Cold callers: The do’s and don’ts

It’s one of the biggest annoyances of modern-day life; the process of a company calling out of the blue and generally making a nuisance of themselves.

Unfortunately, regardless of how many regulations are passed, this is a problem that only seems to be worsening. Every day we seem to be inundated with these calls, with typical trends focusing on insurance and car accident claims (for cases that are completely unrelated to us).

Amid all of the frustration, it can be difficult to work out how to deal with such calls. This is the reason today’s guide has been put together, as we look at some do’s and don’ts for dealing with nuisance cold callers.

DO – Find out their details

First and foremost, you need to find out exactly who has called you. The best way to do this is to use a reverse phone lookup service, which will hand you all of this information on a plate. It will tell you the name of the company and everything else that you might need if you decide to take this further.

DO – Ask to be removed from records

If you answer one of these calls, the big trick is not to lose your temper. If you lose your temper, it’s still probably not going to deter one of these companies from contacting you in the future.

Instead, you need to be shrewd. You need to appeal to their better (and legal, for that matter) nature. This means you should ask if you can be removed from their records, so they should never contact you again.

Of course, they might decline such a request. If they do get in contact again, they are breaking laws though and this is where you can use the data you collected in the first stage to pursue a claim against them.

DON’T – Provide any information to them

There might be a few occasions where they entice you to provide personal information. This is very rare, but it does happen – and you need to be on your guard if they try such tactics with you. Usually, the tactics are reserved for the elderly or those who are vulnerable, with some cold callers attempting to get personally identifiable information so they can profit from you.

In short, the basic rule is not to give anything away. You don’t know for sure where they are from, and they have no business asking you for this information unless you have an agreement in place (in which case, they’re not a cold caller anyway).

DON’T – Call back

Finally, don’t attempt to call back the number. This is a common mistake, particularly if you don’t recognize a number. However, this can also be playing right into a company’s hands. They might want you to do this, as they can in turn profit from the extortionate fees that this number is going to cost you when you dial it. Don’t fall into the trap.

Top 5 Britpop Songs

I was chatting to a good friend dog mine Matt Knouff last week about our favorite movements or scenes in music, and which ones we would love to have been involved in. In truth, the decision as to which one you would rather have been involved in is pretty tricky, San Francisco with the hippies in the 60s? Summer of Love in London in ’67? Grunge in Seattle in the 80s and 90s? Perhaps New York for the birth of hip-hop on the 80s? For me, the one scene that I would love to have been involved in was the Britpop explosion in the mid-90s, whilst I was old enough to appreciate the music, it never had quite the same impact over here in the States, as it seemed to in the UK. I decided then, that I would pick me favorite songs from this era, let me know what you think.

Oasis – Live Forever

Of all of the teenage angst themed, stomping indie rock pieces that Oasis put together, this was the song that summed up the scene of Britpop. From the opening lines of ‘Maybe, I don’t really wanna know, how you garden grows, ‘ cos I just wanna fly,’ Noel and Liam Gallagher captured the magic of youth, the disconnection they felt from the ‘oldies’ and the pure and innocent optimism which most young people hold dear. This was a song for the youth then, and it still resonates today.

Pulp – Common People

If Blur and Oasis were the top tier of Britpop, Pulp were right on their heels and when Different Class came out, the face of Britpop changed forever. Common People was the song that thrust Pulp into the limelight and shone a light onto the working class Britain, the heart of the Britpop scene. The story is of a posh girl who wants to experience the lower classes as Jarvis Cocker delightfully reminds us that things are much better at the bottom than the top.

The Verve – Drugs Don’t Work

Lead singer of The Verve Richard Ashcroft was a true poet of his time and this offering about his Mum’s illness and ensuing death, was a true masterpiece of the Britpop generation. Whilst the song may have been jumped on by the youths of the time, as an encouragement to take drugs, the power of the song was never lost on people, even if the meaning was. Few bands came up with powerful songs like The Verve did, and this was their finest piece.

Blur – Boys and Girls

Britpop began from the Manchester scene of the early 90s, so when the London boys Blur came along, they were keen to put their own stamp on it. This offering from Blur, about the hedonism and ridiculousness of the Ibiza party scene, firmly cemented their status as a brilliant British band, and immediately segregated the youths of the day, between themselves and Oasis. A classic song which offers a perfect commentary of life in the 90s.

Nenadi Usman on How to Go from Classroom Teacher to Political Leader

Nenadi Usman is a very popular politician from Nigeria. She is one of those rare people who doesn’t just know what they want, but who will fight tooth and nails to get that. In the face of many forms of adversity, including a poor background and the fact that she is a woman in a male-dominated society, Nenadi Usman has shown that she has what it takes. She has experience, she has leadership skills, she has integrity, and she has a genuine desire to make Nigeria a better place.

Nenadi Usman Takes on Politics

Nenadi Usman has indicated that she is interested in the position of National Secretary. She has made an official declaration towards this through the PDP National Convention at their headquarters. As a senator herself, she already has a wealth of political knowledge and background that she hopes to bring to the table.

Born in Kaduna, Usman started her life as a humble classroom teacher. Later, she took on the position of Commissioner and, eventually, worked her way up to Minister of Finance. Very few women ever take up positions of such seniority and even fewer do so in the financial field. However, finances seem to be Usman’s forty. Indeed, she was the Director of Finance for PDP, who organized the presidential campaign. She feels this proves even further that she is ready to grow into the next position.

Usman also believes that her party, and her country as a whole, needs to become more united. She wants people to come together as brothers and sisters, all of whom want to make Nigeria a better place. As one of the fastest growing economies on the African continent, Nenadi Usman feels that the various divisions within the countries should be resolved to present a united front to the rest of the world.

Nenadi Usman also wants to break through the glass ceiling. Never before has a woman taken on such a position of seniority in Nigerian politics, and she hopes to be the first of many. The world over, people are seeing women take on traditionally male-dominated roles, particularly in politics. However, very often, those women have had to give up some of their more feminine qualities, losing some of the soft skills that they all have. For Usman, this is also something that needs to change. She believes women, like herself, have their own particular strengths that have a lot to bring to the world. Indeed, many people say that if women ruled the world, there would be no more war. The fact that so many continue to believe that, in order to succeed above the glass ceiling, femininity has to be sacrificed is nothing but shameful.

People all over the world are watching Nenadi Usman and her quest to the top. She is proving to be a true inspiration for the masses. Nowhere is this seen more than in her own country, where young girls in particular hope to emulate her.

How to Approach Writing a Book Like a Professional

The process of writing a book is a challenging chore for several different reasons. You must have a compelling topic, one that is not overdone or that you can approach in a completely different way. You must also have access to important research data that can help you get your arms around writing about the subject. You also must have a clear idea about the structure and style of your book because this will impact how and what you write.

There is no simple way to get through it but there are guidelines that you can adopt in order to help you get what you want written on track and coming out the way you intend. However there is discipline required that professional writers like Orlando Figes use in order to get to and through the process. To help you gain some of that discipline here are some tips about writing like a professional.

Get Your Sources and References Together Before You Begin

You are in luck, because these days, you don’t have to spend weeks at the local library or book store doing research as you burnt he daylight and night time oil. Today, there are plenty of quality research sources at your fingertips right online and easily available to you. Your challenge however will be volume and quality Because it is so easy to place something on any subject on I the Internet, you will see a lot about everything and much of it will be either inaccurate or only partially accurate or both. So you must check and double check any important facts you want to include in your book. Look for credible authors and sources who make a habit of vetting their sources too. Also, check out the sources page for every relevant article that may help you to get what you need more quickly.

Make an Outline

After your research is done and you have all the information around your topic that you need, it is time to start writing your outline. An outline is a sketch of the story you want to write. You basically lay it out in this sketch form in advance of your writing your book. The goal here is to make sure that your story is complete and makes logical sense. You want to follow characters and see where they end up and if they have consistent actions and deeds throughout the story. Do places and people connect in a way that is cohesive? Are you taking the reader on a journey? Do your conclusions hold water? You will discover the answers to all of these when you do an outline. Also, each time you think of an idea for the story it goes here first and must fit into the overall story.


The structure is actually part of the outline but it deserves to be brought out as a separate focus area. The structure is how you will tell your story. Books have different structures and you need to be clear about yours but generally speaking you will want to follow a traditional book structure which is:

Act 1: Defining the world and introducing the characters. We also learn about a problem that the story is highlighting and this problem’s relationship to our characters.

Act 2: The heart of the story and what happens to change the characters along the way. Do new challenges arise for them? Can they deal with it all?

Act 3: the resolution of the story and the sense of what might come next.

Although this structure fits best for fiction writing, it is often used even for great non-fiction novels as well. In any case it is only to serve as a guideline.

Stick to the basics and dedicate the time needed for you to write.