Monday, November 26, 2012

Parliament clears bill against child abuse
NEW DELHI: The legislation to protect children below 18 years from sexual abuse became a reality on Tuesday with Lok Sabha passing the bill earlier cleared by Rajya Sabha. Parliament's nod came with the decision to keep the age of consent at 18 years despite opposition from child rights activists.

The bill provides for special courts for speedy trial of cases and stringent punishment up to life term for the offenders.
Winding up the debate, women and child development minister Krishna Tirath said, "The bill is gender neutral. It seeks to protect children from sexual offences... the burden of proof will be on the accused."

Tirath said everybody below 18 years would be treated as child who would be helped by friendly provisions like in-camera trial, confidentiality and lodging of complaint at the place and time chosen by the victim.

While there was unanimous support for the bill, RJD chief Lalu Prasad raised the issue of erosion in values in the country and demanded the minister should have discussed the law in an all-party meeting. He said the provisions of the bill could be misused.

Prasad asked why the government did not move the Supreme Court against the decision of the Delhi High Court decriminalizing gay sex. "We are not animals, we are humans. Why have you not gone to the Supreme Court," he asked.

He said values had fallen and "dirty pictures" made in the country was making family viewing impossible.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Event Management
Events and occasions are an integral part of human life. We simply cannot bypass them as they touch almost all aspects of our social existence. Birthday celebrations, social gatherings, engagements and weddings are events we celebrate at the personal level.
During academic years there are school events such as annual day functions, inter and intra school contests, sports day celebrations, followed by college and university level festivals. In the sphere of work, there are annual general meetings, exhibitions, marketing campaigns, conferences, product launches and brand development activities. Other events such as fashion shows, cultural programs, talent hunt shows, promotional campaigns, religious gatherings and so on also play an important role in our life.
And what’s more, all of us have been a part of these events from time to time. We either organize these events or take part in the show. Either ways we want these occasions to go on as per our expectations and in doing so we often seek professional help. However, we do not pay much heed to the people who assiduously put in their effort and creative talent to make these events memorable and successful. They are the event managers.
Event management is a multifaceted activity. Major constituents of this profile include creativity, meticulous planning, relationship management, advertising and marketing and much more, all rolled into one seamlessly choreographed process.
The very basic qualification to get into the realm of event management is to be a graduate in any discipline. However, you must possess certain traits that would help you go a long way in this industry.
Essential skills include:
Public Relations: to manage clients, their agents and a vast gamut of professionals you would meet in the line of your profession
Creativity: from the germ of the concept to manage an occasion to its final delivery
Marketing skills: to sell your idea to your clients in order to make their events memorable
Analytical ability: you must have the knack to solve all sorts of problems and even have the foresight to anticipate unforeseen issues
Organizational skills: to carefully plan for tasks for self and for the entire team
Networking skills: this industry thrives on the shoulders of personal networking and you must have the ability to utilize it and expand it in your favor
Management skills: ability to manage time, stress, subordinates, clients, budgeting, risks, situations and so on
Institutions that offer event management as a vocational study program are few and far between. Most of these institutes offer certificate and diploma courses. On the other hand, event management companies prefer candidates who have earned their qualification in allied fields such as a degree or a diploma in Public Relations, Tourism, Hospitality Management, Sales or Marketing.
Start Early
A creative aptitude and the skill to manage things meticulously are the main ingredients of getting into the event management industry. These skills can easily be honed especially during the academic years.
You can start off in this direction by organizing school and college events such as skits, quiz contests, cultural meets, annual day functions or sports events. For this, you need to have the acumen to select an appropriate venue for the occasion, visualize the décor and the sequence of items as they would unfold in front of the spectators. Further, you must arrange for an assortment of equipment, technicians and artists who would make the occasion successful.
A rich experience during these years plays a crucial role when you select event management as your preferred profession later on in life.
Is it the right career for me?
Like many other career paths, the route to a successful occupation in the event management industry is not based on the foundation of academic laurels and certifications. However, the basic survival toolkit to get into this profession is both wide and subjective.   
Your basic task is to plan and present an event in a novel way and that too from scratch. For this, you must possess the quality to think out of the box. Apart from ample creative juices, you ought to have good planning, marketing, budgeting, negotiation, client management, communication and leadership skills.
Further, you must have immense patience and insight to see right into the smallest details of the entire event management process and always stay focused on your project goals. Good networking skills, client management, business analytics, time management, ability to take on challenges, problem solving skills and adjusting to rapidly changing situations are some other qualities essential for this role.
The mantra for success in this cutthroat business is to constantly improve upon your existing skills, stick to your career objectives, avoid complacency and always delight your client.

Job Prospect

There are plenty of jobs in this industry. In spite of the current global economic slowdown, the event management industry has continued to grow in leaps and bounds. There are plenty of events: weddings, birthday parties, talent hunt and reality shows, fashion and cultural shows, academic and sports meets, religious functions, corporate events, conferences and so on.
Talented youngsters who want to leave their mark in this industry have numerous avenues. You can join an event management company or a media house that specializes in event management activities. Once you have garnered ample experience you can either start working in the capacity of a freelancer or event set up your own events business.
Pay Packet
The pay packet in this industry varies according to your role and responsibility. It also depends on factors such as the organization you are working with, the type of clientele your organization is catering to, your experience, and the city where the firm is located and so on.
Demand and Supply
There are is an insatiable demand for professionals associated with this particular industry. As very few educational establishments offer professional courses for aspiring event managers, there is a great paucity of experienced professionals in this field. To fill this gap, the event management business has to acquire professionals from a vast array of other vocations.
Market Watch
Event management is an industry that is on the move. An exponential growth in events such as talent-hunt competitions, music concerts, fashion shows, academic functions, exhibitions, trade fairs, religious gatherings and the like have fuelled the demand for talented event managing personnel. The demand for creative and result oriented event managers is going to continue in the near future.
Off late our country has started getting more and more media coverage and recognition abroad. Further, the cine industry has started hosting mega annual events at international venues. This has greatly improved the scope for people engaged in the event management industry to try their luck in international market.
Professionals in this field also get the opportunity to showcase their talent at international events where delegates from our country participate in cultural festivals and exchange programs, trade shows, conferences, exhibitions, corporate events and so on.
You get numerous opportunities to rub shoulders with celebrities from different walks of life be it cine stars, sports persons, politicians, corporate moguls and so on
You have the satisfaction of having pulled off grand events with aplomb
You get the thrill of organizing and managing events from their concept all the way up to their execution
Like other creative pursuits you will have to put in endless hours of hard work to meet your deadlines
You have to cope up with immense work pressure to live up to your client’s high expectations
Other than long working hours the time schedule can frequently be erratic

Different roles, different names

An organization that is into event management business offers numerous positions to job seekers. The following are some of the departments in a typical event managing company:
Public Relations – managing a vast gamut of people ranging from clients, artists, stage performers, government officials, public and so on
Promotion and Marketing – for promoting the image of the organization and also for marketing the event to the public at large
Brand Development – a talent pool that is responsible for managing client requirements pertaining to brand restructuring
Designing – team of creative people who visualize and then prepare design layouts for the stage, costumes, accessories and so on
Administration – department that is responsible for back office and general administrative tasks
Production – team comprising of media professionals who manage the production and editing of audio video related media
Printing – department that takes care of printing all sorts of marketing collaterals and promotional items
Tips for getting hired
Since you would be working in the service industry and meeting people all the time having good communication skills helps
Although a graduation degree is enough to get into an event management firm but qualification in Hospitality Management, Tourism Management, Public Relations, Human Relationship Management, and Marketing enhances your chances for getting hired
Keep an up to date portfolio of all your creative and organizational activities and highlight your achievements during the selection processIt is not mandatory but desirable to have a certificate or a diploma in event management from a reputed academy

Friday, November 23, 2012

Global Warming
Throughout its long history, Earth has warmed and cooled time and again. Climate has changed when the planet received more or less sunlight due to subtle shifts in its orbit, as the atmosphere or surface changed, or when the Sun’s energy varied. But in the past century, another force has started to influence Earth’s climate: humanity
How does this warming compare to previous changes in Earth’s climate? How can we be certain that human-released greenhouse gases are causing the warming? How much more will the Earth warm? How will Earth respond? Answering these questions is perhaps the most significant scientific challenge of our time.

What is Global Warming?

Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the greenhouse gases released as people burn fossil fuels. The global average surface temperature rose 0.6 to 0.9 degrees Celsius (1.1 to 1.6° F) between 1906 and 2005, and the rate of temperature increase has nearly doubled in the last 50 years. Temperatures are certain to go up further.

Despite ups and downs from year to year, global average surface temperature is rising. By the beginning of the 21st century, Earth’s temperature was roughly 0.5 degrees Celsius above the long-term (1951–1980) average. (NASA figure adapted from Goddard Institute for Space Studies Surface Temperature Analysis.)

Earth’s natural greenhouse effect

Earth’s temperature begins with the Sun. Roughly 30 percent of incoming sunlight is reflected back into space by bright surfaces like clouds and ice. Of the remaining 70 percent, most is absorbed by the land and ocean, and the rest is absorbed by the atmosphere. The absorbed solar energy heats our planet.
As the rocks, the air, and the seas warm, they radiate “heat” energy (thermal infrared radiation). From the surface, this energy travels into the atmosphere where much of it is absorbed by water vapor and long-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.
When they absorb the energy radiating from Earth’s surface, microscopic water or greenhouse gas molecules turn into tiny heaters— like the bricks in a fireplace, they radiate heat even after the fire goes out. They radiate in all directions. The energy that radiates back toward Earth heats both the lower atmosphere and the surface, enhancing the heating they get from direct sunlight.
This absorption and radiation of heat by the atmosphere—the natural greenhouse effect—is beneficial for life on Earth. If there were no greenhouse effect, the Earth’s average surface temperature would be a very chilly -18°C (0°F) instead of the comfortable 15°C (59°F) that it is today.
See Climate and Earth’s Energy Budget to read more about how sunlight fuels Earth’s climate.

The enhanced greenhouse effect

What has scientists concerned now is that over the past 250 years, humans have been artificially raising the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate, mostly by burning fossil fuels, but also from cutting down carbon-absorbing forests. Since the Industrial Revolution began in about 1750, carbon dioxide levels have increased nearly 38 percent as of 2009 and methane levels have increased 148 percent.

Increases in concentrations of carbon dioxide (top) and methane (bottom) coincided with the start of the Industrial Revolution in about 1750. Measurements from Antarctic ice cores (green lines) combined with direct atmospheric measurements (blue lines) show the increase of both gases over time. (NASA graphs by Robert Simmon, based on data from the NOAA Paleoclimatology and Earth System Research Laboratory.)
The atmosphere today contains more greenhouse gas molecules, so more of the infrared energy emitted by the surface ends up being absorbed by the atmosphere. Since some of the extra energy from a warmer atmosphere radiates back down to the surface, Earth’s surface temperature rises. By increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases, we are making Earth’s atmosphere a more efficient greenhouse.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Doordarshan's 'piracy' spoilt India's image

The first stage of the India-Pakistan cricket series, the one-day internationals, will be over by the time you read this. It has -- barring the controversy over rigging and Shoaib Akhtar's [Images ] bowling action apart -- gone off rather well. Most media reports have reflected the enthusiasm of the Pakistani crowds. My own feelings, however, are mixed, and that because of two issues that have not received their due in the media.
The first is the manner in which Doordarshan grabbed the rights to telecast the series. Don't get me wrong, I am happy that most Indians got the chance to see some exciting matches but has the enthusiasm for this game eroded India's [Images] image in the larger world?

Let me explain what I mean with a parallel hypothesis. This, we all admit, is the Internet Age, one where familiarity with a computer is absolutely essential. The operating system that takes pride of place is Microsoft's [Images] Windows (in some flavor or the other). Would this justify some organization such as, say, the NCERT [National Council Of Educational Research Training] engaging mass copying of this software and distributing it? Would it be acceptable if NCERT agreed to pay some nominal fee to Microsoft and also agreed that it would try its best to prevent the pirated discs from being exported outside India?

There would be an immediate uproar if the above scenario took place. But that is, if you change a few names here and there, precisely what happened with regard to Doordarshan and Ten Sports. The latter had bought the television rights to the India-Pakistan series fair and square. Doordarshan had not even placed a bid because the relationship between India and Pakistan was so bad at the time that it seemed unlikely the tour would ever take place. So when the first match took place, Doordarshan's riposte was to steal the signals and broadcast them on its own.

The excuse on offer was 'public interest.' That is nonsense! 'Public interest' is about pollution of the air we breathe and the water we drink, it is about protecting the common man from the vagaries of bureaucracy, and it is trying to ensure that no child lacks access to a decent school and primary health. But when did the 'Right to Entertainment' become a Fundamental Right in the Constitution?

India is already looked down upon in sections of the developed world because of its lackadaisical approach to intellectual property rights. Does anyone believe that this piracy -- which is what Doordarshan's actions amount to -- have helped the situation? Haven't they, if anything, amounted to a handful of mud thrown on India's face?

If the brouhaha over the television rights amounted to a black mark for the Indian establishment, the other great, untold story of the series is the reaction of the Indian people at large. Not so very long ago a match between India and Pakistan was a match that could ignite riots almost at will. The communal divide was absolutely clear at such times.

I remember visiting Vadodara on one occasion when a police officer who was accompanying me -- a Sikh gentleman -- pointed in utter disgust at a Muslim shopkeeper who had put up photographs of various Pakistani cricketers. 'Can't you at least put up a picture of Syed Kirmani as well?' he barked at the trader. You could tell the religious affiliation of the owner by the pictures in his shop. In those days the police were always nervous about a riot following a match -- either because Muslims would celebrate a Pakistani victory or Hindus would demonstrate their exultation at an Indian win by taking a procession through the Muslim quarters of the city.

This time, it has all been mercifully 'incident-free' (to use the euphemism employed by the police). Barring some tension in Satara in Maharashtra [Images], all of India seemed to rejoice or mourn as one. (And even in Satara, the elders of the Muslim community stepped in to rein in the mischief-makers almost as soon as they started bursting crackers after the Indian defeat in Rawalpindi).

The police -- so I am assured by several friends in the service -- have never been so relieved. It is, of course, early days yet but this is the first time in many years that policemen have been able to sit back and actually watch cricket. This seems to be true in states across India. And this is one factor that actually does make one feel good. (Or would if it had been reported by the media!)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

How to Master Report Writing
Whenever anyone talks about report writing, images of my academy class and the boring report writing segment always comes to mind. What I didn't know then, but know now, is just how important report writing really is.

As first responders, we consistently spend more time writing reports than on any other single task in law enforcement. The only thing that beats it is probably driving around patrolling our zones. And yet, beyond the academy, we get very little training in writing, period. We are just supposed to fumble through and learn other aspects of technical writing on our own. Because of this, we need to find a way of writing reports that will serve us well throughout our entire career.

As a report writing instructor, I am motivated by a school seal that belongs to the Philips Academy, better known as Andover. Andover is a prep school that was established during the American Revolution and is one of the oldest boarding schools in the country. The school seal was crafted by Paul Revere and includes the Latin phrase, "Finis Origine Pendet," which translates to the end depends on the beginning. The beginning is the focus of this commentary and it will cover the process of report writing.

Question of Style

We tend to write police reports for economy. "Detailed yet concise" becomes the battle cry for supervisors and at the same time creates a nexus for officers. In reality we write quickly so we can get to the next call only to write again. It's a convoluted method that demands a great deal but also tends to ignore some of the more technical aspects of writing. There is a middle ground, however, where technical writing and economy can meet to serve the greater good.

Experienced instructors know they can't teach report writing. By the time people come into law enforcement they either know how to write or they don't. You can't cram 12 years of school into a 40-hour block of instruction no matter how good you are. But what instructors can teach is a particular style of writing.

Style becomes the structure that helps form a quality report. If you focus elsewhere, and replace it with something more restrictive like an outline, then you miss the point altogether. For example, an outline is too rigid. It restricts your ability to maneuver. Combining elements or sections becomes more difficult. If you have ever worked a busy shift where your reports start to stack up, you understand the need to write in as tight a package as possible.

The problem is it's very hard to write concisely. Thomas Jefferson allegedly wrote a friend once and advised he was sorry for the length of his letter, as he did not have time to write a short one. You no doubt know this to be true from experience. We therefore have to strike a balance between writing a novel like "War and Peace" and Dave Smith persona Buck Savage's infamous short report "Saw drunk arrested same."

Journalistic Approach

We write to inform, not to impress. The first step involves using the journalistic approach. You need to answer who, what, when, where, why, and how. It sounds counterintuitive, but it's where police officers fail the most. And it's not because we don't have the information but because we haven't organized the information we do have to our advantage.

A highly effective report writing structure goes like this: how the officer got the call, what the complainant/witness/victim said, what the officer observed, and what the officer did. Adhering to this structure allows any first responder to tackle any initial investigation with ease.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Managerial Skills
A manager's job is varied and complex. Managers need certain skills to perform the duties and activities associated with being a manager. What type of skills does a manager need? Research by Robert L. Katz found that managers needed three essential skills. These are technical skills, human skills and conceptual skills. Technical skills include knowledge of and proficiency in a certain specialized field, such as engineering, computers, financial and managerial accounting, or manufacturing. These skills are more important at lower levels of management since these managers are dealing directly with employees doing the organization's work. Human skills involve the ability to work well with other people both individually and in a group. Because managers deal directly with people, this skill is crucial! Managers with good human skills are able to get the best out of their people. They know how to communicate, motivate, lead, and inspire enthusiasm and trust. These skills are equally important at all levels of management. Finally conceptual skills are the skills managers must have to think and conceptualize about abstract and complex situations. Using these skills managers must be able to see the organization as a whole, understand the relationship among various subunits, and visualize how the organization fits into its broader environment. These skills are most important at top level management.
A professional association of practicing managers, the American Management Association, has identified important skills for managers that encompass conceptual, communication, effectiveness, and interpersonal aspects. These are briefly described below
Conceptual Skills:
 Ability to use information to solve business problems, identification of opportunities for innovation, recognizing problem areas and implementing solutions, selecting critical information from masses of data, understanding the business users of technology, understanding the organization's business model.
Communication Skills: Ability to transform ideas into words and actions, credibility among colleagues, peers, and subordinates, listening and asking questions, presentation skills and spoken format, presentation skills; written and graphic formats

Effectiveness Skills:
Contributing to corporate mission/departmental objectives, customer focus, multitasking; working at multiple tasks at parallel, negotiating skills, project management, reviewing operations and implementing improvements, setting and maintaining performance standards internally and externally, setting priorities for attention and activity, time management.

Interpersonal Skills:
 Coaching and mentoring skills, diversity skills; working with diverse people and culture, networking within the organization, networking outside the organization, working in teams; cooperation and commitment.

In today's demanding and dynamic workplace, employees who are invaluable to an organization must be willing to constantly upgrade their skills and take on extra work outside their own specific job areas. There is no doubt that skills will continue to be an important way of describing what a manager does.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


This award-winning guide to resume writing will teach you to write a resume equal to one done by a top-notch professional writer. It offers examples, format choices, help writing the objective, the summary and other sections, as well as samples of excellent resume writing. It is the most trusted resume-writing guide on the planet, used by more than a million people each year.

Writing a great resume does not necessarily mean you should follow the rules you hear through the grapevine. It does not have to be one page or follow a specific resume format. Every resume is a one-of-a-kind marketing communication. It should be appropriate to your situation and do exactly what you want it to do. Instead of a bunch of rules and tips, we are going to cut to the chase in this brief guide and offer you the most basic principles of writing a highly effective resume.

Who are we to be telling you how to write your resume? As part of our career consulting practice, we have coached and advised Fortune 500 C.E.O.s, senior members of the last few presidential administrations, thousands of mid and early career professionals, artists, technical people and others in nearly every field of endeavor.

Our specialty at Rockport Institute Career Change is working with clients who want to choose or change to a new career, one they will love; work that makes full use of their talents, fits their personality, their values, and is also practical. Our staff has been commended for excellence by two U.S. presidents. Our first book, The Pathfinder: How to choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success was a top-10 national bestseller. That is our one and only specialty. If you think you may be in the wrong career, check out our website or read reviews of our books on

Are you an executive or professional looking for an extraordinary, professionally written resume? As authors of this, the world’s most widely used, regularly updated guide to resume writing since 1995, we can connect you with the very best expert resume writers. Send us an email. We’ll get right back to you.

This guide is especially for people looking for a job in the United States. In the U.S., the rules of job hunting are much more relaxed than they are in Europe and Asia. You can do a lot more active personal marketing in your resume here. You may have to tone down our advice a few notches and use a more traditional, conservative format accepted in your field if you live elsewhere or are in law, academia or a technical engineering, computer or scientific field. But even when your presentation must fit a narrow set of rules, you can still use the principles we will present to make your presentation more effective than your competition's.


The good news is that, with a little extra effort, you can create a resume that makes you stand out as a superior candidate for a job you are seeking. Not one resume in a hundred follows the principles that stir the interest of prospective employers. So, even if you face fierce competition, with a well written resume you should be invited to interview more often than many people more qualified than you.

The bad news is that your present resume is probably much more inadequate than you now realize. You will have to learn how to think and write in a style that will be completely new to you.

To understand what I mean, let's take a look at the purpose of your resume. Why do you have a resume in the first place? What is it supposed to do for you?

Here's an imaginary scenario. You apply for a job that seems absolutely perfect for you. You send your resume with a cover letter to the prospective employer. Plenty of other people think the job sounds great too and apply for the job. A few days later, the employer is staring at a pile of several hundred resumes. Several hundred? you ask. Isn't that an inflated number? Not really. A job offer often attracts between 100 and 1000 resumes these days, so you are facing a great deal of competition.

Back to the fantasy and the prospective employer staring at the huge stack of resumes: This person isn't any more excited about going through this pile of dry, boring documents than you would be. But they have to do it, so they dig in. After a few minutes, they are getting sleepy. They are not really focusing any more. Then, they run across your resume. As soon as they start reading it, they perk up. The more they read the more interested, awake and turned on they become.

Most resumes in the pile have only gotten a quick glance. But yours gets read, from beginning to end. Then, it gets put on top of the tiny pile of resumes that make the first cut. These are the people who will be asked in to interview. In this mini resume writing guide, what we hope to do is to give you the basic tools to take this out of the realm of fantasy and into your everyday life.


The resume is a tool with one specific purpose: to win an interview. If it does what the fantasy resume did, it works. If it doesn't, it isn't an effective resume. A resume is an advertisement, nothing more, nothing less.

A great resume doesn't just tell them what you have done but makes the same assertion that all good ads do: If you buy this product, you will get these specific, direct benefits. It presents you in the best light. It convinces the employer that you have what it takes to be successful in this new position or career.

It is so pleasing to the eye that the reader is enticed to pick it up and read it. It "whets the appetite," stimulates interest in meeting you and learning more about you. It inspires the prospective employer to pick up the phone and ask you to come in for an interview.


To pass the employer's screening process (requisite educational level, number years' experience, etc.), to give basic facts which might favorably influence the employer (companies worked for, political affiliations, racial minority, etc.). To provide contact information: an up-to-date address and a telephone number (a telephone number which will always be answered during business hours).
To establish you as a professional person with high standards and excellent writing skills, based on the fact that the resume is so well done (clear, well-organized, well-written, well-designed, of the highest professional grades of printing and paper). For persons in the art, advertising, marketing, or writing professions, the resume can serve as a sample of their skills.
To have something to give to potential employers, your job-hunting contacts and professional references, to provide background information, to give out in "informational interviews" with the request for a critique (a concrete creative way to cultivate the support of this new person), to send a contact as an excuse for follow-up contact, and to keep in your briefcase to give to people you meet casually - as another form of "business card."
To use as a covering piece or addendum to another form of job application, as part of a grant or contract proposal, as an accompaniment to graduate school or other application.
To put in an employer's personnel files.
To help you clarify your direction, qualifications, and strengths, boost your confidence, or to start the process of committing to a job or career change.


It is a mistake to think of your resume as a history of your past, as a personal statement or as some sort of self expression. Sure, most of the content of any resume is focused on your job history. But write from the intention to create interest, to persuade the employer to call you. If you write with that goal, your final product will be very different than if you write to inform or catalog your job history.

Most people write a resume because everyone knows that you have to have one to get a job. They write their resume grudgingly, to fulfill this obligation. Writing the resume is only slightly above filling out income tax forms in the hierarchy of worldly delights. If you realize that a great resume can be your ticket to getting exactly the job you want, you may be able to muster some genuine enthusiasm for creating a real masterpiece, rather than the feeble products most people turn out.


If you are hunting for a job but are not sure you are on a career path that is perfect for you, you are probably going to wind up doing something that doesn't fit you very well, that you are not going to find fulfilling, and that you will most likely leave within five years. Doesn't sound like much of a life to me. How about you? Are you willing to keep putting up with pinning your fate on the random turnings of the wheel?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

3 Ways to Create Highly Valuable Blog Content
Do you struggle coming up with content ideas for your blog?

Or maybe you create plenty of blog posts, but they get few views and even less engagement?

If you find that creating engaging content is challenging, keep reading.

This article will identify some of the best tips, tools and tactics for creating blog content that helps grow your business.

#1: Be the resource your customers really need
What’s your ideal customer’s biggest problem? Your blog is not about your business, it’s about your customers.

If you want to attract and engage your prospects and lead them down the sales funnel, you need to focus on them and their problems.

The more you create content that helps your prospects succeed, the more engaged they’ll become with your blog.

So how do you know what your audience is struggling with?


If you’ve been in business for a while, chances are you already know a lot of what your customers are struggling with.

But if you’re starting from scratch or you want to uncover more opportunities where you can help your customers, consider creating a survey using a free tool like Survey Monkey or Google Docs.
Extract the “keywords” that drive the questions.

Once you have a list of the problems your customers face, you’ll start to notice some recurring phrases.

Maybe it’s “public speaking,” or “college admissions” or “dating advice.” (If it’s all three, you may want to narrow your focus.)

Grab one of those phrases, brainstorm a few alternatives and head on over to Google’s Adword Keyword Tool.

Plug your phrases into the box, choose “exact match” and hit “search.”

Google will return your keyword phrases plus a number of related phrases. It will also show you how many people have searched for each phrase in the last 30 days, and how competitive those phrases are (at least in the pay-per-click arena; a good indicator of how difficult it may be to rank well for these phrases).

The Global and Local Monthly Searches columns will give you insight into how much interest there is in a specific keyword. Focus on phrases that have high search volume for your blog posts.
Once you’ve identified your most promising keywords, go to Google Insights for Search. While there are some amazing reports you can generate from Insights, scroll right down to the bottom and look at Top Searches and Rising Searches.

Top Searches will give you a sense of what people are searching for now, while Rising Searches will give you a sense of what the next big search terms will be.

Creating valuable content before it becomes mainstream can give an incredible boost to your blog traffic. Other bloggers will tend to cite your work when they post related content (creating inbound links to your blog), and search engines will often reward your post because of its longevity.
I’ve seen this on my blog and website when I’ve written on a topic before it’s really caught on. An article I wrote back in 2008 entitled how to Use Twitter for Business still attracts over 250 new prospects per month to our site more than four years after I wrote it!

Would your business benefit from getting in front of 3,000 new prospects a year who had never heard of your company before?

You should also plug your best keywords into Google Alerts (that’s the last Google plug, I promise!).

Every day, Google will deliver news stories, blog posts and even tweets to your inbox about your best keywords. Those are all the seeds of great content posts your ideal customer is interested in.
#2: Answer the unanswered questions
People often come to the web to seek answers and advice. Your audience is no different.

Answering their questions in your blog is a great way to attract and engage them.


It’s likely that you get emails from your current customer base looking for advice.

Stop answering them!

OK, that’s not exactly what I mean. But don’t answer them right away.

Instead, when someone asks you a question that you feel others are likely struggling with, that’s a perfect opportunity to create a “Dear Abby”–style post.
Whether it’s “Why can’t I post to my Face book page as myself?” or “How can a B2B company use Interest? “, you can create content that will help attract your ideal customer.

Think about it: If one person is asking you that question, how many other hundreds or thousands who don’t have a resource to turn to are using Google or Bing? And Google (usually) won’t answer the question; they’ll just refer the searcher to an authoritative source… like your blog.

Unless it was a question about bedwetting and you used their name, chances are they’ll be proud they asked such an intelligent question. Bonus: you’re (re)introducing them to your blog.

#3: Find the questions your customers are asking
Next, you need to figure out what your customers want to know now. Do some research to find the questions they’re asking?

Quora, Yahoo Answers and LinkedIn Answers.

These are just a few of the popular Q&A sites on the web today. People pose questions at these sites in all types of categories, from parenting to management, home repair to manufacturing.

But just because a question is asked (and even answered) doesn’t mean that the topic is closed. Chances are you have a better, more nuanced or just different answer to the question.

Take the question and make it your own on your blog.
Keyword Questions

This is one of my favorite tools for filling a blog with engaging questions, whether you’re a long-time blogger or just starting out.

Keyword Questions queries Word Tracker’s search engine partners to find questions that have been posed with your keywords in them.

I’ve found that using broad terms for this tool provides the best results. In other words, use “golf” rather than “golf tips.”
Competitors’ FAQs

You remember FAQs, right? Those pages on a website that are covered in dust bunnies, having not been updated since 1997?

Your competition has left some great questions up on their site with out-of-date answers on them. Your job is to find those musty old questions, shake them off and breathe new life into them.

In no way am I suggesting stealing from your competitors! Frequently asked questions are by definition frequently asked. Tweak the question and answer it from your own perspective, based on your experience, in your own voice.

Comment Sections

Comments on a blog post often ask follow-up questions to the original post. Unfortunately, many of these questions go unanswered. Even when they do garner a response, that answer is buried in the comments, difficult to find and share with others.

If someone asks a good follow-up question in the comment section of your own blog, consider creating a new blog post as a response and linking to it in your reply.

Also, popular industry blogs will often generate more comments than the blogger can keep up with. Check out the comment section on popular blog posts and see if there are some great questions being asked that you can answer on your own blog.
Whether you’re pulling questions from emails, Q&A sites, Keyword Questions, competitors’ FAQs or a comments section, you’re providing a service to your audience as long as you’re creating a fresh perspective on their challenges.

Plus, your blog posts will make the answers easier to find, read and share than if they were buried in a Q&A site or hidden in an email exchange.

If you want to attract and engage a loyal audience to your blog, you need to be continually creating content that is of interest to them, not necessarily of interest to you.

By researching your keywords, digging a little deeper and uncovering the questions your ideal customer is asking, you can build a blog that builds your business.

You’re Turn

What do you think?

What tips, tactics or techniques have you used to create content that engages your audience? Let us know in the comments box below. Who knows? Maybe it will inspire you or another reader to create even more compelling content for a future blog post!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


As the recent box office success of films like Supersize Me ($11.5 million, 2004), Mad Hot Ballroom ($6.3 million, 2005) and March of the Penguins ($77.4 million, 2005) lure more documentary filmmakers to seek a traditionally risky theatrical release, audiences are lured too, by the promise that non-fiction cinema can tell stories that are as dramatic and entertaining as feature films. This trend, which began when the acclaimed 1994 film Hoop Dreams began its $7.8 million run, has accelerated in the past five years with the success of films like Capturing the Friedmans (2003), Tupac:  Resurrection (2003), and Enron:  The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005). All of these well-crafted documentaries borrow from the plot devices of fiction films. Whether the story-driven documentary will eclipse the essay-driven format is debatable, but one thing is clear:  commissioning editors from stations like HBO, the Sundance Channel and Showtime want stories.
Whereas screenwriters are free to dream up plot twists for a three-act story, documentary filmmakers must design scenes based on what was actually filmed in real life.  These two constraints-”what was filmed” and “real life”–present special challenges.  Whether a documentary editor is using a three-act storyboard or some other narrative design, how does she stay true to actual happenings when she must persuade and contort them into climaxes and plot turns?  This article will outline the principles of classic three-act narrative structure as taught by professional screenwriters, and it will examine how documentary filmmakers can adapt these structural demands to the randomness of real life.
Documentaries do not fit tidily into three acts.  Having said that, devising a narrative arc does not mean dividing the film into three parts, and then arbitrarily labeling each part an act.  The first, second and third acts look remarkably different from one another, and each fulfills a unique and specific purpose in composing the story. Keep in mind that a story, in the screenwriter’s sense of the word, is not a profile (for example, a film about an eccentric uncle who farms nuts), a condition (human rights abuses in Haiti), a phenomenon (the popularity of multi-player video games) or a point of view (social security should be privatized).  Simply stated, a story chronicles the efforts of the main character to achieve his or her heart’s desire in the face of opposition.  Screenwriters understand that defining the “hero’s quest” is the foremost dramatic requirement of a three-act structure.  Act One sets up the protagonist’s desire (boy meets girl), Act Two presents obstacles that thwart the goal (boy loses girl), and in the final act, the climax reveals whether or not the protagonist achieves his heart’s desire (boy wins girl forever after).  Documentary filmmakers would do well to hone in on their protagonist’s desire in their earliest concept paper, a mandatory preamble to rolling tape.
The function of act one is to establish the world of the film, introduce us to the characters, and launch the protagonist’s quest.  In a two-hour dramatic film, act one (also called the “set-up”) runs about thirty minutes, or a quarter of the film.  At the start of the act, the audience is introduced to the film’s setting and characters.  A protagonist emerges at the “catalyst” or “inciting incident”, when an external event upsets the main character’s world.   This mandatory structural device kicks off the real story, as the protagonist begins his quest to restore equilibrium to his life. For example, in the action movie Jaws (1975), a woman is killed by a shark, and the town sheriff finds her decaying body.  This horrific discovery is the inciting incident, or catalyst, because it begins the sheriff’s quest to kill the shark and thereby restore tranquility to the terrorized resort town.  While many people use the word “protagonist” to simply mean “main character”, screenwriters define “protagonist” as a character who possesses a yearning or desire for something.
The inciting incident plays such a critical function in the overall story structure that Hollywood screenwriters follow a rule:  the inciting scene must be visually depicted on screen, preferably in present story time. In other words, the story cannot be launched through exposition (boring) or backstory (too removed).  This imperative presents a major problem for documentary filmmakers constructing a narrative arc.  Frequently, by the time a documentary filmmaker gets interested in a film, the inciting incident has already happened.  Equally problematic, this rousing scene was probably not caught on film.  Sometimes filmmakers get lucky.  They set out to film one story, and a more powerful story unfolds in front of the camera.  In The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (2003), Irish filmmakers Kim Bartley and Donnacha O’Briain intended to profile Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.  Suddenly they found themselves in the midst of a coup.  They caught the upheaval on camera and it became a visually riveting catalyst for a very different film.
Shaping archival or news footage into an inciting incident is another solution.  In Metallica:  Some Kind of Monster (2004), the inciting incident occurs a slim four minutes into the lengthy 140-minute movie, when an MTV news clip announces that the bass player has left the band.  This incident launches the narrative arc of the movie, as the remaining three members seek to improve their interpersonal act and, by extension, their next album.

If a documentary filmmaker does not have footage of the actual inciting incident, how does she bring it to life on screen?  Another common solution is to comb through interviews for a soundbite that reconstructs the inciting incident.  Sometimes even a periphery character can recall a particular moment that will change the lives of the characters forever.  In Capturing the Friedmans, an 88-minute film, the inciting incident occurs seven minutes into the story, when a postal inspector appears on screen for the first time.  He recounts that in 1984, U.S. Customs had seized some child pornography addressed to Arnold Friedman.

If an interviewee is going to relate the catalyst event, an editor should choose an exceptionally charismatic storyteller.  Remember, this is the moment the story is supposed to take off.  If a lackluster soundbite can’t fuel the launch, an editor may need booster material:  narration, location footage, reenactments, animation, etc. Whereas a screenwriter can start the story with a single inciting scene, the non-fiction storyteller must often construct an inciting sequence.  As long as the sequence gets the story off the ground, it’s fine to employ a slow burn rather than pyrotechnics.

The inciting incident gives rise to the protagonist’s quest-alternately called the “hero’s journey” or “object of desire”-as well as formulating the film’s central question.  Will Romeo and Juliet stay together?  Will the sheriff kill the shark?  Will the Jordan family save their farm?  The central question is always some variation of the question, “Will the protagonist reach his goal?”  After a long period of struggle in act two, this central question is finally answered for better or worse in act three, at or just following the film’s climax.

Like narrative films, documentaries are at their best when the protagonist’s object of desire and the movie’s central question are concrete and specific.  In Troublesome Creek, the family’s larger desire was to survive financially, but their concrete goal was to pay off their back loan and get off the Troubled Accounts list. In The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), the protagonist wants equality for gay people, but his quest is drawn into dramatic focus by his bid to get elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.  In Spellbound (2002), the central question that causes the viewer to hold his breath every time a child spells out a word is very specific:  which child will win the national spelling bee contest?

While casting the right characters is critical in a documentary, many seasoned filmmakers won’t undertake a film featuring even the most colorful cast unless they foresee that at least one character’s quest will provide the film with a narrative spine.  In an historical documentary, this is relatively doable with the advantage of hindsight.  But the dramatic arc of a verite film, in which life is recorded as it unfolds, is understandably difficult to predict.  It’s unlikely that filmmaker Fredrick Wiseman wrote a detailed, three-act treatment for Titticut Follies (1967).  Likewise, the Maysles brothers couldn’t have foreseen the dramatic arc of Salesman (1969) before filming.  Sadly, these grand experiments in cinema verite would probably not get funded today.  At a minimum, commissioning editors and foundations require that a treatment for a verite film describe the protagonist’s quest, articulate the central question, and then envisage the conflicts the protagonist will face during the course of the production schedule.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Four emerging trends in corporate social responsibility

By any count, the world is changing faster than ever before. Human numbers are growing faster, and the impact of our activities is being felt in more and more ways. This change has profound implications for business, and means that the world of CSR - or how businesses respond to society's expectations - is at the forefront of this change. So it's worth looking for what are the current trends and where are they heading.

What drives trends in an area like CSR? Three things.

One - attitudes to business and its relationship with society are changed and shaped by outside events. These can be demonstrations of social problems that substantially change the environment within which companies do business, which are partially or wholly caused by business activities, or which businesses are likely partners in finding solutions.

These can be as diverse as extreme climate events raising the profile and public concern about climate change, right through to a run of incidences of corporate corruption. Businesses are called upon to change behaviors or solve problems because of something external to them.

Two - expert practitioners have a vision for how sustainable business should operate, and develop new ideas, or increase expertise on past experience, and implement these within the business. This defines how businesses focus their attention when the spotlight isn't particularly on them. Do they define CSR as being about philanthropy, or environmental management, or core purpose and the business model?

Three - outside agencies create a vision for the achievement of future goals, and actively recruit businesses and partners. So in recent years, the involvement of businesses in finding ways to meet the millennium development goals has been an example.

So with all these factors in play, what are some of the demonstrable trends? Here are a few that I find particularly interesting.

1. Moving from reporting to engagement

The current model of CR reporting has hit something of a ceiling in terms of the quality of data. We have spent the last ten years evolving our approach to measuring our progress and still haven't come close to the original goal - to find ways of measuring CSR in a reliable and meaningful way that enables us to compare the performance of individual companies.

Why have we hit the ceiling? Because some of the most significant information is difficult, even impossible to measure. But particularly, because the context behind the data makes it neither valuable nor reliable to use this information to draw conclusions about how well a company is doing.

And the small improvements in the integrity of the data won't make any difference to how many companies' different stakeholders actually bother to engage with it.

So some companies are now starting to focus their aim on the engagement side. Since customers, employees and suppliers generally don't read reports, companies are beginning to experiment with ways to interest, entice and even seduce those stakeholders into wanting to engage with the company about what it's doing.

It's early days for this one, but the implication of this trend is that CSR executives become less compliance focused and more involved in discussion with marketers. That is a move that is also supported by the next trend.

2. it’s about the business model

More companies are starting to understand a little more about the scale of the challenge that faces us in terms of sustainability, and they're wondering what this means for their business model.

Here's the central dilemma. On your current model, if your company does very well, does that result in damage to the environment? Is the achievement of a positive outcome something you have to work hard to achieve in spite of your business process? Or can you find a business model where the better the social outcome you achieve, the better your business does in terms of profit?

It's not as though easy answers to this one jump out at you from all sides. Interface Flor carpets tried to tackle it when, for their business customers, they offered a service of professional floor covering rather than selling a thing, i.e. Carpet. The principle was sound - on the service model, you had the incentive to provide the professional effect with the use of the least amount of material. With the old model, you make more profit if you replace more physical square meters of carpet.

The only problem in that case was that the customers weren't ready for it. They wanted to own their carpet. Just as we all want to own our things - cars, phones, electronic household goods. Leasing was what we did when we, as a society, didn't have much money. Changing that attitude is beyond the ability of any one company, apparently.

But this one doesn't go away, so companies will keep trying to crack it, and we will see more innovation in this space. But again, it involves the marketers because you have to be able to come up with solutions where you can take your customers with you. You can be one step ahead of them and take them with you. But if you're three steps ahead, you'll lose them.

3. Finding our own identity and respect

CSR Executives have been asking themselves for some time whether they are part of a proper professional discipline or not. When Accountability was first formed in the late 1990s, it was styled the Institute of Social and Environmental Accountability with a view that it would become the professional body for 'accountability professionals'. That didn't happen, but we've seen the CRO in the States and the Corporate Responsibility Group in the UK tackling the same question.

There are pluses and minuses here. An acknowledged profession can establish standards of expertise for those entrusted by companies with this important responsibility. It can gain respect within corporations and increase the authority of its voice in the board room.

The potential minuses come because of the baggage that comes with professionalization. Not to put too fine a point on it, professions usually create for themselves a series of perverse incentives. In particular, every profession builds its own jargon and sense of exclusivity - which is part of communicating to the rest of the world that this is a real area of expertise that ordinary mortals can't hope to understand. Which is why you need to hire people with the appropriately high skill level?

That's an appropriate way of being if you're happy to be in an adjunct office doing mysterious things on behalf of your employer. If you define your role as influencing across the business however, this may not be the most effective model. If we need step-changes and destructive innovation in the future - does a well-ordered profession helps or hinders that?

4. Taking the role of global citizens

Businesses have always taken an interest in influencing the public policy agenda, but historically purely from a defensive purpose of fending off potential restrictions on its ability to make profit. But as physical evidence for climate change increases and the urgency of taking action keeps pace, companies are starting to re-evaluate what is their role as change agents.

Companies are pragmatic entities, and ones that are used to defining themselves around adaptability to change. That makes them almost uniquely suited to responding to global environmental challenges.

Certainly, governments are struggling in this regard. The global economic situation has placed many of them in defensive positions where their citizens are holding them responsible for the fact that suddenly they can no longer afford the things they used to be able to. It is a difficult backdrop to take bold action in an area that many people will believe to be separate and disconnected to their current discomfort. And the fact that it isn't disconnected at all makes no difference if that's what people believe.

And, of course, in the US we have this astonishing polarization based on party lines with a powerful segment of leaders and institutions actively hostile to science and rationality.

So we are seeing more individual business leaders prepared to make statements that are bigger, and more directly involved in political leadership than we have seen in the past. Whether Polman at Unilever telling shareholders that they don't come first, or Schulz in the US taking out full page ads calling on better governance, suddenly engagement with these societal problems is becoming more accepted as an aspect of business leadership.


It's worth noting that not all these trends are pulling in the same direction. And the fact they are emerging trends does not make their continued emergence inevitable. Some of them may well turn out to have been a momentary experiment, quickly to be abandoned.

But they are emerging because powerful forces are driving them, and although something big could happen tomorrow that suddenly changes everyone's context, by and large these forces seem unlikely to go away in the short term.

Is your company part of these trends, or should it be? If you're a CSR membership organization, is this part of your discussion with your members? Should it be?

Friday, November 9, 2012

How to Write a Newspaper Article

How to Write a Newspaper Article
When you write a newspaper article, you share your thoughts with thousands, or maybe millions of readers. This can be a very rewarding experience, apart from helping you make a living as a reporter if your articles are good enough. There is now a lot of competition in the field of writing, with more and more freelancers sharing their thoughts (and doing quite a good job at it). In order for them to be good enough, it is imperative that you know how exactly to write a newspaper article. There is not much room to be creative when writing a newspaper article. However, you can follow your own unique writing style and deliver accurate and beautifully written material to your readers. Read on to know the tips for writing a newspaper article.

Tips for Writing a Newspaper Article
Think of a good story idea. The idea could be as simple as covering a local event that is happening in your neighborhood. Or, it could be an in depth report on investigation of a political scandal.
Get a rough draft of the material you are going to write. This could be in the form of random notes and audio or video recordings.
When you sit to write the article, ensure that you have a catchy headline. Also, remember that the headline should be accurate and should be in the present tense.
Surprise your readers and make them curious by keeping the first sentence short and dramatic. Your readers should want to know more and should want to read on.
Put the facts of the story first. Be clear about what you are writing and so not complicate things.
Keep the five W’s in mind and remember to use them: What happened, When did it happen, who was involved, Where did it happen, and Why did it happen.
Be accurate in what you write and ensure that all facts are correct.
When writing your article, use active verbs wherever you can. This will add more depth to your article.
Remember that in every story, there are two sides. Be fair and let the readers make up their minds, rather than taking sides. Of course, this does not apply if you are writing about some social evil or injustice, which is known not to have two sides to it.
If there are familiar, people or events covered in the article, find new ways to describe them. Avoid using clichés.
Use proper spellings and grammar. Badly written articles can give others a bad impression of you as a writer.
Make your story stand out from the others by looking for a special ingredient to add in. This could be a bit of humor or just anything that will make your newspaper article stand out, among all the rest of the black and white print.
Finally, review and edit your article keeping in mind the headline that you have chosen, ensuring that the story ties in with it.
Add in a picture if necessary.
Send your article to the newspaper editor to be reviewed and published.