Mark Puppe

Mark Puppe







Tomorrow, Barack Obama finally sheds that pesky “elect” term from his title and becomes the 44th President of the United States.

Millions will attend this monumental event while millions more experience it on TV. Every American should listen to President Obama describe the path our mighty nation will take over the next four years. Brace yourself for one of the most eloquent and memorable speeches of all time.

Over 40,000 security personnel and 7,000 porta potties will be on hand to keep things under control. Despite this colossal effort, I haven’t heard anything about all the Kleenex that will be needed when Obama’s speech intoxicates the masses to the point of celebratory tears – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The inaugural speech will give our nation the jolt of jubilance it needs and Obama’s the perfect person to deliver it. Original rhetoric will surface, but the deep divisions plaguing the country require the new president to rely on quotes and quips that people like to hear repeated. Watch, he’ll inject power terms and phrases from Dr. King, Presidents Reagan, Kennedy and Lincoln, about the military and others everyone already adores because he has to excite EVERYONE. That can’t be done if he talks too much about things people don’t yet understand or appreciate. A demanding task, but he’ll use this strategy to addict the audience to the vision he articulates – at least until policy discussions start sobering people up.

On the other side of the coin, I bet you’ll even hear President George W. Bush quoted or mentioned with praise as an attempt to lessen peoples’ disdain for him, attract his supporters and use the status quo as a springboard for the new president’s agenda. I could be wrong, but it would be brilliant for Obama to do something of the sort.

The best way to win an audience is to strike emotional chords by hammering on concerns that all the members share – even if their thoughts are different. Whether Obama’s speech makes you happy or hostile, it will spark your interest and make his mark, which is the entire point of communication.

Any citizen that abstains from listening to Obama’s speech will hear so much about it that they’ll need to get a dose by watching it on You Tube or hear their kids recite it after history class.

What's President Obama's biggest challenge?  Post a comment below and inform the thousands who visit this site how you think it can be overcome.





Questions about the next paycheck and how to pay last month’s bills plague millions of people. Two streaks of multi-month unemployment had cast me into that ocean of uncertainty, too. However, those times without blessed me with ideas that stablized my career and enable my business to grow now.

Whether we’re business owners or job seekers, we need to promote ourselves to survive and that requires effective communication. Take a stab at these free strategies. They’ll help heal existing wounds.

Facebook. This hokey network has created a firestorm of communication and, in my case, web site referrals. These connections provide an interactive forum to market our interests for free. Post a link to your business or announce your job search and watch the leads pour in. The pictures can be entertaining, too.

Give A Little. Think I get paid for those logos on the right? No, but posting them helped make me the sole resume writer, communications consultant and copyeditor for the top three respectively and a “Career Expert” for the fourth. Let me know if you want to see yours here, too. This doesn’t mean we should work for free, but exchanging services opens doors and if I can fit through them, so can you.

Press Releases are a free way to announce your accomplishments. What happens when it’s well written and sparks interest among the masses? Ta dah! It gets published and reporters might even follow up to write a story. Hiring a professional third party to prepare it can be profitable when you have second thoughts about how. You know where to find one.

Ask For Help. Isn’t that a novel one? It is easy to think, “I can do it myself,” but a wealth of agencies provide sound advice so we don’t have to go it alone.  Local and state development foundations, chambers of commerce, staffing agencies and friends all have ideas about how to engage yours.  Plus, there are businesses that can articulate them for you at very reasonable rates.

Blogging allows us to share ideas and make the entire world our audience.  That keeps our minds and writing skills sharp.  When someone comments, we've received a free review and it would be great if you do that below! Even if no one does, these ideas can promote your business or job search and knowing that is just one benefit I receive by posting them. Plus, thousands read this blog daily! Well, we’re getting there. Thanks for being one of them.

Trade Fairs and Organizations. Would we hear “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” so often if it wasn’t true? Maybe if it was a campaign promise, but when it comes to building a business or finding a job, that statement holds more water than the sea. Trade groups are an excellent way to network with people who share similar interests and goals and they might even allow you to participate as a guest.

These simple steps will keep money in your pocket and time on your schedule while Washington works so hard to waste both. Hey, here’s another suggestion: write a letter to the editor or directly to Congress – I can help with that, too. Best wishes for 2009!



I’ve been in California helping a client for the past two weeks and answering “Where’s North Dakota?” for every local I encounter. However, USA Today has spared me the latter by publishing a headline and map announcing that “North Dakota tops analysis of corruption” on a per capita basis. Meanwhile, the governor of Illinois gets arrested for trying to sell an appointment to the U.S. Senate and faces charges of failing to make one for himself with the barber.

USA Today’s metric is messed up and brings to mind a caveat for using numbers to determine merit:

Statistics are not a substitute for good judgment.

People use numbers to convince us all the time because they quantify a claim thereby making it more credible. Whether they’re accurate can be a 50/50 crapshoot.

So, North Dakota’s the most corrupt state in the nation, eh? On a per capita basis, you betcha! In reality? Not a prayer. The 640,000 people living in North Dakota have this God forsaken tendency to pay attention to their government and hold it accountable (most of the time). If a public official gets convicted for corruption there, s/he typically ends up in jail or moving somewhere else (like Illinois) to save face, literally. Yet, twisting numbers sure can make those North Dakotans look evil.

Earlier this year, Men’s Health ranked Fargo the “Fifth Drunkest City.” However, the stats can also show Fargo is more civic minded than smashed. Men’s Health used the number of DUI arrests and report cards issued by local Mothers Against Drunk Driving groups. There’s no data about the extent to which arrested drivers were intoxicated or how many report cards were issued, but suddenly Fargo is the fifth drunkest? Well, there are about as many DUI check points as there are people in Fargo (I’ve passed 100% of mine, thereby making me a 100% responsible driver). Fargo’s MADD chapter is probably more active and better attended than others, so it probably submitted more report cards per capita, too. Too bad I don’t have the numbers to prove it.

North Dakota’s small population doesn’t necessarily make it a victim either. For example, its senators have the same voting power as those from urban states (like Illinois), so it inherently becomes top contender for “Most Efficient Vacuum of Tax Dollars” – according to the numbers.

Telling my bank “I got a 40% raise after just one year!” would’ve mandated a mortgage under the Affordable Housing Act. The statement’s true, but represents how Mom and Dad increased my allowance from 25 cents/week to a whopping 35 when mowing the lawn got added to my weekly duties.

The examples go on and on and I bet you’ve got a few, too. At the end of it all, we need to be wary of how people use numbers to back their claims. Using them is a crafty way to convince an audience and I’m not saying they’re bad, just that it’s a good idea consider them with reasonable doubt before accepting them as true.




I’ve been wearing glasses since third grade and my sight hasn’t improved since.

Misplacing my glasses can be very traumatic and finding them can be quite a chore. But for corrective lenses, I’d be writing everything in 120 point font and walking into walls. I’d lose my driver’s license and forever be Mom and Dad’s passenger; and that, my friends, would be more traumatic than losing my glasses. My point? Progress requires vision. Without it, we fall into a black hole of frustration and horrifying inefficiency.

Recognizing and maximizing our potential requires help. I wouldn’t be able to see without the optometrist or sustain Master Manuscripts without clients. However, my vision’s been corrected and the most profitable part of my company is empowering clients to focus theirs.

Having someone else review our problems provides a new perspective and is an investment that yields major returns. If we continue hitting the walls, how smart is it to think, “I don’t need no dang doctor”? The same goes for trying to promote our interests alone. Meeting with a communications consultant (like me), parallels how an optometrist puts letters on the wall and asks, “What do you see?” Too often, my clients answer, “Nothing, that’s why we can’t promote our company” or “It’s such a mess, that’s why I can’t find a job.” Bologna. That’s when we sit down and study their struggles through different lenses. Before long, we find one that put things into perspective and are drafting a prescription.

Finding a new path isn’t the panacea, but following it gets us much farther than running into walls we can’t see. Whether it’s a way around the wall or to blast through it, we’ve discovered one that puts clients back on track and provides vision for the future.I’m sending my business card to every member of Congress.




Master Manuscripts has been a fun and rewarding venture.

It’s gratifying to hear that I helped clients find a job, win praise for a speech and make their messages stick.

Modern technology has connected me to clients from California, Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. It’s really something. You wouldn’t be reading this without it. By the way, thanks for being here. Local clients and I meet in person, but it’s online or over the phone for national clients (at least until next month when I head west to shadow a client’s business for a few days). Technology is useful and convenient, but we’ve become dangerously dependent upon it.

Spell check’s the worst and a client’s email beautifully articulated why. He pleaded that,

“No madder how had I try, I can’t find a jab. I haven’t made any honey for months and am starting to feel the punch. I just can’t get a head. This search has putt me into a whole and I knead your help to gut me out.”

Really? Well, it’s a personal email and when was the last time someone cared what’s in that? So, I opened the attached resume and discovered why his search for a jab was knocking him out cold. The objective proudly declared his desire “to serve my employer by applying my extensive experience and passion to a pubic relations career,” (emphasis added).

He sure seemed excited, but had misplaced his trust in spell check and it let this subtle error slide. He presumed their relationship was blessed with mutual loyalty, but spell check obviously violated that. I cordially replied, “Dud, we need to meat,” (spell check didn’t catch these errors either).

 He’s doing much better now, but it shows that another set of eyes will serve a person far better than a computer and that’s one of the many ways I can help you.