Carolyn Browne Tamler

has helped hundreds of businesses and organizations with her thoughtful facilitation and research services. She also writes colorful and compelling articles about new business initiatives! Would this help you? Call Carolyn today!

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    p:| 360.222.6820
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    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    9-14-17 Are emails and texts good forms of communication and are we losing some of our communication skills?

    I’ve talked about this subject in earlier emails, but I am starting to have real concerns about whether the generations coming after me, and after my children, are going to lose basic communication skills.

    Have you received an email with several misspellings or grammatical errors?


    Have you had numerous text exchanges with someone and finally gave up and made a phone call to resolve something?


    Have you received a group email that got sent around several times to several people, including you?


    Do you find yourself sometimes struggling to get through a long email, only to reach the end and realize you’re still not sure what it was all about?


    Have you sent an email or a text assuming the other person would understand your words and your tone, only to get a response back that didn’t really relate to your intentions?


    I’m sure you can come up with several other items to put on this list. In our high speed communication age, we rapidly email and text and tweet several times a day (our new President believes in this). But are we really communicating?  There are some disagreements about how much human communication is non-verbal, but I think that we all can agree that lacking voice intonation, facial expression, body language and simply feeling another person’s energy, words alone will not necessarily convey thoughts accurately.


    I have a bit of a silly streak in me (those who know me might say it is more than a bit). I learned a long time ago never to use my silliness in an email unless I was absolutely sure that the person knew me well enough to understand the communication (and I’m not sure it’s wise to send anyone a silly email). Of course, I can add an imogi, but……

     Here are a few suggestions to avoid misunderstandings when emailing or texting: First,  Keep it short and simple.

    • If at all possible, save your sincere, serious communications for in-person or by phone
    • Read every email over before you press “Send”
    • If you are sending out a longer email or something with important information, make sure you have someone else read it before you send it
    • If you are feeling angry or frustrated with someone, DO NOT send them an email or text and let them know this; cool down first, and then make a phone call
    • If you are sending an email to a group of people, use the bcc, even if everyone knows each other; it will seem more personal and it will be impossible for someone else to press the “Reply all” and send out swirling emails that can drive us crazy.

    Better yet, whenever possible, call or meet with the person to whom you are sending an email.


    9-7-17 Maintaining a family business legacy

    I have lived on Whidbey for a dozen years, and in that time I have seen some long-time businesses close because the owner retired or died or simply didn’t want to keep the business going.

    I just did a Whidbey Local story about a business legacy that will continue: “Joe Gunn continues a family legacy as the new owner of Whidbey Pies and Whidbey Pies Café”

    When the original owner, Jan Gunn, decided she was ready to retire, she began looking for someone to buy the business. Her son, Joe, who had been living in New York, decided to return to Whidbey and, after assuming a management position, worked out the purchase of the two businesses.

    He has made some small improvements so far, but he also made the decision that it was important to maintain the look and feel of the Café, and to continue to work with the employees who helped build the iconic pie business.

    Anyone who has purchased a Whidbey Pie (and they are distributed in many off-island places, as well as several stores on Whidbey), and/or has visited the Whidbey Pies Café, can breathe a great sigh of relief that not only will the businesses continue, but so will a family legacy.



    8-31-17 Three basic marketing ideas to help increase business

    When you’re thinking about how to best use your dollars for marketing, here are the three concepts that I believe can guide you:

     1)      It is always easiest to sell more to those who are already buying your product or service;

    2)      You are more likely to sell to new customers who are much like the customers you already have or who have been referred to you by current customers; and

    3)      It is hardest to sell to new people who know little or nothing about you or your business.

    Item 1 assumes that you do everything to keep your customers happy so they’ll want to keep coming back to you.

    Item 2 is based on the idea that the kinds of people who really appreciate you, what you sell, and how you do business are likely to want to do business with you….once they know who you are….and especially if they have heard good things about you from their friends.

    Item 3 means it can be very expensive to simply place an advertisement without knowing details about the audience that will see the advertisement.

    In a small community, like Whidbey, word-of-mouth can often be more valuable than any paid advertising.

    The most effective ways to use your advertising dollars are to promote your business to current satisfied customers, and let your customers know how much you appreciate having them refer others to you.

    And, remember….a satisfied customer may tell many people.  A dissatisfied customer often tells everyone they meet.



    8-24-17 Clinton Chamber of Commerce is all about collaboration

    One of my major themes is the power of collaboration. Two women are now heading the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, and they are helping to build the Clinton business community by encouraging members to support and promote each other.

    Chamber President, Stephanie Cook, and Vice President, Janae Cameron, share a vision for growing the Clinton business community.

    Stephanie and her business partner and husband, Troy, have been the owners of Cozy’s Roadhouse since 2006 (Business Spotlight story just published); Janae opened Make Whidbey two years ago (see the recent story in the Whidbey Local Business Spotlight.

    Both businesses are doing well, and the Chamber is doing well, in part because Stephanie and Janae found that they got along well when they first met. They both have a deep understanding of the passion, courage and hard work it takes to run a retail business.

    They also are committed to having the members of the Chamber care about each other’s success. They know the importance of having businesses work together to attract tourists and locals to the businesses in the community: “The sense of community is strong in Clinton, and we each care about the success of every business here.”

    The Clinton Chamber is getting input from all of its members about how to grow the business community, and how community events can bring more visitors and customers to Clinton.

    As I have said many times before, collaboration is one of the most powerful ways to build the success of a business.


    8-17-17 How is a statistically valid survey done?

    We are hearing a lot of reports on surveys of public opinion right now, especially with all that is surrounding President Trump and the recent White Supremacist (that word is now being used instead of simply "racism") actions in Charlottesville. How do you know if the survey results are valid?

    How a sample is chosen and how a question is asked determine if a survey result will truly be providing projectable statistically valid data.

    A random sample means that everyone in a given population has an equal chance of being selected. Anything that alters this concept biases the results.

    If you sample everyone who is registered to vote—this will include a lot of people who will not vote.

    If you sample likely voters in a way that excludes certain elements of the population (such as neighborhoods with a lot of low-income or minority populations, or that will exclude many people who may be likely to vote, but were not included in the sample.

    If you sample using a self-select method (such as a Survey Monkey) it will exclude people who simply have no interest in responding.

    As part of the survey methodology, the survey company will want to have a screening question, (assuming they are using a list of registered voters) such as: “Are you planning to vote in the next election in your community?”

    And, surveys are a snapshot of the moment. If a major event happens that is widely reported in the news a few days before the polling is done, that will definitely affect the results.