Posted tagged ‘stragegy’

Let me hear your four seconds!

September 2, 2009

How many times have you answered the phone and some telemarketer spends the first 30 seconds not taking a breath or allowing you to get a word in edgewise? Chances are, more often than not.

Experts say that we, the business professionals of the world, have a total of four–count ’em–four seconds to entice someone into doing business with you or buying whatever product you happen to be hawking.

Did you get that? You have to say something in the first four seconds of your conversation which will make someone decide if they are going to work with you. If you haven’t got them in four seconds, it’s time to move on to someone else.

I know I need to work on my pitch, and I’m having a hard time finding others who really know how to effectively pitch to prospects. If you’ve got a good pitch, let me hear it. If your pitch needs a little work, let me hear that, too, and we can offer hints or ways to improve.

Remember, YOU only have FOUR free seconds before someone tunes you out and starts playing computer games, so make ’em good.

How ’bout it?

Readjusting My Goals…

May 28, 2009

linkedin1If you’ve been reading my recent posts, you may have noticed that I have made the statement that I will begin affecting change in my life by becoming accountable to YOU, the blogosphere.

Well, I started out pretty well, but then it sort of lost the appeal as I was a bit uncertain as to the actual number of people who were reading my posts. Hmm….

However, I have found renewed inspiration and am working now on some new goals which I will share with you as I become comfortable with the idea of letting the world (or the couple dozen people who click on my posts) know what my plans are.

But what I do want to tell you is this: I’m trying to become more active on LinkedIn and am always looking to make new connections. If you are interested in connecting with me, my email address is in the “ABOUT” page on my blog. However, if it appears that I’m getting tremendous amounts of spam to my inbox, I will then take action and remove it.

Are you trying out new things in your business? If so, I’d love to hear about them!

How ’bout it?

The Communications Factors: Where It’s Going

October 10, 2007

Fred Vogelstein of the LA Times wrote a very compelling article on the Facebook Revolution for October 7. He spends much of the article writing about FaceBook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and his vision. What really hit home with me, however, was how he paraphrased what Zuckerberg envisions for the social networking megagiant:

“Humans get their information from two places — from mainstream media or some other centralized organization such as a church, and from their network of family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. We’ve already digitized the first. Almost every news organization has a website now. What Zuckerberg is trying to do with Facebook is digitize the second.

“Think about what this means. Right now, the interactions among friends, neighbors and colleagues — a.k.a. word of mouth — is still analog. You go to a cocktail party, and a friend tells you about this incredible pediatrician he’s found. You ask a few other friends to confirm that data and eventually two things happen: You switch doctors, and the physician becomes a favorite in town. Now imagine that information automatically pushed out to all your friends, tested, verified and returned to you in 24 hours, and you have Zuckerberg’s vision for Facebook.”

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Zuckerberg’s vision is clearly head-and-shoulders above others’, who have yet to capitalize on the idea. That’s what I want Link to Nashville, the site I administer, to become. I want it to be “the place” to visit on-line to find out what’s hot and where things are happening, in addition to who people recommend.

My Vision:

Link to Nashville has already become a gathering place for business people – most of them local – who are stepping into the on-line social networking space – some for the first time. Just like Zuckerberg’s visionary thoughts about Facebook, “You switch doctors, and the physician becomes a favorite in town,” I want Link to Nashville to be the top resource for people who are new to the area and are looking for a church, doctor, or whatever, and for the people who are planning to visit Nashville and are looking for a hotel close to downtown, a hotspot, or the most likely places to see a country musician!

Think about it. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to go on-line and learn that Tootsie’s provides a live music venue seven nights a week if you weren’t from middle Tennessee?

How ’bout it?

The Communications Factors: Do It Better!

October 9, 2007

Just like with anything else, managing the Communications Factors improves with time and practice. The same way a child who’s played soccer for a couple of seasons is better than the first timer, the more we employ the Communications Factors, the better we are at getting our message to the intended audience with little or no distraction or interference.

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In the Relationship Economy, communicating with others requires a good amount of time and skill. If you deny this fact, just take a look at some of the meaningless, trivial blogs which are usually – but not always – written by teens. “Just stopping by to say hi,” seems to be a common post to many MySpace pages. Blogger Deborah Schultz said in her July 10th post this year, “Relationships take work.  We all know this and yet we take shortcuts,  in our personal and professional lives.” Yes, relationships do take work. Think about friendships among children. When two kids approximately the same age spend a half hour playing and really enjoying themselves, they each have made a “new best friend.” However, later that week, one child cannot even remember the other’s name. It’s all about the relationship.

The relationships of the physical world are becoming more and more virtual. And the most effective ways to build those relationships is to communicate, via technology, with others in the on-line world.

By engaging the technologies of communications (i.e. practice), we learn to improve the transference of information. The more time we spend using those emerging technologies, the better we become at maintaining those relationships which really matter most to us. As it is said, “Practice makes perfect!”

The more you do anything, whether it’s posting to a blog, establishing yourself as an expert or producing a podcast, the more you do it, the better will will get.

The technologies provide us ways with which we can communicate; how and whether we use the technology is completely up to us.

How ’bout it?

Paradigms Need to Be Shifted

October 8, 2007

A couple of years ago, I attended a series of classes led by Dr. Robert Lewis from Little Rock, Arkansas, called “Men’s Fraternity.” Actually, Dr. Lewis was not in attendance, but through technological advances, his seminar was presented on DVD. 

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The core topic of the class was to improve our lives at work and home – whether we were single, married, or engaged. The thing I most remember about the seminar was the idea that we, as men, had to have a paradigm shift: “In order to live more than you can imagine, you have to die a little,” said Lewis. Without going into the theological aspects of this paradigm, let me just explain what the statement means: Take marriage. If a man really wants to win big points with his wife, then he should try cleaning the house. (That’s just one example, but it’s a good one.) When the wife gets home from work, she’ll realize he cleaned the house. Even though he hated doing it, the reward(s) will far exceed his expectations. Thus, he needed to “die a little,” or do something he really didn’t want to do,  in order to “live like more than he ever imagined.”

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When people who don’t already know about the benefits of “social networks” are invited to join anyon-line network, they usually ask, “What’s in it for me?” That’s not always the case, but more often than not, it is. They can’t seem to understand that their paradigms need to be shifted.

Typically, we, as humans, are taught that our needs come first. “We need to look out for number one because nobody else is going to.” That’s not the case in social networking. In fact, in many groups the members derive such a “shot in the arm” from the free exchange of knowledge and sharing, that the “payment” for such services comes in a form of Personal Realization; members realize that they are contributing value to the community, and that in itself is enough for them. They just want to give!

However, the majority of people in the world unfortunately don’t have this mindset: we first think, “What can I get out of the time I spend on-line or on this network?” Only after our initial needs are met, do we stop to think about helping others achieve their dreams.

How ’bout it?

The Communications Factors: Biz Writing Part 2

October 6, 2007

As stated yesterday in the post, the article titled “Six Types of Words That You Should Axe in Business Writing” provided excellent tips and perspectives about writing that business correspondence every professional, at one time or another, has to write.

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The first tip of the article was the avoidance of “unfamiliar” words, which we discussed in the previous post. The second tip was to stay away from “long words”because, the article claims, they can be very yawn-inducing. Shorter words are more easily digested and comprehended by the masses. As we stated with our thoughts regarding unfamiliar words, there is nothing wrong with having an extensive vocabulary with a multitude of multi-syllabic words, but as far as their usage in business emails and letters, that should be avoided. Remember, words, and letters for that matter, are expensive. Why use a word with seven letters when a word with only four or five will suffice just fine? Unless you are playing Scrabble, stay away from the longer words if a shorter one will convey the same meaning equally as well.

The third point is that the business writer should avoid using abstract words. Maybe it’s from my years working on the paper, but it seems that the story – or business letter/email/whatever, has more of an impact when you can say, “Membership jumped 40 percent,” rather than, “The membership increased substantially.” Using specifics not only gives your piece credibility and readability, but it also provides the writer with the reputation of being precise and not vague.

The fourth type of word to stay away from are passive words. I cannot completely agree with this tip. Sometimes, it is appropriate, or ever preferable, to use the passive voice. The idea is not to write the story to tell itself – like you would in a novel, replacing “it was raining hard” with “the sky opened and the rain completely obfuscated our view.” But if you’re writing for businesses or with business purposes, you will not need to paint the reader a picture using your words. Generally, short and sweet is best. Cut to the chase. Provide enough information, but then make your point.

The fifth type of word the business writer is advised to avoid is the Camouflaged Word, which is simply a verb changed into a noun-form by adding -tion, -ing, -ment, etc: Act becomes Action; Establish becomes Establishment. These words are usually used to bolster the writer’s self-esteem. For example, instead of writing, “This guy’s writings were filled with the tendency to provide easily-understood tips,” one should write “This guy wrote to provide easily-understood tips.” There, I cut the sentence by five words and didn’t lose any of the meaning.

The sixth type of word to avoid is the unnecessary word. Examples of these would be “consensus of opinion,” “usually always,” and “in my own mind.” (Whose mind would it be if it weren’t your own?) These words don’t add anything to the meaning of the sentence, and as I’ve explained before, words are expensive. Other instances are “basic fundamentals,” since the fundamentals are the basics, “just recently,” since something recent only just happened, and “unique individuals,” since all individuals are unique.

A quick disclaimer:

  • I do not write this blog to shoot holes in anyone’s theories or practices.
  • I have recently become aware that sometimes, when posting to my blog, I make mistakes, and the grammatical or spelling error gets published.
  • Others who are in the publishing industry also have these same problems; no one is perfect.

How ’bout it?

The Communications Factors: Biz Writing

October 5, 2007

I got an email this morning regarding the tips on writing for business. I agree with the majority of the article. The main point was that in order to write an effective business letter or email, the writer needs to keep it short and sweet. I will never forget what one of my journalism professors said: “Words are expensive.” He was referring to the importance of being able to take a story of 1000 words and edit it down to 800 without losing any of the meaning. I guess that’s why I strive for concise words which convey a powerful meaning.

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The first point of the article was that the writer should abstain from “unfamiliar” words. The examples given were ascertain, consummate, and peruse. Certainly one should shy away from those words in a business letter, but I don’t think they are necessarily “unfamiliar.” Remember, when writing to a group of businessmen or women, just because you don’t pull out all the stops of your command of the English language doesn’t mean that you are writing as though your audience is composed of idiots. In fact, my mentor, Jay Deragon, has a powerful presence in the Relationship Economy and is probably smarter than I am, but reading his blog posts is sometimes painful. My strength is being able to write clear and concise text; Jay’s strength is having the ability to grasp complex, abstract strategies and implement them into the emerging technologies of this world.

Many of those who commented on the article disagree. They said to refrain from “unfamiliar” and long words was to “dumb down” the English language. However, I believe there is a time and place for the display of your inherent sesquipedalian qualities. There is nothing which loses readers, thereby decreasing your “stickiness” on the ‘net, faster than having to find a dictionary to look up an unfamiliar word. The time to employ erudite, tedious loquacity is college entrance essays, not in business correspondence. Many of the MBAs of the world have excellent vocabularies but don’t use them because they are not out to impress anyone. It does, however, impress people when you are able to convey a complex subject without unnecessary use of commas, or words which might give pause to the reader.

If the writer doesn’t restrain himself from utilizing grandiose verbiage and punctuation, then, he is drawing attention to his inexperience or his over-elevated sense of self-importance. The most dire consequence is for the reader to think, “What a pompous ass!”

I will continue on this vein in future posts.

How ’bout it?