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E-Book Testimonials

"Thomas Clifford has made something useful here. This report will give you some really catchy, useful ideas.

It made me reconsider how I do what I do, so you might give it a look-see, too!" 

Chris Brogan, President, Human Business Works 

"Tom Clifford is by trade a filmmaker. For most of his life, he rarely wrote anything longer than a brief comment in the margin of a script. 

Now, though, he's producing tens of thousands of words a year, first as a Fast Company "Expert Blogger," and then as a writer for the Content Marketing Institute. 

How did Tom go from a non-writer to a prolific and much-read one? His eBook, '5 (Ridiculously Simple) Ways . . . , ' holds some of his secrets."

Mark Levy, Author of "Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content"

“Tom is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet—if you have the privilege to meet him. And he does sterling work as well. But don’t just take my word for it.

Read this free report and you’ll not just love its tone and content, but learn a lot as well.”

Sean D’Souza, Psychotactics.com

“Anyone who wants to improve their writing needs this e-book. A lot of ebooks are short because they just don’t have much substance to offer. They’re not worth your time (and so are many of the long ones, too, for that matter). Tom’s is short because he’s so good at giving you only what you need to know. 

‘5 (Ridiculously Simple) Ways to Write Faster, Better, Easier’ lives up to its promise by example as well as in the words themselves. Tom used the very same techniques he teaches you to write this book. 

And what’s in here is not just a rehash of the same tired ideas you find coming from people who have suddenly fancied themselves as writing gurus. There are tricks in here I never heard of (like the Writing Funnel) and some I had forgotten about and was glad to be reminded of (like Sporadic Writing).” 

Michael Martine, Blog Alchemist, Remarkablogger.com 


17 Invisible LinkedIn Tricks Revealed

Discover the Real Magic of LinkedIn’s Hidden Features!

No, I’m not going to show you how to pull a rabbit out of the hat! This is a different sort of trick.

If you’re like lots of people, you’re on LinkedIn.
And you probably know all the typical things to do like:
• Fill out your profile completely
• Answer some questions
• Ask some questions
• Join some Groups

But what else can you do to maximize your use of LinkedIn?
There’s got to be more to it than this , right?

Well, there is!
Buried within the deep caves of LinkedIn are some pretty neat “tricks.” After years of regularly using LinkedIn to keep my network alive, I thought I’d round up some of my favorite tips and share them with you.

Test drive a few and see what works for you.

Oh– one more thing. Let me know if you find any rabbits. You never know, right? =)

17 Invisible LinkedIn Tricks Revealed

1. Create 3 free “Saved Searches”
Perform a people search and narrow down your search criteria to what you want (by zip code, title, industry, etc.). Look up top near the “results number.” You’ll see “Save this search.” You get to save three different searches. Anytime the search results change you get an email notifying the change. Cool, huh?

2. Create “Status Updates” in a snap!
Many people tell me they don’t know what to say in that white empty box that says, ‘What are you working on?’ Try this. Pick something you recently did, are doing now or will be doing:
  • is writing …
  • finished reading …
  • found this neat website ...
  • started drafting a new article on…
  • wonders what you think about …
  • thinks that …
  • is teaching …
  • hope you get a chance to …
  • is looking forward to presenting …
  • proposed a new way to …

3. Search for “OpenLink” members
Want to message someone you are not connected to? No problem. Try this trick.
Do a search for people. The bar on the right-hand side is where you modify your search.
At the very bottom of the bar, click “Show More.” The bar expands. Click “OpenLink Members Only.”

Now you get a list of people. See the colorful circle next to each name? Those are premium members you can message for free, without being a 1st degree connection. They pay the extra premium cost so you can message them for free. (If you don’t get any results, widen your search.)

4. Click “Network Updates” on your “Home” page
On your “Home” page, click “Network Updates.” You’ll see a long list of updates from your network. Pick five people in your network and send them a message; either privately or publicly. Share something of value with them– links to articles in their industry, your latest blog post, etc.

5. Don’t just be a “Someone!”
If you want to people to know you’ve been viewing their profile, go to your “Account & Settings.” Click “Profile Views.” Change the default to “Show my name and headline.” When your network views their “Who’s viewed my profile?” on their home page, you won’t appear as a “Someone;” you’re name and headline will appear.

6. Spare your network from every little update
Do you change your profile often? Are you chipping away at your profile? Well, every time you update your profile and save it, your network gets notified. You can stop cluttering up your network’s stream of updates by turning off your profile updates.

Go to “Profile and Status Updates under your “Account Settings.” Under “Publish profile updates” check “No, do not notify anyone and do not include me in company or industry updates.”

When you’re done working on your profile, go back and check “Yes;” assuming you want to show your network recommendations that you receive as well as other updates you make to your profile.

7. Get rockin’ recommendations in a snap: 4 simple steps
1. First, call or email the person (assuming the both of you are connected on LI).
2. Ask them if they would recommend you.
3. Make it easy by writing the recommendation for them. Don’t forget to put in the problem¬ you solved for them!
4. Email it directly or message it through LI. They can either copy and paste the recommendation or tell them they are free to change it as they see it.

8. Wait! Don’t answer that question yet! 2 things to do first
a. In the “Answers” section, type in your question in the “Advanced Answers Search.”
See if your question has already been answered.
b. Check the profile of the person asking the question. You don’t want to spend time crafting a great response to a spam profile, do you?

9. Four ways to share your question or answer with your network
Under the question you answer, on the far right side, you’ll see “Share This” with a drop-down menu.
a. You can email the question to up to 200 of your connections
b. Bookmark the question on Delicious
c. Digg it
d. Use the permalink provided and link to your question in a blog post or somewhere else

10. Ask private questions to only your network
You don’t have to ask your question publicly– you can ask your network. Go to “Answers.” Compose your headline question. Underneath your question, check the box that says, “Only share this question with connections I select (note: you will receive fewer answers).” How cool is that?

11. Export your connections
Better back-up all those hard-earned connections you’ve made on a regular basis!
Go to “Contacts.” Then “Connections.” At the bottom of your Connections box is “Export Connections.” Export the connections and import them into your preferred address book.

12. LinkedIn Learning Center: A powerhouse of tools
At the bottom of every page you’ll see lots of links. The first row of links has “LinkedIn Learning Center.” Click it. You’ll find tons of neat articles. Under “Training Resources,” you’ll find free e-learning modules and webinars.

13. What are people saying about you?
And your company? And your products? You don’t have to hang out on Twitter all day to find out. Just go to “Applications.” Install “Company Buzz.” Type in your search terms, click “Follow Topic” on the upper-left side. Boom! Twitter returns your results instantly.

14. Want to re-ask your popular questions after the question closes?
Go to “My Q&A.” Click the question you want to re-ask. Click “Re-open this question to answers.” Done. Your question is now live for seven more days– keeping all the original answers in tact.

15. Do you know the power of “Groups”?
Everyone joins Groups. But did you know you can directly message most Group members? Yup. And you don’t have to be a 1st degree connection, either.

16. Don’t have a resume? Want to send your profile to someone not even on LinkedIn?
No sweat. You can print your profile page as a PDF. Click “Profile.” See the ‘print” icon? Next to it is the “PDF” icon. It will print most of your profile sections (no Groups).

17. Find People in a Company using Advanced Search
Search a company in the “Search People” field. Sort the results by” Relationship.” Narrow your results by using the advanced search area on the right side. Find out how to reach a 2nd Degree contact by looking at the “Shared Connections” under their name.

Bonus Tip: Search Amazon.com for authors of LinkedIn books. Check out their profiles to see how the pros fill out their profiles and use LinkedIn. My good friend Jason Alba even has a neat LinkedIn book and DVD package to virtually walk you through the LinkedIn process. There are a lot of other great LinkedIn books, too– just do a search and check them out on Amazon.


P.S. Got a cool LinkedIn tip? Feel free to share it in the comments.


Tom's SpeedLink #6

Here we go. Short and sweet...

1. 20 Doc Filmmakers you should follow on Twitter
Yup. Erroll Morris is now tweeting! The National Film Board of Canada compiled this neat list.

2. Storytelling tips on Canada CODE
Storytelling taken to new levels. Again, from the NFB of Canada.

3. The Rise of Social Video Marketing: Samsung Project Suggests Online Advertising's Future
Social video as an engagement tool is right around the corner. Regular readers know I've been pointing to this concept for organizations for months now.

4. eCorpTV
Corporate videos get their own channel on eCorpTV. There may be other sites like this but this was one of the firsts I've seen.



Can You Prevent Frozen On-Camera Interviews? Try The Defrosting Technique 

It’s bound to happen. It’s just a matter of time.

Imagine you are about to interview someone for your company’s video.
They enter the room. Your interview guest sits in their chair. You sit in yours. The camera rolls. You fire away at your first question.

Then you begin to notice something unusual.

About two minutes into your conversation, it’s clear the person you’re interviewing is visibly nervous– almost like they’re “frozen.”

Quickly– how do you melt the fear your guest is having?
You would think saying, “Be yourself” and “Ignore the lights” would help, but it usually doesn’t. So what do you do? How do you warm up and prevent a “frozen” interview from ever happening in the first place? Try this “Defrosting Technique.”

What are the three steps in the “Defrosting Technique”?
1. Trade places
2. The more, the better
3. Be a “story steward”

It’s that simple.

1. Trade places
After your initial greetings, have your guest sit in the “director’s chair.” You sit in the interviewee’s chair. Have your guest look at the video monitor so they understand how they will look on the screen.

Then, have your guest ask you a question, as if they are interviewing you. Answer your guest’s question in depth. While you are answering, your guest will begin to see how they will look, how easy it is to answer the questions, where their eyes should be looking and so forth.

2. The more, the better
While you’re still sitting in your chairs, explain to your interviewee “the more, the better” concept. Tell them if they answer your question with only a few words, it makes it extremely difficult to edit their responses into something interesting. Sharing more words is better than less. Reassure them that if they go off-track that you are there to bring them back “home.”

3. Be a “story steward”
What’s a steward? A steward is a “caretaker, overseer.” How do you go about becoming a “story steward”? Tell them you are the one responsible for their story. Most people who appear on-camera don’t have any idea who will see their footage or edit it. They naturally feel apprehensive in sharing their thoughts

Reassure your guest you are their “story steward.” It’s your job to capture and present their point of view as best as possible. Chances are, your guest will show signs of great relief when they hear these words!

Why does the “Defrosting Technique” work?
The “Defrosting Technique” works well because it quickly defuses the anxiety a guest has about appearing on-camera. For most people, appearing on-camera is not part of their normal routine. These three easy steps help demystify their video experience.

When is the best time to use the “Defrosting Technique?”
a.) Several days before the interview occurs.
b.) The day of the interview- right before the interview is about to begin.

There you go. Three simple things you can do to help your next interview go smoothly:
1. Trade places
2. The more, the better
3. Be a “story steward”

Just by using the three simple steps mentioned above, your interviewee will begin to relax and feel comfortable under the lights. By the end of the interview, they will not be nervous anymore and you'll also end up with some great footage to edit into an interview worth watching.


P.S. Of course, there are more ways to help people feel comfortable on-camera. This post is just a beginning. Feel free to add your comments or questions to this list:

  • What methods have helped you capture a conversation organically and comfortably?
  • If you were appearing on-camera, what would you want to know to help you feel comfortable?


Tom's SpeedLink #5

What a week– eight fascinating links. There's something in here for everyone.

1. Bob Garfield's 'Chaos Scenario' Set to Publish Aug. 3
If there's one book I can't wait to get my hands on, it's this one. Bob Garfield of AdAge writes about "the art and science of Listenomics"– depicting the end of messages dictated from marketers and institutions sitting at the top. Keep up the Bob's latest thinking through his "Chaos Scenario" blog.

2. A brand is not a separate thing
Branding guru Tom Asacker riffs about the interdependent nature of brands.

3. The Quantum Activist DVD now available!
This absolutely nne of my favorite documentaries. We get a first-hand glimpse into the mind and life of Dr. Amit Goswami, the world's leading quantum physicist.

I was lucky enough to bump into Ri Stewart, one of the filmmakers for this extraordinary documentary, on Twitter. Ri graciously gave me an advance copy of "The Quantum Activist" a few months back.

The show is finally out on DVD. I highly encourage anyone with an interest in seeking deeper knowledge of how our universe works, to grab this documentary. You will not be disappointed.

4. How does the National Film board of Canada use social media?
Films and videos are now becoming social objects. This post is an interesting Q & A session on how the NFB uses Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube, etc.

5. What Makes a Story Work?
The ever-engaging Chris Brogan has a neat and interesting take on story.

6. Brand Storytelling: Connecting With Your Audience
Melinda Partin gives us her take on marketing, branding and storytelling over on Fast Company.

7. Webinar—Three Questions We Usually Get from Leaders About Storytelling: Reflections, Discussion & Tools
Stortellers Terrence Gargiulo and Shawn Callahan are conducting two webinars in August. "Are your leaders great storytellers? And, why should you care anyway?...take a nuanced but deep dive into the art and science of leadership through narrative."

8. Listening, for a Change
Should a company have a Chief Listening Officer? Valeria Maltoni has a fascinating post on the role listening plays for companies.



2 Updates: The Future of Video Storytelling and My Interview with Nettie Hartsock

Yesterday was certainly an interesting day. These two items came across my radar and I thought you would enjoy knowing about them. :)

1. The "Compelling, Inspiring and Radically Simple" Storytelling Test
My friend and storytelling proponent Dr. Kathy Hansen wrote an engaging post called, Do These Videos Pass Test for 'Compelling, Inspiring, Radically Simple' Storytelling?

Kathy is pushing an idea I wrote about earlier into newer and more broad areas. My original post is here: "Is this the future of video storytelling for organizations?" In Kathy's new post, she points to several videos and asks us:

"Do these videos pass Clifford’s test of compelling, inspiring, and radically simple?"

Hmmm...you decide! Thank you, Kathy, for developing these ideas even further!

2. My Interview with Nettie Hartsock from over two years ago

I was totally surprised yesterday when my other good friend, Nettie Hartsock, resurfaced my interview from roughly two years ago!

Nettie asked about:

  • Producing a video for business
  • Focusing on people
  • My video process
  • Finding the story

Nettie, a digital strategist and e-journalist, has been part of the on-line world since "day one." During her time on-line, she has interviewed hundreds of people. Now, Nettie is reposting some of her favorite interviews over this time- I'm delighted to be one of her favorite interviews! I hope you get a moment to read it. Thanks, Nettie!