Autumn colors show how to end a season. I spent
the month of October devising endings for presentations. See News
Headlines for a link to the best three speech closings I came up
with. One led to two sold-out booksignings, another to a mini standing
ovation. Mostly, though, they led to follow-on bookings.
Yes, this issue of the newsletter is a tad (!) late, mainly because
of the intense schedule of travel and appearances we had in early
November. The good news is that, as a result, book sales remain
The Amazon top-500 author of No
Buy the book on: Amazon.com
or read sample
Got To Be Kidding
Can you imagine naming your organization the Department of
Justice? Whoa. Any organization capable of such presumption surely
could rise to other equally breathtaking acts. One need only watch
and wait. In October, folks who’d been watching and waiting
saw the Justice Department respond to a Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA) request by posting to its web site a report on internal workplace
diversity. Vast portions of the text had been blacked out, to hide
information the department did not want released.
Several days later, as Kevin Poulsen of SecurityFocus reported
in The Register, the full report--minus the opaque black rectangles--appeared
on another web site. “It turns out the report began its life
as a Microsoft Word document, and whoever was in charge of sanitizing
it for public release did so by using Word’s highlight tool,
with the highlight color set to black.” That Word document
was then posted in Adobe's Portable Document File (PDF) format.
Apparently the department presumed curious citizens could not crack
the PDF file open and tinker with the blacked-out text. Bad presumption.
Turns out such reverse engineering is not only possible, it’s
easy, if you know what you’re doing, which explains the department’s
gaffe. Turns out also that department sanitizers appear to have
gotten carried away with their black highlighter and excised far
more than they were allowed by law to withhold, such as the fact
that department attorneys perceive racial harassment to be a problem.
A Justice Department spokesman tried to comment on the story, but
his words were muffled by black tape over his mouth.
Got To Be Kidding Archives
This month’s clue is illustrated by the difference between
hate and heat or ate and eat. That is, the meaning derives from
where the letters are placed within the word. Clues from earlier
newsletter tell you exactly where the letters have been placed.
Wow, this is a huge clue. Time for a winner to step forward and
claim the $1,000. As always, remember that this is a game of skill
and no purchase is necessary.
Travels and speeches dominated the month of October, with major
talks in Charlotte, Tampa, and Arlington. The University of North
Carolina at Charlotte became a most-favored school by its purchase
of 250 copies of No Outward Sign. The Tampa chapter of the Armed
Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) became
the first crowd in which, after my talk, a group actually leaped
to its feet in standing ovation. Okay, only a dozen out of 166 participated
in the leap, but that’s a start. In Arlington I chaired a
two-day conference on cyberterrorism, after which the conference
organizer wrote that, based on feedback from the evaluation forms,
“this conference scored the highest of all my conferences…
I would recommend you as a chair and a speaker to anyone.”
All nice results.
Since speeches have been my best marketing tool, I’ve spent
a lot of time crafting them and have learned much in the process.
Most of my efforts have focused on the speech closing. For the benefit
of others, I’ve prepared a guide on how
to end a speech. It includes the three most effective speech
closings I’ve used recently.
The newest addition to our promotion material is a life-size
cutout of me, suitable for placement at a bookstore entrance.
The idea is to delude people into thinking the store has been blessed
with a visitation from someone of galactic importance. Our plan
is to install the two-dimensional creature a week in advance with
a sign announcing the grand date. For the actual occasion of my
visit, we have a sign
that reads, “Here Today Only! Author Bill Neugent.”
Other new promotional items are a terrific series of bookmarks
and a set of Signed
By Author stickers, all designed by Jill.
For those of you considering your own life-size cutout, be aware
of the effect such a thing might have on pets. Our cat Pippin is
terrified of the looming presence and won’t go near it. In
fact, he behaves toward it the same way he behaves toward me when
I put on a hat and thus become a horrible monster.
When I’m on the road, I have this hang-up of dining in the
hotel restaurant. The food may not be as good as at a real restaurant,
but I give points for convenience. It is because of this quirk that
I found myself in the Windham Westshore hotel in Tampa dining at
a restaurant in which the menu was written on a football. Really.
In retrospect, I’ve decided to list menu-on-a-football as
one of the restaurant warning signs.
Okay, now I do want to be positive in my restaurant reviews, so
let me say that Shula’s
Steakhouse is positively the place to dine if you are writing
a non-fiction book entitled How To Become Fat, especially if you’d
like to include a chapter on How To Become Fat In Just One Meal.
Shula’s is the kind of place where an appetizer would feed
all of Hollywood for a week. I am happy to say that I did not join
the 23,000 men and women who ate their way to membership
in Shula’s 48 Oz. Club™. To join the club, you have
to eat almost an entire cow at one sitting. If you accomplish that,
you get a free picture of Coach Shula and your name is listed on
the restaurant’s web site. You also receive the honor of qualifying
to pay $120 for a football personalized by Coach Shula and containing
your name and picture. One member, Taft Parker, has eaten over a
hundred 48-oz. steaks. If you’re thinking of going up against
his record, I suggest first you go to the restaurant web site and
check out his picture.
Need a speaker? Find out why my cyberterrorism talk googles in first
place in response to “cyberterrorism speaker” or “cybersecurity
speaker.” The talk is Cyberterrorism;
We’re Toast. John Bumgarner of Charlotte, NC, called it
“the most entertaining presentation I have ever attended.”
Patrick Murphy of Arlington, VA, said, “fantastic brief...I
cannot recall when I have been so entertained and informed at the
The talk is in great demand and increasingly is being
accompanied by large-scale book buys. So far, eight groups have
bought or committed to buy 1,000 copies to hand out in association
with the talk, and several other groups are considering purchases.
Do you know of a group that might benefit from this opportunity?
Enjoying this newsletter and wish there were more to read? Try
the novel. Several people have likened the writing style to that
of Robert Ludlum.
No Outward Sign
© 2003 Bill Neugent, All rights reserved.
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