How to Meet People Who Are Smarter Than You: 16 Marketing & Tech Events to Attend in 2016

How to Meet People Who Are Smarter Than You: 16 Marketing & Tech Events to Attend in 2016

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“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”

It’s a good principle to live your life by. Although being the smartest person in the room is a nice ego boost, you need to surround yourself with people who have skills and specialties you don’t if you want to grow — in short, people who are smarter than you.

One of the best ways to break out of your daily routine and try your hand at learning something new is to attend a conference. Not only do you have access to thousands of other ambitious, hardworking professionals in an out-of-the-office environment, but you’re also sure to pick up a new hack, tip, or trick. 

You can’t go to just any old conference, though. That’s why we’ve handpicked 16 events that’ll gather the best and brightest in marketing, tech, and innovation for you to learn from. 

16 Events You Should Attend in 2016

1) An Event Apart

What:

An Event Apart is brought to you by the folks behind design publication A List Apart, and brands itself as “the design conference for people who make websites.” Designers, developers, marketers, content creators, and project managers come together for three days of talks and workshops. The Seattle edition of An Event Apart features sessions on the evolution of coding and accessibility, the intersection of physical and digital design, and “compassionate design” — design that emphasizes the real user experience, not an idealized one.

When & Where:

  • April 4-6, 2016: Seattle, Washington
  • May 16-18, 2016: Boston, Massachusetts
  • July 25-27, 2016, Washington, D.C.
  • August 29-31, 2016: Chicago, Illinois
  • October 3-5, 2016: Orlando, Florida
  • October 31-November 2, 2016: San Francisco, California

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2) CMO Club Spring Innovation and Inspiration Summit

What:

The CMO Club is a global organization of 850+ heads of marketing. Their spring summit brings together their membership to discuss CMO-specific challenges and provide guidance on modern marketing and team development. This year’s speakers include Dell CMO Karen Quintos, GE CMO Linda Boff, and Target CEO Jeff Jones.

When & Where:

  • April 5-6, 2016
  • New York City, New York

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3) Ad Age Digital Conference

What:

Ad Age’s annual conference explores the future of marketing and advertising each year. 2016 is the conference’s 10-year anniversary, and this year attendees will look ahead to the future of advertising, the rise of technologies that subvert traditional marketing (think ad blocking), and how to engage with consumers on their own terms. Speakers include Medium and Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard, and BuzzFeed CMO/Chief Creative Officer Frank Cooper.

When & Where:

  • April 5-6, 2016
  • New York City, New York

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4) Collision

What:

Collision is a truly multidisciplinary web conference, with 14 different tracks: Code, content, data, design, e-commerce, enterprise, fintech, internet of things, marketing, music, security, social media, sports, and Startup University. For startups looking to get a boost, Collision also hosts the Alpha exhibition and Pitch competition.

When & Where:

  • April 26-28, 2016
  • New Orleans, Louisiana

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5) SearchLove

What:

Some of the best and brightest minds in online marketing gather each year for one of SearchLove’s multiple conferences. With plenty of networking events and breakout sessions to attend, you’ll have no trouble finding like-minded professionals to share insights with.

When & Where:

  • May 3-4, 2016: Boston, Massachusetts
  • October 17-18, 2016: London, England
  • February 23-24, 2017: San Diego, California

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6) 99U Conference

What:

99U aims to “shift the focus from idea generation to idea execution.” Attendees can expect more than a dozen mainstage talks, master classes with creative experts, and the opportunity to visit coworking spaces and some of NYC’s leading creative companies. This year, speakers include Jason Fried of Basecamp, Claire Lew of Know Your Company, and Effie Brown of Project Greenlight and Duly Noted.

When & Where:

  • May 4-6, 2016
  • New York City, New York

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7) TechCrunch Disrupt

What:

TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference was founded to showcase and debut “revolutionary startups,” gather entrepreneurs and investors together, and explore the direction of tech. Startups can compete in Startup Battlefield for a $50,000 prize (former winners include Dropbox and Zenefits). This year’s announced speakers include theSkimm founders Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, and Giphy CEO/founder Alex Chung.

When & Where:

  • May 9-11, 2016
  • Brooklyn, New York

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8) Gartner Digital Marketing Conference

What:

Gartner’s annual marketing conference was created for senior marketing execs in analytics, multichannel, commerce, and customer experience roles. This year’s conference has three tracks: “How to Win at Data-Driven Marketing,” “Creating and Executing Winning Marketing Strategies,” and “What’s Next: Preparing for Marketing’s Newest Trends and Techniques.”

When & Where:

  • May 17-19, 2016
  • San Diego, California

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9) SiriusDecisions Summit

What:

SiriusDecisions focuses on B2B sales, marketing, and product perspectives. This year’s theme is “The Art and Science of Intelligent Growth,” and sessions will focus on how business leaders can operationalize growth strategy.

When & Where:

  • May 24-27, 2016
  • Nashville, Tennessee

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10) C2

What:

C2, which stands for Commerce and Creativity, bills itself as “a business conference, only different.” Over three days, conference-goers will attend master classes, talks, and participate in “extreme brainstorming” (past sessions have suspended attendees in a net 18 feet above the ground). The conference engineers also build the “C2 Village” each year to showcase performances and art and technology exhibits.

When & Where:

  • May 24-26, 2016
  • Montreal, Canada

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11) Search Marketing Summit

What:

Search Marketing Summit is in its ninth year, and is Australia’s largest search marketing conference. Tracks are designed for all levels of expertise, with additional days dedicated to conversion and landing page optimization, PPC, search engine bootcamp, SEO, email marketing, and mobile marketing.

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When & Where:

  • May 30-June 3, 2016
  • Sydney, Australia

12) Cannes Lions Festival

What:

Cannes Lions is legendary for a reason. Every year, the world’s top creatives gather in France for a week of awards, talks, and workshops. This year’s confirmed speakers include Mindy Kaling, Anthony Bourdain, and Anderson Cooper, as well as agency bigwigs like DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark and Droga5 Creative Chairman David Droga.

When & Where:

  • June 18-25, 2016
  • Cannes, France

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13) Content Marketing World

What:

A whole conference specifically designed for content creators, CMWorld 2016 features 150 tactical, strategic, and transformational talks. This year’s speakers include Moz’s Rand Fishkin, MarketingProfs’ Ann Handley, and The Sales Lion’s Marcus Sheridan.

When & Where:

  • September 6-9, 2016
  • Cleveland, Ohio

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14) MozCon

What:

MozCon’s daytime agenda is yet to be finalized, but already in the works are three nighttime networking events that’ll get you plenty of facetime with your fellow conference-goers. Attendees include Moz partners, marketers, community managers, branding experts, social media specialists, and content creators.

When & Where:

  • September 12-14, 2016
  • Seattle, Washington

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15) Dreamforce

What:

Every year, Dreamforce takes over the city of San Francisco for four days of sales and marketing content. Over 1,400 breakout sessions are scheduled for this year’s conference. Past speakers include Jessica Alba and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

When & Where:

  • September 12-14, 2016
  • San Francisco, California

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16) INBOUND

What:

HubSpot’s annual industry event is back and bigger than ever. Attendees can hear inspiring keynotes, Spotlights, and Bold Talks, as well as attend tactical breakout sessions relating to marketing, sales, content, agencies, and more. Past INBOUND performers and speakers include Amy Schumer, Daniel Pink, Jon Ronson, and Brené Brown.

When & Where:

  • November 8-11, 2016
  • Boston, Massachusetts

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What events will you be attending this year? Share with us in the comments section below. 

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How to Edit Instagram Photos: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Instagram Filters & More

How to Edit Instagram Photos: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Instagram Filters & More

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Have you ever looked through your Instagram feedand wondered how some people make their photos look so darn good?

Whether I’m looking at drool-worthy photos posted by food brands or crisp, gorgeous shots of full-timeInstagrammers (yes, that’s a real job), I’ve had my fair share of photo envy.

When it comes to posting on Instagram, photo quality iseverything. How good yourphotos are will make or break your presence.If you take great photos and edit them exquisitely, I promise you will be much closer to amassing the thousands of followers you’re hoping for.

Download the complete guide to using Instagram for business and marketing here.

But don’t be intimidated — in fact, we have good news for you:Editing photos well on Instagram doesn’t take a whole lot of time. It’s all about taking great photos, using the right photo editing apps, learning which filters work for which types of photos, and getting the routine down.

Let’s learn how to edit photos for Instagramso you can garner more followers and more engagement on your Instagram page. In this post, I’llhelp you turnunedited photos — like the one on the left of Fenway Park at dawn — into ones that are much more compelling, like the one on the right.

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A Step-by-Step Guide toEditing Your Instagram Photos

Step 1: Start with a great photo.

No amount of editing is going to fix a photo that was poorly taken in the first place. When it comes to posting something awesome on Instagram, it’s all about photo quality — and that starts with aphoto that’s great even before you tweak it.

You don’t need tobe a photographer ortake classes to take great photos for Instagram. All you really need is a smartphone and the willingness tolearn some key tips for how to use it to take great photos. Start by reading through these 17 tips for taking great photos with your smartphone. This post will teach you how to line up your shots, find interesting perspectives, and take advantage of symmetry, patterns, “leading lines,” and more.

Step 2: Edit it using apps other than Instagram.

This step is optional but highly recommended. Before I evenstart editing a photo on Instagram, I edit it using one or two of the other great photo editing apps out there. Click here for a list of 11 of the best photo and video editing apps for mobile.Each of the apps on the list have different strengths, so it’s beneficial to use more than one on each photo.

For this particular photo, I used two apps: Afterlight and Snapseed.

Afterlight is available for$0.99 on bothiOSandAndroid— and in my opinion, it’s well worth the dollar. I use it on almost every photo Ipost to Instagram.It’s not the fanciest app in the world, but ithas all thefeaturesyou need to do a basic photo edit — fromcontrolling the color tones and adjusting exposure and brightness,torotating and straightening the photo. While the Instagram app itself has some of these capabilities, Afterlight does havea few important features that Instagram doesn’t, like its Highlight Tool that brings the blue hues up. I find this gives photos a cleaner, fresher look.

For this particular photo, I did some basic editing tweaks on things like brightness, contrast, and highlights.

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Next, I uploaded the photo into Snapseed, afree app on bothiOSandAndroidthat’s alsogreat for basic image enhancements.

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While Snapseed has all the classic adjustment tools, such astuning, cropping, and straightening, its main selling point is its “selective” editing tool. This lets you pinpoint an area in a photo and adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation of that single point in the photo. So if you want viewers to focus on a certain part of your photo — say, the clouds reflecting the beautiful colors of sunrise — then you can make those clouds more vivid.

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Snapseed also has a plethora of cool filters, like the “Drama” one below. Although I didn’t use any filters for this particular photo, there are some cool ones in there you can play around with.

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Once you’re done editing a photo in Snapseed, you can click “Save” and then “Export” to save it to your phone’s photo album.

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Boom.With a few tweaks using apps outside of Instagram, I’ve adjusted the original photo (left) to make it a little more striking (right).

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Step 3: Upload your photo to Instagram.

Now that we have a photo we’re ready to work with in Instagram, it’s time to upload your photo to the Instagram app. To do this, open the Instagram app and click the camera icon at the bottom center of your screen.

From there, select the photo you’d like to edit from your photo album. By default, it’ll go into “All Photos,” but you can click the downward arrow next to “All Photos” at the top of your screen to opena particular album if your photo is located somewhere specific.

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Pro Tip:Instagram will crop your photo as a square by default, but if you want to change it to its original width, simply press the “Expand” icon (two outward facing arrows) in the bottom left-hand corner of the photo once you’ve selected it.

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Click “Next” to begin editing the photo.

Step 4: Pick a filter.

Here’s where it gets fun. Now that you’re in editing mode in the Instagram app,the first thing you should do is pick a filter.Usually, I click through onto each and every filter, in order, and take note of which ones I like. Then, I’ll go back and forth between the ones I like until I settle on one of them. How’s that for scientific?

While slappingon a filter because it looks good is one way to do it, it ishelpful to play around with each filter and get an idea of its specific purpose.From Lark to Crema to Valencia to Ginza, each filter has its own personality and hues that drastically changes the photo — not only how it looks, but how it feels. Take a look at these examples to see what I mean:

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Here are a few of my favorite Instagram filters and how they change the look and feel of a photo:

  • Lark: A filter thatdesaturates reds while pulling out the blues and greens in your photos, thereby intensifying it. Great for landscapes.
  • Moon: A black-and-white filter with intense shadows that’ll give your photos a vivid,vintage look.
  • Crema: Adesaturated filter that givesyour photos a creamy, vintagelook.
  • Valencia: A filter that warms the colors of your photo, giving it kind of an antique look without washing out color completely.
  • X Pro II: A high contrast filter that makes colors pop and adds vignette edges, giving photos sort of a dramatic affect.
  • Lo-Fi: This filter adds high saturation, rich colors, and strong shadows to your photo. Great for photos of food.
  • Brannan: A filter with a metallic, grey-ishfeel thatrichens deep colors while softening neutrals. Warning: It always makes your photos look highly edited.

Everyone has their favorites, so as you use Instagram more and more, keep experimenting and learning about your own filter preferences for every type of photo you take, whether they’re landscapes, close-ups, portraits, or something else.

For this particular photo, I chose theSkylinefilter because I like how it gave the whole photo a glowing, surreal look, and how it made the rich purples and pinks of the sunrise pop.

Pro Tip:As you begin learning your filter preferences, you can reorder your filters and even hide the ones you don’t use. To do either of these things, scrollto the very far right of your filters options and click “Manage.”

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To reorder your filters, simply hold your finger down on the three grey lines on the far right of the filter you’d like to move, and dragit to reorder.

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To hide filters you don’t use, deselect themby tapping on the white check mark to the right of the filter.

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(Read this blog post for more Instagram hacks, features, and tricks like that one.)

Step 5:Adjust the lux.

The what? If you’ve ever edited a photo on Instagram, you’ve likely used the lux feature before, even if you weren’t sure what it’s called. Lux is a feature that makes your photos more vibrant and brings out the smaller details.

Once you’ve selected a filter, turn lux on by tapping the sun symbol below your photo and above your filter options.

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Then, use the slider to adjust the lux, which willadjust the contrast and saturation of your photo. I usually slide it up and down until I settle on what looks best. Tapthe check mark when you’re done and it’ll take you back to the filters page.

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Step 6: Use the simple editing tools.

Next, open up Instagram’s simple editing tools by tappingthe wrench icon below your photo on the right-hand side.

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From here, you can adjust a number of settings, including alignment, brightness, contrast, structure, warmth, saturation, highlights, shadows, and sharpness.I usually go through each setting one by one until I’ve adjusted the photo to my liking.

To adjust each of these settings, click on the icon at the bottom of your screen, use the slider to find a “sweet spot,” and then tap the check mark when you’re done. If you adjust the slider and realize you don’t want to make any changes, simply tap the “X” and it’ll exit from that setting without saving any changes.

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Once you’ve made all the changes in Instagram’s tools that you’d like, click “Next” in the top right-hand corner of your screen.

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Step 7: Either post your photo immediately, orsave it to post later.

Alright — at this point, you have two options.

Option 1: Post your photo immediately.

If you’re ready to post your photonow,then go ahead and post it by adding a caption, a geotag, tagging any relevant Instagram users, and clicking “Share.”

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Option 2: Save it to post later.

If you’re not ready to post it now, but you wanted to get a head start on editing it so you could post it in a pinch, then you can save the photo with the edits you made in Instagram without posting it — thanks to a little hack.

Ready? To use Instagram as a photo editor without posting anything, all you need to do is publish a picture while your phone is on airplane mode.

First, you’ll have to be sure you have “Save Original Photo” turned on in your settings.

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Then, turn on airplane mode. Here’s how to do that:

  • To turn on airplane mode on an Android device: Swipe down from the top of the screen. Then, swipe from right to left until you see “Settings,” and then touch it. Touch “Airplane Mode” to turn it on.
  • To turn on airplane mode on an iPhone/iPad: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and click the airplane icon. Or, go to”Settings”and then “Wi-Fi,”and switch “Airplane Mode” on.

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Then, go back to your editing screen andpress the “Share” button at the bottom. An error message will appear saying the upload failed, but rest assured the photo will be saved automatically to your phone’s photo gallery.

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(Read this blog post for more Instagram hacks, features, and tricks like that one.)

Pro tip:Want to edit a whole bunch of photos ahead of time so you can upload them later without much effort? If you have an iOS device, one way to organize your edited photos so you can find them easily later is to add them to your “Favorites” folder on your iPhone.

To add photos to “Favorites,” you’ll need to “heart” the photo. Here’s how it works: When you’re scrolling through your photos, tap theheart iconat the bottom of your screen.

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The photo will be added to a photo album called “Favorites” in your iPhone’s folders, which you can access easily and at any time. Since Instagram doesn’t let you schedule posts in advance, this is a great place to store edited photos so you can upload them when you need them.

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And there you have it! By now, you should be able to edit your Instagram photos on a pretty basic level.

What other tips do you have for editing Instagram photos? Share with us in the comments.

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The Art of Emoji Marketing: 7 Clever Examples From Top Brands

The Art of Emoji Marketing: 7 Clever Examples From Top Brands

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This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.

Here’s something disturbing: According to data gathered by marketing agency Deep Focus, four out of every 10 millennials would rather engage with pictures than read. Yes, you read that right. Nearly half of history’s most educated generation would prefer to revert back to some sort of cave painting-esque proto-language than bother to parse through a couple of sentences.

Of course, most prominent among this shift to pictorial communication is the emoji. We detailed its rise to prominence last year, but in short, the emoji as we know it started in 2011 and reached near-ubiquity in the past year or so. Now, in 2016, seemingly every millennial peppers their texts or tweets or Facebook messages or Instagram posts or college essays with yellow faces of varying temperaments.

And because millennials are such an important demographic to reach, brands have been trying to capitalize on the emoji craze. It has gotten so pervasive that an entire industry has cropped up dedicated to measuring the ROI of these type of visual images on campaigns.

However, we’re taking a decidedly less scientific approach to judging brands’ emoji usage. Below we’ve recounted our picks based on such subjective criteria like cleverness or memorability.

But before we begin our countdown, we must include a quick disclosure. These below examples are of brands using the standard emojis found on most smartphones, not instances of companies such as Coca-Cola or Disney creating and using their own custom emojis. That’s too easy.

The 7 Best Examples of Emoji Marketing

7) Baskin-Robbins

One of the biggest problems arising from a brand’s use of emojis is the tendency to get overcomplicated. Try to do too much and risk creating a string of would-be clever emojis that take longer to decipher than to read a Tweet or a tagline. (We’re looking at you Chevy.) That’s what makes this Baskin-Robbins tweet so perfect. It’s an ice cream cone. Nothing fancy, but it helps break up a wall of text.

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6) Bud Light

On the Fourth of the July, Bud Light tweeted an emoji American flag composed of fireworks in place of Old Glory’s stars and American flags and beers for the red and white stripes, respectively. It was clever, original, and took advantage of the existing emoji language.

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5) NASCAR

On World Emoji Day (yes, it’s a thing), NASCAR Tweeted a photographic (emoji-graphic?) mosaic of some of the sport’s most famous drivers. Art? Maybe. Cool to look at? Certainly.

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4) General Electric

Hosted on the website emojiscience.com and modeled after the periodic table of elements, General Electric’s “Emoji Table of Experiments” invites users to click on individual emojis to explore “DIY science, videos with special guests, and everything else emoji science.” For example, clicking on a smiley face will bring visitors to a video of Bill Nye the Science Guy explaining evolution through the use of emojis, while clicking on a rocket ship pulls up information about NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. Emojis as a teaching tool? Who knew!

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3) DeadPool

Sure, this example may be a little crass, but so too is the character the movie is promoting, and that type of on-brand messaging works. Besides, when you have famous comedians tweeting about how brilliant your emoji usage is, you must be doing something right.

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2) Smithsonian Institution

Here’s another example of emojis as education: On World Emoji Day, the Smithsonian tweeted an emoji that corresponded to a particular piece in their museum along with a link to more information. An emoji trumpet, for instance, brought visitors to facts about Louis Armstrong’s trumpet. No word on if any of the millennials actually read the content.

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1) Domino’s Pizza

The goal of any business should be to reduce friction during the purchasing process. By co-opting the pizza emoji into a food ordering mechanism, Domino’s Pizza reduced the time it takes to order to five seconds. And that’s perfect because the only thing millennials like more than emojis is instant gratification.

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What are your favorites examples of emoji marketing? Let us know in the comments below!

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8 Things to Do Before Interviewing Someone for Your Team

8 Things to Do Before Interviewing Someone for Your Team

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Hiring the right talent for your organization has a direct impact on maintaining your competitive edge, so it is crucial that you don’t screw it up by short-changing the preparation required for the interview process. Sure, we all think it works out just fine to simply skim the resume 4 minutes before the candidate arrives and wing it, but I am willing to bet my hat that your lack of respect for the process has cost you some key talent.

Even worse, it has led you to hire talent who don’t work out or who walk into a whole host of surprises because they were only given partial information. I could talk all day about the interview process from start to finish, but I am going to focus this post on the eight most important things you should do to prepare for candidate interviews.

1) Don’t Be Naive

Hiring talent is scary. Hiring talent you know nothing about other than what you glean from an interview is even scarier. Let’s be honest, we (the collective job seeking population) have mastered the art of the interview. Go ahead, Google “job interview tips” and within .27 seconds you have over 51 million resources at your fingertips providing guidance on how to navigate an interview. You would have to live in under a rock not to be able to figure it out.

You need to prepare for your interview with this knowledge. You are not dealing with amateurs here so you better be prepared to be on your game. Just because someone arrives at the interview with a firm handshake, an impressive wardrobe and a nice smile, don’t fall in love. Be prepared to peel back the layers of that onion effectively.

2) Use Your Network

Finding talent via referral is not only smart, it is extremely cost effective. This approach catapults you past all of the unknowns about a person. You are now entering the engagement with behavioral based inputs from someone who has experienced this person in the real world.

Now I understand that your friend or co-worker’s point of view is a data set of one which is not how you should make your decisions, but at least you have a starting line that is inches if not miles ahead of an unknown candidate.

If you don’t have a network of talent or referral sources in your industry, build one. This should be a fundamental part of your job. Also understand that when I say “use” your network, be sure you don’t “overuse” or “abuse” your network with repeated email blasts with your random job description attached asking for referrals. Those folks get cut from my network immediately. Reciprocal respect in the referral game is how this works. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. I don’t poke you repeatedly until you want to punch me.

3) Do Your Homework

This applies regardless of whether your candidate was a referral or not. Take the time to know your candidate prior to scheduling that first interview. Once the interview is scheduled, take the time to do even more homework. I expect candidates to conduct research about Element Three and to talk about what they have learned during the interview, so they should expect the same from me.

There are so many modern ways to do this. You have their resume so that is a start to the thread of conversation around past experiences or mutual interests. There are many social media platforms where you can learn more about them, starting with LinkedIn. For a strategic brand and marketing agency like ours, if a candidate does not have a professional profile with a link to their portfolio on LinkedIn, this lack of prowess is a concern.

Depending on your industry this might not apply to you. Social and digital presence is key to what we do every day so it is simply expected that candidates have made their mark someplace relevant in the social sphere.

At Element Three I will review our contacts in HubSpot, our marketing automation software, to see if a candidate has expressed interest in us with a visit to our website to peruse our content, perhaps downloaded some of our resources or even gone so far as to subscribe to our emails.

Expressing an interest in learning more about our company is fundamental to being serious about working here. Sure, recruiters may look for you on Facebook or Instagram, but those are not places I use for candidate research. Twitter and YouTube, yes.

Let’s be honest, from time to time you will stumble across something socially egregious that may change your mind about conducting an interview with a candidate. Better to stumble upon that @ilieabouteverything handle early in the process. More and more companies are relying on a social presence of some kind to get to know their candidates before they ever meet them in person. The following statement in

an article from Careerbuilder in May 2015 speaks volumes about this topic.

“Researching candidates via social media and other online sources has transformed from an emerging trend to a staple of online recruitment,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “In a competitive job market, recruiters are looking for all the information they can find that might help them make decisions. Rather than go off the grid, job seekers should make their professional persona visible online, and ensure any information that could dissuade prospective employers is made private or removed.”

4) Be Crystal Clear About the Goal of Your Interview

Have a solid job description – understand clearly what you are seeking in a qualified candidate. Make sure the candidate comprehends what you are looking for so your line of questioning can be appropriately geared toward the expectations of the role.

Make sure that you or the interviewer takes the time to review the job description and is fully prepared to provide clarity to the candidate about the position you seek to fill. Planning your questions in advance creates an automatic trigger to align them with the role you are filling.

I use the behavioral based interview process which specifically focuses on what the candidate has done in the past that demonstrates key skills, experiences and abilities that we are seeking at Element Three. It forces the candidate to share real experiences and more specifically the role they played in those experiences to achieve results. There are no hypothetical “what you do” questions and no answers to that effect, either.

You cannot “wing” this type of interview as a candidate or as an interviewer – you must be prepared and you must practice the technique in order to be effective. It also requires you to prepare your questions ahead of time.

If you have multiple interviews scheduled for the candidate there is extra prep that is important on your end. Planning who will focus on which questions is critical. Having your interviewers wing it, or all use the same questions, is a waste of time for you and frustrating for the candidate.

Plan ahead, have each interviewer focus on a specific aspect of the position or cultural fit and regroup at the end to wrap up. If you start your interview by asking the candidate to recap what you already have right in front of you on their resume, you have no idea what you are doing. Sorry to be blunt, but it is the truth. I am not the only one who feels strongly about proper prep for interviews; HubSpot agrees with me.

5) Provide a Positive Interview Experience for the Candidate

Confirming the details of the interview is always a nice touch and it also ensures that there is no confusion around when, where and how the interview will be conducted. Not only is it important to make the candidate feel welcome by ensuring they are comfortable with the process, it gives you peace of mind that there will be no issues or delays. Specific directions are always helpful as well as expectations around dress code.

This may seem obvious, but we are quite casual and to have a candidate go through the hassle of finding, cleaning and fitting into that suit in the back of the closet – only to show up and feel foolish because 90% of us are wearing jeans is a little mean and unnecessary. I always tell people to come as they are.

Helping your candidate find your location easily, including where to park, may seem like a puzzle they should figure out on their own, but I see it as a common courtesy to take that stress off them. Let me save you some time: if you feel like you need to give them a “skills test” on how to find your location as part of the interview, you are already interviewing the wrong candidate.

Explain your interview process and technique. For example, review the agenda for the interview, i.e. 5 minutes for introductions, 40 minutes for the interview, 15 minutes for questions the candidate may have and then 5 minutes for wrap up. I also make sure I explain the type of interviews that I conduct to make it more comfortable for the candidate because they will better understand why I ask the questions the way that I do.

Choose the right environment to conduct a comfortable interview. Allow privacy in a professional meeting room, away from interruptions and offer the applicant water or coffee. Do not bring your computer or cell phone and place it in front of you so you are easily distracted. That’s the rudest thing you can do in any meeting of any kind but particularly in an interview.

6) Prepare to Shut Your Mouth

Mentally prepare yourself to shut up and listen carefully. Short of suggesting duct tape, I cannot emphasize the importance of this enough. It is human nature to want to engage, talk about yourself and share all kinds of irrelevant information with your candidate. Refrain. Succinctly ask your question and then shut up and listen.

Use short follow up questions to prompt the candidate to elaborate on the answer and then shut up again and listen. If your interview is well prepared, this should be the natural progression of the conversation. It is when you are “winging it” that the train goes off the tracks and you find yourself spending most of the interview yammering on and on. Then you wonder why you leave the interview with no clear take on the candidate’s true qualifications.

HubSpot has a terrific blog post that outlines five great questions to assess cultural fit. Even if you use only one of these great questions, make sure it is #3, “How do you feel about our company values?” If your values are not spelled out on your website then you really cannot hold them responsible for not knowing what your core values are, so to be fair, take the time to prepare them for that question.

Either way, it is an important part of the interview and a great way to learn about your candidate. Of course, if you don’t actually believe in your company values, don’t bother – that is a post for another time. This question is not an opportunity for you to wax philosophical about how YOU feel about your values, it is an open forum to let your candidate talk. So, ask questions. Shut up. And, listen closely.

7) Recognize the Elephant(s) in the Room

I understand that candidates are typically coached NOT to talk money at the first interview. But that does not make the topic any less important to them. Here’s the way I see it.

Point 1: Time is money and if you are chasing a candidate that is out of your price range and you avoid the topic and fail to “fail fast,” you are wasting your time and their time and hence, money for both of you. What’s the point of that when it can be easily avoided?

Point 2: If you have an open position to fill then you have a budget or at least an IDEA of what you plan to spend to fill this role. I get that there are ranges based on experience but I would certainly hope that you have narrowed the level of experience you need within a reasonable margin. Why not talk about your budget for the role at the first interview (or even before for that matter)? Here is how easy it is. “What are your compensation expectations for this role if you are hired?” Elephant recognized, discussion begins.

8) You Owe it to the Candidate to Follow Up Quickly

If you are unable to move your hiring process at a pace that does not leave your candidates hanging for weeks, then you should not have started the process in the first place. Even if you don’t have an answer for your candidate within a few days, have the decency to tell them that. Leaving candidates hanging is a terrible business practice and if you even care the tiniest bit about your employment brand, you will take this advice seriously.

I have worked in both very small and very large companies so I understand the difference. It can be a challenge to have that personal touch when you are managing huge volumes of applicants coming through the pipeline. But that is no excuse.

Technology these days with applicant tracking systems allows you to respond to multiple candidates at once in an informative way. Those of you recruiting at smaller companies, I don’t even want to hear your excuses because there are none. Respect your candidates, tell them what is happening.

So that’s it. Eight easy prep steps that will exponentially improve the quality and efficiency of your interview process not only for you, but for your candidates. I dare you to try it and fail.

How to Spend Less Time on Email: 12 Tips for Keeping Your Inbox Under Control

How to Spend Less Time on Email: 12 Tips for Keeping Your Inbox Under Control

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Managing your email inbox can feel like playing a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. Just when you think you’ve gotten to inbox zero and start doing your little victory dance … up pops another email. And another one.

What’s worse, the sheer volume of email we get often exceeds the time we can afford to deal with it. This becomes a bigger issue when we let our guilt get the better of us — the guilt that comes with not responding right away, responding curtly, or not responding at all.

But the fact is, there are more important things on our to-do lists than email. Want to spend less time living in your inbox, and more time doing the stuff that actually matters? Here are 12 tips to get you started.

12 Tips For Better Email Management

1) Unsubscribe. Ruthlessly.

The easiest way to maintain inbox zero? Get less email. The very first step to achieve an emptier inbox is unsubscribing from every single email list that doesn’t provide you with value on a regular basis.

In fact, my recommendation is to unsubscribe from everything. Take a few days to let it sink in, and then re-subscribe only to the newsletters you really, truly miss. In this step, you might consider converting any daily digests you used to follow to weekly ones.

While unsubscribing manually from tens — hundreds? — of newsletters one by one sounds tedious, there are tools out there that can help you do it in just a few clicks. Unroll.me is my personal favorite: It’s a free tool that lets you mass unsubscribe from all the newsletters you don’t read. You can either unsubscribe from everything at once (my recommendation), or you can pick and choose. Read this blog post to learn more about how it works.

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2) Remove yourself from any internal company and business threads you don’t need to be on.

Once you’ve unsubscribed from external newsletters, it’s time to evaluate the internal emails you receive on a regular basis. Do you really need to get email notifications every time the sales team closes or deal, or every time someone on the marketing team reports a bug?

If the answer isn’t a definitive “yes,” do yourself a favor and remove yourself from whatever alias or list you’re on. If that makes you wildly uncomfortable, compromise by creating a folder in your email client and send those emails to that folder automatically. (To set at up, you can create filters in Gmail or rules in Outlook.)

3) Understand — and embrace — that you can’t respond to everything.

Part of maintaining a manageable inbox — and your sanity — is to change the way you think about email a little bit. Only you can decide what deserves your very limited time and attention. When it comes to email, understand that there’s simply no way you’ll be able to respond to every single email that arrives in your inbox, let alone read them all.

I love the way Merlin Mann puts it: “Stop thinking of emails like precious family heirlooms, and start treating ’em like pints of milk. Perishable, time-stamped milk that becomes a little less fresh every day until it smells kind of funny and just needs to be dumped. Believe me, there will always be more coming.”

So if you’re looking at an email and know in your heart of hearts you’re never going to respond to it, archive it. Better yet, delete it. As Mann says, “Trust your instincts, listen to them, and stop trying to be perfect.”

4) Keep your replies brief whenever possible.

When you do have to reply to an email, you’ll find that in most cases, you don’t need to craft the perfect response. Often, a few sentences will do; in some cases, a few words. If you let an email with an action item sit for a few days, a quick “Do you still need this?” email might end up saving you a lot of time.

Don’t feel guilty about sending succinct emails. If you’re concerned your brevity will be taken the wrong way, give a heads-up to the folks you exchange emails with the most. Tell them that, in your effort to spend less time on email and more time on your actual work, you plan to cut down word count in your emails.

The better you get at deleting emails you don’t need to read or respond to, the more time you’ll have to write the emails that warrant those long responses.

5) Use pre-written replies.

Which types of emails do you find yourself typing out over and over, without really needing to customize them?

I, for example, often find myself referring people to HubSpot’s guest blogging guidelines page. I used to write one-off emails to folks, meaning I’d have to craft a few sentences, find and copy the link, and so on. Now, I give myself ten minutes back in my day by sending pre-written replies via Gmail’s “canned responses” feature.

Gmail, Outlook, and other email clients offer canned responses. Below are instructions for setting up and using them in Gmail.

To Set Up Canned Responses in Gmail:

  1. Click the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner and choose “Settings.”
  2. Click the “Labs” tab, find Canned Responses at the top, and click “Enable.” Scroll down and click “Save Changes.”

To create a canned response, compose a new email and click the little arrow in the bottom right-hand corner of the new email. Choose “Canned responses,” and then “New canned response.” From there, you can name your new canned response, write it, and save it. Anytime you want to use it, simply go back to that little arrow, choose “Canned responses,” and click on the one you’d like to use. (Learn more on Google’s website.)

To Set Up Canned Responses in Outlook:

In Outlook, the best option I could find was to set up your canned responses as “Signatures.” That way, when you reply to an email, you can choose the appropriate “signature” and the whole canned reply will appear. Here’s how to do that:

  1. On the Outlook menu, click “Preferences.” Under “E-mail,” click “Signatures.”
  2. Click the plus icon to add a new signature.
  3. A new signature will appear under “Signature name” with the label “Untitled.” Double-click “Untitled,” and then type in a new name for your canned response.
  4. In the right pane, type the text that you want to include in the signature — in other words, type in your canned response.

Once you create the canned response as a signature, you can add it to a new email by clicking in the message body, choosing the “Message” tab, clicking “Signatures,” and choosing a signature from the list. (Learn more on Outlook’s support page.)

6) Employ a one-click rule.

This rule might seem simplistic, but it’s a huge time-saver. The “one click” refers to a single click to open an email once. Once it’s open, decide exactly what you want to do with it right then and there: Reply, forward, send to a folder, archive, and/or delete.

The point here is to not open an email, read it, and then decide to deal with it later and move on. That’s the bad habit that’ll guarantee you a clogged inbox and more stress down the road.

7) Triage emails using “special stars” in Gmail.

If you use Gmail and your goal is to get to inbox zero and maintain it, then I’d like to direct you to the email system that’s changed the way I do email. Here are the full instructions. This works great in conjunction with the one-click rule we just talked about.

The premise is this: In Gmail, you’ll set up multiple inboxes and give each of them a name, like “Needs Action/Reply” and “Awaiting Response.” Your general inbox will then appear on the left, and your labeled inboxes (which Gmail calls “panes”) will appear on the right, like so:

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You’ll use what Gmail calls “special stars” — kind of like Gmail’s labels, but better — to categorize every single email that comes into your inbox.

Every time you get a new email in your inbox, you’ll want to:

  • Reply to the ones you can right away.
  • Label the emails you need to deal with later by marking them with the appropriate special star.
  • Archive or delete any emails you don’t need to deal with.

In the end, you’ll archive everything. Your inbox will stay at zero, and everything else will either be in its designated pane, archived, or deleted.

Use Outlook?

SimplyFile is a free organizational tool that’ll help you categorize emails using folders. When an email comes in, all you have to do is drag it into the appropriate folder. You can organize both messages you’re receiving in your inbox, as well as messages you’re sending — which you can file as you send them.

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Image Credit: SimplyFile

8) Delegate emails to others using a collaboration tool.

Sometimes, you might find that you receive emails that are better handled by someone else. In these cases, you could either forward the email, or you can streamline the process by quickly sharing the email with someone on your team using an email collaboration tool.

There are a number of email collaboration tools out there to choose from. If you use Gmail, Hiver is a great choice: It lets you share Gmail labels (and therefore share folders) with other users, which you can use to assign tasks, delegate emails, and even track their status if you want to. If you need to add a quick note explaining what’s going on in an email thread, you can do that right in the tool.

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Image Credit: Hiver

9) Use the “yesterbox” approach.

“Yesterbox” is a methodology for managing your inbox created by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. This approach is kind of like inbox zero, except you’re working off all the emails from yesterday and treating them like today’s to-do list.

The basic premise is this: Every morning, you have a fixed number of emails to answer instead of an endless flood of new emails coming in. Once you finish dealing with yesterday’s emails, you’re done with email for the day. Here are the full instructions.

Like Klinger’s methodology from #7, you’ll categorize incoming emails into folders labeled “Yesterbox,” “Today,” “Action Required,” “Awaiting Response,” and so on. As new emails come in, you’ll label them accordingly. But as for actually dealing with these emails — that’s left for a specific time on your calendar that you’ve designated for handling yesterday’s emails. In the end, your Yeseterbox is a to-do list with static tasks.

It’s that freeing sense of completion that makes this method so appealing — but be wary that if your job requires you to tackle emails as they come in, this may not be the best method for you.

10) Set up filters when you go on vacation.

Vacations are awesome, but coming back to a jam-packed inbox is … not so awesome. One way to manage your email workflow while you’re gone for long periods of time is to set up filters.

This is an approach HubSpot’s Director of Marketing Rebecca Corliss found worked really well for her when she went on her month-long sabbatical. Corliss was working in Gmail, but you can adapt this method for most email clients. In short, here’s what she did:

  1. She created a new folder for her vacation (“Spain Sabbatical 2015”).
  2. She set up a filter that recognized any emails being sent to *@hubspot.com. By putting the asterisk there instead of her actual email, she was able to capture not only emails that were sent to her work email address, but also emails sent to the company aliases she was on.
  3. She added a second filter that deleted irrelevant emails — for example, all the daily and weekly digests she expected to receive, like metrics updates.
  4. When she returned, she strategically handled all her unread emails. For example, she searched for emails she wanted to respond to first by conducting key searches for her manager’s email address.

Once these more time-sensitive messages are addressed, she blocked time to go through the remaining emails and respond only to the ones that were absolutely necessary. Here are the full instructions.

11) Block time to get back to inbox zero.

Dedicating specific chunks of time to get back to inbox zero isn’t just for when you return from vacation. It should be something you tackle in short batches on a daily basis, and in larger chunks every week or so, depending how much new email you receive.

The purpose of batching email? So you aren’t handling emails as they arrive. That can be a serious productivity killer, and can pull you away from projects and tasks that are more important than a perfectly clean inbox.

On a daily basis, limit yourself to dealing with new emails during fixed periods each day. For example, HubSpot Demand Generation Manager Amanda Sibley physically blocks off an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening on her calendar for getting her inbox in order. Do what works for you.

12) Use keyboard shortcuts.

To make the process of reading, replying to, archiving, and deleting emails a lot faster (and generally more enjoyable), take advantage of any keyboard shortcuts your email client offers. Here are tips for keyboard shortcuts in Gmail and Outlook. If you use a different email client, do a quick Google search for the name of your email client + “keyboard shortcuts.”

Keyboard Shortcuts in Gmail:

First thing’s first: You’ll need to activate keyboard shortcuts. To do this:

  1. Click the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner and choose “Settings.”
  2. Click the “General” tab, find “Keyboard shortcuts,” and select “Keyboard shortcuts on.” Scroll down and click “Save Changes.”
  3. Then, go back to “Settings” via that gear icon, click on the “Labs” tab, and find “Custom keyboard shortcuts” (by Alan S). Choose “Enable.” Scroll down and click “Save Changes.”

Once custom keyboard shortcuts are turned on, a new tab will appear in your Settings called “Keyboard Shortcuts.” Head over there to learn the default keyboard shortcuts and customize them if you’d like.

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Keyboard Shortcuts in Outlook:

Outlook doesn’t let you customize keyboard shortcuts, but they have a heck of a lot to choose from. Here’s the full list, and below are some favorites:

  • Create a new message: ⌘ + N (Mac); Ctrl + N (PC)
  • Send an open message: ⌘ + Return (Mac); Ctrl + Return (PC)
  • Save an open message and store it in Drafts: ⌘ + S (Mac); Ctrl + S (PC)
  • Forward a message: ⌘ + J (Mac); Ctrl + J (PC)
  • Display the next message: Control + ]
  • Display the previous message: Control + [
  • Delete the selected message: Delete
  • Mark selected messages as read: ⌘ + T (Mac); Ctrl + T (PC)

Looking for more ideas for gaining and maintaining control of your email? Here are 11 inbox organization tools to try, as well as four solutions to getting “inbox zero” based on your personality.

What other ways have you gotten to inbox zero? Share with us in the comments.

free productivity tips

Exercises That Get You Ripped

Exercises That Get You Ripped

You know how significant it is to know what is in your food and beverage, if you have Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance. In addition, you understand how embarrassing and time consuming it is to have to set up camp in front of the grocery store shelves and read the label on every product you’re interested in and then check it against your rather drawn-out “don’t use up” list. You almost certainly merely sighed and said, “I wish there was a better method.” Well, cheer up, there’s! All you need to do is find out about each product you’re interested in before you proceed to the store, and that is not quite as difficult as you believe.

Is there one method that’s better than another for slimming down? Actually, there’s. Taking diet pills and appetite suppressants are not a wise alternative for a long term weight reduction regimen. The absolute perfect strategy to achieve perfect results is by observing the foods that you eat, restricting fatty and sugary foods, upping your daily water consumption to about 10 8oz. glasses a day and exercising. Lifestyle changes are essential in dropping the weight and keeping it off.

So, you need a HUGE discount on Shakeology? Sign up as a Beachbody Trainer. Using this method you will get a 25% reduction on Shakeology and not only that but you will also get a 25% discount on ALL BeachBody products.

Next up is the Cardiovascular Abs of Insanity. Madness is among the most effective applications applications How to lose weight I ever before skilled but does its Cardio exercise jump out in the similar way?

The Mediterranean Diet focuses more on keeping the heart healthy than losing weight. It focuses on eating lots of vegetables and fruits and a few nuts and wine and using great oils for cooking. While red meat is discouraged fish is supported. Keep in your mind weight loss will not be fast.

A Gluten free diet is mostly for those allergic wheat. It avoids all foods containing gluten or from gluten cereals like wheat, rye or barley. In addition this doesn’t encourage weight loss.

Like every other individual out there, vic started out doing the routine things recommended in every health web site out there. Eat low carb foods and regular exercise. There was no result to show for it and when he attempted this for while, he chose to find a better alternative.

Author’s Note: This text is compiled from free information in papers and medical texts which are concerned with health matters. Nothing herein is meant to be or should be construed to be any kind of medical advice. For medical issues, you have to talk to a licensed medical practitioner.

Check out the original post: Exercises That Get You Ripped