Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Selling made easy

It's tough to sell anything to me. On a rare occasion a lucky salesperson might be able to sell me something I haven't considered buying (I think that's happened about twice in my lifetime) but in general, I don't buy without doing a lot of research.

Amruth Kumar made a sale in one post on a trainers' network, and I don't even know the guy/gal. Talk about powerful net salesmanship.

Here's the post, which he has kindly given me permission to reproduce:


A couple of days back, one of my friends called me & sounded dull on the phone. He said, “I’m angry, upset & feeling terrible.”

I asked him what the matter was & he told me that he was being nagged by his departmental manager about his job. The situation was that the manager had joined the company recently whereas my friend had been working in the company & the same department for over a year now.

According to my friend, the manager would ask him umpteen questions about everything he did & never let him to work independently. Till recently, my friend was working independently in the department & now he had someone above him to report to. He had trouble adjusting to the new situation.

This looked like a case where often , the experienced worker feels that the new manager knows nothing about the job while the new manager feels threatened by the experienced worker & tries to impose his authority on him.

I spent two minutes talking to him on the phone & told him to do something which instantly changed his outlook towards the situation & feel better.

Let me tell you what we did.

“Are you sitting in front of your computer?” I asked him.

“Yes", he replied.

“Great, now, open a new word document & in bold letters type this; ‘WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE POSITIVE FROM THIS SITUATION?’” I said.

“What?” He asked.

“Go ahead & do that “, I said.

“Well….OK ,” he said . And I could hear the clicking of the keyboard as he did it.

“Done? Now, I want you to try & answer the question. It may not be easy at first , but if you persist, If you force yourself to find something positive from this situation you may just find it.” I told him.

There was a long pause on the phone.

“You still there?” I asked him.

“Yes, yes, I’m thinking about what you said & trying to find what can possibly be positive in this situation. ....”

“And what have you found?” I asked

“We’ll now that you asked, Maybe because my new manager is asking me so many questions, Could the positive thing be that he’s keen to understand the nuances of the department & he sees me as the best person to answer his queries?” he said

“Bingo!” I said.

“Your old response to the situation was; ‘ My new manager nags me & asks me too many questions & it bothers me.’

“The new response is ; 'My new manager is keen to learn the job & he sees me as the best person to find out more information & this makes me feel important.'”

Now let’s find more positives in the situation.

Negative: “My manager is always at my back, nagging me.”

Positive: “This is an opportunity for me to learn to handle tough bosses. If not for the new manager, I’d never learn to handle such situations.”

What we are doing is using an NLP technique called ‘Reframing’.

The meaning of any event depends on its context or frame. Thus, changing the frame of reference around an event or statement to give it another meaning is called ‘reframing’ in NLP.

Receiving a phone call can be a nuisance if are in the middle of a meeting , but to a lonely person who has not spoken to anyone all day. It can be most welcome. Changing the frame or context changes the meaning. Depending on the context of any event, it will be given a different meaning . And that meaning, rather than the actual experience , will determine how we act & feel.

Reframing gives you more control of your life by making you aware of more alternatives. It can work wonders with children. A boring task can become an exciting game, just by using you imagination.

There are examples of Reframing in history, in stories that we have heard or read.

1. Tom sawyer was given a task of painting the fence when he wanted to go swimming with his fence. Tom reframed the task as great fun & when the boys came along ,they had to pay him to get a chance to paint the fence. When his aunt looked out , Tom was resting under the shade of a tree, counting his money & all his friends were painting the fence.

2. Hitler once wrote to King Christian the tenth of Denmark, “What are you doing about the Jewish Problem in Denmark?” King Christian answered, “We do not have a Jewish problem here. We do not feel inferior.”

3. A sign put up in a seminar read , “There will be times when dinner will not be served.” Many participants started to complain that they had already paid for the meals & it was unfair not to be served dinner, & they had no other place to go to as they were new to the town. When the facilitator received these complaints, he explained that it was perfectly true – dinner would not be served at breakfast, or at lunch.

How I use reframing regularly:
All of us face situations when we feel terrible, angry, upset or any other negative emotion. Many months or years later, we remember the same event / situation & laugh at it.

When I face a situation like that, I tell myself, “In any case I' going to laugh at this later. Why not laugh at it NOW ITSELF?” I laugh & instantly, I feel that the situation has become more bearable & I can think of solutions.

Unbelievable? Try it before you knock it.


• My daughter is a chatterbox. She never shuts up. Reframed to , “ She must be very bright to have so much to say.”

• My father is always busy working. Reframed to, “He cares for us so much that he wants to earn well & provide all the comforts to us.”

• If I ask a question in class, I’ll be looked at as a fool. Reframed to, “Better to be a fool for five minutes by asking a question than not ask the question & be a fool forever.”

There are many benefits in reframing.

Reframing removes the sting of unwanted behavior and gives you space to find other choices, other ways to respond to a situation. You are no longer tied down by present feelings. A new attitude is inbibed.

“How am I going to use this behavior?” instead of “how am I going to get rid of it?” Emphasizing the positive value of any behavior can transform a potentially negative situation into a great learning experience.

You can learn Reframing other such powerful NLP techniques in the ‘NLP-LifeSkills for Success’ program which is conducted during weekends every onth.
The 7th batch is on in October . Sessions started on 14th , 15th & the 3rd day is on the 28th (Saturday)

You are welcome to walk -in & check it out on the 28th. We start at 10.00 AM.

The venue is Arrupe hall at Ashirwad , St. marks cross road, off St. marks road, Bangalore -1 .

Just call me on 98860-36125 & give me your name.

Looking forward to seeing you there.


K.Amruth Kumar

Monday, October 23, 2006

What do people search for?

I believe I've discovered a truth that can push you to the top of Search Engine pages: People talk like people, people type like people!

Look at the title of this post. It's ungrammatical. It ends with a preposition and any school teacher will tell you it's just not English.


You get it?

People in general are un-grammatical. They misspell words. They end sentences with prepositions. They type verbose sentences into Search Engine windows.

They're looking for YOU!

Some day they'll get in on the Search grammar (no articles, no prepositions, etc.), but meanwhile they're typing full, un-grammatical sentences in search of a service YOU offer.

What are you doing to ensure that they see your page among the first ten links when they make their un-grammatical search?


Friday, October 20, 2006

Removing Hiss with Audacity

This tutorial is for an older version of Audacity. For the updated tutorial for the changed Audacity, go here.

I've tried various tools to remove hiss (or noise) from home recordings and I think Audacity has the best noise removal tool of all. While most other software packages use a noise gate to remove unwanted noise, Audacity goes about it differently.

I won't launch into how the techniques differ but I shall say this, Audacity's tool is far superior to any other I've tried. The end result is noise removal not only from "gaps" (the parts where the recording is supposed to be silent, like spaces between sentences and paragraphs) but also from spoken parts.

Let's say there's a constant hiss in a recording. That hiss will be audible even "below" the spoken parts of the recording (you'll hear the hiss when you're saying something too). Noise gates remove the hiss from the gaps but the hiss will still be audible in the spoken parts. Not so with Audacity's Noise Removal tool. If you use Audacity to remove noise you'll have no hiss throughout the recording.

Here's how to remove hiss (noise) from a recording:

Open a pre-recorded file or record your piece.

Click-drag a "gap" (part where there was nothing being said - the beginning of a recording usually has a gap) to select it:

This is a sample of the noise or hiss that you want Audacity to remove.

Next, go to Effect--> Noise Removal

Select that and you'll get the following dialog box:

Click the "Get Noise Profile" button. This tells Audacity that what was selected is noise that you want removed from the recording.

You'll be taken back to the wave form of your recording. Hit Ctrl+A (keeping the Ctrl key pressed, hit A) to select the entire recording. Your recording should look a bit like this:

Go to Effect--> Noise Removal again

Move the slider to the left so it's positioned about halfway between the start and its current position:

Next, hit the "Preview" button in the dialog box:

Listen to the preview. If there's still noise (99.99% of the time there won't be) move the slider to the right. If there's distortion of the voice move the slider to the left. (If there's noise AND distortion have your sound card and microphone checked by your hardware guy).

When you're satisfied that the noise has been removed without distorting the voice hit the "Remove Noise" button. You'll get the following message:

You'll then be taken back to the wave form view (you'll notice that the recording looks much cleaner, in the sense the jagged waveforms in the gaps have given way to flat lines). Listen to the ENTIRE recording and check for distortion in the voice. If there is any distortion hit CTRL+Z (holding down the Ctrl key, hit Z) to undo the noise removal, go back to Effect-->Noise Removal, move the slider further left, hit the Remove Noise button again and listen to the entire recording again. Keep doing this until you're satisfied with the recording.

As I said earlier in this post, if you are unable to remove the noise completely without distorting the voice, you have a problem with your hardware and need to have it checked by a competent hardware guy. Yes, Audacity is indeed that good. I've delivered studio-quality sound to clients using nothing more than my home computer, a $2 microphone and Audacity.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Optimise your website for free, courtesy Google Adwords

I got this tip via Seth Godin's blog.

Way cool. Now Google can tell you if your website is optimised to convert your visitors into paying customers.

Conversion refers to your visitors taking an action you desire, such as clicking a "buy now" link and following instructions until they reach a page only a buyer can.

Now Google offers you a way to test various combinations of headline, image, body copy, etc., until you hit the best combination to convert visitors.

Available for free for a limited time, check it out at:


A free alternative to MS Office

If you prefer desktop / laptop computer based software (that you install on your own computer) there's a wonderful alternative to MS Office.

It's called and may be downloaded free of charge from:

If you don't want to download the 93MB installation file you may purchase a CD with the software (I believe it's something like $10 per CD, not including shipping costs). A list of vendors is available at the site.

The OpenOffice Suite 2.0 offers:
  • Document creation software that allows you to save your file in a variety of formats (including rtf and doc [MS Word]) and allows direct publishing to PDF
  • Spreadsheet solution software that similarly allows you to save the file as an Excel file (xls)
  • Database management software
  • Software to perform Scientific functions and calculations
  • A Presentation software that can output files in PowerPoint (ppt) format
  • A Drawing package that allows you to create vector based drawings that may be saved in a variety of formats, including SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), which can be read by several other packages

Documents, spreadsheets, databases and presentations created in MS Office can be opened and modified by the appropriate OpenOffice package.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How to Search

Sometimes it's important to know how to search as well as what to look for and I've found it helps to do a little thinking before one begins the search.

For example, a couple of years ago a play producer was looking for the script of a play by a very reclusive playwright. Searches on all Search Engines had only yielded the curt message, "This person's contact information is private."

In desperation, he finally posted a plea on a playwrights' message board, hoping one of us may be a friend of that playwright.

None of us were but I got him access to a copy of the script in ten minutes flat, using a net search but not quite in the way he had.

Here's the logic I applied:
The producer has searched for the script and for the playwright and gotten nowhere. Therefore, searching for those items is non-productive.

The producer wants the script, not the playwright per se.

Who else will have the script? Or rights to sell it?

The Agent!

So I just googled "agent (playwright's name)" (without the quotes or brackets), got the name of the agent who represented the playwright and sent her contact information on to the producer. It took me five minutes. Within the next five the producer had contacted her and placed an order for the script.

Sometimes the information you want isn't visible on the net but it's accessible through people connected to the net. If you can't find "what", look for "who".


Wednesday, October 04, 2006