Category Archives: 10 Things

Archi’s observations from the daily encounters as she meanders through life and love.

PM Modi Speech

#10Lessons PM Modi’s Speech Gives To Every Manager

After the resounding win in the Election 2019 in India, PM Narendra Modi gave his first speech at the joint parliamentary meeting of the National Democratic Party, before starting his second term. The leader of the country spoke like a true leader of modern business. After all the famous Winston Churchill once said, “Politics is not a game, but serious business.” PM Modi agrees with the ideology of Business and Politics. He knows that the nation is a business and should be run like one! His speech certainly indicates that sentiment.

As I listened to the speech, I could picture many leaders nodding their heads in agreement. Is it wrong to hope that the executives would have focused on the expressions of the attendees? With vicarious pleasure, maybe! The mighty MPs are as scared and humbled. They would have recalled similar meetings in their conference rooms with their reporting managers and CEOs, as individual and collective future were discussed. As a hard-working executive married to a Founder & CEO, I am in the unique position to understand both the vision of the Prime Minister and the dread of the MPs.

Here are my #10takeaways from this speech!

  1. You have to think of the larger goal – During his speech, the Prime Minister told his future and present MPs, “Work for your constituency, but don’t forget the country as a whole”. Go treat yourself to chocolate chip ice-cream if you have never heard this or as a leader said this! If you are an executive, your company may not be going places – so go ahead and look for a new job! Are you a leader who has never said this, then it is high time to buy an MBA book.
  2. You have to take care of your constituency – Each MP is elected from a constituency. The MP is responsible for ensuring infra, education, jobs, etc., for all the people in his or her constituency. Similarly, while executives work for the larger vision of their organizations, each wants their department to ace their performance. Don’t expect any business leader to say this – it is expected of you – just look at your KRAs! It is the classic case of Business in Politics!
  3. Energy – Most journalists and bloggers are focusing on the two words the prime minister used – energy and synergy. Now, if you are working with a successful organization or an entrepreneur who has come from one such organization, ‘Be energetic, people’ is a catchphrase you hear, and imbibe, becoming a part of you. All leaders want people with energy, but what about the laidback, and not so ‘lithe’? They are the ones holding the fort while the energetic are brandishing their swords, sorry, getting clients onboard!  
  4. Synergy – If this word does not begin to describe new age business lingo, then somebody, please reach out and give me a lesson. A quick search on Google shows this definition, “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances or other substances, to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.” For those of you going “What the funk”, it means when all employees work together, happily, then the business is a success. Leaders want it, employees want it, but individual goals can become, to put it nicely, roadblocks to companies shopping for success! It happened to the Congress – so, yeah, a break in synergy can happen anytime and anywhere!
  5. First Time Leaders – Shed Your Arrogance – In modern businesses, is arrogance a gift or a curse? We want all our leaders to be humble, but a certain arrogance, which stems from self-belief is required. As an executive and manager, I know the line separating belief from bumblebee is so thin it’s almost invisible! But, the PM, put the win in perspective, you cannot afford arrogance. Similarly, business leaders will have no qualms in telling their people, the need to be humble, always be available and remain attached to their roots. This is Politics in Business!
  6. Nothing is off-the-record – How true! How quaint! How modern! We all know the reality of social media. The permanence of a social post! When an MP speaks to a journalist off-the-record, the PM warned, don’t be surprised to see a news item the next day focusing on your words. Ok, your leader will not say this, but every seasoned executive knows that what they speak in hushed conversations is misinterpreted and told to the immediate boss and their boss! So, seriously, think, rethink, repeat and then speak!
  7. I am one of you –When PM Modi says this, we want to believe him! Every leader worth his salt says this! Every executive wants to believe! How many executives really believe this statement? How many leaders are not lip-synching? The ones who behave like they mean it are the ones who manage to scale new heights – their people are happy to follow them. For the rest, executives know you are lying, really we do. Say it, as you mean it, and then walk the talk!
  8. Give VIP Culture a boot – Imagine an India without the “Do you know who my father is?” culture. I cheered on hearing this and will give be highly impressed when (IF) it finally happens. But, in organizations, the client is the VIP as is the senior management. You can’t even think of giving them a boot! My takeaway – clients are partners and when there is respect and positivity, there is no VIP culture, just two separate energies synergizing! I am getting good at the business talks!
  9. Ambition and Aspirations – This is a big one – the PM spoke about national ambition and regional aspirations. In business terms, it is personal aspirations and business ambition or vice versa? If you know the difference, share the details. I believe aspirations are the stepping stones for ambition! The formula is – Aspire-Aim-Achieve. It’s not as simple or awe-inspiring as it sounds! The PMs NDA speech became wonderful with these words, but the magnitude of living up to these is huge? Executives and leaders know it so well – who has not attended seminars or created PPTs with objectives, strategies and tactics! That’s the finer print, or way forward, for these two lofty words.
  10. Women Power – Women have stormed the Lok Sabha in large numbers – the PM focused on this with a smile. Not enough, but higher than ever before. Out of the 724 women who contested, 78 women have been elected. Should this be big for a country which already had a woman Prime Minister? It shouldn’t be but it is! The elections 2019 are a springboard for the bigger role women will play. How does that resonate with modern business? Every day, across the world, women are breaking barriers to break the glass ceiling, and yet people will ask them – when will you settle, who are you seeing, etc. Look up Jemimah Rodrigues people or simply ask Mr Rahul Gandhi, who has been handled the bastion of his family – why – because he is the son! Patriarchy continues to rock, and it will sink us all! Smart business owners and leaders don’t differentiate. PM Modi version 2 in his maiden speech is showing us the way.

Take a lesson, or teach it to others, politics is business, business is money, money is happiness, and happiness is people!

#10Inspirations from the Book AtoB

Storytelling is the art of stringing together your ideas and words of fantasy and everyday observations into interesting sentences. One book I read recently used the art of storytelling to capture the latest marketing must-have for businesses and individuals especially digital marketers. Written by Harshit Bhardwaj, a digital marketer since 2008, author and publisher, the book is a guideline for people looking to meet the stringent standards of Google and Moz, while staying true to their identity. My take, a child rules the heart of parents, authors write for readers, and brands produce content for their audiences. Each one is telling a story, as am I!

Who am I to tell you about selling through stories? I am – a mother, a child, a homemaker, a content marketer, a friend, a sister, a wife, an aunt, a dreamer, and so many more things! Society expects me to separate each part of my personality, but, how can I? Each role defines me, and yet, the brand ‘me’ lacks an identity. I read this book, AtoB by Harshit Bhardwaj, and I realized, the need to first get my story straight. So, I am many things, but what is my story?

I am not here to review the book or talk about my writing journey – I am sharing with you things you and I can explore as a brand. I am here to share #10things from the book we can adapt to become better content creators and storytellers – to make our brand visible and viable.

Anyone who thinks this should be for professionals only, I ask you to share with the world, your thoughts on why parenting is not the most important profession in the world.

Let’s start:

  1. Understanding the concept of storytelling=

What is a story? Is it a picture that speaks a thousand words or a few words creating indelible images? That is a debate for photographers vs authors! But, I can tell you one thing, each one of us is a storyteller. Artists and marketers have honed this skill to perfection, as have parents and guardian. Hark back to a dialogue favored by parents and teachers across the world, “I am counting till 3!”. They use language and emotions to get a child to react.  So, what is storytelling:

  • Expressing – your deepest thoughts and immediate desires, directly and indirectly   
  • Impressing – showing people your mental or emotional intelligent
  • Processing – ability to use language and pictures to express, impress and let go off stress

Storytelling is an idea to express and a goal to reach

2. An important aspect of sorytelling is nothing but the power to communicate!

Sagas, odes, short stories, horror stories, cartoon strips, corporate presentations, favourite threats by parents, are different forms of communications. They are created to tell a story. A story to inform, educate or entertain. In the book, Harshit uses the premise of 1001 nights where the new queen uses her communication skills to tell stories. Professionals, like you and I, need to tell our stories like Sheherazade, because the king (your audience):

  • Effortlessly – should believe her stories are not designed to win her life
  • Flawlessly –  is intelligent, and he cannot be fooled
  • Repeatedly – will leave you if you don’t express or impress

All you need is appropriate conversations to create your story.

3. You need the audience to react to your story

You want to tell a story to capture your audience! You use your power of words, string`ing together random letters and words to form sentences that appeal, first to you and then to your audience.  Are you writing a personal diary for your eyes only? Or is the story and narrative you are creating is for others? You need to know who your audience is:

  • Family – your kids listening to you create a bedtime story
  • Peers – the lover or boss you are trying to impress
  • World – a stranger interacting with your brand for the first time

Treat your audience like royalty, listening to all their whims!

4. Every story needs a narrative

Many people confuse storytelling with narrative, or narrative with communication! It’s easy to! A 1001 nights is a story, the narrative is the princess walking down in her bridal wear, ideas churning in her head of how to keep her King engaged. Similarly, you have to create a story, but more importantly, you need a powerful narrative to:

  • Pique audience’s interest – they should want you continue the narration
  • Make readers emotional – they should laugh, cry, fear, go into shock
  • Keep pace – adapt and adopt to changing tastes and behavior

Never forget the story, but, keep tweaking the narrative!

5. Call it magic or love at first sight

Stories, both written and pictorial, have always celebrated love at first sight. Falling in love with another person, a child you hold for the first time, a pet who licks your wounds, or a brand’s story for consumption by your users, makes the stories believable and likeable. Steve Jobs wanted people to love his computers. The product has to work but bring in the magic. To fall in love with a story:

  • React – one emotion to react, 0a child listening to monsters
  • Reminisce – one word to reminisce, an adult remembering the first kiss under the stars
  • Connect – one look to connect, a beautifully-designed  computer by Apple

All it takes is one moment or one emotion to connect and fall in love and feel the magic.

6. Self-belief makes for a better story

I read somewhere that Dementors in Harry Potter books are a manifestation of the depression that JK Rowling faced? Truth or fiction, no idea! But, the terrifying demons had the whole wizard world and the human population scared. The demons will take away your peace, piece by piece, and Rowling’s demons were the publishers rejecting her story, repeatedly. Yet, she stayed true to herself, and her narrative. For the best story you will ever create, you need to have:

  • Self-belief – believe in yourself, and your own story, odds
  • Conviction – stay true to your story against all odds
  • Composure  – never let  the stress mar the story you want to tell

Whisper the words to your soul before you broadcast to the world!

7. Desires are necessary to keep the narrative going

The first lesson that a student of economics is taught, human wants are limited. They keep growing. Even your desire and passion for your story and narrative will keep changing! Your audience’s desires will also grow. A two-year-old will be happy sitting on your lap and listening to your voice. Your ten-year-old, will want audio-visuals. Your first customer will be fall in love with the first look, two-years down the line, they will want a better look. In Harshit’s words:

  • Survive – storytelling is about the survival of the smartest
  • Sustain – add novelty with a new narrative
  • Succeed – love, money or fame, it’s waiting for you

Goal realization makes for happy endings!

8. Use the modern tools to get your story heard!

Oral narratives have survived centuries! There is no accurate way to measure the timeline of these stories. But, today, your story can survive. Once published online, it will remain there, ready for viewing at an instant. A story you tell your child will shape how they behave 30-years later! Similarly, the story you tell your customers will affect their choices! Don’t hesitate to use these tools! Here are the tools you can use to get your kids, colleagues or clients to listen:

  • Social media posts – you can create instant stories
  • Person-to-person communication – buy a storybook, or use your child’s imagination to create a story unique to your family
  • Study the data – find a method, use it to get results, keep repeating

Create data, but don’t forget to analyse!

9. Never let your story waver

Storytelling is difficult – you are weaving tales that may or may not succeed. Your success is defined by your goals, a sale on your e-store, a child’s hug, a boss’s nod of approval, million likes on YouTube. The list is endless. But, your conviction will drive the story, until is it told, retold, shared and reshared, through generations. To keep moving forward, you need to keep:

  • Walking – take small steps in the beginning,
  • Talking – never let the narrative die out, keeping adding the ‘masala’
  • Judging – the reaction of your audience is necessary to change the narrative

Once again, stories are great starting points on the way to success

10. What is your S-effect?

It is the one I am working on!  What is the intended effect of all my writings? I am writing because I like to write. Because it is an inherent talent, not many people have. If enjoyment is the only motive, then why publish. What is my S-effect:

  • Applause from my peers – or recognition from a society which hates with passion?
  • Desire to let go and be unabashed or a reflection of my life?
  • Means to earn – become rich and famous? 

The billion dollar question, all of these or none of these?

Arches and Textures of Roman Architecture

Architecture under the ancient Romans flowed from their mammoth imagination to the magnificence of the buildings they created and constructed. The sheer innovation and beauty that characterizes this ancient architectural form attract tourists from all over the globe.  The ancient architectural feats stand testimony forcing even the most uninterested tourists to acknowledge the might of the Roman Empire. Though there are many phases and types of Roman architecture, today we will focus on the ancient one which harnessed a building material and style still used predominantly in modern architecture.

First Ones To Use Concrete

When exploring Roman dynasty or history through its buildings, statues or remains, travelers to the great sites may be surprised to know that the Romans were the first to use concrete in construction. Yes, mixing of concrete was a Roman idea that gave their buildings a texture that you and I can still feel today. It was their mastery over the correct concrete mixture that allowed them to construct buildings, palaces and arenas of massive weights. But, for the town of Cosa, where concrete began its journey, it was an achievement that has stood the test of time.

Impressive Arches

Arches are the other great contribution of ancient Romans to the world. The round arches were popularly used in constructing churches, amphitheaters, forts, bridges, etc. The great arches of the Colosseum and the Arch of Titus are just two examples of how this architectural detail was used to create beautiful buildings. However, the most significant and maybe a little whimsical for travelers exploring Roman architecture would be the use of arches for constructing aqueducts, a water supply system that was the hallmark of every Roman city.

Trying to sketch out the finer details of this great architecture in limited words is trying to collect the ocean in a beaker. But, by focusing only on the arches and concrete, the blog is trying to highlight features of ancient Roman architecture that continue to dominate modern structures.  So whether you visit these architectural marvels as a bored tourist or traveler eager to explore the mysteries, you need to be in awe of the design elements and the texture that we tend to take for granted today.

Stonehenge, England, Authornama

Stonehenge, England: A Marvel of Pre-Historic Architecture

A visit to the burial ground may not be very high on bucket list of most people. But, Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, deserves a mention on the list, and it most certainly deserves a visit. The majestic and gigantic stone structures hold even the most advanced scientists, engineers, architects and builders in awe, let alone people like you and me. As you cross the English countryside experiencing the natural fauna and fauna, however, prepared you are, you are bound to be awestruck and humbled by the dominating sight of the Stonehenge, England.  

The most prominent question to cross every mind as it come across the stones is. “How and why did this get built?” Through centuries many archeologists and scientists have presumed and propagated Stonehenge theories as to what those stone structures represent. Some have called them the ‘work of the Druids’ while others believed them to be monuments for pagan rituals or biblical patriarchs. There are some experts who believe that the Stonehenge stones were placed for astronomical reasons and a minor population who believe they were incarnations of modern sport arenas.

However, detailed surveys of the areas surrounding the Stonehenge grounds have modern scientists proclaiming it as a burial ground. What scientist say must be true since they are working tirelessly and sincerely to solve this Stonehenge mystery. But, no theory can lessen the mystique and magic of an ancient site that links us to our past! Stones weighing up to 50 tonnes were rolled into standing positions in a horseshoe and circle shape. If this is not amazing, what is! Believe it or not, radiocarbon dating suggests that this heritage structure was built from 3100 BC till the year 1600 BC.

Whatever the theory you want to believe, you must visit the prehistoric site for its architectural wonder. While debunking Stonehenge facts or choosing your favourite theories, ensure that you view the structure with the rising and the setting rays of the sun. The structure aligns itself to the 21st December solstice. It leads one to wonder, maybe, just maybe, theories calling Stonehenge a ritual ground or an astronomical monument are true.

#10Things for Freelancers

10 Things You Can Do to Get Bulk Work As a Freelance Content Writer

Getting work as a freelance content writer is easy if you follow the below guidelines

One of the major concerns for a content writer is always, “How do I reach out to a company or agency for bulk freelance content writing work?” It seems a daunting task but is actually quite easy. You can be at peace knowing that there is enough work for everybody – all digital marketing agencies and corporate sites today need to outsource their work.

Here, are the steps you should follow to reach out to the best companies and get content writing assignments:

  1. Research the Companies
  • Do a Google search for the best digital marketing companies
  • Check out the sites for quality of language and clients
  • Read reviews to know how the company treats it freelancers – people not getting paid are sure to talk about it
  1. Contact People Who Can Help
  • Use your LinkedIn profile or any social media group to reach out to people working in the company you are interested in
  • Ask to be introduced to the right person
  • If your contact list cannot be of help, go to the next step
  1. Check Contact Information on the Website
  • Go to the contact page on the website, and send in an email to the mentioned email ID.
  • Try a variation of the site addresses, if you do not want to reach out to a salesperson – Check the address – is it .com, .org, .in, Then use hrd or content@companyname.com. You are sure to get a response
  • There is no harm in reaching out to multiple people on the same email
  1. Reach Out to the Concerned Person
  • A simple Hi will suffice if there is no name.
  • Don’t try and guess the gender of the person
  • In the subject line add – looking for an opportunity as a freelance writer
  • Your email should reflect your language skills – it should be error-free
  1. Share Your Details
  • Share a professional summary like your experience, the niche you are comfortable in, the cost, and the amount of work you can complete in a day.
  • Share personal information such as your phone number, the email ID which can be used to reach you, your working hours, etc.
  • Attach a resume, if you have one
  1. Sharing Samples
  • If possible, attach samples of your work in the original email.
  • Use your best samples, which are error-free and will get instant approval.
  • Send samples of the niches you are most comfortable with
  • It is Ok, not to share samples in the first contact mail, and let the person-in-charge ask for them
  1. Follow Up For Work
  • Remember, the response may take 1–3 working days.
  • If you do not get a response, send a reminder. You can send up to 3 reminders.
  • Reach out to a separate ID, if the response is still not received
  1. Get the Conversation Flowing
  • Despite the sharing of details in the first mail, you may be asked to write a sample.
  • I am of the view, why not? However – if they are using the content, you get paid, if not, you go ahead and use it on your website
  • Ask questions – what kind of work will I get, how much will I get, and what are the payment terms.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate on the price. But, this is tricky, because some agencies have a limit on the price they can pay, while others are willing to pay a high-cost, but then their quality standards will be stricter.
  1. Sign A Contract
  • Most companies will ask you to sign a contract and NDA.
  • Read the terms and conditions carefully and take a decision
  • Once the contract is signed you will not be allowed to reach out to clients of the company you are working with for a certain period.
  • Once the contract is signed, you are bound by that decision
  1. Commit to Quality
  • Be ready for rejections and revisions if you are not able to meet their standards of quality. You cannot have a ‘bad day at work’ and expect the work to keep coming
  • Companies want work delivered as per their deadlines. They are more than willing to let good writers go if the content is not delivered as per timelines
  • Clients have expectations from their freelance content writer.

In conclusion, reaching out to a client for a bulk order is the easy part. It is also easy to convince them that let you come on board. The actual difficulty arises, when you are required to start delivering content. Most companies will give you a monthly timeline, along with details of their requirements, Fulfilling the requirements in terms of quality and timelines is what will get you bulk work, repeatedly!

 

10 Skills Every Homemaker Should Know!

The world is forever letting women know what they can and cannot do. A few years ago, it was – You are meant to take care of the home and kids. And, today, it is, you should be working outside the home to truly contribute. No, it is a choice, both men and women should be given. Happiness and peace come from doing things you like and enjoy. Of course, getting appreciation also matters!

So, if you are a housewife or a househusband, or are planning to be one, here are the 10 Skills you should absolutely know.

  1. Become aware of nutrition – Are you surprised that cooking is not the first! Well, to me, knowing and understanding nutrition is much more important than knowing how to cook. Every person needs to eat 4-5 meals in a day, and you will be the person responsible for preparing these meals. As such, it is necessary for you to know how to make tasty dishes which are nutritious. Get knowledge of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, etc. to ensure you are all physically fit.
  2. Learn how to sew – You have to get ready to take on the responsibility of mending torn socks, sewing loose buttons or hems. Keeping your sewing kit ready for an emergency will come in handy for the smooth running of a home, and subduing tempers and tantrums. But, knowing how to stitch a skirt out of a bed-sheet or patching a quilt out of old coats, is a bonus. You can even learn how to knit or tat, to save money and create beautiful, cardigans, scarves, shawls or even tops!
  3. Brush up portfolio management skills – Project managers, rise to program managers and then become portfolio managers. Do you realize what this means? You have to learn the ten commandments of project management, learn how to fit every project into a program and manage them all together under the portfolio – keeping the house and the people living in it together as a happy, wholesome, bunch. People, finance and time management are the most crucial, as are planning, execution, and analysis.
  4. Master arts and crafts – Please do not think this is for school assignments only. You can decorate your home with self-made paintings, or crafts work. If this is not of interest to you, cultivate a hobby. Reading, dancing, writing poetry, video-gaming, there are so many things to choose from.  These are the lifelines of a homemaker, giving you the freedom to express various moods, even if the end result is for your eyes only.
  5. Cultivate deep friendships – You will make many friends in the future, friends of spouses, parents from school, neighbors, and more. And, then there are friendships of your childhood and with cousins or other family members. Learn to call people home, go out for a coffee, or take time out to chat. Remember, you have to learn to love each friend as they will give you social standing, emotional support or tips, and tricks to make your life simple. You too can learn to support them, and that is a trait of a good homemaker, letting people know they can count on you.
  6. Be prepared for stress – Being a homemaker is a relentless job. You can switch off from an office, but you can never say Goodbye to your household duties. The pressure to keep everyone happy, and losing out on things you once considered important is going to happen. It is life, it happens to everybody, and you will be no exception. You have to prepare to take on the stresses of life with deep breathing, laughter, physical exercise and keeping your mind active and positive.
  7. Basic sciences are a necessity – Did you know home science or home economics graduates undergo training in basic sciences? Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Zoology, Economics? This is apart from your basic food & nutrition, textiles, home cleaning, and child development! The basics are necessary to help you understand how an acid will react on a hard floor, or why certain foods will taste better with some ingredients.
  8. Child development is the key – Some homemakers choose the profession because they do not want to leave the kids with strangers. There are many parenting books and sites to help you understand and manage the different stages of your child’s growth. You can learn about their behaviors at every age, how to do CPR, treat illnesses, manage tantrums, entertain their friends ‘correctly’, face bruises. fractures, or even minor electrocution require immediate attention from a doctor. Apart from physical fitness, you also need to know how to challenge the young minds and keep them growing well.
  9. Learn how to drive – Believe me, despite all the public transportation you have, knowing how to drive a car is a necessity for a homemaker. Don’t treat this lightly. Dropping a child to school for a test or to the doctor’s clinic for inoculation is a task will more than likely be your responsibility. You should also know how to ride a bike, skip a rope, play hopscotch, throw a ball – the list is quite endless. These are skills you will use to interact with your kids and have a good time while doing so.
  10. Develop the happiness gene – I know scientific breakthrough still has not discovered the art of human genome interchangeability or enhancement. But, you have to convert your DNA into the happy gene. You have to learn how to remain happy, even when everything in life is going wrong, and days seem like endless minutes of chores. Your positive attitude will rub off on your partner, kids, plants, and the overall environment of your home.

Time will slip through your fingers, when you are preparing meals, looking for keys, driving kids to school, etc. Keep yourself happy, your friends around, and pursue a hobby, and you will enjoy the journey immensely.