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HomeNewsArchivesMarch 2007 Brainstorm E-Bulletin

March 2007 Brainstorm E-Bulletin

The big news for me this month is that my new book, "Your Writing Coach," is at the printer's and officially publishes in the UK on April 12. To tie in with the book's release, I am teaching several workshops – for details, see "Workshop Alert!" below, and I hope to see you at these events.
In the meantime, six ideas I hope will inspire you:
1: Networking for Non-Networkers
On my blog ( www.timetowrite.blogs.com) I have written several posts about how people who normally are averse to networking (which includes me) can manage it.
An article in the March/April issue of "Psychology Today" has some useful tips:
* Make eye contact (but don't stare).
* Say anything. It doesn't have to be witty; it's just a signal that you're willing to chat. A comment on the room or the occasion is fine.
* Don't give only yes or no answers. Add information that can further the conversation.
* You're not actually there to sell your services on the spot, just to meet people, so don't think you have to make a sales pitch.
And one I'd add:
* Have a business card that will help people remember you when they see it after the meeting. On mine it says: "That tall writer you met."
Action: If you're hesitant about networking, the next time you go to an event, keep the points above in mind and see how much easier it is.
2: Get Rid of the Red!
Do you have red objects in your work or study surroundings?
A new study reported in the Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests it might be a good idea to get rid of it. In the experiment, students did four different tests on paper forms. On some forms there was a design element that was green, on others it was red or grey. When students had red on their paper, their performance dropped. An earlier test in Japan showed that people did worse on visual tests when the computer had a red surround.
The theory is that red triggers some kind of primitive warning of danger, which distracts our intellectual capacity.
Action: If you have red accessories, notebooks, etc. in your work area, try removing them and see whether you are better able to focus.
3: More on the Power of Asking
Even though I don't always use it as fully as I could, I'm a big believer in the power of asking for what you want (as long as you make it a win-win proposition for the people you're asking).
There's a new bit of confirmation in a study reported in the "International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity." In American schools, when children had the (unprompted) option of having fruit or juice with their lunches, 40 percent did so. But when the ladies serving the lunch specifically asked: "Would you like fruit or juice with your meal?" 70 percent of the kids did so. Obviously the 'would you like fries with that?' strategy works!
The study didn't mention this, but I think the effect may also be partly due to the wording, which, intentionally or not, builds-in an implied presupposition: some kids may interpret the question as, "I'm going to give you either fruit or juice, which one do you want?"
Action: This week, try asking for one thing. As in the study, leave people the option of saying no, but notice the results. And here's my question of the week: Who in your circle of friends or colleagues might enjoy getting this e-bulletin? Why not forward this one to them?
——————
Workshop Alert!
I am offering four workshops in the UK soon. Here are the opportunities:
Right-Brain Scriptwriting – Sunday, April 22, Ealing Studios, London. An afternoon workshop on "Right-Brain Scriptwriting." Only £15, to include a copy of my new book. For more information or to book, contact: mail@livingspirit.com (you're getting first notice – the workshop isn't listed on the livingspirit.com site yet).
Powerful Pitching – Saturday, April 28 in Leeds. A one-day workshop on how to pitch and write powerful query letters. Only 35 spaces and the price is only £60. For more information or to book, contact: members@scriptyorkshire.co.uk
The Time Revolution: Right-Brain Time Management Techniques for Creative People – Saturday, May 5, 9:30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., Central London. Only £29, including a copy of "Your Writing Coach." For more in formation or to book, contact: BstormUK@aol.com
Establishing Your Brand – how writers and other creative people can stand out in a crowded marketplace – Saturday, May 5, 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Central London. Only £29 including "Your Writing Coach," or £25 if you also do the morning session. For more information, or to book, contact: BstormUK@aol.com
——————
4: Selling Yourself on Sales
The March issue of "Inc. Magazine" has an interesting article on overcoming our resistance to sales. It points out that selling requires facing two universal undesirables: uncertainty and rejection. The writer, Alison Stein Willner, notes that entrepreneurs [or writers/artists/etc.] "are especially vulnerable…because the product or service in question is their own." Tips from the article:
* treat each contact as an interesting exercise that may fail but takes you one experience closer to success;
* mentally focus on the benefits of what you're offering to your clients;
* if you hate face-to-face pitching, find an alternative. The article mentions a woman who was selling a background-checking service, who never got comfortable about selling directly. Instead, she decided to send out 1000 letters offering a free trial of her service. It worked so well that she almost never has to cold-call anymore.
Action: W e all sell in one way or another. If this is an uncomfortable process for you, try getting creative about different ways to achieve the same end.
5: The 60-Second Book Review
The Book: "Change The Way You See Everything Through Asset-Based Thinking"
The Authors: Kathryn Cramer and Hank Wasiak
Publisher: Running Press, 2006
The Premise: We tend to focus on what's not working but will be more successful if we think more about what assets we have (what is working).
Three Key Ideas from the Book:
* The author's research shows that we spend about 80 percent of our time thinking about what's lacking, wrong, or missing. Instead, we should spend 80 percent of our time considering how we can take maximum advantage of the assets we have (these could be skills, ideas, products, etc.).
* To help yourself develop this habit, every day on your commute home or as you're falling asleep, ask yourself: "What went right today?"
* Part of the aim of asset-based thinking is to help you appreciate what others offer as well. It's useful to ask people about something they do well: "How do you do that? Why do you do that?" You will learn something; the other person will enjoy talking about their selves and will become more confident in their abilities.
The Verdict: a visually stimulating, enjoyable book with an important core concept.
6: And a quote (question) to think about:
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
–Mary Oliver
until next time,
Jurgen
PS: If you haven't looked at my blog since the last e-bulletin, you've missed posts on how to pitch your ideas, a link to an amazing animated film, the power of asking, writing with your head and heart, the power of perception, and much more. You can check i
t out now, here: www.timetowrite.blogs.com
PPS: We welcome feedback and new subscribers! If you think your friends or colleagues would enjoy this e-bulletin, please forward it to them with the suggestion that they subscribe too. We never sell or share our mailing list, and it's easy to unsubscribe if desired. Address your e-mails to: BstormUK@aol.com
You may also want to have a look at our Web sites, www.TimetoWrite.com and www.BrainstormNet.com, and my book, "Do Something Different," recently published by Virgin Books in a new edition. If you request a change of e-mail address, please include your old e-mail address as well as the new one.

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The big news for me this month is that my new book, "Your Writing Coach," is at the printer's and officially publishes in the UK on April 12. To tie in with the book's release, I am teaching several workshops - for details, see "Workshop Alert!" below, and I hope to see you at these events.
In the meantime, six ideas I hope will inspire you:
1: Networking for Non-Networkers
On my blog ( www.timetowrite.blogs.com) I have written several posts about how people who normally are averse to networking (which includes me) can manage it.
An article in the March/April issue of "Psychology Today" has some useful tips:
* Make eye contact (but don't stare).
* Say anything. It doesn't have to be witty; it's just a signal that you're willing to chat. A comment on the room or the occasion is fine.
* Don't give only yes or no answers. Add information that can further the conversation.
* You're not actually there to sell your services on the spot, just to meet people, so don't think you have to make a sales pitch.
And one I'd add:
* Have a business card that will help people remember you when they see it after the meeting. On mine it says: "That tall writer you met."
Action: If you're hesitant about networking, the next time you go to an event, keep the points above in mind and see how much easier it is.
2: Get Rid of the Red!
Do you have red objects in your work or study surroundings?
A new study reported in the Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests it might be a good idea to get rid of it. In the experiment, students did four different tests on paper forms. On some forms there was a design element that was green, on others it was red or grey. When students had red on their paper, their performance dropped. An earlier test in Japan showed that people did worse on visual tests when the computer had a red surround.
The theory is that red triggers some kind of primitive warning of danger, which distracts our intellectual capacity.
Action: If you have red accessories, notebooks, etc. in your work area, try removing them and see whether you are better able to focus.
3: More on the Power of Asking
Even though I don't always use it as fully as I could, I'm a big believer in the power of asking for what you want (as long as you make it a win-win proposition for the people you're asking).
There's a new bit of confirmation in a study reported in the "International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity." In American schools, when children had the (unprompted) option of having fruit or juice with their lunches, 40 percent did so. But when the ladies serving the lunch specifically asked: "Would you like fruit or juice with your meal?" 70 percent of the kids did so. Obviously the 'would you like fries with that?' strategy works!
The study didn't mention this, but I think the effect may also be partly due to the wording, which, intentionally or not, builds-in an implied presupposition: some kids may interpret the question as, "I'm going to give you either fruit or juice, which one do you want?"
Action: This week, try asking for one thing. As in the study, leave people the option of saying no, but notice the results. And here's my question of the week: Who in your circle of friends or colleagues might enjoy getting this e-bulletin? Why not forward this one to them?
------------------
Workshop Alert!
I am offering four workshops in the UK soon. Here are the opportunities:
Right-Brain Scriptwriting - Sunday, April 22, Ealing Studios, London. An afternoon workshop on "Right-Brain Scriptwriting." Only £15, to include a copy of my new book. For more information or to book, contact: mail@livingspirit.com (you're getting first notice - the workshop isn't listed on the livingspirit.com site yet).
Powerful Pitching - Saturday, April 28 in Leeds. A one-day workshop on how to pitch and write powerful query letters. Only 35 spaces and the price is only £60. For more information or to book, contact: members@scriptyorkshire.co.uk
The Time Revolution: Right-Brain Time Management Techniques for Creative People - Saturday, May 5, 9:30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., Central London. Only £29, including a copy of "Your Writing Coach." For more in formation or to book, contact: BstormUK@aol.com
Establishing Your Brand - how writers and other creative people can stand out in a crowded marketplace - Saturday, May 5, 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Central London. Only £29 including "Your Writing Coach," or £25 if you also do the morning session. For more information, or to book, contact: BstormUK@aol.com
------------------
4: Selling Yourself on Sales
The March issue of "Inc. Magazine" has an interesting article on overcoming our resistance to sales. It points out that selling requires facing two universal undesirables: uncertainty and rejection. The writer, Alison Stein Willner, notes that entrepreneurs [or writers/artists/etc.] "are especially vulnerable…because the product or service in question is their own." Tips from the article:
* treat each contact as an interesting exercise that may fail but takes you one experience closer to success;
* mentally focus on the benefits of what you're offering to your clients;
* if you hate face-to-face pitching, find an alternative. The article mentions a woman who was selling a background-checking service, who never got comfortable about selling directly. Instead, she decided to send out 1000 letters offering a free trial of her service. It worked so well that she almost never has to cold-call anymore.
Action: W e all sell in one way or another. If this is an uncomfortable process for you, try getting creative about different ways to achieve the same end.
5: The 60-Second Book Review
The Book: "Change The Way You See Everything Through Asset-Based Thinking"
The Authors: Kathryn Cramer and Hank Wasiak
Publisher: Running Press, 2006
The Premise: We tend to focus on what's not working but will be more successful if we think more about what assets we have (what is working).
Three Key Ideas from the Book:
* The author's research shows that we spend about 80 percent of our time thinking about what's lacking, wrong, or missing. Instead, we should spend 80 percent of our time considering how we can take maximum advantage of the assets we have (these could be skills, ideas, products, etc.).
* To help yourself develop this habit, every day on your commute home or as you're falling asleep, ask yourself: "What went right today?"
* Part of the aim of asset-based thinking is to help you appreciate what others offer as well. It's useful to ask people about something they do well: "How do you do that? Why do you do that?" You will learn something; the other person will enjoy talking about their selves and will become more confident in their abilities.
The Verdict: a visually stimulating, enjoyable book with an important core concept.
6: And a quote (question) to think about:
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
--Mary Oliver
until next time,
Jurgen
PS: If you haven't looked at my blog since the last e-bulletin, you've missed posts on how to pitch your ideas, a link to an amazing animated film, the power of asking, writing with your head and heart, the power of perception, and much more. You can check i t out now, here: www.timetowrite.blogs.com
PPS: We welcome feedback and new subscribers! If you think your friends or colleagues would enjoy this e-bulletin, please forward it to them with the suggestion that they subscribe too. We never sell or share our mailing list, and it's easy to unsubscribe if desired. Address your e-mails to: BstormUK@aol.com
You may also want to have a look at our Web sites, www.TimetoWrite.com and www.BrainstormNet.com, and my book, "Do Something Different," recently published by Virgin Books in a new edition. If you request a change of e-mail address, please include your old e-mail address as well as the new one.