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Five Ways YOU Could Use Video

Five Ways YOU Could Use Video

In the US at least, this appears to be the year of the Internet Presidency, and this trend got me thinking about ways that that you might use Internet video to improve you universe.

  • Post A Video Resume– There’s something powerful of matching a face to a name, but it’s even stronger if you can come off decent on camera. Get your video camera or your digital camera out, consider your surroundings (background matters), and make sure people can see (good lighting) and hear (either the camera is close enough of use an off-camera microphone) you. Don’t tell people everything you’ve ever done. Focus instead on the most important thing you want people to come away thinking about you when they see the video.
  • Make Your Own Instructional Videos– Do you have a team of people working on something tricky? Would moving pictures help the situation? Try making a film that conveys the desired outcome. Have fun with it. But remember: the Internet has a long memory, and searching YouTube for instructional videos usually nets some really awful (read: funny) results. (Remember that some services like Blip.TV allow you to mark videos as private or friends-only.
  • Make Family Video “Cards”– Letters and cards are nice, but shooting a few minutes of smiles and waves and well wishes with a video camera goes a long way. The Holidays are an easy mark for this kind of idea, but you can do it for birthdays or just random “thinking of you” moments, where a visit isn’t possible. Sure, Grandma might not know how to watch Internet TV (unless she’s Millie Garfield), but theres usually some wonderful relative who will share the movie with her. And you can always mail a DVD if that’s easier.
  • Post Blog News or Company News– There are often announcements to be made in life and in business. Why not use video to make it even more memorable. Sometimes, it’s the “behind the scenes” things we see that endear us to a person or a company more than the public face of it all. I think that video makes for a stronger “relationship,” should that be a desired outcome. Adding a face to an otherwise text-heavy site gives people more to feast upon with regards to the information you provide them. Do people talk about bookstore grosses on the opening weekend of a book? No. They talk about movies. Because they are VISUAL and people crave that input, even when they love the book more than the movie.
  • Improve Your Online Sales– Selling something through eBay or Craigslist? Point to a video of the product as well as snaps. Sometimes, seeing a video clip of something you’re selling is that little bit more compelling. It might even establish more of a relationship between you and the prospective buyer, if that’s of value.

Using Internet video for everything is as silly as using a blog for everything, and there are certainly times when audio is better than video, and times when text is better than both. I read TONS more blogs in a day than I watch videoblogs or Internet TV, and it’s my JOB to watch Internet TV (at least a part of it). So, I’m not saying video fixes everything. But if you’re not even considering its uses and implications, why not? What might creating and posting videos do for your business, organization, or personal situation?

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— Chris Brogan is Community Developer for Video on the Net, a conference about the impact of broadband Internet on the future of TV, Film, and Broadcasting. He keeps a blog at [chrisbrogan.com].

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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