Web Site Can Be Made More Presentable

Your website works as your spokesperson presenting the message you wish to convey. Thinking in terms of this analogy often helps you to look at your website from a different angle and make visitor-friendly changes.

Imagine a situation – you have to make an announcement about an exciting event or an opportunity. You have appointed a spokesperson to make a presentation on your behalf to an audience consisting of invitees, interested persons and on-lookers. How would you like her to perform? Your website should do the job of a real, living spokesperson. Following considerations will make your website more presentable.

1) Main Theme – The presentation in the above example has been organized for a particular occasion. Similarly each webpage should be built around a particular theme. It doesn’t help if too much information is given on a webpage on seemingly unrelated issues.

2) Fast Opening – You would certainly not like your spokesperson to be late and make your audience impatient. When a visitor clicks URL of your webpage or is redirected there, the webpage should open real fast. Your webpage gets just a few seconds to engage your visitor’s attention. You would like your visitors to spend those few seconds looking at your webpage rather than waiting for the webpage to open.

3) Appearance – The spokesperson should have pleasant appearance and should wear a welcoming smile. This is to ensure that the audience is not put off even before start of the presentation. Your webpage should have a pleasant, inviting appearance to attract your visitor. If spokesperson is very gorgeous looking, she will distract attention of the audience from the real issue. Your website should avoid loud graphics and distracting colors so that the visitor remains focused on the main theme.

4) Make Text Interesting – You would like your spokesperson to use clear, flowing language, keep the audience interested and gradually lead them to the main theme. The presentation should be interactive, made lively by stories, snippets etc. Monotonous speech should be avoided. All these ideas can be incorporated while designing the website. The text should be broken into small paragraphs of 4-5 sentences or less, subtitles should be added for clarity, key words should be made bold. These are some ideas to make text more readable. Often a visitor will see only titles and subtitles. Therefore on their own the title and subtitles should convey the basic message.

5) Highlight Benefits – Other methods can be used to make the audience interested. The audience is really interested in what benefits they will derive; therefore this point should be highlighted sufficiently. The visitor to a website is interested in what is there for her. The potential benefits to the visitors should form a part of the main theme. This is an important consideration and cannot be over-emphasized.

6) Free gifts or Bonus – The audience attending the conference can be given gifts – after all they are investing there time for the presentation. The website can also offer several incentives to the visitors and lure her to visit again and again. Free ebooks, subscription to newsletters, links to related resources, articles and additional information are some of the simplest incentives that can be offered to the visitor.

7) Anticipate Questions – When a question is put up to the spokesperson, she should accept it with understanding showing that she had been expecting the question and was prepared to answer it. This approach will re-assure the audience as they develop the feeling that “everything has been taken care of”. While designing a website anticipated questions should be compiled and answers should be provided. It may be helpful to provide separate pages displaying common questions and answers.

8) Testimonials – After the end of the presentation, very few people are likely to sign-up immediately. Those who are still interested after the presentation would like to take some time to decide. They are likely to seek additional information and confirmation of the information already provided. The spokesperson should clearly spell out how easy it would be to get any further information. Visitors to the website often re-visit several times before they take any decision, particularly the decisions involving money transaction. Testimonials and endorsements appearing on the website are very effective in getting a favorable response from the visitors.

9) Follow-Up – During a presentation it is common practice to register the names and other details of the participants. This information can be used to follow-up with them by sending further messages. The website should be used to perform a very important function of capturing names and e-mail addresses of interested persons for following-up with them.

Thinking of website as a spokesperson adds a human dimension with which we are more familiar. Reviewing your website from a new angle can reveal ways of improving it.

Reduce Stress With Present Moment Awareness

It’s happening again; tension in your shoulders squeezing you, stomach clenching, and that familiar vice grip of pressure in your head. Here comes the stress and overwhelm, visiting you with the same familiar list of stressful thoughts.

Great teachers like Buddha, or in our day Eckhart Tolle, offer present moment awareness as a way to reduce stress, release anger and improve health. We’ve all heard how wonderfully healing it is to be in present moment awareness with its seemingly illusive calm, so how do we get there?

Our mind unceasingly interprets the never-ending flow of information pouring into our brain. Every day, we experience upwards of 10,000 of these interpretations as thoughts, many of them running like a newsreel ticker, repeating the same stressful stories.

To fully experience the present moment we must find a way hush those thoughts, even for just a minute.

A quick, easy way to release the grip of stressful thoughts is with a gratitude practice. Gratitude instantly shifts the focus out of our head full of thoughts, and gets us back into the present moment.

Most of us weren’t taught a gratitude habit, instead we’re encouraged to consume a daily diet of bad news; things going wrong, diseases we could develop, and dangerous conflicts. We’re conditioned to stress by an unrelenting flow of information telling us to worry.

The primitive part of our brain that insured our survival kept us focused on danger; ignoring a rustle in the grass could result in becoming another predator’s next meal! Today, that part of our brain still functions, but instead of the tiger in the grass, we react to the stories stalking us; the tanking economy, the deteriorating environment, or the personal conflict we keep replaying in our mind. When we can’t turn it off, that fear brain overwhelms us with chronic stress.

The good news is that fear and gratitude can not occur together! It’s impossible for the mind to think stressful, fearful thoughts and be grateful at the same time! Gratitude quiets the fear brain and snaps us back into the peace of the present moment.

Gratitude Formula

First, find one thing that fills you with thankfulness. It can be the smallest of things; your brain will respond positively without caring about the size or value of your choice. Dwell for a few moments on why you are grateful for this thing, then let the why settle to the background of your gratefulness, like the blue sky on a softly clouded summer’s day.

Now, make a statement of gratitude: I am grateful for ____________.

For a few minutes repeat your gratefulness statement to yourself. Remember there is a subtle difference between thinking about gratitude and practicing gratitude. Let yourself feel grateful.

You can change your wording, such as; I am so thankful for______, or thank you so much for______, but stay with a simple phrase.You can thank yourself, your higher power, God, Gods or Goddess, it doesn’t matter as long as you feel grateful.

Are you so stressed you can’t come up with something? If you are reading this you are probably in the top percentage of the world population that has clean running water, food, and a bed. Are you able to take a breath? Focus on being thankful for your breath, softly repeating the word yes on your in-breath, and thank you on your out-breath.

After practicing your gratitude statement for a few minutes, notice how you feel. Are you more relaxed and calm? Did your muscles relax, even slightly, and your mind slow down? When practicing gratitude, your brain floods with specific neurotransmitters, the good stuff that creates pleasant feelings and counteracts stress!

When you feel stressful thoughts taking you out of the present moment, use this gratitude practice to bring yourself back. Keep a gratitude journal. Practice gratitude statements every day. Besides bringing you back to the present moment, reducing stress and increasing positive brain chemicals, you may find there is an abundance of things to be grateful for in your life, coloring your world with joy and peace!

Focus on the Present – Do You Remember What ‘Now’ Feels Like For You?

No less than Abraham Maslow said, “The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.”

Here are some words associated with the present (in case you aren’t quite sure what that means): immediate, this instant, here and now, time being, today, nowadays, moment, now, in this moment, current… I don’t want to get too philosophical (far be it from me), but this moment is over… and we’re on to the next one. Oops that one is over. Next…oh, it’s over, too. Well, here comes another.

The present really is PRESENT – right now. This minute. Today. You can certainly expand it just a bit, but the gist of this is that many of us are missing a great deal of what is happening now because we are focused beyond or around and behind what is happening now.

Let’s get a few visuals for this concept – and use these to be reminded of some of your own.

  • First, think about when you have been at a party and you are talking with someone, but that person is forever looking beyond you, over your shoulder, to the back of himself, or essentially any other place but right into your eyes. How do you feel when that happens? Not too great. Of course, if we are doing that to someone else, they aren’t feeling very important and we are missing whatever it is that he or she is saying and the entire experience of that conversation.
  • A personal one occurred for me one morning several years ago when I was driving from Tonopah, NV to Goldfield, NV. It was about 6 a.m. I was not in a good mood. I was tired because my room had been noisy. I had eaten a dreadful breakfast. I was driving about an hour to the location for the workshop I was going to do and I knew that the conditions for this workshop were not going to be ideal…and I was worried about that. So, I was just generally grousing around in my head. But, then, I came around a corner and experienced what I have since found a name for – and that is aesthetic arrest. The beauty and majesty of this valley in these early morning hours – well, I don’t have the language to describe it. But I experienced an in-the-moment, moment. I was brought right back to NOW through that experience and everything else faded away.
  • One more example…and this is back when I was a professor. Now, as many of you know, I don’t have children and that’s by choice so you don’t need to feel sad for me. Anyway, I had been presenting at a conference in Louisville, traveled to Lexington to see my family and stayed at my brother’s house. At that time, he and his wife had three young children – maybe 7, 6 and 4. I had taken a bunch of work to do with me while I was there…because of course, I always had work to do being a faculty member. Alas…it was not to be. Here’s how I went back and told my graduate classes at the university about it the next week. I told them, “I get it. Those of you who say that you are having trouble finding time to study or to get your research done – and it’s because of your children. I get it. They demand, in the most positive way, attention now and as a human being, you happily give it to them.” So that was another, NOW experience for me.

I hope these make sense and help to illustrate the ‘present’ for you. Take some time right now (in the PRESENT) to see remember some of the times when you were ‘knocked back to now’ – and really understood about the present. I have no doubt but that you can come up with several.