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Bringing Your Presentations Into the Widescreen World

Towards the end of 2008, YouTube announced a change to the aspect ratio of the default player for the site. The standard ratio for online video had been 4:3, but the new player standard is now 16:9. Aspect ratio is simply an expression of the relationship of height to width. Something that is 4 to 3 might be 4 inches wide and 3 inches high, and if it is shown on a screen that is 40 inches wide it will be 30 inches high.

Google opted for the new 16:9 format because it had become the universal standard for HDTV and the ensuing onslaught of wide screen HD monitors. As it turns out, most large plasma TVs and even smaller personal viewing devices such as laptops, iPads, and smart phones are set-up to view the 16:9 ratio more fully than the older standard. The standard computer monitor used the 800 x 600 (or 4:3) ratio but most laptops use the 1280 x 720 (or 16:9) resolution for viewing.

Virtually all modern still and video cameras have the wide screen format as a setting or as the default factory set-up.

Over the last year or so I’ve noticed a trend in the world of presentations. I have been asked on more than one occasion to submit my slides to a conference where I was speaking in the 16:9 format. Larger conferences in particular are finding the wider screen works better in very large rooms and commonly employ supplemental monitors around the room or conference that are often wide plasma screens.

Is an App a Tool or a Behavior?

In my annual trends post for OPENForum I listed apps over the web as a key trend that will impact small business. Today’s post is actually the foreword I contributed to a book that comes out this week called AppSavvy by Ken Yarmosh and I think it pretty much sums up my thinking on the app topic. This is a subject that I believe small businesses need wrap their heads around as it’s not going away, but it is on its way to becoming part of the everyday behavior of our customers and prospects.

AppSavvyBack around the turn of the Internet—oh, I don’t know, 2005—I started religiously recording interviews with experts for the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. I did it in part because it looked to me like the next new thing and I wanted to make sure I was part of it. As time wore on, I found that I just sort of liked doing it and eventually built an audience that liked getting their content that way.

More recently, I gave in to the siren’s call of the app for my podcast. I mean, I was an iPhone-toting devotee of all things appish, after all, and thought I really should have my own app. I created it and decided to price it at $2.99 just for grins. Now, understand, it pretty much has the exact same content that I publish weekly on iTunes for free.

Customer Service Is Everyone’s Job

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serviceHere’s something your customers won’t ever tell you but that you had better understand: Your employees probably treat your customers about the same way you treat your employees. Let that soak that in for a minute, and think about the ways your everyday behavior might be affecting your organization’s ability to generate positive buzz.

Organizations that provide the best customer service consider service traits when they hire and treat their employees like prime target customers. It makes sense, of course; happy employees are much more likely to represent the brand in a positive manner. Let’s face it: Companies aren’t capable of making emotional connections; people are. But it takes effort.

In all but the most technical positions, much of what employees do on a day-to-day basis can be taught. It’s much harder, however, to teach someone to be trustworthy, to give, or to serve. Yet, as stated above, these are key traits of organizations that known for great service.

If your organization has more than two or three employees it’s a pretty good bet they will interact with customers and prospects in ways that will affect your brand. So the question is, are you hiring and training to create a service culture?