How to Hammer-On and What This Means

Hammering-on, as opposed to plucking each individual note while playing a guitar solo, is an important technique to understand if your progressions are to flow smoothly. Think of it as the difference between floating on top of the water on a day when the seas are rough versus a day when they are calm. You would much rather float on the water when the seas are calm lest the choppiness of the waves muddy up your experience. Hammering on, likewise, prevents choppiness in your sound. The best part is that learning how to do it effectively is not so difficult.

You should begin hammering on by playing a scale – say, the pentatonic scale in the first position, key of "G." If you're accustomed to plucking each individual note up and down the fingerboard, instead pluck the first note in the scale and place your finger in the position of the next note in the scale (this should be on the same string) without actually plucking the second note. So, you have played each of the two notes only having actually plucked the string one time. This is called hammering-on because your finger comes down hard like a hammer and presses down enough for the note to be heard without actually plucking it. To practice, try doing this with every other note in your pentatonic scale. On each string, you should pluck the first note and follow it up by hammering-on the second note as opposed to plucking the string again.

Hammering-on is beneficial to your playing because it eliminates the choppy sound of continuously-plucked notes, providing greater fluidity to the sound of any progression. Furthermore, it allows you to play faster than before since you're not having to move your picking-hand into position so often. Hammering-on is how some of the world's greatest guitar players are able to achieve the quickness they demonstrate each time they play a solo.

As for using using hammer-ons within your own progressions, wait until you're comfortable using the technique in scales. Thankfully, this is one of the least difficult skills to master, and after an adequate number of hours spent practicing it, you should be hammering-on like a pro. In your original songs and melodies, you will quickly notice how much smoother your solos are sounding and how much more quickly you're able to play them.

It's also worth noting that the hammer-on technique is often learned in tandem with the pull-off technique. Pulling-off, however, involves plucking an individual note and then removing the finger used to play that note from the fingerboard so that another note is heard without having to pluck the string again. Like a hammer-on, a pull-off makes the sound of your guitar solos smoother and improves speed. When practicing scales with a hammer-on, it may be useful to hammer-on while moving up the scale and to pull-off on every other note while moving back down the scale. Learning each technique at the same time will greatly advance your playing proficiency, particularly when it comes to picking.

Kids Crafts – Thanksgiving Mosaic

Many of the world's great civilizations used mosaic art to depict important images in special places. During my travels to Italy in college, we visited Venice. The cathedral there had a dome over the alter that beautifully depicted religious scenes and icons in mosaic tile. While we can not create something of that scale with our kids, we can help them to see the beauty in mosaic art and gain an understanding of the effort that went into these great works.

Here's what you need:
– Tempera, craft, or poster paint (fall colors)
– Pumpkin seeds or dried beans
– Glue
– Card Stock or poster board
– Small disposable dish and disposable fork

Here's what we did:

1. We used dried red beans (because we had them in the house). However, any dried bean will work. A variety of beans can be used unpainted, or one type of bean painted for color. We painted ours with craft paint. I squirted some paint into the bottom of a disposable bowl, poured in the beans, and let the kids use a disposable fork to stir and mix the beans into the paint until they were all coated in paint. We did not get a perfect coating on all the beans, but we decided this would make our mosaic more interesting. We spread the painted beans out on a sheet of paper to dry, making sure that no two beans were touching while drying.

2. While our paint was drying, we took a 9 x 12 inch sheet of card stock. (This was actually part of the packaging from one of the kids' Halloween costumes.) We cut it into fourths. My son and daughter each drew a fall / Thanksgiving picture. My son drew the Mayflower, and my daughter a leaf. I drew them a turkey and a pilgrim hat on the remaining two fourths.

3. Once our beans were dry, we pulled them off the paper where they were drying. Then we squirted glue onto our pictures, in small sections. Carefully placing colored beans onto the glued sections, we proceeded to finish our mosaics.

4. Once all the beans were glued into place, we let our pieces dry.

A Few Quick Tips:

1. If your kids are really young, you may want to use bigger beans like lima beans or butter beans. These will be easier for little fingers and will cover a larger space more quickly.

2. Remember that your drawings will be colored in with small objects and these will restrict the detail possible. Remind your children of this when they are drawing their pictures so that they can use large, generalized shapes as opposed to very detailed line drawings.

3. Begin your mosaic with the most important item. For example, on our pilgrim hat, we began with the top of the hat. I squirted glue onto the top portion that was going to be black and we filled that in. Then we did the gold buckle. Following that the red stripe, then the brim.

4. If your kids are getting tired, or you fear that their patience will not last to completion of the project, you can remind them that they can space their pieces out a little. Again, on our pilgrim hat, the beans are very close on the hat, but spread out some on the background.

As always, there are limitless variations possible. You can do this project again and again. Change theme, do a Christmas one. Change materials, try pebbles, beads, buttons, tiles. You're only limiting factor is your imagination. So use your imagination, and have fun!

How to Re-deck the Pontoon With New Carpeting

When my husband and I purchased a 1998 Fisher pontoon boat for what we thought was a steal, one of the first things we needed to do is replace the dry-rotted carpet. The pontoon had been sitting in the sun for ten years and the carpet was torn and had areas of dry-rot. As soon as the boat season was over my husband started tearing down the pontoon. Here is what we did to bring an old pontoon back to life.

Materials that could be needed for this project: camera, paper & marker, zip-loc bags, treated plywood to cover the deck, stainless steel hardware, carpeting (marine or indoor/outdoor), power drill, cordless screwdriver, carpet glue, paint roller or trowel, floor roller or rolling pin, sharp scraper, sandpaper, clamps, stainless steel staples & a stapler,

Step 1

Take pictures of your pontoon so that you have a visual memory of where things go. Use zip lock bags and labels to keep track of all the hardware. Disconnect all the wiring to the console and labeled it to be sure that you will be able to re-connect everything properly.

Step 2

Draw a diagram of the deck and include precise measurements. Then go back and measure again to be sure you have it all right.

Step 3

Check all the under deck wiring and the hardware to make sure that everything is tight. Be sure to pay special attention to the fittings in the transom area where most loose bolts are found.

Step 4

Remove the furniture, railings and the edge cap.

Step 5

If the deck is questionable, tear it out and replace it with. This material is a chemically-treated wood that excels in weathering harsh marine conditions and has an incredibly long lifespan. Lay all the new sheets of treated plywood on top of the old plywood to mark all the areas that need to be cut, marked, or drilled. Then remove the old plywood. Place the new plywood on the cross members. Install the fasteners on the cross members where the wood is not butted together. Use at least three fasteners on the entire cross members.

Step 6

Roll out the carpet on your clean deck to insure that you have enough to cover the deck, and then put it somewhere handy until it is needed. If the carpet came on a heavy duty cardboard roll, save it for later to use as a roller. The color of your carpet is a very important detail to consider. Remember that dark colors attract and hold the heat. Light colors will get dirty faster but they will not require you to wear your shoes because the carpet is too hot to walk on.

Step 7

If your plywood is still in good condition, you will need to remove the old carpeting. Use a sharp knife and cut the carpet in strips at the deck joints and pull the strips up by hand. There’s a good chance that some bits of carpet backing or other residue will be left over and you don’t want lumps in your new carpet, so use a sharp instrument and scrape off as much of this stuff as possible. Some bits might stubbornly refuse to come off with a knife, so you may want to use a heat gun and a scraper to remove the residue. In extreme cases, you might have to sand off the residue with sandpaper or even a belt sander.

Step 8

Use a paint roller to apply a liberal amount of glue on the deck. Two gallons of glue are recommended for a 16 foot deck. Allow the water to “flash out” of the glue before applying the carpet.

Step 9

When the glue is tacky to the touch but before it turns clear, apply the carpet. This should be done when the temperature ranges above 60° F and when the humidity is not too high. The cooler the temperatures (and the higher the humidity), the longer it will take for the glue to dry. It is suggested that you have the deck out of the elements and you wait at least 24 hours even when all the conditions are optimal.

Step 10

Lay the carpet down in the rear first. Roll out the carpet flush with the edge. Keep it tight and straight. Work out the wrinkles with your hands by pulling the carpet toward the front and sides. An efficient way to install the carpeting is to lay the carpet down all at once, fold one half of the carpet back, and apply the glue while paying special attention to coat the edges. Then, lay the glued half down and use a roller to smooth out any air bubbles. Repeat this process on the second half of the carpet. The glue should dry in an hour or so.

Step 11

Staple the carpet along the rear with stainless steel staples

Step 12

Using a floor roller, rolling pin, or even the cardboard tubing the carpet came on, roll the carpet to ensure that the carpet is in contact with the plywood.

Step 13

Staple the rest of the edges and trim any excess carpet. Install the edge cap first. Set the entire rail on the deck and align it in position. Use clamps to keep it in place. Some people suggest that you use all new stainless steel hardware. In our case we were able to re-use the hardware that we removed.

Step 14

Pull out the pictures to use to re-install the hardware. Start with the edge cap then place the railing back in its proper location. Clamp the railings in place. Set all furniture on the deck and fasten it down using stainless steel fasteners with fender washers.

Step 15

Re-install the steering, throttle, and shift cables. Re-inspect the pontoon’s steering by turning the steering left and right prior to the next launch to insure a safe maiden voyage in your almost new pontoon.

Step 16

Now it is time to protect your almost new pontoon with the purchase of a low cost, 4 or 5 year warranty pontoon cover. This cover should eliminate the extra cleaning needed after the last rain storm or the seagull’s last fly-over and it will sustain the look of your new carpet for a reasonable length of time instead of showing the rapid deterioration of the carpet that has been left out in the sun for long periods of time.

Painting and Decorating – 6 Surefire Ways to Make Maximum Profits As a House Painter

Here are six surefire ways to make 2-3 times as much per hour in the painting and decorating business. Each of these techniques could make you $30-$70 per hour or more.

1. Spray Painting – if you do a lot of decks, exterior painting, commercial jobs and/or would like to get into new construction painting and want to turn your jobs faster to make more per hour, consider renting or buying an airless paint sprayer.

Because these sprayers are airless you get very little over-spray to worry about. Even painting indoors is safer because with an airless sprayer you don’t get a room full of spray fumes.

If you get jobs that work well using a spray system, you can bid the job as you normally would but get it done in “days” not weeks or “hours” not days, etc.

You cannot spray in people’s homes of course. But if you have a large commercial re-paint with lots of interior wall space you could use a power roller attachment for faster results. For spray painting exterior you will have to mask off surfaces here and there and cover a few shrubs but once that’s done you can go with the flow.

2. Get Help – hiring employees and sub-contractors can be profitable. It’s called “leveraging your time” because you use the power of others to multiply your hours of service worked.

There are a lot of good quality painters out there that just want a job. While you do the estimates and line up the work they (your employees or subs) do the painting and you make part of the profit per painter.

Each painter could be making you an extra $10 per hour or more. Ten painters times $10 equals a $100 per hour. That could work out to an extra $700 or $800 per day just for you. Simply multiply that for each painter you employ and you will be highly motivated to keep doing estimates.

3. Drywall Repair – you can make great money repairing damaged drywall and plaster caused from leaks, vandalism, house settling, etc. There is even texture jobs for ceilings and walls to get.

Everyone “thinks” they know how to paint right? But when it comes to doing simple drywall or plaster repairs they go running home to mommy every time. And even if they do attempt to do it themselves it never works out for them because they don’t know the simple basics that make drywall repair look good.

It has always been easy for me to get $30 – $70 per hour doing drywall and plaster repairs. I may spend a couple hours one day tearing out and patching in new material and another 3 or 4 hours the next day finishing the job. I can walk away with $350 for a total of seven hours of work and I spent very little in materials cost.

So it is always pure profit minus maybe $15 or $20 for materials. Drywall and plaster repair is an easy business once you know a few tricks-of-the trade.

4. Faux Painting – there are 4 basic faux painting designs or finishes that are popular and that you can master fairly quickly and make great money for starters. And you will soon be creating new and exciting patterns as well. Get good at this trade and make some great money because people don’t know how to do it and the ones who do many times make it a disaster.

You can get faux painting jobs doing bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, dinning and living rooms, accent walls, etc. There are customers in all price ranges. Even multi-million dollar homes have beautiful faux painting done in them.

5. Star Mural Painting – here is a type of painting that will make you an “illusionist”. As you get good at creating the night sky or outer space themes on ceilings and walls you will be making it look like the room has literally disappeared before their eyes and they are looking up into the night sky. You will soon be well known and sought after for your mysterious painting art.

It is truly a beautiful type of painting when you actually see one of these for the first time. Colors come alive in the dark. You can do bedrooms, game rooms, hotels, motels and basically everything that has a ceiling or walls.

6. One more way to make great money in the painting business is regular conventional mural painting. People have large walls done, ceilings done, large wall size canvasses, etc,

There are even sign painters that do sides of buildings and muralists do similar work. This type of painting can be easy because you “graph” out the wall after first planning the artwork out on graph paper. Again, everyone “thinks” they know how to paint but when you master any one or all of these above niche painting techniques the crowd goes running home to mommy!

The Advantages of the Crystal Chandelier Over Other Light Fixtures

Modern chandelier pieces have long been considered as the best lighting fixtures. This can be credited to their ability to integrate elegance and functionality. Their aesthetics encapsulate the meaning of sophistication and style, while their lighting capabilities could brighten up even the darkest of rooms. Chandelier fixtures have developed profoundly; once considered as mere candle holders, they have now emerged into grandiose series of lights that have revolutionized the look and feel of many homes and commercial establishments.

Among the chandelier types that we are aware of, the crystal chandelier is probably the most popular and often used. Contrary to the belief that this kind of chandelier is only for the rich, many middle class homes are now also fitted with this beautiful hanging furnishing because they could definitely add value to homes. The installation of such lighting fixtures is said to be the most ideal means to dramatically enhance not only the ceiling but most importantly the general appearance of a room. Aside from this however, there are still myriads of benefits that could be gained upon using them.

The very first perk that crystal chandelier could provide is credited to its aesthetics. Regarded as the most efficient hanging light fixture in relation to design, bulb arrangement and general accents, chandelier that has crystal ornaments easily establishes a convergence point inside a room that visitors could not simply overlook. These pieces could actually complement almost all kinds of interior themes, and greatly reflects the style preference of the homeowner since they come in a whole range of designs. Likewise, they are truly flexible furnishings that could adapt well to their surroundings even in the most unconventional ones like corporate offices.

Even though antique chandelier pieces constructed from wood and metal are truly long lasting, chandelier pieces made from crystal gems are also known for their durable quality. As crystal stones develop from molten rocks, they have properties that are very sturdy, demanding meticulous cutting methods in order to arrive at intricate designs and finishes. The appeal of crystal pieces do not wither and they could maintain their pristine look even under extreme conditions. Because they are hanged from the ceiling, you don’t have to worry about your crystal pieces chipping off or breaking into pieces.

Compared to other modern chandelier pieces that require extensive cleaning needs, chandelier fixtures with crystal accents are very easy to clean and maintain. Their cleaning requirements could be attended using the most conventional cleaning agents found at your home, and you just have to periodically dust them to avoid dirt build up. Chipped off crystal stones could be easily replaced as DIY shops as well as the store where you bought your chandelier offer crystal replacements. Electricity wise, crystal light fixtures are cost and energy efficient even with lower wattage because they could reflect and scatter light effectively and they make use of few light bulbs, thereby saving you money for your energy consumption.

Crystal light fixtures are also acknowledged for their health benefits. In the realms of Feng shui, it has been known that the strategic installation and use of modern chandelier pieces that hold crystal stones could help scatter positive energy that induces overall health wellness. Depending on the color of the crystal being used, different health benefits could be achieved; for instance, white crystal stones promote cleansing and purification, yellow crystal stones are said to regulate the functions of the nervous, digestive and immune systems, while light blue crystal stones could strengthen communication. Generally, crystal light fixtures provide different benefits in many aspects including aesthetics and health.

How to Clean Ostrich Leather Handbags

Ostrich is a soft and exquisite leather distinguished by its pattern of quill. It’s also one of the toughest, but most pliable of the exotic leathers. Full of natural oils, ostrich leather handbags have a high resistance to drying, cracking and stiffness. This is not a license to get careless with them, however. There are some specific guidelines that need to be followed in the care and cleaning of ostrich leather. When cared for properly, ostrich leather handbags can last a lifetime.

  • Ostrich leather handbags don’t require a lot of maintenance to keep them in good shape. But there are some things that you should avoid at all costs.
  • Don’t use any soaps or solvents on the leather. Ostrich leather doesn’t have a heavy finish like other exotic skins such as alligator or crocodile, so there isn’t much protecting it.
  • This is okay. The leather’s natural oils keep it soft and well conditioned. The oils from your hands will also help condition the leather, adding to its natural sheen. Ostrich leather handbags are known to improve in appearance over time.
  • It’s resiliency to drying and cracking protect it from the elements, but certain steps should be taken to prevent extended exposure to moisture and especially direct sunlight.
  • Because ostrich leather finishes are generally transparent, sunlight can cause the leather to fade over time.
  • Ideally, you’ll want to clean your purse at least bi-monthly.
  • To remove moisture, simply wipe off with a clean, dry cloth.
  • To remove stains, all you need to do is wipe it off using a clean, damp cotton cloth (not wet). Remove stains immediately so they don’t have time to set in.
  • Let the purse dry naturally, indoors. Don’t dry it in direct sunlight or with a hair dryer. If it got soaked in the rain, you can use a small fan. Be sure to wedge it open and turn it regularly so it dries evenly.
  • Don’t use any cleaners or conditioners for conventional leathers or other exotic leathers. We have heard of ostrich-specific products, but we haven’t tested any yet, so we can’t recommend them. We will be testing them in the future on our website.
  • For greasy stains, sprinkle a light layer of talcum powder onto the soiled area and let it sit for an hour. Brush it off using a clean, dry cloth. Don’t use brushes or paper as these can scratch the surface.
  • Ostrich leather should be stored in a cool, dry place when not in use.
  • It should also be covered in its box or dust bag to prevent dust from settling on its surface.
  • Don’t fold or stress the purse in any way. Allow it to rest naturally, with plenty of space and nothing sitting on top of it, pressing it under its weight.
  • Tuck the strap inside, especially if there’s a chain or hardware on it. This will prevent it from scratching the leather.
  • Simply protecting ostrich leather handbags from the elements, not allowing stains to set and wiping off dust periodically will keep them in great shape.

Every stylish woman should add an ostrich leather handbag to her collection. The soft, supple leather feels gorgeous to your touch and the delicate pattern of the quill follicles is incredibly chic. It confers an air of sophistication and quality and though more expensive than most other exotic skins, it’s an investment that really does last for years. Ostrich leather handbags have been known to become family heirlooms, being passed on from one generation to the next. Understanding and caring regularly for your purse can give you a lifetime of happy memories and add to your stylish image.

Panning For Gold

Panning for gold has always been a favorite method of recovering gold from the ground. There are many types of gold pans. There are bucket pans like the roto pan that I believe was an Australian invention that sits in the top of a five gallon bucket into which the materials are placed.

There is water in the bucket that comes up to the level of the bottom of the two piece device. The handles on the top side edges of the upper part of the pan are for gripping and rotating the pan side to side. This top part of the pan has a built in classifier screen in it to keep back the big stones and pieces of junk that may have been put into the pan with a shovel or scoop.

When the pan is rotated the smaller and finer materials pass through this screen and drop into the lower part of the device that catches it. If the material has gold in it the heavier gold stays in the lower part of the device and is kept there where the lighter materials get swirled off and drop into the bucket below.

The dry gold pan has no riffles but has a metal lip at the outer edge of the flat bottom of the pan that looks like a raised metal triangle with the widest part open like a lip. Dry panner’s are great for test panning in areas where you can carry little water and for quick testing areas where you just want to jump out of the vehicle and not deal with water. It is a quick pan to use and you do not need a classifier to use it.

You just put the material in the pan and slant the pan and material toward the triangular lip and shake the material side to side to make sure that all of the heavies are moved toward the triangle. Do this enough times to be sure the gold has gone south of the triangle. Then tip the pan backwards toward yourself and look for nuggets in the material coming back toward you in case they are too large to fit under the lip. You will not want to overload this pan and remember to remove the larger rocks and twigs.

The next step is to take a look at the material that is left in the triangular catchment area. You can suck the material out with a plastic pipette that looks like an eye dropper and examine the material more closely. Always have an eye loupe or pocket microscope with you to check for gold in the material. Some very rich mines remain to be discovered that have micron gold in them.

The next type of pan used in gold panning is the good old steel gold pan that the old timers used. It has been an old standby for many years. The design has been improved by modern miners many times over since the 1800″s. With computer design significant improvements have been made to it. Riffles have been added and wells and nugget traps have been added. These pans are available on line and in mining shops in gold country and are practically indestructible with modern plastics.

My favorite has a wide flat bottom with bumps in it to help separate the gold for you to see visually. It also has a design that allows you to not have to classify your materials and will allow you to catch very fine gold without losing it. One side of the pan has a lip that is slanted toward you as you pan off the lighter junk materials away from you. It also has a small riffle on a side of the pan for getting down to the last bit of black sands and gold without losing it. The other lip of the pan is slanted a bit outward toward you in case you want to scrape out the larger materials while not losing the material on the other side of the pan. This pan is the fastest and easiest pan I have ever used and its blue color allows me to see gold easily.

Gold pans have standard colors: black, green, and blue. I see gold better with blue but others see it better with green or black. Pans can be large for normal use or smaller for finishing or clean up. Many ladies like the smaller pans because they fit their hands better. Just remember to remove the larger rocks and twigs with your hands or a classifier screen first unless your pan was made to use without a classifier. Have fun folks and remember to be safe out there!

Chairs for the Elderly and Chair Lift

Lift chairs are used a lot by the aged people, the immobilized, and those who may find it difficult to sit or stand due to body pain. Using chair lifts may offer the mobility, comfortable posture, and more independence. HSL chairs tilt in the forward direction when the user desires to sit down or stand up. After getting seated, a push button helps to bring the chair back to the normal position. Lift chairs can also be clubbed with a recliner to move people up and down a staircase.

One needs to consider several things before buying chair lifts:

1. These chairs can be big size and occupy a lot of space. So, you should have adequate room in their homes, as well as access to a power socket, so that the power chair lifts can be plugged in for working.

2. Next, you will have to decide the appearance of your recliner – the color and covering to decorate the chair. A wheel chair can be fitted with a number of fabrics, and leather.

3. Depending on whether you are left or right-handed, you will want to choose a stair chair with a handheld controller on the appropriate side.

4. The price of popular chair lifts and wheelchair on depend on the lifts manufacturer which you choose. It may vary from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

A riser recliner chair or lift chair is a little piece of luxury your elderly family member deserves. This article explores some of the most significant attributes of recliner chairs and gives you the best update you require. Chairs for the elderly are a very important requirement in any household.

One with weak knees, ankles, waist, and other joints are usually the people who will get the real advantage out of these medical chairs. Moreover, old persons who have met with some kind of accident, or suffering from a chronic disease benefit a lot from these lift chairs.

Many of these chairs are made up of weather-proof material like stainless steel and wood. This increases the life of the chair because it can resist wear and tear.

The more complicated ones have safety switches and locks. They help the disabled in maintaining safety. There are many designs from which you can choose. This article gives you all the information on how to make that critical decision to choose your chair:

1. The Double-position lift chair

This chair can be reclined up to 45 degrees very easily at the touch of a switch. Also it can be stopped in any position between zero and 45 degrees.

2. The Triple-position recliner chair

This chair gives you a lot of power. It can be reclined till 90 degrees flat. One can get a good sleep in it if one feels like.

3. The Unlimited reclining chair

This seat can be reclined at any angle and level. It is equipped with a dedicated motor to operate it. It functions like a stair would in this scenario. This can be used as a shower chair with a seat for taking bath.

When one gets old it can be very difficult to move around. Chairs for the elderly help old people to do it with ease without taking much help from others, and once again enjoy the joys of a regular daily life.

You need to properly install the chair lifts because it is very important for the safety of the handicap. It is highly recommended that you allow a professional trained to install the chair do his work. You can also fit the chair lift yourself to save money. When you or your loved ones require help in getting from the ground floor to the top floor, they are the perfect option. It can be a great comfort, luxury and invaluable freedom for those who have difficulty sitting or standing.

4 Simple Steps to Building a Perfect Escalator – Not Elevator – Speech

The trouble with a classic elevator speech is that in tele-sales no one has the time or the inclination to hear what you have to say.

Communicating by phone is different than face to face where a suspect or a prospect will grant you a few more moments if only to be courteous. On the phone it is simple and easy for a prospect to terminate the call and that’s one of the main reasons why you need an escalator speech.

An escalator speech is an abbreviated version of an elevator speech and it is absolutely vital in the world of B to B tele-sales. Whereas an elevator speech is based on the premise that you present what you do over the time it takes to travel a few floors up an elevator, the escalator speech is based on the premise that you present what you do in the time it takes to travel only one floor.

Why Else You Need an Escalator Speech

Apart from the fact that the prospect can easily wriggle out of a phone conversation, you need an escalator speech because the average prospect can only absorb so much from an unsolicited call. Too often, tele-sales reps try to cover all the bases of what they do and, at best, this confuses the prospect with clutter and at worst, it overwhelms them.

A good escalator speech is short, simplified, succinct and laser-like. In effect, it imprints a single core message that is more likely to be remembered by your prospect. If you do this you’ll have creates a competitive edge.

How to Craft a Good Escalator Speech

Step #1: Identify Who You Work With

Define you target market. If you sell to engineers or single moms or small business owners or IT directors or high school educators or whoever, say that up front. This simple tip creates instant affinity. At a conscious or subconscious level your prospect understands that what you do relates personally to them.

What you DON’T want to do is say that you are a ‘sales rep,’ an investment advisor, a consultant, a business development rep, an account manager or whatever. That’s a title, not a description. Who cares and who remembers?

Step #2: Relate What You Do Well to a Problem or an Opportunity

Weave in a motivator. You must reference to a “pain” or “gain” or a problem or an opportunity that you can solve or help achieve. You need to pick at a scab, so to speak. This will get their heads to turn. You don’t have to heap it on; just make reference to the irritant or benefit.

Step #3: Use the WIDI or WWDI Template

Is order to bring absolute consistency in the delivery of your message (and to make it easier to learn) use one of these to phrase to help build your escalator speech:

WIDI – What I do is.
WWDI -What We do is.

Putting it all together here some simple examples:

“What I do is I work with engineers and architects who struggle to find the time to get their yearly accreditation.”

“What I do is I work with single moms who are worried about their retirement future.”

“What I do is I consult with chiropractors who are interested in growing the revenues and profitability of their practice.”

“What we do is work with small hardware stores who struggle to find affordable, every day products.”

“What I do is work with B to B distributors who struggle to use the phone to sell and market their products.”

“What we do is help hospitals manage product costs.”

Notice the brevity of each escalator speech. Sure you may do more. Heck, you may do a lot more! But no one is interested at the stage of the game. Play your strongest card. If you catch the client’s interest they’ll ask for additional information.

Step #4 Practice

You are tired of hearing it but practice DOES make perfect. Practicing will make the words flow. It will make the speech sound natural and relaxed. If you don’t practice you’ll be self conscious and you’ll stop using it.

Where to Use the Escalator Speech

You can use the escalator speech

– opening statements after you identify the name of your company
– as an introduction to your company in your presentation
– as a heading on your e-mails, letters or faxes
– on brochures
– on business cards
– at networking events
– virtually anywhere


Elevators speeches are important. An escalator speech can easily be expanded to an elevator speech when you are granted the time or the opportunity. Use the escalator when time is important but also when you want to make a single, memorable impact

Gun Safe Construction – Composite Vs Steel Plate

A gun vault is a specialized type of safe, configured for the storage of long guns. It’s use is not limited to firearms and related items. Other valuables may be stored in the safe along with your firearms.

In a previous article I identified some very basic questions you should ask yourself to help identify your needs before shopping for a gun vault. In this article I want to give you some pointers on what to look for in the construction of a gun safe that will help you pick a model that is both secure and affordable.

Keep in mind this adage, “You get what you pay for.” That statement is very true when it comes to picking a gun safe. Once you have established your needs and your budget, a little knowledge about safe construction will help you identify a safe that is both secure and affordable.

There are two primary types of materials used in the construction of gun vaults. First is solid rolled steel plate. Available in thicknesses ranging from ¼ inch to over 1 inch thick, steel plate can provide a high level of security from attempted intrusion. Efforts to gain entry via prying and drilling are extremely difficult on a safe made from hardened steel plate. The thicker the steel, the more time and effort is required to drill or cut through.

A safe made of heavy steel plate is just that – heavy. Weighing in at 700 – 1000 pounds such a safe isn’t likely to be carried off by a burglar, but is difficult for the owner to place and install and may require reinforced flooring. One down side to steel plate is that it is vulnerable to heat and may be easily breached with a cutting torch.

A solid steel safe will be heavy. It will feel heavy. Swing the door back and forth and you can feel the weight. A one inch thick composite door may only contain 25% of the steel that you find in a 3/8 inch solid steel door. That extra weight means extra security.

Composite is made up of sheets of thinner steel, layered much like plywood, and possibly other materials as well. Lower end composites may consist of plaster, foam, plastic, or organic material sandwiched between two layers of thin sheet metal. Very vulnerable to power tools, a low end safe may be cut open with a basic carpenters circular saw carrying a carbide tipped blade.

Higher end composites will layer more sheets of hardened steel and possibly fire retardant. A layer of stainless steel may be included as a barrier against a cutting torch. With a higher heat resistance than standard steel, stainless is nearly impervious to entry via torch.

When shopping for your gun safe don’t focus all of your attention on the interior. The security of the contents depends on the construction of the box itself. When it comes to securing your firearms and other valuables, you want the most steel that you can afford.

Look for my next article “Gun Vaults – Locks, Bolts and Accessories”

No Hot Water – No Problem, Fix it Yourself!

Your water heater is one of the single most expensive components of your plumbing system. It costs a lot of money to buy it and it costs more money to operate it. If your water heater isn’t working properly it can make your life miserable. Unless you really like cold showers it is a big deal when your water heater has problems.

When To Call A Plumber

This is a good time to talk a little about when it is appropriate for you to fix things yourself and when you should probably go ahead and call a plumber. Water heater problems are a good example of when this choice is important.

If you water heater itself is leaking, as opposed to the piping connected to it leaking, this probably means that it needs to be replaced. It is virtually impossible to repair a leaking hot water heater. If you can’t confidently say you know how to install a water heater you really need to use caution.

A water heater replacement raises a lot of safety concerns and there are some fairly technical skills needed to do the job right. It is usually better to call a licensed plumber if yours needs replacing. Licensed plumbers know how to install a gas water heater without creating a potentially dangerous situation (and how to install electric water heater without getting electrocuted in the process).

You Can Do It!

On the other hand, if you have a non-leaking water heater and no hot water, you can often correct that yourself without calling a plumber. You don’t need any really technical skills to learn to troubleshoot water heaters, just a little common sense and patience.

The first good news is that, although the trend is toward more economical water heaters, the basic operation and controls haven’t changed much over the years. So some basic knowledge will allow you to troubleshoot water heaters of almost any age or manufacturer.

Gas or Electric?

There are two main kinds of storage water heaters (we won’t get into tankless models here): gas and electric. This indicates what sort of energy source is used to heat the water.

Gas Water Heaters

Gas water heaters use natural gas (and sometimes LP) to fuel a burner which in turn heats the water sort of like a pot on the stove. They have only a few components that control whether or not you have hot water.

The first thing to check if you have a gas water heater and no hot water is whether or not you have gas. I know it my sound silly, but I have gone to many homes only to find that the gas had been turned off for one reason or another. If you have a gas stove see if it works. If not check your meter to make sure it’s on.

If you have gas, the next step is to check your pilot light and, if it’s out, try to light it. The lighting instructions are usually right on the water heater. If your gas has been off it may take a while for the air to bleed out and the gas to get to the pilot, so be patient.

The Thermocouple

If your pilot won’t light, or won’t stay lit, the thermocouple may be the problem. This looks like a copper wire coming from the control box on front of the water heater and going down to where the pilot light should be. It has an enlarged tip at the pilot end.

The thermocouple is positioned with it’s enlarged end in the flame of the pilot. This heat from the pilot flame causes a tiny electrical signal to be sent to the control valve, telling the control valve that there is a flame present so it’s OK to let the gas through to the main burner when the thermostat calls for heat. . You can change a thermocouple on most water heaters with only a small adjustable wrench. Just make sure that the bulb end is securely positioned in the pilot flame. You can get a new thermocouple at most hardware stores for under $20. This will usually correct a pilot light problem.

On more recent water heaters, the combustion chamber may be sealed. If you have one of these there will usually be a small inspection window you can look through to check the pilot. You may need to call the manufacturer to get a complete pilot assembly and new cover seal in order to repair these models, but the procedure is still pretty much the same once you get the parts. These parts are usually covered by the manufacturers warranty.

The Gas Control Valve

If you are sure you have gas, and replacing the thermocouple doesn’t fix the problem, the gas control valve is about the only thing left to check. This is a fairly major repair so if you aren’t very comfortable working with gas connections you may want to call a licensed plumber for this.

Electric Water Heaters

Electric water heaters use, you guessed it- electricity, to heat the water. If your electric water heater isn’t working the first thing to do is check your breaker or fuse box. Many electric water heaters also have a separate disconnect box at the water heater, check this too.

If you are sure you have power, the problem is either your heating elements or thermostats. Most electric water heaters have two of each, upper and lower. In order to check or replace a water heater element you will have to turn off the breaker serving the water heater circuit and remove the access cover on the water heater. At this point you might get lucky and find the easiest way to fix an electric water heater.

The Reset Button

Many thermostats have a reset button which can sometimes be pushed to reset the circuit and get the water heater working again. To find it you may have to carefully remove any insulation covering the thermostat. If the reset button has been tripped you should be able to hear and feel a definite click when you push it. If you think it was tripped, put everything back together, turn the power on and check for hot water in about an hour.

If the thermostat can’t be reset you will need a voltage meter or continuity tester before going any further. There’s not room in one article to cover electrical diagnostics but you can perform a simple continuity check on the elements to make sure they make a complete circuit.

The Heating Elements

First, make sure the power is off to the water heater! Then locate the heating elements. The elements will have two wires connected to each one and will either have a big hex nut where they screw into the tank or will be fastened to the tank with a bracket and usually 4 bolts. After confirming that the power is indeed off to the water heater, remove the 2 wires from the element and check for continuity. If there is not an intact circuit between the two terminals on the element, it is bad.

If one or both of the elements is bad it is probably a good idea to just replace them both. You will need to shut off the water and drain the water heater to replace the elements. If they are the hex nut style, you may need a special socket. You can usually find these tools where you buy the elements. Make sure the water heater is completely full and all air bled from the system before turning the power back on or you will ruin the new elements by “dry firing” them.

The Thermostats

If the elements are OK and don’t need to be replaced, it is probably the thermostat(s). It is a good idea to replace both thermostats if there are two, they are fairly inexpensive. Just remove the wires, connect the new one the same as the old one, put the access plate back on and turn the power back on. You should have hot water in about an hour.

Know Your Limitations!

Learning how to troubleshoot water heaters can be fairly simple but you do need to understand and be comfortable working with gas and electricity. Either one can literally kill you if you fail to observe the proper safety precautions. If you aren’t qualified or aren’t sure about something it is better to be safe than sorry.

Making Soy Candles – Anyone Can Do It

Candles can be traced back to biblical times. For hundreds of years they were the only source of light in people’s homes, the earliest of which were made with tallow. It was not until the 1800’s that paraffin replaced this.

A hundred years later and electricity replaced candles, with candles being relegated to fulfilling other roles such as decoration for festive occasions, for the calm and sanctity they evoke in religious ceremonies and the general mood of warmth, relaxation and even romance.

The greatest innovation in the candle industry today is the replacement of the “paraffin” based candle with a natural wax alternative. The soy candles we make burn cleanly releasing no toxins into the air, and they produce no soot or smoke. As they burn cooler and for longer (25- 50% longer) they allow the fragrance to be released into the air for a longer period. This natural, environmentally friendly wax is biodegradable and all containers can be washed with hot, soapy water to be reused. An added bonus to this throw-away society.

Soy Candles are so easy to make when you have simple instructions to follow.

1. Choose the appropriate container for your candle. Container wax can only be used in heat-safe glassware as it adheres to the glass. Estimate how much wax you will be using.

The wax can be melted in either a double-boiler or as a do a rice cooker. The easiest way is to heat and melt half the wax, then allow the heat in the container to melt the rest.

2. While the wax is melting, prepare your containers by selecting the wick you will use and the fragrance and colour. The best thing to do,is to at first try making an unscented and uncoloured wax, so that you can get your technique right.

3. You can use a thermometer, but it is not really necessary. The wicks can be stuck down by either dipping the wick into the wax, or by using the double-sided wick stickers.

4. The room temperature can affect the finish of your candles, so make sure it is not too hot or too cold.

5. Remember, not to overdo the fragrance. 30 mls/450 mls is sufficient. The best way to use the concentrated colours is to grate them on a cheese grater. It is much easier to darken a wax colour than it is to lighten, so be careful.

6. The wax is ready to pour when the container is cool to touch or the wax is starting to cloud. If you find it has set too much, reheat it slightly or sit the container in hot water.

7. It is recommended that you leave your candles for 24 hrs to cool and set. Longer time is necessary if multi-wicked or large containers are used. If you have problems, go to our problem solving and tips for suggestions.

Selecting Your Containers

As soy candles are in jars, the most important decision after your wax is your jars. There is an endless variety you can choose from. Once you get the candle making bug, all containers will be looked at in a very different way. Half the fun is finding new and interesting jars.

There are numerous jar suppliers in Victoria and interstate, so get catalogues from all of them, compare sizes, prices, minimum orders & payment terms. Easy to do with internet access. (Suppliers, listed)

Purchasing through jar suppliers means all the hard work has been done for you by selecting the glass that is suitable for your candles.

However, if you do want to source your own here are some tips:

A good candle container should have a diameter wide enough so that it can be lit and extinguished easily. This also means that the fragrance throw will be better even if the candle is not lit.

Jars with lids retain the fragrance for longer and prevent dust and debris from falling into the candle. Do not extinguish a candle by placing the lid on.

Do not use fine glassware such as champagne glasses for candles. They may look great but they are not made to withstand a high temperature. And as the glass is quite thin, they also retain a lot of heat making them very hot to handle as well as prone to cracking.

Metal containers have become very popular as Travel Tins because they are unbreakable. Remember to source tins that are seamless. Some with joints can leak when the wax is hot. Hazardous when you are pouring and hazardous for your customers if they leak when being burnt. Apart from getting wax all over the surface it is sitting on, they can also become a fire hazard. If you are unsure, test it by filling it with water and letting it sit for a couple of days.

Ceramic is popular for feature items or a table centre piece as they can match the décor.

Jars that have a wide neck and a narrow base can cause problems when the candle is nearing the end. As the base is narrower, it means the wick is closer to the sides. This will result in a very hot jar and a jar that is normally fine may become prone to cracking due to excessive heat.

Silverware is popular for special events such as anniversaries.

If you are unsure of the suitability of a candle, test it first before offering it to any customer.

Soy wax has made candle making so easy that anyone can do it. Have a go, it’s great fun.

Secondary Glazing – The True Benefits of Installation

To understand the true benefits of secondary glazing, we must first understand what it is. Double glaze windows make a home energy efficient. It saves homeowners money on their cooling and heating bills. They also cut down on CO2 emissions by up to 740Kg a year. Secondary glazing usually involves the installation of a second window in the interior next to the existing window. This helps to approximate double glazing in principle and helps cut your CO2 emissions by up to half a tonne per year.

The second panel creates a still air space between itself and the existing window which significantly reduces the transfer of heat from outside to inside during summer, or inside to outside during winter. The second window is usually made to match the appearance of the existing window while the original window remains untouched. They are intended to be unobtrusive, can be opened or fixed, and can be installed quickly without the need for redecoration.

There are several common methods of secondary glazing. Usually a glass panel that is encapsulated in a frame and attached to the inside of the window unit or a frame added to the window reveal. Sometimes an acrylic panel is used instead of glass to make it lighter. There is also a method of using heat shrink plastic or cellophane attached using double-sided tape. This method cannot be removed for cleaning without destroying the components, and does not usually last more than one season.

It has the advantages of being more cost effective than replacement double glazing while providing similar performance and the disruption of construction work is also avoided. It is the ideal solution for Listed Buildings, in Conservation Areas where replacing existing windows is not a practical option, or in high rises with strict body corporate control. Internal secondary glazing can be a cost effective solution if the main window is essentially sound and in good condition and there is a desire to improve thermal and/or noise insulation.

There are many other benefits from having secondary glazing. If the gap between the secondary glazing and the original window pane is at least 40mm, the still air space between the two panes provides good insulation from exterior temperatures, therefore, reducing noise significantly as well as condensation. Specialist glass is especially effective against road, aircraft, rail noise or any type of noise. If a 6.38mm laminated glass is used, it gives you a 94% UV block while allowing natural light into the room without fading carpets and furnishings. Since secondary glazing can only be opened from the inside, it adds considerably to security of the dwelling. The use of toughened or laminated glass and additional locks will further increase window and door security.

There is very little air movement within the cavity between the two window panes, thereby, virtually eliminating the ingress of dust and cutting out any rattling of the primary window as well as draughts. Maintenance for secondary glazing is also minimal.

If double glazing is out of the question for one reason or another, then secondary glazing is the next best approach. You will still enjoy the true benefits of secondary glazing and although it may not be as effective as double glazing, it certainly is a lot cheaper and a hundred times better than using plastic bags.

Spelunking the Pinto Basin Gold and Turquoise Mines of Joshua Tree National Park Near Palm Springs

I was about 12 the first time I ventured to the Pinto Basin although I didn’t know that was w it was called at the time. It was the mid 1970’s and I was just a kid brought along with my brother and sister while Mom and Dad explored the desert around Palm Springs on a Sunny afternoon in a Toyota Landcruiser with their friends. I knew we were a long way from home. It felt like we’d traveled out beyond the moon. The earth had quit being golf courses and city streets a long time ago. Now it was just sand and rocks and hills and the occasional scrub grass.

Dad and his friend, Lee, came across a group of low hills at one end of a long wasted valley in what’s called Joshua Tree national park. I knew that much. I also knew, looking at the hill, that the worn road was rougher than anything my Dad had attempted yet in his four-wheeler. But the urge to see what was just beyond the ridge was too great. Rather than risk the car this far away from help we decided to walk to the crest and peer over its edge. There we saw the shifted dirt which marked a mine as having been dug. So we trekked down the other side and found not just one mine, but three.

The first turned out to be the deepest and the most interesting. I went back several hundred yards into the hill from which it’d been carved. At one point you had to get on your hands and knees to crawl through the remaining hole from a long past cave-in. Then you had to walk across an old plank board lain over a bottomless hole some eight feet or more across. There was an old rickety ladder stretching down forever in it. We dropped rocks down its gaping maw to try and gauge its depth. We could hear the rocks hit the sides of the hole a couple of times as they fell. But of the bottom we heard nothing. The board was old, knotted and split. The hole could’ve been a mile for all it scared me. But I walked across.

Further into the mine I came across something so incredible many people I tell hesitate to believe. I’m no geologist. I couldn’t spot a vein of gold if it had neon sign on it – and that’s what the makers of this mine had been looking for nearly a hundred years ago when they dug it, I’m sure of it – but of turquoise, there’s no mistaking it. It’s a deep greenish blue and bright as all get out, even in its raw form. And right there in the wall of that mine was a streak of it as wide as a man and running floor to ceiling in the cave, disappearing into the roof and running beneath its floor.

Before we left that day I had gone into the mine a second time, claw hammer ready and armed with a five gallon paint bucket. I chipped and clawed and ripped that stuff away from the mountains grasp until my bucket was full and brought it all home. it made a neat display in my bedroom framed against a backdrop of my Star Wars album. The remainder of the turquoise I gave away as Christmas gifts, rocks as big as my fists and blue-green as the Pacific at Hawaii.

The other mines were fun, though not as magnificent. One went straight down like the hole in the first mine. But there was no horizontal path to traverse. The other had an old rail track still laid down and a busted rusty ore car at the mouth of the cave, went in only about fifty feet and then there was another ladder going down about thirty feet to what looked like a landing. Since I was the smallest kid, my dad elected me to climb down the ladder, figuring if it could hold me no one bigger would give it a try. I went to the bottom but the landing led to no where, it just dead ended.

We drove home that day in the dark with great stories to remember for the rest of our lives.

Fast forward twenty plus years into the mid 1990’s. I wanted to find it again but for the life of me I had no real sense of where it was other than on the far side of Joshua Tree National Park, and that was a whole lotta desert to have to prowl through. Still, with no better plan I got a map and divided it up into sections. The first time I went in my Jeep Wrangler with just one of my kids and my wife. We didn’t find it. The second time we rented a Jeep Cherokee, because I had more kids, out of the airport and searched another section of the desert. Still no finds. But the third trip, while in a big rented four-wheel drive Ford Excursion complete with in-laws and a bigger family yet, we struck gold – or turquoise you might say.

As we went down a dirt road that took me farther out into the desert than I could swear to having gone before, I saw set of hills off in the distance with a rutted worn out road climbing over one of them. My skin tingled. We parked at the bottom of the road and I grabbed flashlight, hammer and bucket, a host of kids and family behind me. At the top of the crest I saw the shifted dirt of the first mine, and low and behold at the bottom of the hill near it was a beat-up old Toyota pick-up truck, still operational, and a small cadre of men dressed in worn-out clothes. Apparently others had found the mine over the years too.

Still, this was it, again. I went into the mine and crawled through the now even older cave-in, went past the deep hole and the plank that stretched over it, careful to not let my kids do anything foolish near it. And when I got to the vein of turquoise I was somewhat surprised, though not entirely, to find that my vein had been mined out. There were still some fragments of what I remembered, which I chipped away at for old time sake. And I found a few other pieces of blue-green on the floor by kicking away the dirt. But the main swath of turquoise was gone to other families, boys, whoever who had also discovered it over the years. We had found the mine and I will never lose it again, it is embedded in my mind as a great destination in the middle nowhere to go to: my own personal bit of the lost Southwestern landscape complete with tales of buried treasure, only tales.

A few years after that, a friend of mine, Chris Shurilla, came to see me. He had some rappelling gear and we headed out to the mine. We crawled past the cave-in and looked into the deep hole and the ladder stretching down forever. There was an old wooden trellis built over the hole which heretofore I had missed, probably because I was always watching where I put my feet and how close to the hole I was on my earlier trespasses. We tied off on the beam, clamped ourselves onto the line and dropped two hundred yards of roped into the hole.

Chris had no fear. He swung out over the empty space and ZEEEE, he ripped down the rope at a frantic pace. I was cautious as a virgin bride on her wedding night, white knuckling down the ladder one rung at a time even though I was tied off and supposedly secure, safe. The one of the ancient rungs crumbled under my weight and I swung out into the dead space. Chris laughed at me and yelled to hurry up. Once I coughed my heart back out of my throat I sped up my descent. When I caught up to Chris he was hanging in mid-air of a larger chamber. The narrow throat had opened up into a cavity some thirty or forty feet across. The ladder still stretched through the middle of the blackness where it was crossed by an old cat walk supported by two by four somehow affixed to the seemingly distant cavern walls. It was like something out of a Stephen King novel. The cat walk ran into a dark side cavern on each end cut into the earth. Chris says faster than I can respond, “I’ll go check it out,” unhooks his belay and trots off across the ancient planks suspended in darkness light as a cat on a windowsill.

“Chris, you idiot,” I yell. Those boards are probably a hundred years old. He comes bouncing back beneath me with no concern. “Oh they’re fine,” he says. And while I wouldn’t swear to it, maybe it was just my fear kicking into overdrive, I thought I saw him bounce on them as a way of testing their mettle. Had they failed I don’t know what he or me, would do. “That end,” he said, jerking a thumb back towards the hole he’d just investigated, “only goes a few feet and dead ends.” The he went to the other side, disappearing in the darkness again, “This side too.” He came back and tied back onto the line and we went down some more.

We had about another 75 feet we cold drop before we got too close to the end of the rope for comfort. Chris still hung comfortably on the rope with no hands holding the endless ladder or the sides of the rocky hole. I was clinging to the ladder still, for what it was worth, cause for all its old age, it felt better than nothing. But seeing Chris hanging there and the empty blackness beneath him we still knew we could go no further. We pried a rock off the side of the hole and dropped it. Though we were 200 yards down from the original starting point, the rock made no final resting sound. We did it again with another rock. We still could not hear it hit bottom.

We climbed back up and found our wives and kids were pissed at us. We’d been down that hole several hours and they said they’d been yelling for us after the first thirty minutes. The only thing they knew was the rope was still taut and it occasionally swung.

The entire area of the pinto Basin is littered with mines. if you go out there, you have a good chance of dying. I’m not saying this to be an alarmist. but seriously: there’re holes in the ground big enough to drive a car into and some of them have no bottom. There’re caves that go into the mountains hundreds of yards, past holes and cave-ins and rotten supports and you’re hours away from help even by car if you have a problem. And what if the car breaks down.

Do not go out there unless you are experienced and prepared. At times, I can’t believe I did it as a kid and then did it again with mine and then did it again with a rope, repelling gear, and a fearless friend.

How to Implement a Contingency Plan

A contingency plan is developed to prepare a business to face abnormal situations and mitigate the impact of sudden disasters. The plan outlines the procedure to be followed in the event of failure of one or more critical systems.

The implementation of a contingency plan depends upon the size of the organization and the resources available during the crisis. The plan should be designed, reviewed and accepted by the management. The plan should be shared with the key members of the organization. Companies should periodically execute the steps outlined in the plan as an exercise, to be prepared when the need arises.

The business should have a contingency team that takes over the operations and implements the plan for every type of risk identified. Equipment failure due to natural disasters and sabotage may be covered by insurance. The personnel implementing the contingency plan should be aware of the contact details of people or service providers to be reached during the emergency situation, to get assistance in fixing the issue and bringing the business operations back to normal.

Communication and notification is an important part of implementing a contingency plan. If a primary business location is affected by fire or flood, the plan might be to move the employees and equipment to another location. To implement this plan of shifting operations to a new location, there should be a good communication plan in place. If the problem arises during working hours, the evacuation procedure should be followed and emergency help lines should be used to secure help. The persons responsible for implementation of the contingency plan should be able to contact all employees by a previously agreed upon mode (telephone / e-mail / SMS) and inform them to report for work at the new location until the old one can be made functional again. External suppliers, distributors and customers should also be notified of change in location, and whom to get in touch with to resume operations and contact details.

Contingency planning is important while executing a project. If a key team member is rendered out of action, there should be another team member capable of stepping in to perform important tasks. If the project follows good knowledge sharing practices and has good documentation, it will facilitate induction of new support staff (developers / testers) for assistance. It is important to communicate to the client that the absence of the regular person will not affect the project delivery schedule. If the project runs into issues which are likely to affect budget or deadlines, the person(s) implementing the contingency plan should know what needs to be communicated to client. The person should also know how and when the information should be sent to convince the client that measures have been taken to mitigate the risks and bring the situation under control. The implementer should perform follow-ups and send status updates to keep the management and client informed during a problem situation.

Early warning systems should be in place to notify / escalate issues to the relevant person(s) in-charge. Analysis, assessment, co-ordination, prioritization and preparedness are the key elements for implementing a plan. Contingency plans should be periodically updated and the lessons learnt from every incident should be incorporated into the plan.