Effective Messaging
No. 96
March, 2014

We're back from an awesome vacation in the land of enchantment --New Mexico. Besides several days of great skiing at Santa Fe Mountain, we visited ancient Pueblos and enjoyed southwestern cuisine. More about the vacation in this issue.

In the first article, for the third time in Web Words' history, I pick my top 10 Web Tips. This is a totally subjective, but hopefully useful, summary of the apps, websites and tools I can't live without.

The second article addresses a really important issue--how we communicate in the 21st century given the array of options and the quirks of personal preference. I hope you'll look at this article and send me your thoughts on the topic. If there's enough interest, I'll do a follow up article next month.

If you are anywhere near Albany, NY, please plan to attend the Consulting Alliance on April 11 for their public luncheon. I will be the speaker offering "Writing for the Web," where you'll get some tips about creating tight, easy-to-read copy to promote your business or cause.

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In This Issue
Top Tips 3 - A review of favorite Web Tips
Favorite Way - How to reach people
Web Tips - Pandora
Award Winner
Top Tips 3
Top 10Readers tell me Web Tips are a favorite feature of this newsletter.

Every few years, I review back issues and pull out my top 10 tips. They are listed here, roughly in the order of their value to me.

I last published my Top Ten list in June, 2012. There are some return winners and a gaggle of new ones.

Carbonite  If you have an Apple computer, you don't need this, but for the rest of us, Carbonite is a security blanket. It backs up computer files automatically and the documents are accessible from other devices. If I had needed something from my home computer while on vacation, it would have been easy to get with my iPad.

PicMonkey The name still bugs me, but the product is great. Quick, easy photo editing on the Web at no charge.

FreeConferenceCall.com  Another really nice free product. When you sign up, they give you a phone number to can use at any time--24x7--which means you can do conference calls on the fly. They also offer a recording service if you need to listen to the call again.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware This is another one for PC users. Because it's painful and expensive to deal with viruses, it's worth the effort to run this program regularly to check for bad stuff.

Google Maps I use these everywhere--on my computer to find out where things are and on my phone for navigation. These maps, with spoken directions, were especially handy on vacation in a rented car without a GPS.

Snagit This handy little tool allows you to do a selective screen capture and a bunch of other things as well. I don't use all the features, but frequently appreciate the basics.

Color Cop This clever free app lets you match colors on the screen. You move the little eyedropper over the color you want to duplicate and presto, its hex number is displayed. Color Cop isn't something I use every day, but it's a godsend when I need it.

TripAdvisor This is my go-to site for finding out about restaurants, places to stay and things to see when I travel. Other sites do the same thing, but this is my favorite.

Dashlane This password manager is on the list because I really need to start using it. Husband Will says it's the berries and recommends I get up to speed.

Kickstarter This site lets friends help friends fund favorite projects. I recently contributed to helping a friend get her singing career off the ground.
Favorite Way
Many years ago when I visited New Mexico over Christmas, I chanced upon a Native American dance and celebration at a Pueblo between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. So on this Western trip, I was delighted to learn that the San Ildefonso Pueblo had a feast day while I was there.

I settled onto a bench next to a colorful blanket and waited for something to happen. After a while I heard a noise like sleigh bells and 25 men appeared and went to the center of the square. One, with a cane, sat on the blanket next to me. He had on face paint, so I figured he was part of the group, but maybe couldn't dance because of some injury.

We nodded to each other and he began a conversation about the weather and where I was from. I figured this was a good sign and asked him about the dancing. Though he sang along with all the chanting, he wasn't willing to tell me anything about the ritual. I wondered if there was a way I could communicate with him.

Preferred Method

Back in the real world, I was reminded of what Consulting Alliance member Newell Eaton does when he gets a new client. He asks about their preferred method of communicating. We have so many choices these days, and it's natural to select your own preferred method and assume others like that as well. But it makes a lot more sense to ask, and it's a habit I'm going to adopt.

The best way to reach me is email. On vacation or at my desk, I check it frequently. If I need to have a discussion, I prefer the telephone, but I usually set that up by email. The other day, because the Internet wasn't working, I actually picked up the phone and spoke to someone. I realized how rare that is these days and how satisfying.  

I don't like texting, except for short immediate communications such as "I'm running late for the meeting". And I don't favor Facebook messaging either, but I know that's preferred by some people.

I searched the Web for articles on this topic and, with one joyous exception, didn't find much. I recommend--"What's Your Communication Preference?" by Tim Sanders. He demonstrates the value of being direct about communication preferences in building effective relationships in our modern times.

Your thoughts?
Web Tips


Two years ago my husband and I sat in the living room of our vacation residence in Red River, New Mexico and longed for one thing--our own music. This year in Santa Fe our dreams came true. Sipping wine in front of a fire, we listened to Pandora on my iPad. 

Downloadable for all devices, this app allows you to select your favorite genre of music or pick a specific artist. Choose a performer or composer you like and Pandora will play the music of similar artists as well. By clicking the "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" you "teach" the system your preferences. Not only do you get music you like, but you're introduced to new artists as well. The free version includes occasional ads.   

And Finally . . .

Shawenon Communications collaborates with small businesses, solopreneurs, professionals and not-for-profits to get their messages across in the written word.

We specialize in electronic communications, including e-zines and other forms of email marketing, Web sites and social media.  We also ghostwrite articles and other business communications. As a solution provider, we resell www.shawenon.com



First name
Susanna Opper
Shawenon Communications

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
Award Winner
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until I meet my quota.

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