The Right Tone: Music To Your Ears

My baby Joey 1987

The Tones That Bring Joy To Your Soul

The sound of your child’s first words, “dada, mama” the sound of those words of endearment from someone you love, the words you heard when you graduated from school, the sounds when your friends and family euphorically celebrate your special occasion, and so on.

Let me digress the photo above was me in 1987 with my then 3 year old son Joseph, and it helped me think about the joy of his first words over a year earlier. What euphoria with our son’s first words, and even though simple – the feeling you enjoyed when you gleamed into his eyes and experienced the feelings of deep love were so joyful. Just think about how you felt when your baby first said mama, dada or any other first words – yes your emotions leaped up to the sky. It was the sounds of joyous rapture, so you now you understand the beginnings of words and the importance of tone or tonality.

That’s what these wonderful events we experience in life have in common, and why they are sweet musical tones to your ears? Simply it’s the tone or the tonality of the way the words are spoken, and explains why we can in most cases understand when the words ‘I love you’ are spoken in any language.

We Are Wonderfully Made

We can reflect on how wonderfully we are made, and quoting the words of King David of Israel at Psalms 139: 14, “I praise you because in an awe-inspiring way I am wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know this very well.” People you speak to have been given a wonderful sense of hearing that catches the nuances of tone of the words that we speak, the whisper of the wind through the trees, the toddler’s ecstatic laugh.

All why it is so important not only to think about what you say, but how you say it to improve your communication, to help you’re listeners understand you better, and better yet incite you’re listeners to action.

Feeling The Right Tone: Becoming Leader of the Free World

When you feel the words with the right tonality your style of communication will have an impact in ways that are innumerable. For example have you ever listened to the way a preacher delivers a discourse with such vigor, energy, and passion for the words they deliver? It’s that passion and vigor that Obama used to “Wow” the world in his presidential victory speech in 2012. Think about his manner of speech that was crafted and delivered, and you can’t fail to notice the effective use of gratitude, over-flowing humility, empathy, inspiration and an amazing sense of intimacy with the audience.

When words are delivered with the right tone they are powerful, and they can persuade, convert, and compel. Listen to that speech and look at the effectiveness of Obama’s delivery, and how the tone of his delivery was both inspiring and electrifying. Bottom-line whether you like the speech or disliked it there is no denying that it moved multitudes to make him the leader of the free world.

The Right Tone = Effective Communication

Joe & Jim Palmer Filming

Directing the winning tone with Jim Palmer on television played a tremendous role in The Money Store’s growth from a regional lender to a national powerhouse. In fact consumers were compelled to help in building receivables from $300 Million to 4.2 Billion in a 10 year period. Sure like many celebrities and sports personalities I’ve directed over a twenty-eight year career it was an unending desire to understand how the nuances of a person’s voice can be so moving, so inspiring, and compel an audience to do what you ask them. Sure the copy had to be compelling, attract you listener’s attention, promise them something they wanted or need, have the right pitch, and call to action, but it was the tone of the key words that made a spokesman successful.

When directing a television commercial I would record take after take, and sometimes up to 25 to get that perfect delivery of perfect tone in the words. Despite how challenging it is important to deliver the message with the tone that says you really care about the people you’re speaking to. And remember the people mean you, so it’s the way the tried and true pronouns in marketing communication, namely you, you’re and your are delivered is key in creating resonance within the dialog. And even though a spokesman is a paid endorser it is crucial that they deliver the copy as if they truly believe in the products and/or services they are endorsing with a passion and spirit that hits the heart-string of the people they are speaking to. The right tone will help you generate increased leads, drive sales, and achieve profitability for your business.

The Right Tone: Captures Attention & Stirs Hearts

Think of the enthusiasm of a baby’s first words, and how they can’t do anything short of reaching a person’s heart in ways that are unimaginable. Practice giving an animated delivery with strong feeling about what it is you’re saying. Enthusiasm will be evident in the tone of your delivery, and will help you hold the interest of your listeners; it may also rouse them to action. Bottom-line if you are enthusiastic about what you say, your audience will be too. Practice by looking in the mirror making sure your face reflects how you feel – speaking with strength and vigor.

If you want to compel those who are listening it is important to speak in a manner that reflects the emotions you feel, so it is important that you really believe in what you are saying. People can tell if you care by the tone of your delivery, so how many times have you heard a speech and walked away thinking that the speaker could care less, was lying, or delivered with a stoic tone of a person reading copy from a script. Think about the people you are speaking to expressing warm feelings for them in a tone that should be nothing short of warm, and inviting. Looking back at Obama’s speech the audience gets most fanatic or fired up during his intentional climatic and rapid build-up of emotions to rally his audience towards a landing statement and point. Ah it’s a sense of catharsis, a sense of euphoria which can be mastered by anyone with the right practice and direction.

Do you care about what you are saying; well if you do your audience will too! That should be music to your ears.

Financial Crisis – Why do today’s children & young adults have to choke in debt?

So many barely into adulthood are saddled with debilitating levels of debt, and the worse is always student loan debt. But there’s a growing body of evidence suggesting that today’s young adults are also drowning in credit-card debt — and that many of them will take this debt to their graves. We must stop this trend, and we can give our young ones the power to stay out of debt.

It’s deafening every day I hear more and more news reports of how our young ones are growing deeper and deeper into debt, but such a prowess for today’s technologies the questions is why. Forget the apps and all the booing applications, and simply teach your children how to manage their budget with a simple tool with an application they are all using in school namely, Microsoft Excel. You can’t imagine how much all those fraps add up to, and not leaving out the plethora of video games our young ones are spending online. Here are some of the facts today based on an article in Time:

More than three-quarters of renters between the ages of 18 and 24 spend more than they earn every month, according to a survey of 1,000 renters (of all ages) by Rent.com. This is the case even though 17% of respondents in that age bracket say they’re willing to live with roommates to save money.

More than 20% overspent their income by more than $100. That’s every single month. And since they haven’t built up their credit histories yet, it’s a safe bet that these young adults are paying relatively high interest rates on the resulting credit card debt.

Although more young people than older adults blame “socializing” as a barrier to saving money, most young people aren’t knocking back $20 drinks in trendy lounges. They’re struggling with much more prosaic financial demands. For 42%, rent is their top expense, while 18% say transportation costs eat up the biggest chunk of their earnings and 22% say paying for food eats up the greatest share of their monthly budget.

Paying off that debt is becoming more and more difficult with the increased cost of living, and the ongoing pressures to buy more and more stuff. The truth is our young ones are paying their debts at a sharply lower rate than their parents. Bottom-line at this rate there are not going to get out from under.

That’s why we must help your children 12+ manage their budget before they suffer the pains of debt so I have provided this easy to use Excel spreadsheet. Boring they may say, but it’s even more boring sitting around without a dime to your pocket! The following is a brief overview helping our young ones to manage their finances for success. Send the link to your friends at http://bit.ly/1vfNhZT

Before Planning & Buying, Really Think! On an ongoing basis during the budget process ask yourself: ‘Do I really need this? Is this an impulse buy?, What can I do to fix what I already have, or do I just want something new?’ Regarding the latest video game many spend a lot of money on the newest game, and get tired of it a week or two later, so how about renting? Keep in mind some things like buying the daily java fix may seem insignificant, they can really add up, and up, and up! The bottom-line is, by establishing an affordable budget, and a good pattern of savings you won’t see “Red.” Also a pattern of savings with little insignificant things will help you with the decisions with larger ones.

Liken the budget to running your first business. Why do we say this, well like a business it is crucial to have structure giving all members responsibility to play a role in the success of the family. Set aside some time each week to meet with members of the family, so you’re all contributing to its success. Remember, a business is only as good as their employees. Start your young ones (recommend ten years old +) to manage their own simple budget preparing them for adulthood to help them avoid the pitfalls many eighteen year olds start to find themselves in – DEBT. In the end the business units cannot sustain themselves without the help from the umbrella corporation, so in a family there is no option for a unit to fail.

Practical Suggestions as follows:

  1. Write down as best as possible your essential monthly expenses that are fixed (e.g., rent, mortgage, taxes, car insurance), and those that are variable expenses (e.g. utilities, credit cards, food) and the like. Try to make a monthly estimation of the previous year’s bills dividing by 12. The last column in the spreadsheet as the average expenses per month formula. A written budget to review throughout the year is the key to relieving much family anxiety.
  2. Record expenses into the organized categories. The spreadsheet is broken down into categories starting with the net estimated revenue, and followed by estimated expenses such as taxes, housing, travel, home costs, and so on.
  3. Estimate how much of your revenue should be applied monthly to each line item in the category. With bills paid annually, like homeowners insurance, you must “calculate” how much needs to be put aside each month.
  4. In the top category “Net Income, Revenue & Fees write down the amount you expect to make in each category. The expenses will be subtracted from the income and revenue letting you know if your meeting your budget, and when you go over budget which is indicated as a “RED” number in the bottom row “Net Income / Net Margin.”
  5. Be sure to set aside monthly the amount needed to satisfy each line item in each category. For those using cash, simply make envelopes for each category. Then place the amount of cash you need to cover the designated expense. For important monthly expenses like rent or mortgage, renters or homeowners insurance, and property taxes not escrowed by a bank simple open up a connecting savings account and designate it as “Escrow”. This is done due to the fact that expenses like property taxes, renters or homeowners insurance are paid quarterly and annually.
  6. Structure your budget so there is money for savings. In “Family Funds, Child Support and Reserves” determine the amount you can put in each month in “Owners Reserve” with an objective of 10% of revenue. It is recommended that this reserve be placed in and account that is separate from your checking account, so a good place would be a retirement fund or certificate of deposit. Of course, this will only work if you have the ability to meet your monthly budget.

Credit Warning: Your credit card if applicable should only be used on items you have in your budget. Irresponsible use has been for big ticket impulse buys. Remember if you do not have the money you don’t buy it, because credit card revolving debt can incur up to 22% in interest payments in effect costing you much more for anything you may be buying. Many budget plans have been broken by the temptation to “buy now, pay later.”

Careful Consideration:

  • Careful Planning is recommended. Prior to any purchase or project carefully calculate the expense to determine if you’ll have enough to afford it, and subsequently maintain it. Creating a budget helps you live in your means, and avoid the pitfalls of falling into debt. Follow the budget spreadsheet to designate your specific amounts to apply to present and future expenses.
  • A Good Picture Brings Enlightenment. When you organize your expenses well, you can see where your money is going and more importantly where what expenses you can erase from the picture (e.g., in the line item “Restaurants…” you’ll see if you go out too much, or spend too much at Starbucks). When a good record is kept the facts can be enlightening.
  • Contentment. Are you content with what you have? Many have driven up painful credit card debt by trying to keep up with the Jones sort of speak. The Jones can’t feel your pain, but you and your family do.
  • Seeing Red. An unrealistic desire to live beyond your means can add to unnecessary distress. The spreadsheet was designed to show you when your in the “Red” each month, or the amount of any reserves and debt your incurring. Keep in mind that a business cannot stay in business when a constant “Red” is being carried on their income statement. Well this isn’t a business, but your family with people you care about involved. Unlike a business you can’t fire your spouse or children.

Shop with a Plan. For your food budget plan your menu around what is on sale. Buy basic ingredients instead of prepackaged foods, and cook from scratch. Stock up on items that are on sale or in season. Ever go to Costco, well learn to buy in bulk with the premise that overstocking on certain items may spoil. Slash clothing cost by purchasing quality used garments of resale stores, and you would not believe the treasures you can find at consignment shops. Furniture can be bought at a fraction of the original price at garage or estate sales. You can get a great car when it’s pre-owned with a dealer warranty. Travel to areas where prices are known to be lower, if this is cost-effective. Watch how often you go out and shop, and learn to cut back. Plant a garden if possible and grow your own vegetables. Follow manufacturer’s maintenance instructions which may prolong the life of your appliances. Prolong your good clothing by changing out of them as soon as you come home, so you can help them to look good.

Link to success: http://bit.ly/1vfNhZT

Video Marketing Increases Traffic & Drives Sales

A study showed that video generates a 7X higher response rate than text. 60% of all web traffic comes from video, but it is crucial to keep in mind the following:

– Quality, Quality, Quality: One thing I have taught a plethora of surgeons is imagery transfer, and every patient wants a surgeon who is the Rolls Royce of surgeons – especially with procedures to improve our looks and the way we feel about ourselves (e.g., LASIK, Non-Surgical Cosmetic Procedures like Botox, Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery, etc.). The video quality should look like beautiful film with great lighting, depth, an shadows – my oh my not flat. That means not having the video shot with an iPhone, or small video-cam. Will the cost be too high for high-end video quality No – No – No due to the fact that we can now shoot with professional HDSLR cameras like the Canon 5D using professional lenses (e.g. Canon Red Stripe, Carl Zeiss Prime lenses).

– Look Like a Star: A professionally video trained hair and make-up artist should not be underrated. You are communicating beauty, and keep in mind what we see in real life is totally different than what a camera picks up. A trained makeup artist knows how facial tones photograph, and know how to match the lighting to the makeup. Yes, both men and woman should wear makeup. Makeup can cover five o’clock shadow, and eliminates the glare of a bald head and receding hairline.

– Color & Patterns: It is also important to consider the color of the clothing you wear, and the patterns on that clothing like ties, etc. Clothing should be comfortable. Avoid hounds tooth or other fine patterns, and avoid excessive jewelry.

– Colloquial: The way you deliver copy is crucial to connecting with your potential patient. Copy does not want to sound scripted, but warm, professional, motivating, and caring. Since the length is short, and unless you’re trained DO NOT USE A TELEPROMPTER” due to the fact introductory videos are short (e.g. 90 secs. to 120 secs.) and can be delivered from bullet points.

– Art Direction: What’s in the background? What do your surroundings communicate? A professional set designer should be considered.

Bottom-line, digital video marketing is more flexible and more cost-effective than other forms of media and unlike print ads, its duration and uses are limitless. In many cases, online video distribution is free.

Healthcare Providers Build the Brand & They Will Come

All of us have seen the industry evolve since the days of the great recession, but it would not be prudent to ignore an integrated broad base media strategy to build your brand. The problem lies in the fact that most healthcare practitioners who provide today’s state-of-the-art elective procedures focus more attention on those procedures than differentiating themselves.
I have always taught every surgeon I have had the privilege of directing that they are in a position of power and should always prioritize promoting the surgeon and the practice. Tell the potential patient the “WHY”, and why I should choose you for laser vision correction for example over the other guy.

At Philadelphia’s leading Ophthalmic practice Kremer Eye Center we branded the Kremer Certified Surgeons and Kremer Care. In time patients who called for an interest in LASIK asked for the Kremer Surgeons, so it was a success leading Kremer to become the number brand in the region. Bottom-line now’s a great time to take advantage of the low media rates and available inventory.

During my long years at The Money Store we would have most definitely been capitalizing on the current media opportunity. This recessionary period translated into the most advantageous buying opportunities to reach your target audience, get your message out, brand your practice, increase leads, and achieve better awareness when your potential patient is ready to move forward – you’ll have top-of-mind awareness, and they’ll call you. So don’t abandon broad bast media like radio and television just yet to put all your eggs into online sites where the sheer volume of information alone can make your message fleeting.
Why is right now the best time you may ask?

The economy has has always had its trumps and defeats, but it has never that’s stopped the patient population from getting older. Patients are aging; society is getting older, so the need for more advances in technology, products and procedures will increase. More services will be in demand like dental implants, the latest in multi-focal lens implants to eliminate reading glasses, audiology devices, and so many others. This is an opportunity to do the jobs even better and build up you brand, and as they say: “If you build they will come.”

Budget911-Think Twice Purchase Once

Before Planning & Buying, Really Think! On an ongoing basis during the budget process ask yourself: ‘Do I really need this?, Is this an impulse buy?, What can I do to fix what I already have, or do I just want something new?’ Regarding the latest video game many spend a lot of money on the newest game, and get tired of it a week or two later, so how about renting? Keep in mind some things like buying the daily java fix may seem insignificant, they can really add up, and up, and up! The bottom-line is, by establishing an affordable budget, and a good pattern of savings you won’t see “Red.” Also a pattern of savings with little insignificant things will help you with the decisions with larger ones.

Liken the family budget to an incorporated business. Why do we say this, well like a business it is crucial to have structure giving all members responsibility to play a role in the success of the family. Set aside some time each week to meet with members of the family, so you’re all contributing to its success. Remember, a business is only as good as their employees. Start your young ones (recommend ten years old +) to manage their own simple budget preparing them for adulthood to help them avoid the pitfalls many eighteen year olds start to find themselves in – DEBT. In the end the business units can not sustain themselves without the help from the umbrella corporation, so in a family there is no option for a unit to fail.

Practical Suggestions as follows:

1.  Write down as best as possible your essential monthly expenses that are fixed (e.g., rent, mortgage, taxes, car insurance), and those that are variable expenses (e.g. utilities, credit cards, food) and the like. Try to make a monthly estimation of the previous year’s bills dividing by 12. The last column in the spreadsheet as the average expenses per month formula. A written budget to review throughout the year is the key to relieving much family anxiety.

2. Record expenses into the organized categories. The spreadsheet is broken down into categories starting with the net estimated revenue, and followed by estimated expenses such as taxes, housing, travel, home costs, and so on.

3. Estimate how much of your revenue should be applied monthly to each line item in the category. With bills paid annually, like homeowners insurance, you must “calculate” how much needs to be put aside each month.

4. In the top category “Net Income, Revenue & Fees write down the amount you expect to make in each category. The expenses will be subtracted from the income and revenue letting you know if your meeting your budget, and when you go over budget which is indicated as a “RED” number in the bottom row “Net Income / Net Margin.”

5. Be sure to set aside monthly the amount needed to satisfy each line item in each category. For those using cash, simply make envelopes for each category. Then place the amount of cash you need to cover the designated expense. For important monthly expenses like rent or mortgage, renters or homeowners insurance, and property taxes not escrowed by a bank simple open up a connecting savings account and designate it as “Escrow”. This is done due to the fact that expenses like property taxes, renters or homeowners insurance are paid quarterly and annually.

6. Structure your budget so there is money for savings. In “Family Funds, Child Support and Reserves” determine the amount you can put in each month in “Owners Reserve” with an objective of 10% of revenue. It is recommended that this reserve be placed in and account that is separate from your checking account, so a good place would be a retirement fund or certificate of deposit. Of course, this will only work if you have the ability to meet your monthly budget.

Credit Warning: Your credit card if applicable should only be used on items your have budget. Irresponsible use has been for ig ticket impulse buys. Remember if you do not have the money you don’t buy it, because credit card revolving debt can incur up to 22% in interest payments in effect costing you much more for anything you may be buying. Many budget plans have been broken by the temptation to “buy now, pay later.”

Careful Consideration:

Careful Planning is recommended. Prior to any purchase or project carefully calculate the expense to determine if you’ll have enough to afford it, and subsequently maintain it. Creating a budget helps you live in your means, and avoid the pitfalls of falling into debt. Follow the budget spreadsheet to designate your specific amounts to apply to present and future expenses.

A Good Picture Brings Enlightenment. When you organize your expenses well, you can see where your money is going and more importantly where what expenses you can erase from the picture (e.g., in the line item “Restaurants…” you’ll see if you go out too much, or spend too much at Starbucks). When a good record is kept the facts can be enlightening.

Contentment. Are you content with what you have? Many have driven up painful credit card debt by trying to keep up with the Jones sort of speak. The Jones can’t feel your pain, but you and your family do.

Seeing Red. An unrealistic desire to live beyond your means can add to unnecessary distress. The spreadsheet was designed to show you when your in the “Red” each month, or the amount of any reserves and debt your incurring. Keep in mind that a business can not stay in business when a constant “Red” is being carried on their income statement. Well this isn’t a business, but your family with people you care about involved. Unlike a business you can’t fire your spouse or children.

Shop with a Plan. For your food budget plan your menu around what is on sale. Buy basic ingredients instead of prepackaged foods, and cook from scratch. Stock up on items that are on sale or in season. Ever go to Costco, well learn to buy in bulk with the premise that overstocking on certain items may spoil. Slash clothing cost by purchasing quality used garments of resale stores, and you would not believe the treasures you can find at consignment shops. Furniture can be bought at a fraction of the original price at garage or estate sales. You can get a great car when it’s pre-owned with a dealer warranty. Travel to areas where prices are known to be lower, if this is cost-effective. Watch how often you go out and shop, and learn to cut back. Plant a garden if possible and grow your own vegetables. Follow manufacturer’s maintenance instructions which may prolong the life of your appliances. Prolong your good clothing by changing out of them as soon as you come home, so you can help them to look good.

• Vicari Family Inc. Budget Spreadsheet Link: http://bit.ly/1uQT4mf