Professors – Ways to Be Wise When Traveling (Before and During)

Since I am writing this article about how to be wise when you travel (and I am on the road at a professional conference) the ideas are quite fresh in my mind. If you travel as part of your academic responsibility, then you will find these ideas helpful.

Let people know you are on the road so they will not expect you to get back to them as quickly. You can leave this information in a message on your outgoing voice mail and, if you are going to be out for an extended period of time, set up an email responder, as well. (Note: If you are going to be out for one or two days, then my suggestion is NOT to annoy people who email you with a return email that says that you will be out "until tomorrow afternoon" or the like.)

Answer voice mail as you travel so it's not all there when you get back in town. This means you must have a voice mail system that is easily retrievable. Make it a point to return voice mail within 24 hours of when you get the message, if at all possible.

Keep up with your email as you travel. Not doing so is even more onerous than taking the extra steps to be able to access it while you're on the road. There are several possibilities:

  • you can have all your email forwarded to a web-based email system;
  • you can set up your laptop to access all your email (and either leave the original message on the server or not);
  • or you may use what I use, GoToMyPC, which lets me access my home office computer from any other computer. That way, I'm answering my emails just as if I am in front of my main computer. It's convenient because all my deleted, saved, and sent messages are right there where they belong and all attachments I might need to send to someone are easily accessible.

Create a productive environment for yourself when you are traveling. Some ways to do so include:

  • If you are traveling by car, make sure you have all the items that will let you be comfortable and productive while on the road.
  • If you are traveling by plane, then make sure you have noise-cancelling headphones and the kind of work that can easily be retrieved while sitting in an airplane seat.
  • Once you arrive at your hotel, take a few minutes and get it set up. I will often move tables around to create a L-shaped workspace. I have also been known to take 100 watt light bulbs with me when I go to Las Vegas (or stay at a W Hotel) because the lamps are so dim that it's very difficult to see and get reading and work done. Learn what works best for you-and then create that environment as much as you can.

Join loyalty programs whenever possible and then maximize your use of those particular airlines and hotels. There are small (and sometimes large) amenities that go along with being a member of a program. If at all possible, aim for the elite status which really gives you worth perquisites (including leverage) when traveling.

You're a professor. You're smart. You need to travel to conferences, to conduct your research, to learn, to share your knowledge, and to expand your horizons. So now, be wise about traveling by putting one or more of the ideas in this article into practice and move closer to peaceful productivity as a way of life.

Since I am writing this article about how to be wise when you travel (and I am on the road at a professional conference) the ideas are quite fresh in my mind. If you travel as part of your academic responsibility, then you will find these ideas helpful.

Let people know you are on the road so they will not expect you to get back to them as quickly. You can leave this information in a message on your outgoing voice mail and, if you are going to be out for an extended period of time, set up an email responder, as well. (Note: If you are going to be out for one or two days, then my suggestion is NOT to annoy people who email you with a return email that says that you will be out "until tomorrow afternoon" or the like.)

Answer voice mail as you travel so it's not all there when you get back in town. This means you must have a voice mail system that is easily retrievable. Make it a point to return voice mail within 24 hours of when you get the message, if at all possible.

Keep up with your email as you travel. Not doing so is even more onerous than taking the extra steps to be able to access it while you're on the road. There are several possibilities:

  • you can have all your email forwarded to a web-based email system;
  • you can set up your laptop to access all your email (and either leave the original message on the server or not);
  • or you may use what I use, GoToMyPC, which lets me access my home office computer from any other computer. That way, I'm answering my emails just as if I am in front of my main computer. It's convenient because all my deleted, saved, and sent messages are right there where they belong and all attachments I might need to send to someone are easily accessible.

Create a productive environment for yourself when you are traveling. Some ways to do so include:

  • If you are traveling by car, make sure you have all the items that will let you be comfortable and productive while on the road.
  • If you are traveling by plane, then make sure you have noise-cancelling headphones and the kind of work that can easily be retrieved while sitting in an airplane seat.
  • Once you arrive at your hotel, take a few minutes and get it set up. I will often move tables around to create a L-shaped workspace. I have also been known to take 100 watt light bulbs with me when I go to Las Vegas (or stay at a W Hotel) because the lamps are so dim that it's very difficult to see and get reading and work done. Learn what works best for you-and then create that environment as much as you can.

Join loyalty programs whenever possible and then maximize your use of those particular airlines and hotels. There are small (and sometimes large) amenities that go along with being a member of a program. If at all possible, aim for the elite status which really gives you worth perquisites (including leverage) when traveling.

You're a professor. You're smart. You need to travel to conferences, to conduct your research, to learn, to share your knowledge, and to expand your horizons. So now, be wise about traveling by putting one or more of the ideas in this article into practice and move closer to peaceful productivity as a way of life.

Top 11 Reasons to Use Social Media in Business

Over the past few years, to say social media has exploded would be an understatement. Members of social media sites have discovered it's the easiest way to find, learn about, and share information that directly influences their purchasing decisions. It is this reason alone that every business should be on multiple social media sites in an effort to reach as many people as possible.

Below are the top 11 reasons to use social media in business:

  1. Build relationships – personal and professional; connect with all types of people – past and present coworkers, current clients, prospects, vendors, competitors, and marketing professionals to build your network
  2. Share your blog posts; share interesting and useful articles, other blogs, webinars, podcasts, presentations, and poll / survey results with your fan base
  3. Gather valuable information – research similar products / services, competitors, prospects, marketing tips, blog ideas, create your own poll / survey – the amount of information available is endless
  4. Join a social network of like-minded individuals or start a new interest group where you can further brand your product / service, build relationships, and share ideas and information
  5. Stay current with the latest trends – write a blog or join a discussion on a trending topic; become aware of new social media sites that might fit the needs of your business
  6. Land a great new job – using your new connections on various social media sites, you can get the inside scoop on companies that are hiring, as well as resume and interview tips
  7. Discover a new passion in life, become a volunteer, or start a fundraising event
  8. Get found by prospects by using inbound marketing tactics – spread the word about your product / service through social media sites; to form a complete marketing plan, combine this with outbound techniques (interruptive marketing)
  9. Build business reputation and brand – constantly add value to all your posts and become a trustworthy leader in your industry; to quote Bob Burg, "All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust."
  10. Build a marketing department inexpensively – for start-ups, employing inbound marketing tactics is a cheap way to start marketing your product / service; most social media sites are free to join, while others have a minimal monthly or annual fee
  11. Help increase conversion rates – use social media and inbound marketing to steer more organic traffic to your website and convert more leads into sales; the average conversion rate is 2.3%, but varies by industries according to ClickZ, Marketing News & Expert Advice, http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1691779/benchmarking-average-conversion-rate .

I recommend choosing a useful of sites to manage and start getting your feet wet. Not every social media site available will be right for you or your business and it would overwhelming to try them all. For example, consistently maintaining a blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ pages, a YouTube channel, as well as a Twitter account might be a great place to start. Depending on the type of business, a Pinterest, Tumblr, or Flickr account might or may not be worthwhile, but obviously they are great certain brands.

If you need help getting started, there are countless different types of resources. I have used the An Hour a Day book series on Facebook Marketing, Twitter Marketing, and Social Media Marketing. They address each entity in a step-by-step fashion that is very user-friendly. I also find Hubspot to be extremely helpful. They are continuously publishing user guides that contain valuable information, tips, and tricks. Lastly, when creating your profile on the various social media sites that best fit your marketing plan, it's a good idea to connect with other marketers to check out what they are doing to boost business.

Do you have a tip or trick to share with newcomers to social media? Share it with us; you are more than welcome to post questions and / or comments here!

Choosing the Best Clothes Steamer For Your Garments

When it comes to choosing the best clothes steamer there are several things to take into consideration. One is the size of the unit you want. Do you need to be able to travel with it? Also consider the amount of clothing you may frequently steam and the price you want to spend on a unit.

A clothes steamer operates with plain tap water. A good one can remove wrinkles from your clothing faster than ironing. They work especially well on silk, cashmere, wool or cotton jersey and steam is very gentle on fabrics. They also work well to refresh clothing between dry cleaning, saving you money. A portable or hand held clothing steamer can be used to steam many things, such as drapes and upholstery.

Hand Held or Professional Garment Steamer

There are two sizes available. The full size unit and the hand held unit. The full size unit usually will have a few more functions than a hand held. There may be an automatic shut-off, the ability to control the amount of steam, and a place to hold the steam nozzle. The hand held steamer will be cheaper in price. The nozzle will be smaller, which may be good depending on the garment you are steaming. It is easier to store and it can be used in any room of the house, as it can easily move with you. The one drawback about the smaller units is that they need to be refilled more frequently.

Features of a Professional Garment Steamer

The average full size unit has a base with a boiler in it. A plastic tank sits on the boiler. You fill this tank with water and invert it. The more water the tank holds the longer the steamer operates without refills. A typical one gallon tank model will produce steam for ninety minutes straight.

Some of the full size fabric steaming models come with steam setting controls, much like an iron. The settings can be adjusted according to the fabric being steamed as some require more heat than others. The typical cost range is $120-$200 with a wattage from 1,200-2,000 watts. A press pad can be used as well. This will keep the garment in place and lessen the chance that you will scald your hand. Many come with garment hanging rods and accessories like crease tools, lint removers and or an upholstery brush.

Best Travel Clothes Steamer

The best clothes steamer if you travel may be a hand held model. They are easy to pack and some weigh as little as 1.5 pounds. This type of unit will have a one piece design. Most produce nonstop steam but some have a push button steamer. This will only allow the steam out only when the button is pushed. The steam time is much shorter than that of a full size unit, producing steam for no more than 15 minutes.

If you need to steam more than a few garments you will need to refill the water tank. These do come with a travel pouch and sometimes a fabric brush and lint pad. Usually the more watts the machine has the hotter the steam. This is not always the case as some of the models with lessor wattage were tested and found to give greater and hotter amounts of steam. The wattage can range from 200-1,000 watts at a cost of $30-$60.

Best Clothes Steamer for You

The best clothes steamer will have the hottest steam to make removing wrinkles easy in one pass. The full size will have a place to hang your clothing while steaming and a holder for the steam nozzle. The hand held unit should be light, compact and still pump out great amounts of steam to get the job done.

How To Search Google For Country Specific Results

Running an international online business with the capability to service people from any country means that you want your site to perform well not only in local country specific results but also global results. You may not realize this but doing a standard Google search and leaving the "full web" option selected does not necessarily give you your website's true location in the Google global results. It gives you the global results given your location.

For example, the results of doing a full web search in my home city of Brisbane Australia will be different to a full web search from Toronto Canada.

Google gives results based on your location even when you are not stipulating a local result. You can click your local country only result button and get sites that are from your home country, usually determined by the domain name extension, for example .com.au for Australia, .ca for Canada, etc. or the IP address of your web hosting server, or you can click the web option and get global Internet results that vary depending on your computer's location in the world (based on the IP address of the computer you are using to access the Internet).

Think Global

If your business can service the world then you really can not ignore the American marketplace, or if you are in the USA do not forget about Europe, Asia and the rest. Since you need to know how well your site is performing in Google global search results and unfortunately simply ticking the "the web" option in Google when searching can be misleading because your ranking will be different if it was someone in a different country doing the exact same search.

What you want to know is when someone in the UK does a Google search for one of your terms, how high is your website up in the search results? With this little trick you can figure it out.

The Code

All you need to do is add & gl = uk to the URL at the end of the Google search query.

For example:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=sample+query&meta= & gl = uk

This tells Google to spit out the results for the query based on UK servers.

I can not guarantee 100% conclusively that this works as I expect it does, but it definitely does something and you should try it yourself and see if your site shows up in a different place in the results. The "gl" stands for G eographic L ocation and of course you can exchange the last letters to test different country results around the world.