Saturday, February 23, 2008

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Jane Birkin

Tonight I was at a concert by Jane Birkin in Montreal. At one point she expressed forcefully how she felt about the military Junta in Burma and sang a song she had written about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Exceptionally, although this was not a benefit concert, Amnesty International were present for people to sign a petition afterwards.

This resonated with me for two reasons: firstly I had travelled in Burma some ten years ago and had attended a rally where Aung San Suu Kyi spoke and also because of the book I am writing on music and human rights.

Nothing to do with consulting but....

In The Quiet Land (By Daw Aung San Suu Kyi)

In the Quiet Land, no one can tell
if there's someone who's listening
for secrets they can sell.
The informers are paid in the blood of the land
and no one dares speak what the tyrants won't stand.

In the quiet land of Burma,
no one laughs and no one thinks out loud.
In the quiet land of Burma,
you can hear it in the silence of the crowd

In the Quiet Land, no one can say
when the soldiers are coming
to carry them away.
The Chinese want a road; the French want the oil;
the Thais take the timber; and SLORC takes the spoils...

In the Quiet Land....
In the Quiet Land, no one can hear
what is silenced by murder
and covered up with fear.
But, despite what is forced, freedom's a sound
that liars can't fake and no shouting can drown.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Getting started !

I thought this list entitled: "The Key to Changing Course is to Start" was very apt - I have just recorded the key points here and added a few comments of my own.

1. Start where you are

2. Start hanging out with the right crowd (if you want to be an entrepreneur, mix with entrepreneurs)

3. Start tuning into your gifts (or follow your passions)

4. Start listening more to yourself and less to others

5. Start letting go of the idea that everything has to be perfect (this is why my website took 2 years to get on line - I wanted it to be perfect. Then Lynda Goldman said -"and meanwhile you're not out there - you need to be out there" - I got out there even though the site is very much a work in progress)

6. Start taking action

So- if we can help you get your business started visit our website and read more about our services.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Getting referrals

A referral is a testimonial by someone who sees value in what you have to offer. But this doesn't happen without some intervention on your part. Four things must happen to get great referrals. The referrer must (1) recognize specific value in what you have to offer, (2) know that a referral is of value to you, (3) know to whom they should make a referral, and (4) have a reason to make the referral.

First, be clear what you want them to value. They hired you for a reason but you might want referrals in another area. Tell them specifically what skills and behaviors you want them to tell others about.

Second, clients are not mind readers. Your relationship is based on you helping them, not the other way around. Tell them you'd appreciate a referral. Most will be happy to do it if you just asked.

Third, make a list of specific people or types of people you'd like a referral to. Don't make your clients do work to give referrals on your behalf. They can look at a list you've given them and think of people to whom they could make a referral that you didn't even know existed.

Last, make it worth their while. Why would they take time and risk their reputation? Because you can provide a client's colleagues with the same value you provided them. Like a recommendation for a great restaurant, create a desire in your client to make the referral.

Copyright (c) 2008, Institute of Management Consultants USA

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Stay Nomad is an Internet portal bringing together an international community of people with an interest in traveling, looking to discover other cultures. This social network facilitates the creation of contact with the local people and the sharing of experiences. StayNomad: “Get inspired, travel the world, meet the locals and share your experiences”. will be online, at first in Beta, in Spring 2008. Signing up is (already) possible via

Thank you Notes

Writing Personal Notes that build Professional Relationships.....

On the surface, a thank-you note may seem like a small piece of the larger networking picture, but on a deeper level, the thank-you note refreshes someone's memory and lets you discreetly remind them of your strengths. Remember, we live in a world of voice and electronic messaging - a personal, handwritten note on an attractive card immediately grabs the attention, curiosity and appreciation of your reader.

But perhaps you are daunted by that expanse of white space... you are wondering how to actually write ...not something we do so much of these days.. And, of course, crafting a thank you note in a business context is not in quite the same league as those thank you notes you used to dash off to Aunt Whatshername when you were a child (and your mum was nagging you to do this .... remember ?!!)

Just be yourself and write to say that the conversation was most intresting and you would enjoy continuing it at a mutually convenient moment. Include a personal element - refer to something that the person told you about - a family issue, an upcomong vacation, a particular interest or pastime. When reminding them of you, try to strike just the right balance between discretion and self-promotion. People like to buy, not be sold. And of course, end with more thanks and your contact info.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Networking - Ecademy

I assumed that the majority of people on Ecademy were there to build a network that would enable them to make business contacts.

People like to buy, not be sold. People buy from people. Who would buy from someone whose first contact with you is to deliver a sales pitch for a service that, had they taken the trouble to read your profile, location, visit your website, they would have known that neither you nor your clients were likely to need.

When someone takes the trouble to write a greeting to someone where there is a mutual connection why lack the courtesy to reply ?

I wrote a testimonial for one person - I wish I hadn't - they never bothered to write to say thank you.

Question: what are your experiences on Ecademy ? am I being naive expecting people to generally be polite ?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Canada and EFTA sign free trade agreement

On January 26, 2008, a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Canada and the States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) and bilateral Agreements on Agriculture with Iceland, Norway and Switzerland were signed.

The Canada-EFTA FTA is a “first-generation” agreement with an emphasis on tariff elimination. It does not include substantial new obligations in areas such as services, investment, and intellectual property.

The EFTA countries are significant economic partners for Canada. In 2006, two-way merchandise trade was valued at $10.7 billion (Canadian exports: $3.1 billion; imports: $7.6 billion). In addition, two-way investment stocks reached over $22 billion in 2006.

For further details contact Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada at: