Effective Messaging
July, 2014

I love round numbers. This is the 100th issue of Web Words, which began as a six-month experiment in April, 2006.  


Big triumph--I met my six-customer quota. More about that below.

Both articles in this issue have to do with habits. The first discusses our all-too-human habit of leaving things to the last minute. I make some very public declarations about how I'm going to reform that behavior for myself, hopefully with your help.

The second piece addresses a few naughty words that have worked their way into everyday conversation. These words don't have bad meanings--they just don't belong where they are showing up.

Wishing you a wonderful rest of the summer. We're in high season here in the Berkshires and it's been glorious, as always. There are lovely evenings on the lawn at Tanglewood, top musicals and serious theater. The rule of the summer here: "You can't do it all!" If you're not local, you should really plan a visit.

Check out this recent article from The New York Times to learn more. 

I'm on Facebook and Twitter. Follow me.

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In This Issue
Never Again - Managing deadlines
So Like Grab - Filler words
Web Tips - Browser wars
Social Media
Never Again
I met my quota of six new Constant Contact customers for the first half of 2014, but at the eleventh hour. I am never doing this again. Mark my words.

And what is "this?" Letting a major, important project get too close to the deadline. OK, I had a good excuse. I was seriously ill; so was my husband. (We're both doing great now.)

Can I really make this declaration? After all, it's human nature to let things get right to the deadline then act under stress. You can see this behavior everywhere--in business, politics, entertainment. Am I really going to transcend human nature? Well, I can try.

The Plan

First, I have a plan. I didn't have one last time. I spent one day making marketing calls. I need to spend one day a week. The one day was very productive, so I need to do more of that.

I'm going to use Social Media, in spite of my resistance. I tell my clients to select one or two online networks and get active in them. I'm going to follow my own advice. I've chosen Facebook and LinkedIn. I have a large LinkedIn network I've never really mined. And I've had a business Facebook page for years, though it's been sadly neglected. I'm going to spiff it up and use it. Please like my Facebook page and check on my progress.

I'm going to survey Web Words readers. I've been meaning to do this for months. Look for it in the September or October issue.

Finally, I'm going to entice you--Web Words readers and my social network connections--to send me leads. I'm not sure what that incentive would be: an hour's free consulting; a gift certificate to Amazon or Starbucks; something else? Let me know what would encourage you to prospect on my behalf.

The Success

I'm really enjoying working with my new customers. Some are up and running and I'm still working with others. They are:
  • A not-for-profit community foundation
  • A Web radio talk show host (details here)
  • An upgrade to Constant Contact's survey product
  • A financial planner
  • A consultant and trainer
  • A copywriter
I am still offering an hour's free consulting to anyone who signs up until I meet my quota of six for the second half of 2014. I'm going to achieve this quickly this time, so don't delay. And please think about people you know who will benefit from talking with me.
So Like Grab
Word Bug My husband opened the conversation by admiring the outgoing young man's body art. He was in his mid twenties. I listened. "I, like, had this done, like, a few years ago. . . ."

What's with the "like?" How did this innocent little word get to be the most used in the lexicon? And how can we stop it?

I didn't participate in the conversation. I just listened for the word. I lost count at 100. Of course, he's not alone. It seems to be a disease of the twenty somethings. The teenagers I know don't use it. Obviously it's a filler, but why? And what can we do about it? WikiHow has an answer.

Check it out. Listen to people talking in coffee shops or super markets and see what you hear.

My "bads"

Another invasive word is "grab."  My husband and I have picked this one up so we're on conscious patrol to catch it in ourselves and replace it with something more appropriate like "get" or "find" or "bring."

My own personal nemesis is "so" as in, "So, what did you do for the 4th of July?" I've been on the lookout for this word for years. It creeps into my writing also, but there I can easily go back and remove it. But spoken language is more difficult to edit. We need to stop the offending word before it starts. That takes discipline and practice. Though letting these offensive words in seems to be effortless.

As with any change of habit, you have to begin by noticing the behavior. First observe, without self flagellation. Life partners are useful here. Ask them to gently remind you when you use the offending word. Then you'll begin to notice it just as you say it. Eventually the behavior will change. So, good luck.
Web Tips


Of course you have a Web browser, but which one? Do you use Chrome, Firefox or Opera? Or, oh no, are you still using Microsoft's Internet Explorer--the once 800-pound gorilla that has declined in popularity?

For perhaps more information than you ever wanted to know, check out "Browser Wars" from MakeUseOf. Bottom line, Chrome wins on most counts, especially speed. But it's a Google product and some people are uncomfortable with the company's privacy policy, so they opt for Firefox. Though it comes out second in a lot of these benchmarks, Firefox is still my favorite because it's open source, and I'm used to it.  

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.
Social Media 
Mauve SO headshot
Social media is part of my plan for the second half of the year. I'm going to need help, which I'll get in part from Constant Contact. They have created a step-by-step guide to for getting started on Social Media. Check it out.  

The summer is a great time to get started on your fall email marketing campaign.

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



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