Thursday, January 12, 2006

How will website design change over the next ten years?

I'm interested in finding out what people think will be the next big developments in website design over the next five to ten years.

Clearly websites are going to have to stand out from the crowd, but what will keep people there once they visit them? What new features do you predict we will see? Or, will Podcasts and Video replace the traditional website?


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

And don't forget everyone - please remember to turn your mobiles ...

... on during important business meetings.

I have attended a number of meetings recently and I've noticed that there is a growing and irritating trend to leaving mobiles ON during meetings. Sure, people often forget to turn them off during presentations/seminars etc, but are we really that important that we have to leave them on 24/7 ?


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I know you're successful, but you're looking too rough for me to do business with you

I met up with a business associate today who was looking tired and worn out. He's actually had a fantastic year and is looking forward to a break and spending quality time with his family over Christmas.

On the way home from our meeting, I listened to everyone stabbing Charles Kennedy in the back over his image and alleged "less than dynamic" leadership of the Lib Dems. Then I caught the news and the BBC's television coverage of Prime Minister's questions today, and thought that Blair was also looking particularly tired and rough as well. Meanwhile, David Cameron looked relaxed, confident and in control.

Should we base our perception of people's abilities on how they look? Aren't we entitled to look a bit 'weather beaten' now and again, or should we keep up appearances 100% of the time for the sake of our image, branding and profits?


World Class Presentation Skills Training and Executive Speech Coaching

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Wanted - Serious 'thinkers' on Networking

Masters of Networking is an important new club for serious thinkers and practitioners of networking. We are looking for debate, articles, sharing and intellectual discussion.

Please take a look at the link below and join today.



Masters of Networking is sponsored by Ciris Business Development

If you don't look the part, don't expect any service - Sir

So, I'm in the bank this afternoon and witnessed the counter staff actively encouraging a man NOT to open an account with them. Sure - he looked about 20 years old, was a little scruffy with a lot of paint, dust and dirt on his clothes - but he had clearly just finished his shift or a hard days work - or whatever. He had a small bundle of cheques and about £100 in cash in his hand and was trying to ascertain if he should be opening a business or a personal account.

"No, it would be quite a lot of hassle and paperwork - Sir."

Accompanied by zero eye contact and a complete lack of interest in dealing with someone who was't wearing a suit, the potential account holder left feeling that he was clearly missing something in our customer focussed banking system. The world's 'local bank' at its very best. Well done.

World Class Presentation Skills training and Executive Speech Coaching

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Have you reached a Dead End in your Marketing?

I was talking to the marketing department of a major UK company yesterday. They told me that they had just had one of those brainstorming meetings on how they can better promote their products and services to their business introducers.

Apparently they had come up with 150 'new' ideas for getting the attention of their key accounts, but still felt that they were missing something.

"We are a household name in the industry, but feel as though we have reached a dead end in terms of how we promote ourselves."

Naturally, I'm delighted that they decided to call me - but I wonder how many other successful businesses reach this point of not knowing quite what to do next. Is it poor leadership? Lack of a clear strategy or even the time of year? (Coincidentally, one of the weekly email newsletters I received this morning pondered how many of us might be starting to wind down as we hit the last few working weeks of the year.)

What do you do to keep the momentum going in your business? Are you constantly reviewing your marketing strategy or have you reached a dead end in terms of how you promote yourself?


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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Do you do your own Marketing?

I.e. Completely DIY - without hiring in any outside expertise at all?

This is not a sneaky way to find out who might be worth calling. I'm genuinely interested in discovering how many business owners do all their marketing and promotion themselves. And maybe later, I'm going to ask 'who has a marketing budget of £Zero - but still finds creative ways to get their message out there?'


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

And now for something completely different

When did you last try something completely different in the way you promote your products, service and expertise?

Many business people 'stick to what they know' when it comes to marketing and promotion - and probably for the simple reason that it works for them. After all - if it ain't broke...

But there is always the chance that you could achieve a substantial improvement in response rates or take-up for a new product if you try a new approach. For example, I am encouraging firms of IFAs and Mortgage Advisers to try Podcasting as part of their overall promotional mix. Martin Bamford, Director of IFA Informed Choice in Cranleigh, Surrey, UK has achieved a 370% increase in hits on his website and has an estimated 5000 subscribers to his personal finance Podcast - in a little over one month!

When did you last try a completely new approach? Did it work? Is it worth the risk?



Look out for our special new managed Podcast service for IFAs, Mortgage Brokers and Financial Advisers - coming soon at

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What is the potential for using PhotoBlogs in Business?

A normal 'written' blog is a great way for clients and prospects to witness your expertise in a different format from (say) a seminar or brochure. A Podcast is of course a sort of 'audio blog', and again a great way for clients to discover more about you.

But can it be done with photos? Short of posting pictures of your products, how best do you think the medium could be used to promote your business expertise?


Saturday, October 08, 2005

It's only an act

A BBC Correspondent was heard saying on the Today programme yesterday, that "Politics has become a Performance Art."

He was of course referring to the Conservative leadership campaign, where it seems that the contenders are only really being judged on their presentations - rather than their substance. But it is good to see that the young Mr Cameron appears to be exciting the crowds with speeches given 'without notes'. Mind you - the other party appears to base its entire political strategy around Presentation, so perhaps that's the world we live in today.

But, what will be the fallout for us - the people?


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bitten by the new Bug

I've been bitten by the PhotoBlogging bug! Have you discovered it yet?

Photoblogging is (guess what) blogging with photos - allowing viewers a glimpse into the daily lives of those posting the pictures. I also think it's another fantastic way to get something of yourself, your character, personality and your life into your online presence. Don't forget - people buy people.

So, I've set up a new club on Ecademy called PhotoBlog. Please join - the link is here:

See you there.


Saturday, October 01, 2005

VOIP getting a foothold

I'm having a lot of 'fun' at the moment trying to encourage IFAs that they should be making better use of technology to communicate with clients.

Many tell me that I'm daft to suggest that they use Skype, texting and email to build and maintain relationships with clients.

"Our clients are very traditional and are not interested in new technology" goes the line.

So I read an interesting piece on the BBC site this week, suggesting that 'net calling' is now picking up speed. The first thing to note is that it is the over 55 age group that is most likely to use the technology.

This may change over time, but I remember when email first became mainstream that it was also the over 55s that were most likely to use it as a simple and cheap way to keep in touch with family etc.

Yet again, the perception that the grey market is not interested in technology is disproved.

I wonder if all of us have really grasped this yet and adapted our businesses accordingly?


Thursday, September 29, 2005

From PR disaster to PR opportunity overnight

It's been fascinating to see the wheels of the Labour PR machine working overtime today.

The PR disaster of yesterday when Mr Wolfgang was ejected from the Labour conference like a drunk from a nightclub, has prompted a full scale assault of compassion and apologies today, with even the Prime Minister giving a rare interview with the Today Programme.

It gave Tony Blair the perfect platform on which to present his best caring image and so nearly diverted attention from the Conservative leadership campaign.

Interesting how both the main parties have reverted to positive spin and presentation today, to either rescue them from disastrous PR - or to achieve any PR at all.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

How important is a Politician's image?

We've all just been treated on BBC1 to a 'Party Political Conference Broadcast' from the Liberal Democrats - and no doubt there will be several more over the next few weeks as the Tories and Labour present their messages to the Party faithful.

On a day when Kate Moss' image proves just a little too exciting for some fashion brands, I watch Charles Kennedy and wonder just what it is about him, his politics, his image and his presentation that makes him believe he has the remotest chance of getting the attention of the electorate.

But it's not just Charles.

In fact - can anyone reading this, sum up in just three sentences what each of the three main parties actually stand for in the UK?

What exactly are each of their USPs? I bet noone here can tell me.


World Class Presentation Skills Training
Seminar Selling and Live Marketing Consultancy
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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Hypnotic marketing techniques

My trip to Jersey was fascinating - for a variety of reasons.

As a place to visit, it was certainly pleasant. Very pretty - a sort of cross between the north of France, Cornwall and the Isle of Wight. There had been an air display the day before and the airport was still packed with planes from the war and the latest fighter jets.

It would be nice if someone had told me that the runway there is shorter than at most airports. Apparantly the pilots have to 'bang it down' quick. That, combined with particularly bad weather when I arrived, made for general screaming and shouting from most of the passengers as we landed!

The weather had been bad enough for a couple of the other speakers at the event I was attending not to be able to get there, so myself and one other turned out to be the 'entertainment' for the day.

The speaker before me was fascinating. He was a part-time hypnotist and freely told people that he uses some of his techniques to influence potential clients in his 'day job'. This was met with much hilarity as he explained some of the secrets behind stage hypnosis. It was fascinating stuff and my note pad was bulging with ideas!

But he got me thinking as his talk went on. Surely there are ethical issues here about using such skills in this way? Or is this just an extension of Marketing?

After all, isn't that what Marketing is all about - encouraging us to behave in a certain way - so that we will part with our cash?


World Class Presentation Skills Training
Seminar Selling and Live Marketing Consultancy
Professional Networking Training

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A good day increasing visibility

It's been a good day today.

No less than 15 business enquiries, plus another full day workshop in Singapore arranged.

I've also had a big article on Seminar Selling featured in European CEO Magazine. It's a heavyweight business magazine for - guess who - CEOs of larger corporates. I have also provided another article to Better Business Magazine.

Article writing is an important part of any business' promotional mix. It can be a little time consuming, but it's a sure fire way of getting your expertise seen by hundreds, if not thousands of people. I have an article this month in the Asia Pacific Financial Planning Journal, and this goes to 30,000 people.

I keep a list of Feature Editors within my target markets, and make the effort to 'butter them up' three or four times a year. That keeps you on their radar and makes them much more receptive when you offer them another article.

Tomorrow I'm off to Jersey to do a workshop. Looking forward to it as it's my first visit there.



Friday, September 02, 2005

"Must have excellent presentation skills"

A business associate was explaining to me today that he is looking for new recruits to join his growing firm. He particularly wants people who can make powerful presentations to his network of business introducers (such as accountants, solicitors etc.).

He showed me the advertisement, which included the obligatory phrase:

'Must have excellent presentation skills'.

I seem to remember seeing this phrase on job advertisements in all sectors over many years and was wondering what this actually means in today's business world - particularly now that the Internet is used so much to promote your product/service.

I would have thought that being able to make great presentations is a pre-requisite to survival in business - particularly if you are self-employed. But then I'm biased.

Perhaps the phrase has a broader meaning today and is something that you automatically put on all job advertisements as a means to infer that only 'quality' people need apply.

I now receive so many daily offers from people offering webcast and web presentation tools, that I'm wondering if the good old fashioned business pitch / presentation is now dead in the water.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Boost your search engine rankings

There's a great deal of discussion and debate going on at the moment about how to use blogging to get your name and the expertise associated with it high up the Google rankings.

There is a way to get your content into the Google rankings even higher and faster, and that is to ensure that someone else posts comment about you on the same day.

This week someone posted something about me on the Ecademy home page and it has already propelled me to the top of the Google rankings in my target niche. This is the second time this has happened for me.

Even better still is the fact that a financial services website posted something along the same lines on the same day and this only serves to reinforce the perception of expertise in a given area.

A point often overlooked in blogging, is that it should be reinforced with regular press releases. I dicovered a long time ago that you should get into the habit of sending regular news to your industry press.

For example:

Tell them if you have moved offices
Tell them if you have a new member of staff
Tell them if you have acquired a big new contract
Tell them about your seminar programme

90% of it will not see the light of day, but you are building a relationship with the press and they will print something at some point. And when they do, you won't be able to buy the publicity it brings.

This also happened to me this week, so the combination of my own blogging, someone else's comments and my press release has proved very fruitful indeed in terms of Google listings.

In short:

Blog daily
Find advocates for your service who will blog about you
Send regular press releases

It works!



Visit my Ecademy profile here:

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Speaking in Singapore

I'm delighted to let you know that I will be running a half-day Marketing and Business Development Workshop for financial planners as part of the Asia Pacific Financial Planning Conference on the 9th November at the Raffles Convention Centre in Singapore.

I'm thrilled to be part of the foremost event in the Asia Pacific financial planning calendar, and look forward to meeting up with friends and business associates in the region.

I will also be in Singapore to run a two-day workshop on the 7th and 8th October, and will be speaking to a meeting of the Asia Speakers Association on the evening of the 4th October.

Can't wait!

Best regards


Friday, July 15, 2005

Life - a snapshot

Something happened this week which restored my faith in human nature.

I was struggling through the snarling traffic of Wolverhampton to do a talk at the racecourse. There were roadworks everywhere and I was getting nowhere fast.

My mobile rang (just when I didn't want it to), and a voice said to me "I sent you a text on Thursday to check that you are OK and you didn't reply. Is everything alright?"

It took me a moment to work out what the person was saying, and then I twigged.

The person (an Ecademy member) continued;

"I know that you work in London a lot, and I just wanted to check that you hadn't been caught up in the bombs."

For a second or two I was struck dumb, and didn't know what to say, and then I realised that this person genuinely was concerned for my wellbeing. I hadn't reaceived the text because presumably the networks were down for a short while on Thursday, but I found the gesture extremely touching in today's day and age.

We chatted briefly - and the traffic cleared.

The horror of the bombings in London has shocked everyone, and I heard yesterday how an Ecademy member has sadly lost his life. It took me back to the days when I worked in London every day, when all 12 of us in our office at the time missed a bomb by feet or minutes. In fact I was only talking to an old colleague of mine this week, who was on London Bridge station when a bomb went off a few yards away from him.

Clearly, he survived, but his story has stuck with me for many years. We're meeting up next week for a beer.

The two-minute silence on Thursday was a poignant moment, and it's interesting to reflect how powerful silence can be when important statements need to be made.

Today was my Daughter's Sports Day - though the resemblance to sport was more symbolic than anything else. What has happened to sport in schools today? When I was a lad...

Nevertheless, you will be delighted to hear of my glorious third place in the Father's Bean Bag Race. My wife got a silver in the Mum's Egg and Spoon. London Olympics - here we come.



Monday, July 04, 2005

So, you've done your networking; you've made the right connections - and now is your opportunity to show them that you can deliver on the idle promises made in some bar late at night many months ago. You've finally been given the chance you have been waiting for.

In the next couple of days, you have to make what is probably going to be the single most important presentation of your life.

You've invested in the best presentation skills training available; you have rehearsed and rehearsed - and now it's time. This is the big one. It's going to make or break your career.

It's probably something that London Bid Chairman Sebastian Coe, is thinking about as he rehearses the crucial final presentation to members of the International Olympic Committee.

What is going through your mind?
Will you forget your script?
What special skills will you pull out of the bag that will make all the difference?


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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Welcome to Philip Calvert's International Business Network

Welcome to everyone.

I am an international speaker, author and coach in sales, marketing and networking. To read my full profile at Ecademy, please take a look at this link: