Communicating In a Flat World

I wish I could just walk across and talk to my team, it would make everything faster!

If you have outsourced work and have had this thought, you are not alone. The spoken word does seem to convey much more in shorter time. Voice inflections, pauses and the enthusiasm you can convey when you speak may not be conveyed through a long document.

One of the coolest features we have on p2w2 was the voice recording widget. You can “speak to” your potential business partners through p2w2.

The voice feature is available for you on p2w2 at all the right places. You can find it in recording project description, providing feedback, discussing issues and also for sending routine voice messages.

Record your project description

Communicating In a Flat World

The controls are fairly simple. You have the Record, Stop, Pause and Play buttons. And

you have on-screen controls to edit what you recorded! The bars to the right indicate how audible your voice is to the control.

Worried that you might be speaking and your computer might not be hearing you? Well, we alert you if your microphone is not picking up an audible signal for more than 10 seconds.

Leave Voice Feedback

Communicating In a Flat World

Same controls, different purpose! You can quickly leave a voice feedback, and if needed attach files and also type in text to make everything absolutely clear! Open the document you are providing feedback on, and talk into the microphone as you skim through your document/PPT etc. No more swapping repeatedly between applications, or breaking your chain of thoughts to type comments in.

Send a voice message

Communicating In a Flat World

Emails are passé! You can “talk” to your p2w2 partner using the voice message feature.

Why not just pick up the phone you ask? Well, it might be 2 AM at where your business partner is!

Communicating In a Flat World

Soon after your are done sending the message, the person you sent this message to can now play it back.

Delete parts of a recording

Communicating In a Flat World

Did that pesky marketer call when you were in middle of a lengthy project description? Or did you get an important call you just had to take?

No need to start all over again, of course. You can select the part you want to remove from your recording, right click and delete.

Insert in recording

Communicating In a Flat World

Finished speaking a whole paragraph and realized you missed out something? No problem! Click on the wave form and you can insert what you missed out in middle of your existing recording! Isn’t that just cool?

Pause and Restart a recording

Communicating In a Flat World

Need to pause a while to recoup your thoughts? If you did not notice them already, the Pause buttons lets you take a break from recording to gather your thoughts, have a glass of water, open up that 6 pack – whatever helps you get moving again.

A tip: pausing for a shot while every few sentences helps you use these editing features easily. Not to mention you will be easier to follow for the person listening to the recording later!

Finally, some of us just like to talk than type. Overall, speaking your thoughts out into a recording tool is much faster and productive than attempting to type it all out. A document that would have taken you over an hour to type, format and attach could all be perhaps condensed into a half hour voice recording.

That’s all from us at p2w2 for now. If you have any cool features to suggest, write to me at Amit DOT Mullerpattan AT p2w2 DOT com.

About the author: Amit Mullerpattan is VP (Product) at, an online marketplace for services like writing, business consulting, research, software, online tutoring etc. He is responsible for the user experience with the p2w2 product and services.

If You Want to Make It, Look for a Mentor

If You Want to Make It, Look for a MentorFor me, thoughts about mentoring started from this article: “Everyone Who Makes It Has a Mentor.” (Collins & Scott. 1978, Harvard Business Review) Having a mentor is helpful because someone who has already been there and done that can shorten your learning curve saving you time, money and failure. 

Because mentoring is a social relationship, a one-on-one bonding with a senior, who continues to believe in your abilities whatever the odds, you will discover that most successful people in this world have always had a mentor in their lives.

Who Is a Mentor?

Let’s not look for definitions. If you felt that you needed guidance from someone so you can avoid mistakes and get into a higher orbit, that someone is a mentor.

Any trusted advisor can be your mentor and serve as your sounding board. The litmus test for a good mentor is that instead of being overtly concerned with your short-term welfare, a mentor would always be more interested in your long-term, personal growth, even if it comes at a price. One mentor on that LinkedIn forum confesses, “I have to hold myself back from actually writing business cases or marketing materials and stick to the role of advisor/coach/friend/mentor.” 

A Mentor Listens, Probes, Clarifies and Advises

If You Want to Make It, Look for a Mentor“Mentors may be thought of as teachers. They may develop their protégé’s intellectual and career skills. They model, inform, confirm or disconfirm, prescribe, or question. Mentors may also act as sponsors, assisting protégés in developing and sharing their own network of personal contacts. They protect, promote and support. Mentors may act as counsellors, providing advice, guidance, and moral support and nurturing. They listen, probe, clarify and advise. The mentor may act simply as a host or guide, sharing an informal social network with the protégé. Mentors may serve as exemplars to their protégé. The mentor may provide a standard of excellence that the protégé will aspire to surpass.” (Source: Mentoring for the New Millennium)

A mentor is someone you can offload all your problems to — both personal and professional. A trouble-shooter, he or she is someone you can use for

validating information picked from a variety of sources. You cannot check the veracity of each of these sources, but you can trust your mentor.

Mentoring Works

The benefit of having a mentor in your life is that you do not have to re-invent the wheel. He or she can pave the path for you. Above all, mmentoring is a continuous process of evaluation and guidance. Remember that a mentor will never thrust his own ideas on you. He will be more interested in polishing the diamond that’s inside you.

And age can be no barrier to find a mentor at any stage of your life. In fact you can find different mentors at different stages of your life. There’s a very tale of how a 50-year old Auckland-based businessman, Mr. Warwick Kendon, climbed the ladder of success at that age through a mentor.   He said mentoring allowed him “to unlock the potential of his business and get into a much stronger position in the market.” Another example: Joyce King Thomas, the chief creative officer at McCann Erickson Worldwide’s flagship agency in New York cites mentoring benefits.

It’s a Two-Way Learning Process

A point to bear in mind is that the flow of learning in a mentor-protégé relationship is always two-way, the mentor benefits as much from the relationship as the protégé, otherwise it’s a static relationship. In my own experience (I have been more a mentor) sharing knowledge and helping others succeed gave me a lot of satisfaction.

Share Your Mentoring Experience

If you haven’t found such a mentor yet, I suggest that you begin your search as soon as possible.  If you were involved in mentoring, please share your experiences.

If You Want to Make It, Look for a Mentor

Picture credits: Sridgway Korean Resource Center

Six Ways You Can Survive and Even Thrive During Wall Street Meltdown

Six Ways You Can Survive and Even Thrive During Wall Street Meltdown The bloodshed on Wall Street continues. Models that were earlier profitable are now being discarded. Time-tested logic is being thrown out of the window, replaced by pragmatic business sense of survival. The whole Investment Banking industry has collapsed.

The US government has passed a rescue plan bill to help the economy. Anita Campbell wrote a wonderful piece on why small business owners want a credit rescue plan. We will wait and watch if the bailout works.

As a small business, I cannot wait until the economy gets better. But we should take advantage of the current economic situation. A case in point is the healthcare sector. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, though the unemployment rate in the economy jumped from 5.7% to 6.1% in August this year, health care companies added 17,000 jobs in September to their payrolls! (Source) This post is about ways of making the most of the current economic downturn. This advice would hold best for small businesses who are yet not as severely hit by the storm as the bigger sharks.

1. Take advantage of the new influx of talent

As a columnist for Forbes magazine observes, there is a sudden flight of talent from big companies. During these times of cutbacks, layoffs and uncertainty, if it’s feasible, you can shore up on previously unaffordable talent, say in design, engineering or development and get on to higher orbit of growth. To keep your costs under control, you could engage this talent as consultants or as part-time rather than as full-time employees.

2. Revisit your services or products

Tough times need services and products that suit the need of the hour. Especially, if you offer a service that can be considered a luxury (and not a necessity), then consider introducing an ‘economy’ service without frills. That helps your customers who could not afford the price, can now consume it. That will keep your cash flows going.

3. Hunt For New Markets, Perhaps in Asia Pacific and New Customers

To make up for lower sales in the U.S., consider looking at other countries. WSJ cites Bonitas International, a Burton, Ohio-based manufacturer of costume jewelry that’s planning to attend upcoming trade shows in the U.K. and Germany — markets that it had ignored in better economic times.

4. Cut Your Costs

Six Ways You Can Survive and Even Thrive During Wall Street Meltdown It will be easier to cut costs in these times. You will face lesser resistance from your suppliers and your employees. Utilize this opportunity not just to cut luxuries but to take a comprehensive look at the costs and review every cost. Look at those online subscriptions that no body really used in the last three months; that consultant who has not added enough value but costs you a retainer; and that employee who has not shaped up despite warnings.

5. Cut Costs for Your Customers

If you want your customers to come to you, help them cut their own costs. There is no point in trying to sell premium services when they are in fact looking to cut costs. Be their agent and try and cut costs for your clients. You can suggest ways in which they can avoid spending money and get more bang for the buck. It may temporarily reduce your revenue, but will pay back soon as the client tries to save more!

6. Seek Alternative Sources of Funding

Tough credit market situation is making it difficult for small businesses to get credit.
I had written before about smart ways to finance your business. This is the best time to use those tactics and avoid running behind banks that won’t lend you money.

If you look around, you will find lot of opportunities

despite the downturn. What are the opportunities you spotted?

Six Ways You Can Survive and Even Thrive During Wall Street Meltdown

Picture credits: Azrainman Koshyk Derbokon

(part-2) Building Trust with Your Customers Helps You Reach Your Goals Faster-2

(part-2) Building Trust with Your Customers Helps You Reach Your Goals Faster-2In the previous post, (Building Trust with Your Customers Helps You Reach Your Goals Faster-1), I talked about benefits of building trust.

Elements of trust

Everyone wants to be trusted – especially sales persons and consultants. You want your customer to come and listen to you. However, not many achieve in being trusted. I was amazed when I read a book called “Trusted Advisor” (affiliate link – p2w2 gets paid if you buy), I realized that there is a pattern of behavior that helps generate more trust in your relationships.
If you look at page 4 (using “look inside” feature of Amazon) you will see “traits that our trusted advisors have in common.” In that, I like the following:

– They are consistent (we can depend on them)
– Help us think things through (we make the decision, they don’t force their recommendation on us)
– They stay calm
– Are reliably on our side and always seem to have our interests at heart
– We can rely on them to tell us the truth

Who do YOU trust?

(part-2) Building Trust with Your Customers Helps You Reach Your Goals Faster-2

Take for example, a car dealer. Which dealer do you trust? It’s likely that you the person:
• Is pleasant and polite to you
Asked for your needs and heard you patiently
Empathized with your need
Respected your time and attended to you promptly
Understood your need
• Gave all the options you have
• Let you make the decision
Follow up and deliver on all the promises

Trust is a natural outcome when they know that you keep their interests in mind.

Trust gets generated from experience; not testimonials

No matter how good a marketing material you can generate, it can never generate trust. At best, a customer can try you. But she will start trusting you only after trying out your product or service and after she is satisfied.

Before we close…

Log on to Trust Quotient self-assessment quiz. I recommend this quiz because that tells you where you stand on the trust question. Here are some of

the questions it asks (you have to select between Never, Rarely, Often, Almost Always and Always):

1. My word is my bond (I keep and deliver on my promises; I see keeping my word as a matter of personal integrity)
2. I work to make sure there are no surprises when I’m around
3. People tell me me I’m honest and open
4. I am consistent and predictable
5. People confide in me (they tell me things they often don’t tell others)

You might actually learn many traits that you love and give you ideas to enhance others’ trust in you.

This quiz computes your trust quotient (TQ). With this quiz you can do your own assessment of your credibility, reliability, intimacy, and self-orientation. The quiz, based on the work of Charles H. Green, who defines TQ as:
(part-2) Building Trust with Your Customers Helps You Reach Your Goals Faster-2


TQ = Trust Quotient (trustworthiness)
C = Credibility
R = Reliability
I = Intimacy
S = Self-orientation

Remember that can be a fabulous economic strategy—the strategy for our times.
But if your only reason for winning trust is to make money off others, nobody is going to trust you.
That’s the paradox of this trust thingy.
If you’d like to know more about the “T’ Factor in a business relationship, I would recommend that you begin by reading by David H. Maister and Charles H. Green’s Trusted Advisor.

About the author: Chaitanya Sagar is an expert in small businesses and is the CEO of, an online marketplace for services like writing, business consulting, research, software, online-tutoring etc. You can find good service providers and collaborate with them on p2w2.

(part-2) Building Trust with Your Customers Helps You Reach Your Goals Faster-2

Picture credits: Mijita Janielianne hbp_pix