Friday, December 2, 2011

Avoid Filler Language in Presentations

Presenters often use the phrase “Does that make sense?” to gauge audience understanding. But this can convey a speaker’s uncertainty and signals that the audience might not comprehend or appreciate the content. To be an effective speaker, eliminate useless words and phrases like this one. Since you often include them unconsciously, record your next speech (try the voice record function on your smart phone). Play it back and listen for where you added fillers. Repeat this process several times and soon enough you’ll start correcting yourself. And if you want to check whether your material is getting through, try the more concrete “Do you have any questions?” instead.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dropbox Allows Anyone to Utilize Cloud Technology

There are times when I just can't help myself. A large number of the accounts that I follow on Twitter either have the word "tech" in their name, share the latest inroads in technology or exist only to make my life more fun … make that easier thanks to today's technology. Some have been nothing more than a flash in the pan but others have become the things I cannot live without.

One of my favorites is Dropbox, an online storage utility that allows you to make your files accessible from virtually anywhere there is an Internet connection. Dropbox has allowed me to enjoy my love of family history without having to email information to myself or keeping track of what flash drive I was using when I made that last trip to the court house.

Here's how it works. After installing the application and connecting to the server, Dropbox works like any other folder on your computer or mobile device allowing you drag and drop to move files around. Any files or folders that are uploaded to Dropbox, either by you or someone you are sharing the files with, are immediately synchronized in your account. As if that isn't enough of a wow factor, Dropbox keeps track of every change that is made to the contents of your storage, instantly updating to all the computers that are linked to the account. You can even undelete files that you may have accidentally erased.

But where Dropbox moves to the front of your list of  "favorite go-to" is the way it allows you to share whatever you want with other people. Every individual folder can be shared with other people and every member of a shared folder will be able to add, edit and delete the contents but will not have access to anything outside of that specific folder. 

There is also a public folder that allows you to share files with non-Dropbox users through the use of a hyperlink.

Oh …. did I mention that Dropbox is free for Windows and Mac? You can share 2GB of your files for free or upgrade to Dropbox Pro for 50GB of storage.

Refer a friend to Dropbox and you and your friend can get an additional 250 MB of storage.

As with any cloud-based service, Dropbox is a great source for storing non-confidential content. The following video demonstrates how easy it is to use Dropbox. Who knows? It may be your next "cannot live without." 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Is This Your Social Media Sign?

A few weeks ago I was discussing the endless advantages social media could offer my friend's volunteer woman's organization: why they needed to be involved and why my friend should convince the organizations "CEO."

"Yup, I can see the benefits and opportunities and it will work for us but only if our leader is smart enough to get it - otherwise social media is more of a liability."

Now that is an interesting observation. Unfortunately, it's the truth.

Every business, regardless of its niche, can find value in social media but that doesn't mean social media is for everyone or that everyone should be engaged.

So … how do you know? If you answer yes to any of these questions: jog, don't walk, away from social media.

You have no social skills. Social media is about people. If you never had friends as a child and you can't deal with people then maybe social media isn't for you. If you don't like to talk to people, get someone else to handle your social media services. Your customers will thank you for it.

You have no sense of humor and can't handle criticism. If you can't laugh at yourself then you don't belong on the Internet. Success in social media means being able to embrace the weird and quirky. You need to show your fun side to get people to like you. You don't want to be seen as the dweeb of the Internet - it will target you as someone who can virtually have their lunch stolen.

Just add water! If your definition of social media is creating a blog or an account on Facebook and then kicking back and waiting for the leads and conversations to pour in, social media is not for you. If you are not going to create a marketing plan and dedicate resources to that plan then don't waste your time setting up social media accounts.

You think social media is the new way to sell. If you don't think it's necessary to create a relationship with someone before you sell them on your company or product, social media is definitely not for you. To be successful at social media, you have to hear what is being said about your company or your brand; that means listening before you speak. How will you know what to give people if you don't know what they want? We've all been target marketed by our friends which is acceptable in the world of social media. However, shouting your message to a room full of strangers is not.

And speaking of Selling …. If you are shouting your sales message, not listening to your audience, chances are you consider success in social media as a numbers game. Your goal is to have 3,000 followers on Twitter, 10,000 Facebook fans and enough RSS subscribers to match your telephone number (including the area code.) If you are this person then you think the higher the number, the more successful you look. Savvy people on social media need only spend a few minutes looking at your list of followers or fans to determine if you have garnered followers because of meaningful content or just casting a net out into the social media waters. It does not make you look like you know what you're doing and it just annoys everyone else.

Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain. When Toto unmasked the great and powerful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy realized he was incapable of granting her wish to return home to Kansas. Companies who succeed in social media are the ones who don't hide behind the curtain and who bring relevant content, conversation and media to the party. Don't hire someone to blog as your company president or use Twitter to push your RSS feed: that's using social media to be a tool and you're missing the point.

Your Social Media Strategy is Twitter. Twitter is a social media tool. So are blogs and Facebook. They are useless unless you have a strategy about how to use them. You don't decide to enter a marathon and expect to be able to run 15K when the day of the race arrives without any preparation (see "Just Add Water" above.) Social media is not Twitter but Twitter can be used to accomplish your marketing strategy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Back To The Future" is the theme of American Business Solutions Fall Conference

If Spectra Print's Sales Representative Jeff Reichert had a theme song, it would probably be Willie Nelson's On The Road Again. Home long enough to change the message on his voice mail box before he and Marketing Director Al Scherwinski were off to attend American Solutions for Business's fall conference "Back to the Future." This year's venue was the Marriott City Center in downtown Minneapolis, MN.

As American Business Solutions CEO/Chairman of the Board Larry Zavadil explains, "...'Back to the Future,' [which] is very appropriate. We look forward to the future of American with great expectations ... Although we don't know what the future holds, it's important for us to anticipate changes and adapt to them."

American Solutions for Business, was founded in 1981 as American Business Forms and has grown to become the nation's premier provider of commercial printing, forms, labels and envelopes in addition to offering clients unlimited options for quality promotional products, wearables, packaging, office and computer supplies.

For American Sales Associates, attending a conference is a way to stay current within the industry, adapt to the changes and grow their business.

As a Gold Level Sponsor of the Fall Conference, Spectra Print was proud to be participating in the conference by offering support to American Sales Associates. Al Scherwinski conducted a workshop on Saturday morning, "Why do I Need Social Media and What the Heck is Smart Printing?" The attendees learned the benefits of adding QR Codes and Micro-Tags to printed pieces and gained a new understanding of how traditional printing can benefit from the addition of cross-platform marketing. Specific to the American Solutions for Business conference attendees was how mobile marketing can interact with traditional print marketing. Jeff Reichert was on hand to answer questions at the conclusion of each 30-minute seminar.

Based in Glenwood, MN, American Business Solutions now has approximately 550 sales associates, a support staff of nearly 200 Home Office employees and 30,000+ clients. American  became employee-owned in 2000.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Central Wisconsin Social Media Conference; Oct 20, 2011

Spectra Print is pleased to be one of several area sponsors of the Central Wisconsin Social Media Conference on Thursday, October 20, 2011.

The one-day event will be held at the Westwood Conference Center, 1800 Westwood Conference Center Boulevard, Wausau, WI. Conference hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Social Media Conference is part of the UW-SP Continuing Education, offering a full day of workshops, presentations and vendors to help attendees take social media efforts to the next level and help grow business. 

The conference will offer four tracks to meet business needs:

Legal Aspects

If you are a business owner, marketing professional or someone who is responsible for your company or organizations social media efforts, you will benefit from the peer-to-peer breakout sessions to provide insight  on how to energize your social media efforts.

Online registration as well as a printable registration form can be found on the web site; click here for information.

Plan to join conference attendees at the Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company for social and networking from 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Friend, Follower or Linked?

Like it or not, social media is now an essential part of your brand's online identity. A few years ago, adding social media to your company's marketing tool box was as simple as creating a Facebook page.

Do I really need Social Media?

The short answer is: yes. Admittedly we are biased but our experience has proven how social media can positively impact a customer's brand.

Why do I need Social Media?

If your idea of Twitter is countless status updates ranging from your followers sitting on the patio to ordering a double mocha latte while checking-in at the local coffee shop - you aren't alone. Businesses who dismiss sa well thought out marketing plan that incorporates social media and tools such as QR codes (when and where their use is appropriate) quite simply is missing potential sales.

Today's consumers are actively engaged in all aspects of social media, taking part in conversations about everything and anything. These tech savvy people are tethered, if not addicted, to their mobile devices connecting with others who share similar interests: chances are someone is having a conversation about your company.

Are you listening?

Having a presence on social media allows you to join in these conversations. By taking part in these conversations you will be able see what the sentiment is toward your brand - and monitor whether the talk is in a positive or negative light.

Follower, Friend or Linked?

Not all companies will need to have a presence in all social media platforms. The main players in the social network are:

Facebook. One of the better known and most widely accepted network; Facebook is usually a companies first foray into social media waters. Facebook provides a place for organizations and companies to share their brand through status updates, photo albums, conducting polls and "hosting" events that are relevant to your brand. 

Twitter. While Facebook offers a platform for multiple people to manage a presence, Twitter offers a more personal presence with a direct one-on-one conversation with your customers. Customers provide feedback and engage in conversations through succinct 140 character messages. 

LinkedIn. This platform is especially relevant for creating a corporate presence and creating a platform for professionals to network and learn about your company. LinkedIn has had success displaying current vacancies to people who may be interested in filling this positions within your organization.

FourSquare. This platform is relevant for organizations with at least one "bricks and mortar" store. Foursquare is best utilized by providing discounts to users when they identify that they are at your location by clicking on a "check-in." Returning customers who check-in can earn Mayorships, badges and other rewards.

It should go without saying that your website and blog page should share a commonality in design and writing style. Today's consumer has become accustomed to receiving their information in real time; they aren't satisfied to wait while a newsletter is published and a web page updated. Your company web page should be the repository of resident information while your blog is where you regularly share inform and detailed information not suited for Facebook and other social media platforms. Your company or organization should be using Facebook and Twitter to direct friends and followers to your blog and web sites.

OK, I'm sold but who is going to manage my companies social media?

There is no hard and fast answer to this question but it should be someone that is genuinely interested in social networks and enjoys  spending the time needed to help your company build and maintain a social media presence. 

What is just as important is the company providing that person, or team, with information and resources needed to create meaningful conversations and content. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Industry Leaders Set to Make a Splash at ICAST

We just delivered catalogs to two major players in the fishing industry: the Worth Company and Strike King Lure Company for their use at ICAST, the world's largest sportfishing trade show, held this year in Las Vegas.

The Worth Company, Stevens Point, WI, is a world class manufacturer of fishing lure components sold to lure manufacturers. Their 112-page plus cover perfect-bound catalog was printed by Spectra Print from client furnished art files.

Strike King Lure Company is an industry leader of lures and terminal tackle with an emphasis on bass fishing. Strike King Lure Company is located in Collierville, TN. Spectra Print handled all aspects of Strike King Lure's 56-page saddle-stitched catalog from design through printing.

Both companies enhanced the functionality of their catalogs, utilizing the latest in mobile technology with Microtag and QR code applications in their printed pieces.

We wish success to the Worth Company and Strike King Lure Company at ICAST.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Social Media: If You Build It, Will They Come?

Bill Schrader is credited with saying, "Almost overnight, the Internet's gone from a technical wonder to a business must." 

During the last two years, businesses of all sizes and categories have come to the realization that social media is no longer something they can choose to engage in, having a social media presence is a requirement. As Facebook and Twitter begin to play a bigger part in the consumer experience, it's important that businesses understand how it can affect their business.

It wasn't very long ago that your customer's comments and complaints were limited to reviews on websites. In today's world, social media reaches far beyond the website into 'real time' customer experience. So how can a company use social media effectively to improve customer service? 

Why Should I Care?

The most important thing social media can do for a company is to allow you to monitor what's being said about your product and customer service. 

Social media sites create an environment for a business to engage in an open conversation. When a customer has left a comment on your Facebook page about a positive experience or encounter, take the time to thank them. Customers prefer to interact with a company that shows it is concerned and takes time to acknowledge a compliment.

Likewise, if someone tweeted about a problem with your products or service, your response may involve sending a direct message to the customer as well as a reply for others to see that you have read the comment, are concerned enough to continue the conversation in an effort to resolve the issue.

Using social media successfully will require effectively listening and engaging with your customers but goes beyond seeing what is being said about you and your services. It will allow you to better anticipate your customer's needs.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Spectra Print Corp Announces Launch of Wildwood Wildlife Park New Website Design

The new redesigned website of Wildwood Wildlife Park is live on the Internet with a new look and website structure that will brings a user friendly design with improved readability to the park's long-time and new guests.

"The new look is lighter and a lot more user-friendly than the old design," says Al Scherwinski, Spectra Print Corp. Creative/Marketing Director. "The site's design features vibrant colors and bold graphics, updated photographs increasing the fun factor which reflects the Wildwood Wildlife Park experience. Our Web site visitors are going to love it."

Among the features on Wildwood's homepage are the 'flash tracks' taking visitors quickly to Encounters and Hours & Tickets buttons.  The site is designed to provide quick and direct access to all of the resources guests to the park are looking for. "We wanted the site to reflect the park's dedication to providing their guests with up close and personal experience, interacting with the animals," says Scherwinski.

The new face of the Wildwood Wildlife Park website is the handiwork of the design and marketing department of Spectra Print Corp., Stevens Point, WI.

The online resources are as diverse as the friends and guests of the park; from the educational and volunteer opportunities offered to visitors to the special experiences guaranteed to create unforgettable memories the web site and the launched Wildwood Wildlife Park blog support of the park's mission to provide an exciting zoological collection and education facility for all visitors.

"The new design was created specifically for Wildwood Wildlife Park's online visitors," says Scherwinski. "We encourage guests to submit photos and videos. Current exhibits, news and stories will be constantly updated allowing guests to plan their visit to the park and make it a memorable experience." 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We've "Landed" Two of Canada's Top Fishing Destinations

Showalter's and Jackson's Lodges & Outposts, two of Canada's premier lodge and outpost services have selected Spectra Print to coordinate, develop and produce their new web sites.

"Jackson's and Showalter's are among the top Canadian destinations for customers looking for that unique wilderness experience. We feel [Spectra Print] is uniquely qualified thanks to our continuing sponsorship and support of All-Canada as well as other outdoor account experience," said Al Scherwinski Spectra Print Marketing Director. "We've demonstrated our ability to understand the needs of the lodges, all of whom offer exceptional opportunities to their customers for the most incredible experiences of their lifetime an look forward to working with Jackson's and Showalter's."

Jackson's Lodges & Outposts is a family-operated business based in Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba, providing their guests with the finest fly-in fishing and hunting excursions for close to three decades. Jackson's operates their own air service "Adventure Air" with a fleet of highly maintained aircraft making it possible to provide easy access and transportation to their facilities in northeastern Manitoba's provincial Parks: Atikai, Nopiming and Whiteshell. It is Manitoba's wilderness beauty at its finest.

Showalter's Fly-In Service & Outposts has been associated as one of Canada's premier fly-in & outpost service for over 25-years, helping guests realize their dream vacation. Whether it is a fishing vacation to a remote northwestern Ontario wilderness lake,  a black bear hunt in Ontario's Red Lake area or a guided moose hunt 135 air miles north of the Showalter's base, you'll want to return for another version of your trip of a lifetime. 

Both web sites are tentatively scheduled to be live in the Fall of 2011.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spectra Print Corp Acquires The Journal Printing Co.

Stevens Point, Wisconsin (May 2, 2011) - Spectra Print Corporation, a leader in sheet-fed offset and heat-set web printing, announced today that they are acquiring the Journal Printing Company of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, to further strengthen their position as a major supplier of offset printing and business forms.

Spectra Print will acquire the account base and equipment of the Journal Printing Company, and will hire most of their employees. “Three generations of our family and the Cashin family have worked side by side producing quality printing here in Stevens Point. We have nothing but the utmost respect for the Cashin family and the employees of the Journal Printing Company, and we are excited to join forces,” said Eric Hofmeister, president of Spectra Print Corporation.

This acquisition will result in greater efficiencies and will offer more services to the customers of both companies.  "Together this will make us a much stronger and better printing company than we would have been as seperate companies,” Hofmeister added.

Spectra Print Corporation will not be utilizing the former Journal Printing Company’s facility in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. All operations will be combined in the headquarters of Spectra Print Corporation located at 2301 Country Club Drive, Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

For More Information Contact:
Eric Hofmeister /President
Spectra Print Corporation
1.715.344.7227 Fax

Thursday, April 28, 2011

So You Think You Don't Need To Tweet

I really don't need to know that Susie is on the deck enjoying ice tea.

Twitter is nothing more than idle chatter.

I text my friends and clients/customers so I don't need Twitter.

Twitter doesn't make sense to me.

I don't know if Twitter is right for me.

Is Twitter for everyone? A good question and one that eventually gets asked by individuals and companies who are venturing into the Twitter community for the first time. As you stare at your Twitter homepage with a few followers and, literally, a handful of tweets to your credit, you find yourself wondering … Is Twitter really for me?

Twitter Don't Get No Respect

There appears to be no middle ground when it comes to Twitter; you either love or hate the blue bird. There are some who say it has to do with your personality type. Some claim the platform favors outgoing people but many introverts are quick to say they love Twitter as it allows them to connect and build relationships on their own terms. It seems that Twitter has become the Rodney Dangerfield of social media but before you dismiss it completely, consider showing the blue bird a little love.

None of my customers are using Twitter so this is just a big waste of my time.

There are many other benefits to Twitter beyond simply making sales leads. Even if your customers aren't on Twitter - yet - the platform is a powerful way to learn, connect with your peers not to mention keeping track of what the competition is up to. Imagine yourself getting in front of the curve, becoming familiar with Twitter before your customers start asking you about its benefits.

Is there a place for Twitter in every organization and company?

It depends.

Lawyers, financial managers, medical professionals, caregivers and defense contractors may have strict regulatory limitations regarding information they can discuss in public so Twitter may not be appropriate. Keep in mind that Twitter is a form of publishing. Which brings an interesting point to consider: Where do your customers get their information?

People are jumping on the social media train in record numbers and are spending inordinately enormous amounts of time there. Ask any business owner what their number one marketing and business issue is and chances are they'll tell you "social media."

Aside from all the window-dressing, at its center, Twitter is a business networking tool - something many companies and individuals don't understand. If you view Twitter as just another way to broadcast company press releases or as your social media sales tool, you're missing the point.

You wouldn't attend an industry conference or a chamber meeting or event and read press releases out loud would you? Of course you wouldn't. You attend these events to seek out people to connect with, discuss subjects that you both have a common interest in and look for ways to work together. There's a reason why a social time is offered following an event.

Welcome to Twitter.

In today's always connected world, the role of social media in the business and personal world is blurring. There are a number of strategies to help you become successful on Twitter, which we'll explore in future posts but I won't leave you without first giving some words of Twitter advice:

  • Know your voice and be true. 
  • Everything you say on social media should sound like your company or brand.
  • Good content isn't fake and it doesn't make promises it can't keep.
  • It has personality which is what makes it engaging. Individuals actively engaged and connected on the social media network will sniff you out if you are pretending.
  • When networking, the successful relationships are built on trust and friendships, so it is perfectly acceptable - and welcome - to let others know a little bit about what is going on in your life; sports, charity and family.

Tweeting what is interesting to you on a daily basis, as long as its appropriate and professional, will add to your Twitter success.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Do you RSS?

They are everywhere ... those social media icons that direct us into the social media atmosphere.

Twitter - YouTube - Facebook - LinkedIn - Blogger

By now we're familiar with social media logos. You know what it means to "follow" and "join the conversation" and you've overcome your aversion to signing up for notifications.

That is until we are asked if we want to subscribe to RSS?


RSS, which stands for "Real Simple Syndication" or "Rich Site Summary", is a simple way of bringing content from an outside source directly to you!

The following video will help you understand the mystery behind RSS in Plain English. 

Now you're back on track with another social media tool in your arsenal.

Yeah .. you RSS!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

You Know Winter's Been Here Long Enough When ...

Honestly, it was here the last time I looked.
Really! And just when exactly would that have been?
Ok! Ok! You look over that way and I'll have a look see over here.

You know, I might have been mistaken. Maybe that was last year.
So, what do you think? Another two, three days before it's open?

"You Know Winter's Been Here Long Enough When ..." Digital Images.
Copyright (c) 2011 Al Scherwinski. Text Transcribed Verbatim.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Can I Scan QR Codes Without A Smartphone?

Does it seem as if everyone in the world has a Smartphone except for you? Sure you've had your eye on that iPhone or the latest Android technology but you're not quite ready to make the leap to a sleek new app filled phone. Does that mean are left out of today's technology loop and won't be able to take advantage of accessing the links hidden in those QR Codes?


ScanLife has introduced technology that brings barcode scanning to all mobile phones with MMS capabilities, no application needed.

ScanLife's new "Scan & Send" feature supports application-independent scanning of QR Code, Datamatrix, EZcodes and UPC barcodes. Users can now simply snap a photo of a barcode and send it via MMS to 43588 or e-mail to to be decoded.

Images are decoded similar to applications for iPhone or Android apps but the user is sent an MMS message with actions associated with the code, including links to product information, photos and phone numbers.

According to ScanLife CEO and president Mike Wehrs, "Scanbuy's technology now allows a brand, agency or retailer to reach at least 80% of today's camera phone users with industry standard barcodes. The user experience now ranges from taking a picture and send it (a seven keystroke solution) to a zero click, very fast recognition when using the ScanLife app on the over 190 models of phones that are supported."

The only downside is that the Scan & Send MMS feature is limited to U.S. users on Verizon, Sprint and AT&T, though the e-mail option will still work for camera phone owners on other carriers.

Bibliography: Internet: www.mashable;

Thursday, March 24, 2011

You Know You Want To Go ...

Is it just me or does it seem as if everyone in the world has a Smartphone, is on Twitter and Facebook? Those of us who grew up with Clara Peller's "Where's the beef?" are now bombarded with requests to be added to a network, follow our friends on Facebook and asked to compose our thoughts in 140 characters or less.

While we thought we could avoid the whole social media scene, like my father underestimating the power of rock 'n roll, social media is here to stay.

According to Facebook statistics, more than 500 million active users are on Facebook and Wikipedia estimates 190 million of us are using Twitter, generating 65 million tweets a day. Gigaom has made the bold prediction that by Christmas 2011, 1 in 2 Americans will have a Smartphone. Looks like now would be the perfect time to have your social media for business questions answered.

Enter the Central Wisconsin Social Media Conference sponsored in part by Spectra Print as part of the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Continuing Education. The two-day event will be held April 14-15, 2011, in Wausau. Thursday, April 14th events will be held at the Westwood Conference Center; the events on Friday, April 15th will be held at the NorthCentral Technical College.

Who Should Attend?

If your business is looking for information on how you can start using social media to promote your business today - you need to click on this link for registration information or click here to download the form.

Social media is not a fad, but rather a fundamental shift in the way businesses now communicate with their customers. Until you actually join a social media network, such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, its difficult to understand what is so appealing and how it can help your business.

Thursday's schedule consists of a wide range of relevant breakout sessions as well as the keynote address, "Measure This! The No B.S. Guide to Social Media Measurement" delivered by Social Media Explorer Jason Falls.

Events on Friday are made up of hands-on lab sessions in the Heath Sciences Building Computer Labs at the NorthCentral Technical College. These sessions are limited to 25 each session; please contact conference registration for availability.

Save The Dates and Share The Experience!

Wireless Internet access will be available so bring your iPad, laptop and Smartphones. Join the conversation and live tweet and blog the event using the hashtag #cwismc. 

What's a hashtag?? Looks like you might want to sign up for breakout session B3-Twitter for Small Business and ask Phil.

UW-SP Continuing Education asks that all registrations be received no later than April 12, 2011. Any questions you have about the Central Wisconsin Social Media Conference can be directed to the UW-SP Continuing Education Department. Click here for email addresses as well as a personal favorite, telephone numbers.