help you write better letters, memos or emails. The ideas work whether you use them for business or pleasure.

Seven Great Ways To Start A Letter

Have you ever tried to write a motivating letter and sat there, staring at the blinking cursor, wondering how to get started?

You're not the only one. Getting off on the right foot, with energy and enthusiasm, is always a challenge for novice writers.

Professional copywriters, on the other hand, know that there are countless ways to start a letter. Here are just seven proven techniques that show you how easy it really is.

Let's pretend that you have to write a letter to network security managers offering them a free brochure.

1. Method: Tell them they're special

Example: As a network security professional, you bear a unique responsibility.

2. Method: Tell a story

Example: When Susan Smith walked into her office and looked at the ashen face of her assistant, she instantly knew that someone had taken her network down.

3. Method: Tell them they're facing a difficult challenge

Example: As the person responsible for network security, I know you face some extremely difficult challenges.

4. Method: Shock them with frightening news

Example: Last month over ten Fortune 500 companies suffered intense, repeated denial of service attacks.

5. Method: Soothe them with good news

Example: If you've been worried about hackers cracking your system, and inflicting devastating damage, I've got some good news for you.

6. Method: Make your offer immediately

Example: I'm writing to offer you a free report from Levison Security Services titled "Seven Ways To Improve Network Security Now."

7. Method: Explain that you can help them

Example: As the person responsible for network security, you have some mighty tough problems. I can help you solve them.

and a bonus one...

8. Method: Ask a question

Example: Is a hacker at work, right at this moment, trying to bring down your network?

adapted from THE LEVISON LETTER - visit Ivan's site... he is one of the best copywriters in the world!

The real message here is this... if Method 1 doesn't work, try Method 2, and keep trying until you get one that works.

It's a long the lines of why you and I take rotten photographs, and the professional photographer takes FANTASTIC photos. What's the difference??

You and I take just 1 snap and hope for the best... the professional takes 10, 20 or 30 shots and PICKS THE BEST!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fun Commercial Products

With winter fast approaching us, the opportunities to do more outdoor activities lessens by the week. Though this isn't necessarily a bad thing in most respects (there are still plenty of enjoyable indoor activities to do) it still does make a game of golf or going to the footy a little more interesting.

Lately I've had a fascination with RC toys and the serious world that accompanies them. This is no longer a pastime for children, but a serious and enjoyable hobby. The cost associated with grabbing one of these however makes you wonder if it is indeed worth it, until I saw this little gem, a Mini RC Helicopter. Electric powered, this tiny little chopper has everything of the more expensive models, but at a fraction of the cost. And the best part? It's designed to be flown indoors! I could get in trouble with this one!

Liam Webb

An Anzac Tribute - Simpson and his Donkey

Jack Simpson Kirkpatrick was born in 1892 at South Shields in the north east of England. He came from a large family, being one of eight children. As a child during his summer holidays he used to work as a donkey-lad on the sands of South Shields. He had a great affinity with animals, in particular donkeys. Later he deserted ship in Australia when he heard of the war with Germany.

Fearing that a deserter might not be accepted into the Australian Army, he dropped Kirkpatrick from his name and enlisted simply as John Simpson.

He was to become Australia’s most famous, and best-loved military hero.

In Perth on 23rd August 1914, Jack was accepted and chosen as a field ambulance stretcher bearer. This job was only given to strong men so it seems that his work as a stoker in the Merchant Marine had prepared him well for his exceptional place in history. He joined the 3rd Field Ambulance at Blackboy Hill camp, 35 km east of Perth on the same day.

On the 25th April 1915 he, along with the rest of the Australian and New Zealand contingent landed at the wrong beach on a piece of wild, impossible and savage terrain now known as Anzac Cove.

Attack and counter attack began.

During the morning hours of April 26th , along with his fellows, Jack was carrying casualties back to the beach over his shoulder – it was then that he saw the donkey.

Jack knew what he had to do.

From then on he became a part of the scene at Gallipoli walking along next to his donkey, forever singing and whistling as he held on to his wounded passengers, seemingly completely fatalistic and scornful of the extreme danger. He led a charmed life from 25th April 1915 until he was hit by a machine gun bullet in his back on 19th May 1915.

In these amazing 24 days he was to rescue over 300 men down the notorious Monash Valley. His prodigious, heroic feat was accomplished under constant and ferocious attack from artillery, field guns and sniper fire. Quoted from some of his officers:

"Almost every digger knew about him. The question was often asked: "Has the bloke with the donk stopped one yet?"

"he was the most respected and admired of all the heroes at Anzac."

Captain C. Longmore, in 1933, remembered how the soldiers "watched him spellbound from the trenches... it was one of the most inspiring sights of those early Gallipoli days."

Colonel John Monash wrote "Private Simpson and his little beast earned the admiration of everyone at the upper end of the valley. They worked all day and night throughout the whole period since the landing, and the help rendered to the wounded was invaluable. Simpson knew no fear and moved unconcernedly amid shrapnel and rifle fire, steadily carrying out his self imposed task day by day, and he frequently earned the applause of the personnel for his many fearless rescues of wounded men from areas subject to rifle and shrapnel fire."

Jack was recommended for the Victoria Cross, officially, through his unit, on June 3rd 1915. He was also recommended for the highest military honours by Colonel (later General Sir John) Monash, Australia’s greatest commander of the First World War. Monash, commander of the 4th Brigade at the time (where Jack was operating) was an eye-witness to his activities and sent in a lengthy submission to Divisional Headquarters on May 20th.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Have you heard about the "Test of Rightness?"

Just a short Spirit today.

In all the rules and suggestions of how to succeed in business, commonsense gets lost on many occasions. In a book with a terrible title - probably why I could buy it cheap at BookStar - If You Want To Make God REALLY Laugh Show Him Your Business Plan - Barry Gibbons talks about Universal Laws of Business.

I was really struck by Rule 2:

Deal with people individually as it you were dealing with your favourite sister.

Barry, who was Burger King CEO and unabashed corporate maverick, applies what he calls the Tests of Rightness:

He says "I have always applied Tests of Rightness to my primary activities in business. It’s a simple process of taking a few minutes to stand back and ignore all the momentum, noise, analysis, and data, and ask: Does this feel right? Is this actually civilized? It is astonishing how many times we do things in a way that challenges the ascent of humanity.

In other words, would I do this to my favourite sister??

Friday, April 20, 2007

STOP PRESS: Murphy's Law proven TRUE!

Have you ever been pressed to get stuff done and just know that some thing will "get in the way" of getting it finished? That's usually know as Murphy's Law. And I have always thought that it was an urban myth - repeated so often, we believe it. Well, in The Daily Telegraph of Friday October 8th, 2004 - Sydney's version - the headline jumped out: Maths proves Murphy is LAW!

According to the article, experts have come up with a mathematical formula which proves Murphy's Law really does strike at the worst possible time.

After testing the experiences of 1,000 people, they discovered "things don't just go wrong, they go wrong at the most annoying moment.

The study, commissioned by British Gas, identified 6 factors that influence your susceptibility to Murphy's Law. These factors are urgency, complexity, importance, skill, frequency and aggravation.
The findings proved that not only do things go wrong, they do so when they are most likely to drive their victims up the wall.

How does this work?? For example, Murphy's Law shows how cruel it can be when it comes to the shower turning cold just as you've shampooed. Men aren't bothered and so the chances of it happening to them are low; but women hate it and it happens far more often to them.

Top of the most likely - and most annoying - events was spilling some thing down yourself before a date and peak hour traffic being worse when you're already late.

Other examples? Computers crash on deadline, printers run out of ink half way through an urgent job, cars break down in emergencies, and toast really does fall buttered side down. So there!

Just a little light relief from politics...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Working makes you FEEL better - really!

Some times life is complicated but most of the time we just make it so. Isn't that the truth!

With all the new research being carried out on what makes us tick, often the real story is that old wisdom is GOOD wisdom. For example it seems that we are hard wired for hard work. Ground breaking research(?) has come up with these startling facts:

We get more satisfaction out of money we earn as opposed to money we're given.

Isn't that what the old adage "easy come, easy go" refers to — our tendency as humans to treat windfall, gift, or hand-me-down cash cavalierly, while savouring the fruits of our hard-earned dough?

Any one who is doing even the scantiest of reading will know that, for almost everything the psych doctors trumpet as the latest revelation in their fields, there's a saying that's already got it covered. One could be forgiven for thinking that the real purpose of the psycho-sciences is to put into fancy words and number what people have already learned about each other through the millennia of human interaction.

According to the Emory University study's authors, other research has shown that lottery winners are not happier a year after hitting the jackpot than they were when they were working for a living.

Maybe we need counselling for lottery winners. I don't know about you, but I think I could somehow maintain a happy outlook with an million dollars or three, if I did something worthwhile with the money…

Here is a suggestion from William Campbell Douglass II, MD, who writes one of the best "Medical Debunking newsletters on the net. He suggest that he would start his own mass-circulation publication devoted to promoting the proverbs, adages, maxims, and old wives' tales that tell us everything we really need to know about human nature — without "all the jargon and gobbledygook the pointy-heads use to make their points…"

So, even if we are built to work... maybe we need some help on the "Smart" part of that.

As I watch the custom of the cafe where I have enjoyed an early morning coffee for the last 4 years go down and down - we are on the third owner who really is struggling with the "science" of business - he keeps trying NEW coffee blends but "he doesn't drink coffee!" - I think this idea about "ready to take away, fresh orange juice" just might fix his business... and a variation might help you too! (Sadly I don't think my guy will listen - we will need to wait for owner number 4 who will get a bargain because "business is slow.")

With one simple idea, and a little bit of "elbow grease" The Dockside Cafe in Annapolis, Maryland will add nearly $20,000 to its sales: They make it extremely convenient for their customers to add a $3 item on to their purchases.

Each morning, the coffee shop turns a sack of oranges into about 18 cups of fresh-squeezed orange juice. (They used to do less, but they kept on selling out.)

They fill clear plastic cups with the bright orange juice, snap lids on them, and put them in a tray of ice right next to the cash register. Before they put the OJ out on the countertop, they hardly sold any. But now, about 18 people a day grab one of those cups. At $3 each, that's $54 extra a day - or an impressive $19,710 extra in sales a year - on an item that has a very high profit margin.

The moral of this story: Whether you're running a neighbourhood coffee shop or an online "store," make it easy for your customers to grab a little something extra on the way out. Those little sales will add up to big numbers fast.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Cheese Pizza Business Guide

David Caruso wrote to me late last week and said: "Hi Wayne - Really enjoying your email articles – good luck on your continued fight.

I have just released my first book ‘cheese pizza’ and I am keen and passionate to tell the world about it.I would be happy to offer 5 free copies to your readers/subscribers as part of a promotion. I would be happy to send you a copy beforehand – for your approval."Thinking that this would be another "cheesy" fable book I thought I had better read it before recommending it to The Maverick Spirit readers. The books arrived this morning and I read my copy over coffee - that's the benefit of PowerReading - and it one of the best business books I have read in years.

Cheese Pizza is a fictional story with real world undertones on improving business and personal relationships. David could easily have been inside my head with the insight he gives to the struggle that many businesses take each day. It is simple story with some worldly lessons, advice and inspiration. If you are a small to medium business owner, or inspiring to be this book is written for you. David has created a book for the weekend. He calls this his Weekend Inspiring Narratives which are designed to motivate and drive the everyday business owner which can be essentially read over the weekend, to fit into the busy lifestyle of each business owner.”

David draws on 15 years of experience where he sometimes found himself flat, unmotivated, and seeking answers or wondering what and why. When he felt like that his business often suffered and conversely when he was on top of his game, ready to conquer the world, his business prospered. The story is based around, John, a fictional character who has lost his way in the shape of his business and his personal relationships.

“ If one does not know to which port they are sailing no wind is favourable.”On the brink of despair he comes across an unlikely source of inspiration, a local pizza shop owner and through a number of impromptu conversations, rediscovers a new lease of life. The solutions are inspiringly simple yet are the most often overlooked in times of crisis.Without giving too much away, the self realisation of the Power of Now, and the fact that we ALL should be enjoying the present this book is well worth the time to read.

You can get a copy at

Monday, April 02, 2007

Registration Email

online event organization I believe, is a very useful tool for any company working in an event type industry. You can contact all the people who for some reason decided not to finish their registration email. I think you would see an increase in event attendance due to the sales marketer contacting the person and helping them over their hesitation.

From a personal view, if I was to book into a seminar and decided I didn't want to for some reason then I had someone call me in regards to booking in, I would be quite annoyed. Obviously if I stopped registering, I wouldn't want someone calling me trying to sell the event to me. Now that I know about this program I actually don't think I would register for anything online.

However, saying this, it is still good customer service, and if I was to receive an email stating that my email registration had not gone through, I would appreciate the notice.