Effective Messaging
No. 98
May, 2014

I've had a surprising couple of weeks, as you'll see in the first article. And because of that, I was going to write only one article this month. I have a clause in my contract that allows that. But there were two compelling topics I wanted to cover, so I wrote about them both. I did give myself one break. This issue is lacking the research I usually do. Still I hope you'll still find my observations helpful.  


The first article discusses the value of using the telephone--for both business and personal communication. The second article talks about how wonderful it is to stay connected, if you happen to end up in the hospital for emergency surgery, which is what happened to me. I'm recovering very nicely, by the way. 


My article about the town I live in was published in the May issue of Berkshire Magazine. You can read it here

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In This Issue
Remember the Phone - A great tool for conversations
Totally Connected - Keeping in touch away from home
Web Tips - CaringBridge
Last Chance
Remember the Phone
I spent the first five days of May in the hospital recovering from emergency abdominal surgery. Obviously, that wasn't in the plan. What was in the plan--thanks to Peter Coombs' Consulting Alliance session on getting over sales-call reluctance--was using the phone.

I declared April 30 "sales and marketing" day. Peter's advice was to make a list of ten each of prospects, suspects and referral sources. I dutifully did so. Of course, I left a lot of voice mails, and I didn't make all 30 calls. But I actually spoke to several people and got some really good leads. 

Being in Touch

Then, at 4 AM, I was awakened with excruciating abdominal pain.
Following up on the leads was going to be delayed, but the lesson about the phone was highlighted. I don't use it much anymore either for business or personal calls. Email is my preferred form of communication because it can be done any time (and any place). But the phone allows for conversation--an immediate back and forth, a level of direct "touch," which email lacks.

Friends called me in the hospital--some from far away. I had one conversation for over an hour and others nearly as long. It was great to catch up with people I've known for decades, but don't frequently see face to face. Not worth emergency surgery, but a nice plus if it had to happen.

Free Consulting

About those sales calls, I am still looking for new Constant Contact customers. Until I reach my quota of six new accounts (or new products for existing customers), I am offering an hour's free consulting. I'm almost there, so the offer won't last much longer. If you're thinking about it or have a lead, give me a call at 413-528-6494. You can even call just to catch up. I'd love to hear from you.

Between the prospecting experience and the hospital experience, I've promised myself to use the phone a lot more. And you?
Totally Connected
I got my iPad Air as a Christmas present for myself without full justification. I just wanted it. In fact, I had no idea how I would use it. Last week in the hospital, it justified its existence. With my tablet and my cell phone, I felt totally connected to my world and my friends. In fact, I was more connected than at home because I had cell service.

Dark Ages

Unless you live where I do, you probably can't imagine not having cell service. But, in fact, I can't connect at home. WiFi fills in for a lot of our needs, but calls still come to my home and office via land line. While there's hope that might change some day, joining the 21st century is not just around the corner. But there I was in our little local hospital--just 15 minutes from home--with full bars. I even took the phone on my regular walks around the floor--accompanied by my rolling intravenous meal.

I noticed the hospital staff also had phones--they wore them around their necks and were able to make hands-free calls to other team members. I overheard them outside my door, "Call charge nurse in OR," for example. It was cool; right out of Dick Tracy. And I was so out of it, I never even asked for details on how the phones worked.

Tunes and More

The first night in the hospital is the worst. I was lulled to sleep by my iPad streaming a medley of classical selections. That helped a little. I could also do email comfortably, surf the web if I wanted to understand a medical term or know more about a medication. I might also have watched a movie, though my very creative nurses came up with something more comfortable and very old fashioned. They discovered an old TV and DVD player combo, set it up in my room, and I watched a movie, cuddled in a warm blanket. The only thing missing was the popcorn. At that point, I wasn't even allowed to drink water.

Evernote was there to make sure I didn't drop any balls while I was away from the office. And I recorded my conversations with the doctors on my phone, so I could be sure not to miss any details about my condition.

I hope you don't need any justification for your technology, but if you do, consider an unexpected illness and you've got a great one. But, better yet, stay healthy and enjoy your toys at home.
Web Tips


Births, medical procedures, hospital stays and end of life are all times when we want to stay close to friends and family. But sending out emails and responding to concerned inquiries are the last things you need at a time like this. Of course, the Internet has a solution.

CaringBridge offers free Web sites to connect family and friends during a serious health event, hospital stay and recovery. This not-for-profit, established in 1997, had over 46 million visits in 2013. It's very easy to set up and update. They even send you an email you can customize and send to family and friends.

Lotsa Helping Hands is a similar free service, with a slightly different mission. This Web site is focused on providing assistance in times of family stress. It's a group calendar, specifically designed for organizing helpers, where everyone can pitch in with meals delivery, rides and other tasks necessary for life to run smoothly during times of medical crisis, end-of-life caring or family caregiver exhaustion.   

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

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
Last Chance 
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I still need new customers in the first half of 2014, so I am offering an hour's free consulting to everyone who signs up tor Constant Contact
until I meet my quota.

Current customers get the same deal if they add a product to their account. This could be EventSpot, Social Campaigns or Survey.

Let me know how I can help you with Constant Contact.



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