7 Ways to Experience Warmth This Holiday Sales Season

Feeling a little glum this holiday season? Many people do. Psychologists tell us that their client business really picks up around this time of year. Why is that? Are not the holidays designed to bring out the best in people? Do they really? Many people are lonely, even in a crowd, feeling isolated and apart from caring family and friends. Quite possibly, they feel that no one really cares or even cares enough to listen.

While these issues may vary as far and wide as the individuals in question, there is a common thread among all of us. That thread is purpose . In his huge best-seller, A Purpose Driven Life , Rick Warren outlines the case for purpose and answers the question "What on Earth am I here for?" Purpose make all of the difference and can supersede any circumstances as long as we do not allow ourselves to wallow in self-pity or selfishness.

Many salespeople experience a flood of negative emotions during the holidays. retailers notice both an increase in hostility and a decrease in patience and manners among customers. Field salespeople, often already excluded from their co-workers, often experience a discouraging slowdown in business and the customer's desire to put off purchasing decisions until after the first of the new year. Furthermore, these salespeople often are on the front lines of poor human behavior, sometimes falling victim to the wrath of an angry customer.

I submit to you that this Christmas season can be different and wonderful for you. You can make a real difference in your own life and affect countless others in the process. How? Simply do something positive for another human being without any expectation of payback or benefit to yourself. Start with the following:

1. Give of yourself.

2. Be a friend.

3. Lend an ear.

4. Provide a shoulder.

5. Pick someone else up.

6. Offer encouragement.

7. Smile

Did you note that none of these were financial or involved material things in any way? The truly important things in life seldom are. Remember, what comes around, goes around. We do reap what we sow.

So today, help out at your local soup kitchen, Salvation Army or faith-based facility. Invite a college student or military person with now to go over to your home for Christmas dinner. Look for opportunities to provide little services for others, often going unnoticed. In so doing, you will warm up and discover joy and purpose, leading to fulfillment and happiness this Holiday Season.

Try these seven activities and see for yourself. When January, 2008 arrives, you will be more than ready, emotionally charged, changed and expectant of a banner year.

Frequently Asked Questions About Trade Show Fabric Graphics

If you have attended a trade show, convention, or event in the past four years, you have seen large, colorful fabric graphics. Fabric graphics have become the standard for most large format images. They are lightweight, vibrant, and durable, and are the perfect medium for trade shows, where every exhibitor wants minimal weight but still wants to make a big splash.

The options can be a bit overwhelming and getting more varied all the time. But for most of us, fabric graphics can be lumped into two categories: tension fabric or pillowcase graphics. The following is a convenient FAQ to get you quickly up to speed.

What is a tension fabric graphic?

Tension fabric graphics attach to a frame so the fabric is taut edge-to-edge, creating "tension." Typically, the graphic has Velcro hook sewn along the border, usually top and bottom, and attaches to Velcro loop on the frame.

What is a pillowcase fabric graphic?

Think of a printed pillowcase with zippers. A pillowcase graphic wraps around a frame structure and the inner and outer sections zip together along the least obvious edge. This creates a tailor fit. Almost all hanging sign structures are wrapped in pillowcase fabric graphics.

How does a tension fabric graphic differ from a pillowcase fabric graphic?

Tension fabric graphics attach to the frame, leaving the frame exposed. The fabric is held taut by attaching it to the frame using Velcro. Pillowcase graphics slip over the frame and hide the frame structure. The fabric is secured by a zipper (s).

What are the benefits of fabric graphics vs. traditional first surface graphics?

  • Flexibility . An array of fabric options and finishing exists. Fabric graphics can be adapted to just about any hardware
  • Storage and Shipping . Fabric is lighter than many other graphics. Fold your graphics neatly when in storage and take up much less space.
  • Care . Fabric graphics can be washed and steamed and are just as durable and long lasting as traditional graphics.
  • Lightweight. Larger graphics weigh less, perfect for draping or creating space definition.
  • Cost . More image bang for the buck!
  • Green . There are the obvious transportation and storage benefits. Even more exciting is the growing list of fabric options created from recycled materials.
  • No Glare . Fabric is the perfect choice for media walls or any background that is photographed or filmed.
  • Versatility . Fabric can be applied to most display and hardware options and is perfect for skinning or covering displays or objects. Custom covers can be created to drape over objects, wrap, or completely pillowcase them!

Do fabric graphics offer the same color saturation, vibrancy, definition, and overall image quality as other graphics?

Fabric not only matches other graphic options, it often excludes it. Dye sublimation equipment is more advanced than ever offering near continuous tone (limited by the texture of the material you choose) and exceptional detail created from high dpi outputs and sophisticated image patterns. Color is permanently dyed into the fabric creating a deep saturated image.

How do tension fabric graphics attach or hang on the frame?

Tension graphics will typically have Velcro sewn into the perimeter, although there are other options such as a pole pocket connection with a spline or a silicon edge. The finish used is dependent on the frame system requirements and or customer preference.

How do pillowcase fabric graphics attach or hang on the frame?

Pillowcase graphics are sewn a seam along the bottom edge of the frame to attach the inner and outer sides of the pillowcase. The top has zippers to secure the two sides with slots made to accommodate eye-bolt or hanging hardware. Depending on the size and shape of the frame, vertical zippers may also be necessary. The seams are sewn to the inside of the pillowcase to create a smooth, fitted finish.

What is the maximum size of a seamless tension graphic? Are there limitations to the maximum print width?

The maximum size depends on the fabric and printing process. In general, the maximum width varies from 118 "to 58" depending on the process.

What is the maximum size of a seamless pillowcase graphic? Are there limitations to the maximum print width?

All pillowcase graphics have seams, usually just at the top and bottom of the structure. However, some frames are too large to cover without a seam. Frames such as a tapered circle need to be pieced because the shape of the print is an arc, making it too large to print in one piece.

How should tension fabric graphics and pillowcase graphics be cared for?

It is recommended that graphics be zipped up, folded, and stored in a bag. You may spot clean by wiping with a damp cloth. If it is necessary to wash the graphic and it is small enough, use a commercial size front-loading washing machine. Wash on the gentle cycle, with cool water. It is VERY important that the graphic be ZIPPED during washing. Dry cleaning is not recommended.

To limit getting the graphic dirty during installation, keep the set-up area clean by using a drop cloth and wash your hands prior to set up. You may want to consider purchasing inexpensive white cotton gloves. Weaving the gloves while handling the graphic will minimize the transfer of dirt and oils to your graphic.

What is the preferred file set up for tension graphics and pillowcase graphics?

Files should be set up with at least 1 inch of bleed on all sides and marked with guides or crop marks to indicate art area versus bleed. The best file formats are Photoshop layered files, InDesign, Illustrator, or Quark documents. Files need to be set up as close to 100 percent as possible with a minimum resolution of 100 dots per inch.

Other things to consider are the live area, the diameter of the frames poles, and borders. If your critical art is too close to the edge of the frame, it may disappear as the graphic bends around the frame. Try to keep critical information 3 to 5 inches from the edge and either make borders wider or do not use borders.

How Do Chef Schools Work?

Culinary schools give aspiring chefs their best shot at making it to the big time, especially those admitted by the American Culinary Federation. Just like any other profession, many of the better hospitality establishments base their hiring practices not only upon the length of education the applicant provides, but also where that education was obtained. Tuition runs the gamut from relatively inexpensive courses offered by local community colleges all the way to the Culinary Institute of America's breathtaking $ 40,000 price tag. And what does not tuition cover? Oh, just uniforms, textbooks, cutlery, and other necessary kitchen equipment.

Curriculum different from school to school, but most of the culinary student's time is consumed in learning the ins and outs of cooking by actually doing it under close supervision. Participants not only prepare food, but also learn how to plan menus, minimize food costs, buy food and supplies in quantities, and how to appropriately choose and store food. Learning proper hygiene and local public health rules also play a large part in a culinary student's education.

Classes are sometimes offered all day, taking a complete eight hours, while at some schools, classes are broken into morning and afternoon sessions. There are usually lectures, and then demonstrations followed by hands-on practice time with students applying the techniques demonstrated earlier. Some schools even offer part-time professional classes to accomodate working cooks wanting to increase their formal education.

A number of educational seminars are available, among them:

The American Academy of Chefs Chair's Scholarship – Ten $ 1,000 scholarships awarded each year

The American Academy of Chefs Chaine des Rotisseurs Scholarship – Twenty $ 1,000 scholarships awarded annually

National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) – Three annual $ 2,000 scholarships for high school seniors and undergraduate students

Because years of training and experience are needed to reach the level of executive chef in most well-paying restaurants, many students are serious about this profession beginning their training in high school through voluntary programs, then go on to a two- or four-year college or university. Apprenticeship programs offer more training afterward, and these come from individual eating establishments and are given by a personal mentor or from professional institutions and associations such as the American Culinary Federation.

Apprenticeship lasts usually about three years and is most often known as the years of "grunt work" – doing all the chopping, grating, peeling, slicing, and washing necessary to prepare the ingredients for the chefs. Even cleaning appliances, sweeping and mopping floors, and other seemingly unaffiliated "chef" work gets done by the apprentice as part of his or her learning experience. Often this "trial-by-fire" period separates the truly devoted caf├ęs-to-be from those who are merely good cooks.

It is not impossible to attain the status of executive chef without the benefit of formal education, but in today's job market, most establishments (especially the finer hotels and restaurants) now require some type of certification to work in this capacity. Like a degree of any sort, formal training in the culinary arts may not mean you are another Julia Child or Paul Prudhomme, but it does at least signify that you've got what it takes to get through the school. So stop trying to think of ways to take shortcuts, get your tuition together, and go learn what you need to attain your dream!

What Can You Do When Your Mind Refuses To Write Your Sales Letter?

You need to write a sales letter but you can not find the words, the harder you try the less comes to mind. In the end you're left miserably staring at a blank piece of paper – What can you do?

Many people have told me that they face this kind of problem when it comes to writing their sales letter. No matter how hard they try and think about writing their letter they just can not seem to get things moving.

It's really frustrating and can happen to us all from time to time but there's a great way to get those ideas flowing and break out from the mental blocks. Let me ask you something first though …

Do you know your product?

I mean really know your product.

You see in order to be able to sell something you really have to know it in intimate detail. For instance how can you sell the benefits of Liposuction without you are a woman who's actually been through the process?

What do you know about it apart from heresay? You do not know whether there's any pain involved or whether there's a special diet you need to eat afterwards.

Do you know what feeling there is immediately after the operation? Do you look into the mirror and see the hour glass figure you were dreaming about before you went for the op, if not how do you feel deep down?

Are there feelings of anger and dismay or is there a deep sense of ecstasy as you look out and see the real you that was hiding inside that tired old body all the time?

Only someone who has really experienced those first fearful glances can honestly tell this with an emotion that rings true.

This is why you have to know every little thing that you can about your product before you sit down and try to write your sales letter.

Knowing and loving your product gives you the burning passion to tell all the world about it and is the first step in overcoming the dreaded blank screen that so many sit in front of for hours on end, unfortunately trying to write their sales letter.

So the first thing you need to do is to get hold of your product and fall in love with it – that means you actually have to go and buy, borrow or test drive it.

Look, you're going to be writing a story form your heart telling me exactly why I should buy your product from you. If you do not know and love it how can you in all truth and honesty tell me to buy it?

Ok, go and get your product, take it in your hands and start to use it. If it's a book read it, if it's a car drive it – Do whatever you have to do to get to know your product in the most minute detail.

Next list the reasons why it'll help me in my life – Will it help me make more money or will it help me get from A – B more quickly and in greater comfort?

How heavy is it? Is it easy to use? Does it have any weaknesses?

List everything down the good and the bad.

You need to understand why and how I will benefit from it, also why I should buy it from you instead of from somebody else.

An easy way to do this is by brainstorming.

The way you do this is to take a blank piece of paper and draw a small cicle in the middle, write your product's name in the middle of the circle.

Now it's time for you to get the magic going!

Look at the name of your product and write the very first thing that comes into your mind down on the paper.

Draw a line radiating out from the circle and write your thought at the end of that line.

Do not think or worry about spellling, just write. As Soon as you've finished writing one thought another will be there, draw another line and write that thought down also.

Soon you'll have so many thoughts hitting you that you will not be able to keep up – Just keep on going until you have nothing left inside your head.

This is such a stimulating exercise that it'll often leave you panting for breath!

Once you've finished all you need to do is look at what you've written and make a list of all the great ideas you have. List them in order of importance.

Now you have the outline for your letter.

Use the most important reason on the list, the main reason why I should buy your product (this is the largest benefit of your product) and turn this into a sensational headline.

Allow the ideas on the list to flow into your sales letter using sub-headlines when you need to emphasize a point, soon your letter will have almost written itself.

Finally, when you write your letter remember to only write it to one person at a time – make it personal!

That's it for now, go and grab your product, fall in love with it and start to list the reasons why I should buy it.

Go on do it Now!

Copyright 2006 Stuart Elliott