In another time, in another galaxy, interviews were simple things. This bloke went and talked to that bloke. That bloke gave a job to This bloke. They shook hands. Happiness and smiles all around.

Now, according to some experts, interviewing for a job will take anywhere from four to six ‘meetings’, conducted by telephone or via video conference as well as in person. (At a conference I attended last week, I heard of a man who was interviewed by nine different people for the position for which he was finally hired.) No one actually makes the decision alone.

These experts offer advice on how to prepare for a job interview, and the range of their advice goes from reasonable to ludicrous. One expert gave his clients such a detailed (and extreme) list of preparatory steps that it sounded as if he were teaching how to conduct a daring daylight bank robbery. He also advised making friends with the department receptionist, because her input might be the ‘decisive factor’, and, if offered a beverage, to take it in your LEFT hand, when shaking hands keep yours PERPENDICULAR to the floor, and don’t cross your legs.

Ah.

Certain steps are obvious. Take a bath, shave where appropriate, wear clothing. Try not to smell (no cologne, no smoking until after the interview). Show up on time. Dress appropriately for the position you are seeking. If you are applying for a house-keeping position, do not show up in a Saville Row suit; if you are applying to be bank president, cut-offs and flip-flops are not recommended.

There are valid things to do to make ready: research the company as best you can. Find out as much as you can about the business, the corporate culture, institutional philosophies, etc. Try to know something about the competition (although there are not competitors in every profession).

Read your resume thoroughly. There’s nothing more awkward in an interview than being questioned about something you’ve forgotten you said because you’ve rewritten your CV so many times. (In fact, to save yourself difficulty, take copies of your current CV with you, and offer it as an ‘update’. And read it thoroughly before you do.)

Let this be your mantra: BE POSITIVE IN EVERYTHING. Even when presenting negative information, do it in in honest and positive way. That two-year period of unemployment can be presented as a ‘time-out opportunity to reassess your priorities, acquire additional training and information, and make decisions about the course in life you wish to pursue. Now you’re seeking opportunities to make contributions in .’

I advise embracing a different mental attitude from those of other candidates. The situation is that you need a (different) job; that’s usually foremost in most interviewees’ thinking. Forget about that for the moment. All the other candidates want/need a job too; you’ll hardly stand out in the crowd. Instead of thinking about what you want or need, think about the interviewer’s needs instead.

You’re about to be interviewed by someone who has his own set of problems and needs. This person has been tasked with identifying suitable candidates for a position the bosses have created. S/he may conduct only the first interview. You have to be memorable to be recommended for further consideration.

In the preliminary interview, the issue most concerning the interviewer (really) is not if you know how to tune pipe organs, or can reduce mint jelly without burning it, but if in a general way, you’re a person who might ‘fit in’ to the bigger picture. Questions from the interviewer might SEEM to show an interest in you, but actually are part of a check list—can you tune a pipe organ? can you reduce mint jelly? do you have a match? what time is it in Zurich?

People love to be LISTENED TO, so as the interviewer takes you through your paces, ask open ended questions when you can, elicit information from her and LISTEN. (An open ended question is one that cannot be given a one-word answer such as ‘yes’ or ‘no’.) Use the information you are given to focus your answers and be more responsive to the interviewer’s need.

People remember stories much better than they do lists of facts. They enjoy stories—they’re entertaining and don’t require the brain-drain that a list of facts does. Prepare stories to illustrate your accomplishments, and here’s a tip I was given recently: let the first line of your story be true but outrageous: ‘Oh yes, I saved my last department $240 thousand using a thumb tack.’ That’s memorable. Now back it up with facts, limit of three—more tend to make the interviewer’s eyes glaze over. Then, finish with a very positive statement that really just repeats (in different words) the things you just said. You will be remembered.

Present everything in as positive a fashion as possible. Significant personal problems such as death and divorce can be represented briefly as ‘changes in my personal life,’ and leave it at that. Were you dismissed from your last position, or did you take advantage of the opportunity to explore and pursue alternative interests?

Another suggestion—DON’T ask for the job. People do not like to be sold to (and in a job interview, you’re trying to sell the idea that you’re the answer to all their problems). They do not like being told what to do. They like to make their own decisions; when they make a decision, they own it and they’re invested in it. So don’t tell them ‘You want to hire me. I’m the best person for the job.’ You’re forcing yourself on them.

Instead, demonstrate how you handle situations based on past experience, offer forward-looking ideas for the future, and maintain the mental attitude that you’re there in that meeting room to help the interviewer solve the problem of finding suitable candidates. Conclude by saying, ‘I’d be interested in pursuing this.’ Instead of forcing yourself on the interviewer, you’re leaving the unpressured opportunity for the interviewer to think, ‘this person should be put forward as a candidate.’

Because of your stories with the true and outrageous first lines, you’ll be remembered. Because you were helpful and supportive to the interviewer in the quest to find a suitable candidate, you’ll be warmly appreciated. When the time comes, you’ll stand out from the crowd as memorable and different, focused and positive. You more probably will be proposed for additional interviews than the other candidates.

In the end, you’re the one everyone sees as the ‘go-to’ person for your field.

The ‘Go-To’ folks are the ones that get hired.

Introverts aren’t anti-social, we just prefer alone time. What most people don’t understand is that it’s not that we dislike being outdoors, at social events or at parties it’s just that we really would prefer either smaller social things with really close friends or if we do go outside, we just need extra recharge time. But we’re also frustrated with the way people see us and the huge misconceptions of introverts.

Understanding What It Feels Like To Be An Introvert

Being an introvert means liking quiet time. Many of us would prefer a small cozy, private and quiet office to work in instead of a large rowdy open floor setup. Some of us might get social anxiety, but that’s because big social things just aren’t are thing.

Ellen Vrana explains it extremely well on an answer on Quora. This answer, by the way, is something you should print out and give to all your extrovert friends who don’t understand you as an introvert. Read it! Because it will really help you (and them) understand introverts more.

I feel frustrated when I explain to someone that I need alone time and she responds, “yes, I need that every once in a while.” No you don’t get it, that is my preferred mode, almost all the time I would prefer to be alone. I was just making it sound casual so I wouldn’t offend you or make you think I’m weird.

I feel sad when people take it personally that I don’t want to spend time with them, or start to drift out of the conversation because my emotional battery is winding down and needs recharging. It’s not personal. Unless our conversation cannot get past painful small talk and then yes, it is personal.

I feel pained when people joke that I’m anti-social and hate humans just because they cannot imagine a world where everyone is not as extroverted as they are.

I feel claustrophobic when people ask me on Monday AM what I did that weekend, because:

  1. I hate small talk and feel trapped by this inane question, and

  2. Whatever I did, usually something alone, it won’t make sense and I’ll be pitied for having no friends.

I feel depressed when the sun comes out and I know that everyone will be outside playing volleyball or baseball or doing something social, together. I love rain, and I love winter.

I feel fake when I am doing small-talk. I am very interested in you as a person, why do I have to pretend I’m not?

I feel lonely when I’m with a group of people and talking about nothing.

I feel nervous when my phone rings or when I have to make a phone call.

I feel discouraged to read articles about “jobs for introverts” and it’s all stay-at-home work on your computer type things. I’m not a shut-in, I’m an introvert. (I’m not saying that people who do those jobs are shut-ins, just noting the implications).

I feel satisfied when I have a really good conversation with a small group of people about something meaningful that matters to us.

I feel guilty because I often confuse people about being introverted. I am outgoing and friendly in person. People do not realize I’m introverted and therefore, at some point, I have to let them down by not wanting to spend as much time together as they want. It makes me think that I should not be so outgoing, but I cannot change that either.

I feel happy when my friends get to the place where they understand that although I’m not the hangout type, I won’t do dinner and drinks or Sunday brunch, I can be relied on for anything big, any time, anywhere. I’ll also remember things that matter to you and anticipate how you might be feeling before you tell me.

I feel inspiration in nature, reading, thinking, or watching my favorite films.

I feel disappointed, apparently introverts are supposed to be smarter, better thinkers? Damn, I missed that boat!

I feel excited by the increasing number of books, lectures, postings about being introverted, and just how many people have commented that they no longer think they are the only ones who feel like this. Introverts unite!

EDIT: A few comments have pointed out the high number of negative feelings. Let me be clear, the negativity comes from people not understanding my feelings or preferences, NOT from being introverted. Introversion is not a negative thing and I don’t regret being introverted nor do I want to change. I just want to be understood. I wrote this to help people understand what it is like for me (and just me, not all introverts), not to bemoan introversion. I’m sorry that wasn’t clear.

Zach Kirkhorn had a great follow-up to that along with clearing up a few misconceptions about introverts:

How does it feel? I feel frustrated for always having to apologize to people for wanting to take time to myself on occasion or feeling awkward defending my need for alone time. I’m tired of trying to convince others that I’m normal and that introversion is widely misunderstood – even among those who call themselves introverts! I’m an introvert, that how I am, and I’m fine with it. And I shouldn’t have to apologize.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about this, especially in the last year an a half. I’m a very strong introvert who’s attending business school, which is one of the most socially active environments I’ve ever experienced. The term “introvert” has an unnecessarily bad reputation, for reasons I don’t entirely understand, and would like to address a few misconceptions. My thoughts below are of course generalizations, and come with the same risks that any kind of generalization bears.

Let’s first ground ourselves in what it means to be an introvert. In short, we reenergize by being alone. As copied from Wikipedia: some popular writers have characterized introverts as people whose energy tends to expand through reflection and dwindle during interaction.

Misconception #1: “Introversion is a fancy name that we give for lacking social skills.”

This is a common misconception of introverts. We’re thought of as the social outcasts. We’re taught as kids that we’re supposed to go make friends with the other kids playing in the sandbox. And if we don’t, we’re weird and our parents have to apologize to the other parents for our behavior.

We have to relearn what introvert really means. Introverts can be perfectly social and most are. We have many friends, are quite well adjusted, and fit a broad range of societal definitions of normal. Its just that when everyone else is running out for the 5th consecutive night out at a bar, we’d prefer to take a night to ourselves on occasion.

Misconception #2: “Introverts are quiet and don’t like to talk.”

Wrong again. I like to talk. I have a lot to say! After spending an above average amount of time thinking and reading, I want to share what I’ve learned. I want to know what others think about what I’m now thinking.

But I don’t like to talk in front of a group of people I don’t know. I don’t like to talk in environments that are loud. And I don’t like to talk about silly things, or what some would call “small talk.” I’d much rather talk about the important issues in my life and hear what issues you’re working through. And if we hit upon a mutually interesting topic, I can talk with others for hours.

Misconception #3: “Given a choice, introverts would always prefer to be alone rather than in a group.”

This too is not necessarily true. There are only so many episodes of Downton Abbey I can watch in a row before I have to get out of my apartment and interact with another human being. Some of my best memories include trips with friends or projects with big groups.

As mentioned in another post, I can turn on my group socializing skills without much difficulty. But, as an introvert, I just have to balance my socializing time with my quiet time. If I know I have a number of social events coming up, I need to plan in advance to get in my alone time to recharge. I also need to make sure I don’t schedule social events after work too many days in a row. I’ll be drained by the time the end of the week comes around. But as long as I’m honest with myself on how much group time I can take and plan accordingly, I have a great time interacting with others.

Misconception #4: “Introverts are not good leaders”

We see exceptionally charismatic leaders, such as President Clinton or Jack Welch (famous long time CEO of General Electric) and begin to believe that being an extrovert is a prerequisite to inspiring others and gaining a following.

Au contraire you naysayer. Albert Einstein was an introvert, as are BIll Gates and Warren Buffett, just to name a few.

As we learn in management class, there are two types of leaders – those who inspire others through their personality (Oprah), and those who inspire others through their knowledge (Einstein). Introverts tend to do well with the latter and have made amazing contributions to the world. They’ve also built huge organizations that have lasted over time.

Misconception #5: “Introverts are only a small portion of the population”

According to the MBTI people, about half of the population identifies as introverted. Other studies suggest it’s around a third of the population. Regardless, there are a lot of introverts of varying degrees out there!

I often think that introverts suffer from some of the same misfortunes of “invisible minorities,” such as those with a religious affiliation or those who identify as LGBT. If we can’t see what someone is by looking at them, we tend to underestimate how many people identify with that subgroup. This is especially true with those who are introverted, as we recharge alone. Others won’t necessarily know we’re introverts unless we tell them. And that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do recently. Its amazing how many people respond saying that they’re an introvert as well. It’s an instant bond!

In conclusion…

Introversion is just another aspect of the complexity that makes up the human race. It should neither be celebrated nor lamented. Rather, it should simply beunderstood. Those of us who are introverts need to learn how to live in a world that seems to be full of extroverts. This mainly includes striking the right balance between social time and alone time, so we can be truly “on” when we’re socializing. And those who are extroverts have an opportunity to better understand where introverts are coming from. Almost half of the population identifies as introverted to some degree, so we’re not abnormal outcasts!

For those who are interested, I found this Ted Talk by Susan Cain to be fascinating and I highly recommend it. Susan Cain: The power of introverts | Video on TED.com. I also recommend her book Quiet.

So there you have it. Being an introvert isn’t about being anti-social or anything like that. It’s most that we just really REALLY value our alone time and need it more so than others. We have lots to say (my wife sometimes says I say too much, but that’s another story), we just prefer more intimate/small gatherings and events. Live and learn my friends.

While you can disagree with Atheism, it’s really tough to take you seriously when you’re ignorant about what it is. Just like mocking Muslims, Jews or even Buddhists for their beliefs without understanding makes you an ignorant bigot, trying to argue against Atheism without understand it only makes you a fool.

I’m writing this rather controversial post because of a question asked on Auora entitled “Why do atheists say that they will believe in God only if God shows himself? Is God subject to their orders?“. It sparked a few thoughts in me and stirred some feelings, all only to remind me that many people don’t understand Atheism and possibly dislike it simply because it exists (without even trying to understand it).

Thankfully, a few smart people chimed in to help explain.

Jay Wacker said this:

What would it take for you to believe in the Norse gods?

Probably for Thor to come down from Valhalla.

Atheists simply believe this about all religions, including yours.

In all honesty, Thor showing up would be rather cool. Though at the same time it would mean things aren’t going well in the etherial plane.

Barry Hampe, a writer and well versed man, explained it best with this:

Why-do-atheists-say-that-they-will-believe-in-God-only-if-God-shows-himself?

They don’t say that. I am almost 80 and a life-long atheist, and I have never, ever said that. What I do say is this:

If you can show me credible, objective, verifiable evidence that the god of your religion exists, I shall immediately stop being an atheist and join your religion.

So far, no one has even come close.

Is God subject to their orders?

As an atheist, I have no belief in any god or gods. To make such a ridiculous demand, that some god must show itself to me, would require some sort of belief that some god might exist. I don’t have that belief. Or some sort of hope or desire that some god might exist. I don’t have that hope or that desire. While it may be difficult for you to understand, I am quite happy living in a godless world. I wouldn’t change it.

About your question:

Because you have a belief in some god, you live in a world in which you are certain that god exists. When an atheist says, as we mostly do, “The burden of proof is on you. Show me convincing evidence that your god exists,” of course you can’t. Since you have no credible, objective, verifiable evidence that your god exists, but you know your god does exist (because of your belief), you hear the request for evidence as a demand that your god show himself to the atheist. It’s not.

Atheists consider god to be a human invention, and therefore the invented god cannot possibly show itself. Even believers know their god doesn’t show himself, so they construct representations of their gods to put in their religious places so that they will have something to look at. Lots of statuary. Lots of religious symbols. No actual god(s).

About your belief:

It’s fine with me, even though I’m an atheist, for you to believe in whatever god it is that you believe in. I personally think you are wrong and that this is a waste of your time and treasure, but it’s your life and your decision. (I also think that those who choose to play golf on Sunday morning are wasting their time and treasure, but it’s their choice. I would never do it.)

However, when you try to bring the god of your belief into my godless world, you are trespassing. I do not ask your god to show itself, because I think that has an extremely low probability. I simply say that unless you have convincing evidence to support your assertions about your god, you’ll have to stop talking about it or move on. I have no interest in unsupported assertions about your belief. As I said above, I am quite happy living in a godless world.

You, on the other hand, appear to be disturbed that anyone doesn’t share your beliefs. Too bad.

TLDR; Show us atheists proof. No more. No less. Other than that we don’t demand anything of any god, God, gods, goddesses or the like. Simply verifiable proof and we’ll admit we are wrong and switch to that belief system.

Taxes aren’t the end all be all deciding factor in business nor in life. As the user /u/dwwo explains on reddit about Corporate Tax and it’s effect (or there lack of) on business decisions:

As a business creator / owner (I’ve started or been a partner in 6 start-ups and been an exec in 3 medium-large companies, some I know you’ve heard of), here are some points in response:

  • I never base wages on my corporate tax bracket. In fact, taxes are taken into account in primarily two ways (see below), and never influence hiring, operations, legal decisions, or growth (which is almost everything from expanding office space to staff, except for capital expenses, see below again). The only time taxes have ever, and I mean ever, been in any conversation is at the end of the year. Never has anyone in any company ever said, let’s do or don’t do X because of taxes, except at the end of the year when we have a bunch of money left over, and that’s a good conversation to have.
  • Wages are based on market cost, i.e. what I have to pay to employ people vs. other companies that would pay to employ those same exact people, not my tax bracket. It’s a market, pure and simple and if I hire someone it’s because there are more customers willing to pay our company for our business today or tomorrow than were yesterday, not because the tax rate is low or high.
  • Institutional investors (e.g. venture capitalist organizations), don’t invest in companies that sell to the rich. Yacht builders don’t need investors, they need bank loans, and they are going to employ 8 or 10 people, then that’s it. Investors, who want to invest in a company that’s going to grow to hundreds if not thousands of employees, then make a big exit, invest in companies that sell to the middle class. So a high marginal tax rate on businesses is of no concern. However a lower income tax rate on the middle class, the customers, is of great concern. You want to start a business and grow to be the next X? You need capital and a middle class that has disposable income. The taxes you pay is not a factor in your or your investor’s equation, ever. Simplified example: Buffet or Lynch’s rule, ‘if there’s a line out the door of a place, invest in it.’ No successful investor thought, “I bet they pay high taxes, so, never mind.”
  • A new business pays almost no taxes. There is no barrier to entry because of taxes. It’s actually the opposite, in that established businesses pay more taxes than start-ups, except for those in the news that offshore their huge cash profits, but that’s not a majority of companies in the U.S. That’s our ‘free enterprise’ system and it works. There are huge barriers to entry, however, due to capital investment and market establishment. Try writing an operating system today and selling it; it’s not taxes that keeps you from succeeding, it’s that it’s a big investment in time and money and there are others who have invested a ton of money and time that keeps you from succeeding. The tax structure, if it makes any difference at all, helps the start-up.
  • The idea that a high marginal tax rate causes expenditures to avoid paying taxes is true. Some of that money goes to lawyers, lobbyists, and accountants. So you are correct. That will always be true when it’s cheaper to hire those people than pay taxes. As a result Reagan lowered the personal income rates1 and shifted the tax burden to businesses, and that resulted in growth and prosperity. Note that small to medium, growing companies don’t hire lobbyists.
  • The U.S. corporate tax rate used to be very low compared to other countries. Then other countries lowered their rates and the U.S. didn’t follow.[2] In other words, the U.S. didn’t raise the corporate tax rates significantly, everyone else lowered theirs.
  • I, as a business owner, like the business tax. I hate paying taxes at the end of the year, it sucks thinking I earned all these profits and will get a distribution (i.e. dividend) and first have to pay a huge tax check. It pisses me and my accountant off every December. But what a lot of people don’t know is that the company only pays taxes on profits, not revenue. If I had spent more money on hiring, rent, equipment, etc. then I’d pay less taxes. And that’s the idea. The company is incented to hire people, buy equipment, and otherwise spend money to grow the business. Because the company doesn’t pay taxes on those expenses, only what’s not spent.
  • So, per the previous point, taxes influence expenses, especially capital expenses at the end of the year. If we are going to buy a server and router in February, and we know for sure we’re going to do that, let’s buy it now in December and take the tax break this year, when we have profits (or a higher tax bracket) rather than next year when we may not. Capital expenses and dividends are the two areas that the tax code influence business financial decisions. And the capital expenses are just shifting up expenses that would be paid anyway. Or would they? In fact it’s often best to defer those expenses until they are matched by income, so a high tax rate causes companies to spend more money, at some risk, than they would otherwise.
  • Original comment here: http://www.reddit.com/r/Economics/comments/2170pt/effective_tax_rates_for_us_companies_from_under/cgaf712

    When working from your home office or regular office just isn’t cutting it anymore, try working from a cafe to give your brain a change of pace and get things done. It’s a good change of pace and the scenery can potentially unlock your rather creative and great ideas.

    Using A Cafe As a 2nd Office Can Boost Productivity

    Having a home office is great, but sometimes it’s just a place where you can’t get any work done. Whether it’s the kids, pets or constant feeling of being too cozy and unproductive … getting to a ‘work’ environment can certainly help you get things done. Same goes for when you work in a office regularly. If you’re getting constant interruptions, have toxic (to productivity) people around or even simply can’t concentrate in that office of yours: an cafe can be a rather welcome respite.

    You should try going to cafe to work when:

    • You’re constantly distracted at your current work place.
    • Can’t seem to concentrate.
    • Need a change of pace & scenery.
    • Need a break from the “office life”.
    • You need to be alone for a while.
    • Looking for a place to get some new ideas.
    • You’re trying to get some inspiration.
    • You want to write or program and need some background activity/noise to get in the “flow”.

    This isn’t a place for everyone though. A have a few friends who simply get overly distracted at a cafe and would much prefer a library or even their own cubicle. For me, and many others, the cafe is a welcomed getaway from the usual riffraff of the office.

    At this cafe I’m able to work completely uninterrupted and more importantly, because I’m accustomed to writing and focusing on work at a cafe I’m able to get a lot of work done here as opposed to my office. I’ve gotten too comfortable in my office and there are way too many distractions. So instead of being bombarded by distractions and people, here I sit at a cafe writing this article in peace.

    There are a few things to remember when trying to work at a cafe though:

    • Most likely, the noise will be annoying so bring headphones.
    • Charge your laptop and phone. Not every place has easily accessible power outlets.
    • On that note: bring power cables for the important stuff.
    • Be a good patron: support the cafe you’re going to spend several hours in by at least buying a drink.
    • Bring paper and pen/pencil so that you can write out ideas.
    • If wifi is questionable, prepare for that: bring a backup internet source (tethering through your phone is a possibility) and take as many resources/materials as you can (a large USB key or external hard drive are prefect for this).
    • Try not to take too many things with you. A heavy bag isn’t fun to drag back and forth.

    Now get out there and get stuff done! Though let me know, what do you guys think of working from a cafe?

    Mix & Mingle Event With Chykalophia

    Chykalophia and I were the premier vendors and designers for the first and latest Mix & Mingle event held at the Rittergut Wine bar & social club. Chykalophia handled all the typography, graphic design, invitations, place cards, menu’s and pretty much any paper thing you saw there. I was there for moral support and the wine!

    Below are some photos I took of the event. All images are copyright me: Peter Krzyzek.

    Mix & Mingle Event With Chykalophia Mix & Mingle Event With Chykalophia Mix & Mingle Event With Chykalophia Mix & Mingle Event With Chykalophia Mix & Mingle Event With Chykalophia Mix & Mingle Event With Chykalophia Mix & Mingle Event With Chykalophia Mix & Mingle Event With Chykalophia Mix & Mingle Event With Chykalophia Mix & Mingle Event With Chykalophia Mix & Mingle Event With Chykalophia Mix & Mingle Event With Chykalophia Mix & Mingle Event With Chykalophia Mix & Mingle Event With Chykalophia

    A blog is a great tool to improve your branding, to expand your reach and to even generate leads … but it’s misunderstand. Many people expect magical and great instant results from it. Putting up a single blog post won’t get you much of anything. It’s a tool that needs to be used consistently and constantly in-order to get you results; just like exercising, doing it once won’t really do much, but working out every day will eventually get you results such as better health.

    Dont Expect Magical Instant Results From Your Blog

    Photo by & copyright: Piotr Krzyzek (that’s me).

    A blog is a tool, nothing more nothing less. There are three types of business people (entrepreneurs, executives, owners, invests) that I meet with everyday and only two of them truly understand blogs. The three types are: ‘someone who expects instant profit from blogs’, ‘someone who thinks blogs are a waste of time’ and then there is the ‘person who understands the usefulness of blogs’. It’s rare to meet the a person who understands how to use a blog properly.

    This article isn’t about using a blog properly though, its about the first two types of people.

    Blogs will not bring you instant profits

    Depending on how you use a blog, it can be a lead generation cool, a sales machine, or even a portfolio. Whatever you use it for it’s first and foremost a content distribution tool. This means that it’s NOT made to get you instant profits, that’s not how quality content works.

    If you have a large network and website already, yes you can easily ‘sell’ through your blog posts. But for the rest of the world, blogs will do one thing and only one thing well (by themselves): get your name out there slowly.

    Posting an article is not a guarantee anyone will read it.
    Write articles is no guarantee that you will improve.
    There are no lead nor conversion guarantees.

    Blogs are simply to put content out there for people to potentially read. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    In a great Forbes article about blogging profits, the average blogger was lucky to make even $500 per month. That may sound like a lot to some of you, but those numbers are reached only by a lucky few who spend a lot of time and energy building their blogs up and up and up for very long periods of time.

    If you’re any decently well known company, selling directly on your blog will generally hurt your reputation and drive people AWAY from you instead of towards you.

    If you’re a small start-up or a local company, people are not interested in being sold stuff nor for you to turn a quick profit. They want to know about YOU, know about the project you’re working on or even the latest news you’ve learned at that industry event.

    So what are blogs for actually?

    They are mostly for branding and PR. While they can be used to drive people to a product or sales page, any quality article worth reading is NOT about selling XYZ product directly to the reader. Blogs are for education, to spread opinions and news and to even showcase some cool thought or idea you can. Dell uses blogs to give their executives a places to talk about the department’s work, to showcase Dell’s amazing work and to act as a PR channel to inform the masses in an informal way of … of whatever they want really.

    Many (if not all) the top guys and gals at Google do the same thing. Have you seen the amazing articles on the Google Advertising blog? That in and of itself is worth reading just to learn how to use ads well … and not just on Google, but good advertising practices and latest industry news! It’s a wealth of information that drives people to it and thus to google to build up their expert status and trustworthiness.

    What can you do as a regular blogger?

    For one, don’t sell through articles. Informing your readers about a new product is fine especially if you give a story behind the product and even some cool behind the scenes info! People love that.

    But also don’t expect to become an overnight millionaire, nor even to gain a single dollar, through blogging if you’re just starting out.

    It will take time (lots of time actually) and a lot of effort to get traffic and then to find a good monetization scheme that works for your individual scenario.

    Good luck!

    Having a large vocabulary is a great thing to have, but constantly using it to speak “up” (as opposed to speaking the common language) is not such a great idea. I’m a big advocate of having a diverse and well defined language skills, though I’m also all for being practical having people understand me.

    Why You Shouldnt Speaking Using Overly Big Words

    Language and communication skills are very important for success and happiness, though some people take it a bit far. I don’t mean knowing too many words or too well versed. I’m all for a high vocabulary, though there is a point when speaking to people that it goes from “oh, he’s pretty smart” to “seems like he’s a douchebag who’s above as with a superiority complex.”

    There is something to be said about sounding well educated, but there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed. What is that line? It’s not set in stone nor completely defined, though we can at least try to define it with a few do’s and don’ts:

    • Don’t use language far above your audiences.
    • Do know your audiences language level and accommodate up or down for that.
    • Do use common language when in doubt of your audiences level.
    • Do speak as simply and with clear language as much as possible.
    • Do use easier to understand words in place of ‘complex’ words when there is no linguistic nor clarity benefit to big words.
    • Don’t use complex language in writing and speaking targeted at the public audience.
    • Do use bigger / more complex words when their use helps with clarity

    Why you shouldn’t (generally) use big words

    Whether you agree with this or not this is true: most people don’t have a large vernacular repertoire. This isn’t to say something mean about most people, it’s just the way the world is: people are generally not interested in words as they have other interests in life.

    Your goal in any communication is to clearly convey your message, and if your audience doesn’t understand you’ll never get your point across. Not only is it possible that your message will be lost, it’s possibly that you’ll anger your listeners.

    When people don’t understand something, one natural reaction is to get frustrated. If your listeners are frustrated with you, you are significantly less likely to convince them. Doesn’t matter if you’re offering the cure for cancer, if people aren’t listening to you because you’re getting on their nerves you’ll never get them to take your cure!

    It’s also possible that they could start ignoring you. Worse than being frustrated with you, is if they become uninterested in you and whatever you’re talking about. At least if they’re angry at you, you still have their attention. But if you’ve lost their attention … well, good luck! You’ll need it.

    Putting this (and more) into a list for why you shouldn’t use big words (needlessly nor excessively):

    • Your audience can lose interest in you and your topic.
    • It’s possible you’re audience won’t understand you.
    • The meaning of your message could get lost in translation.
    • You can frustrate your audience.
    • You’re audience is there to learn something, not get a vocabulary lesson (unless that’s the goal).
    • You’ll confuse your audience.

    When you should use big words

    There is a time and place for big words, though you must be mindful to use these words carefully to enhance the meaning of your message … instead of just trying to sound smart. There are generally two scenarios when you’d want to use bigger words:

    1) Using the larger, more complex word makes your message easier to understand and more clear. For example, using trepidation in place of fear and apprehension. 2) You’re talking to linguistic savants who enjoy language play.

    The former being the most common use (notice my use of the word former). The only caveat for this rule is using a more complex word when it’s a better fit for flow and structure to keep things at a certain reading level.

    It’s all about balance

    I asked my linguist savant friend, Paul Chapman, about this. He said:

    … it becomes a question of balance. You must always consider your audience. The last statistics I heard on the matter, for example, indicated that newspapers are written on a third grade level–comprehensible to the scholar as well as to the mug on the street.

    There was an example I didn’t use in one of my blogs which would illustrate against [your] point: ‘Come to my house for a pendidigestory interludicule’. Or more simply, ‘come to my house for a snack.’

    The point [I'm] making is one I discussed AGAINST in ‘Terms of Persuasion’. If you talk over people’s heads, you make them feel stupid, or that you’re ridiculing them, and that will work against your primary objective–to sell them goods or services. If you talk like an idiot, people will think you are one. If you make them struggle to understand you, you’ll lose them.

    I agree with the [that] you should develop as broad a range of vocabulary as possible–in both directions–because you will be communicating with a large variety of people with a multitude of philosophical and language-skill levels. Then, like an artist or an engineer, you will select the appropriate tools for the job at hand.

    At the same time, you should be yourself, which is the principle factor (in my opinion) of any good communication. If you naturally talk like something from 19th Century Oxford University Press, have at it, though you may lose your younger audience. If, on the other hand, you sound more like a Saturday morning commercial for bubble gum, do that, although the cognoscenti will snub you . Words like ‘phlegmatic’ and ‘plethora’ aren’t SO unusual, but should be held in reserve until you’re sure of the person with whom you’re communicating. ‘Auctorial’ and ‘borborygmic’ are very specific terms, and you would want to use them with members of that level of understanding. I once worked a case with our attorney who wrote in one of her briefs that the complainant had ‘unclean hands’, which was ridiculous because he was constantly washing them. She meant (in lay terms) that he himself was not free of wrong doing.

    There is a solution. You can use the ‘big’ words, but include a less-lofty definition in the follow up. ‘What ameliorates your discomfort? What makes you feel better?’

    Does that help?

    The key is BALANCE.

    That’s where he and I agree. Having a large vocabulary is great as it gives you the largest possible skill set to pull from, but you should be careful of where and when you use it.

    Examples of common language versus big words

    I wanted to give you a few examples of common words and some big brother versions for fun and reference.

    • Big –> Gargantuan
    • Wordy –> Verbose –> Logorrheic
    • Calm –> Phlegmatic
    • Showy –> Ostentatious
    • Improve –> Ameliorate
    • Equal –> Commensurate
    • Publish –> Promulgate

    And there are more words. Many many more.

    What’s your favourite big word that can be replaced by a simple word?