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Advising, Guiding & Tips for Listening as You Navigate the “New” Normal
Here’s another 555 or what I’m calling your “411” on advice, guidance, and tips to actively listen as all of us navigate a “new” normal in our professional lives.
Similar to my last two videos, the first “5” is my give to 5 pros who want to learn more about FEEL First communications with a complimentary consulting session (the getting advice part). Details are in the video below on how to contact me.
The second “5” is my shout out to elevate five pros who go above and beyond to share great content and their gifts with others. You’ll have to listen to the video to hear what these folks are doing:
– Patrice Tanaka (@sambagal), CEO of Joyful Planet
– Ryan Foland (@RyanRoland), Speaker, Author, Brand Strategist –
Dennis Shiao (@dshiao), Marketing Consultant, Content Strategist
– Susan Freeman (@susfree), CEO, Freeman Means Business
– Lindsay Griffiths (@LindsayGriffith), Executive Director, International Lawyers Network.
The last “5” is my 5 tips for actively listening. After all, if you’re not listening, then you can advise and offer guidance. Watch the video for these tips so you can build better relationships as you navigate the “new” normal. You’ll learn how being present, reducing technology, listening with your body, taking notes, and asking questions really helps you to tune in and focus.
Enjoy the 555 and let me know if you have any advice, guidance, or tips to help.
Good News for Leaders, Here’s What #Millennials Like About You
Last September, the World Economic Forum published an article discussing what Millennials really want from businesses. What stood out immediately from the article appeared in the first sentence. “The global business community is being challenged by Millennials who want to change the world — and the results are going to be incredible.”
The article went on to discuss how Millennials want to create change and value takes priority. Financial performance should not be the only measure of success. They are focused on and want to see social change. The organizations that live by their values and bring them to life are the companies that will get Millennial attention, the benefits of their purchasing power, and their employment. As a result, businesses are actively working on becoming more socially conscious by placing organizational purpose over corporate mission and profits.
Although I’ve shared some of the ways leaders are disappointing Millennials in previous posts, here’s the good news … you’re getting a few things right in your communication and it’s appreciated. It’s not all bad for business leaders and brands that want to reach Millennials through their marketing channels or want to recruit and retain them in their companies.
From my research, there are several ways that leaders score positive points and can make a difference. Here’s what Millennials said when I asked, “Please fill in the blank. I LIKE a leader who …”
- Speaks up more and shows a lot of corporate activism. Brands are more than their products and services today.
- Interacts frequently with followers. The screen doesn’t exist and you can have a conversation.
- Convey thoughts properly and effectively.
- Takes the time to communicate through videos.
- Shares direct and straightforward messages.
- Communicates in earnest and follows up with action.
- Leads with integrity and leads by example.
- Inspires an audience and listens carefully to their thoughts and concerns and fuel the passion further.
- Is vulnerable and authentic.
- Shares some personal experience and knowledge; a leader who is compassionate and interested.
- Basically enjoys helping others to become leaders.
By way of background, I started my research journey to really understand how Millennials show up to their conversations and how they want to be perceived. What surfaced quickly in my one-on-one interviews was what they expected from the leaders in their lives (bosses or managers at their companies, business professionals representing the brands they love and even their religious and political figures too) whether they’ve expressed this publicly or not.
After experiencing personal family trauma, I wanted to also learn why communication doesn’t always show how people feel when they share on social media or during their in-person interactions. That’s why it’s so important to show up to your conversations with a FEEL First approach.
Because, when you FEEL before you communicate, you:
Face Your Fears by you’re stepping out of your comfort zone and allowing yourself to be more open to the ideas, feedback, and information that challenges the way that you are programmed to think.
Engage with Empathy by actively listening and you’re able to put your own agenda aside. Taking the time to understand the details of someone’s situation is the first step toward compassion and walking in someone else’s shoes.
Use Ethics and your good judgment by exercising your values and beliefs with every interaction and being true to yourself through your communication.
Unleash the Love of your work, ideas, cause, etc. (you fill in the blank) with contagious passion and the kind of energy that makes people want to not only be around you but also to support your cause and collaborate with you.
If you’re a leader and you FEEL you’re not connecting and advancing your relationships or exciting the people around you (not just Millennials but anyone), then here’s are a few ways to address the “F” in the FEEL model that might help. Embracing open conversations, differing opinions and being open to change means stepping out of your comfort. When you’re more aware of how you show up to your conversations, and when you have an open and inviting approach, different actions will result, from the people around you.
What Ephemeral #Content Means For Our #Relationships
The following article originally appeared on the AirPR blog.
A Guest Post By Rebekah Iliff, Chief Strategy Officer, AirPR
A Shutterfly study revealed that although Americans are snapping more photos than ever, they’re failing to share and look back at them. Based on the study, Americans now take more than 10 billion photos every month, but only one in two of the survey respondents have looked back at a picture more than ten years old within the last month.
If ephemeral (AKA “fleeting content”) is on the rise – and it is – what does it mean for our relationships, from romantic partners to friends and colleagues?
Snapchat turns moments into one-time secrets, Vine has evolved videos into mini versions of themselves, and Periscope (Twitter’s live video-streaming platform that lets you view “transmissions” for up to 24 hours after the live broadcast) all help to facilitate a digital conversation that’s meant to fade with time. The opportunities for marketers to leverage these platforms are plentiful and quite exciting when it comes down to it. But for the sake of human reflection (and Valentine’s Day), let’s look at how ephemeral content is changing the way we manage our real relationships.
We stare at our Smartphone screens in bed.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever pawed your partner’s phone down in bed only to start a mini-argument about them having lost their place in the article they found via their iPhone’s News app. I see many hands.
We judge romantic prospects in a matter of seconds.
Social/dating apps like Tinder encourage us to judge prospective mates immediately based on a photo and mobile-short bio. What and who are we overlooking because of technology? Do the benefits of being able to quickly preview prospects outweigh the cons?
Treasured photos go unprinted.
RIP scrapbooks and framed family photos – hello, minimalist apartments equipped with cloud technologies. Flipagrams posted on Instagram just may be our new photo albums…
FOMO continues with full force.
Now that we’ve replaced printing photos of fun times with live broadcasting, we’re continually contributing to the FOMO issues of others. Let’s go straight to the source for this one and ask a college student. Syracuse University Digital Journalism major Jane Hong comments, “If you and I were hanging out and I posted a Snap of us to my story, a third party could be hurt or jealous they weren’t invited.” What Jane said.
New ways to engage are born.
From sharing videos of special moments like getting engaged so your whole family can see it the second it happens to reconnecting with old flames via social platforms, we’re also reaping some pretty cool benefits from today’s ephemeral content platforms. You can’t deny that.
So there you have it. The future is indeed here, it’s okay to be in love with software, and we will surely see many more exciting shifts in social sharing that will make us feel torn between whether our real lives or digital lives are better.
What do you think? Is ephemeral content a sign of evolution or does it make you feel nostalgic for old-world ways? Let us know in the comments below!
Rebekah Iliff is currently the Chief Strategy Officer for AirPR, a technology platform to increase PR performance. Previously, she was the CEO of talkTECH Communications, one of the fastest growing, launch-only PR firms in the US. Additionally, she is a columnist for Inc., and Forbes, and a contributing writer for Mashable, Entrepreneur, and The Huffington Post.
Three Tips to Help You Maintain Trusted Resource Status
In PR, becoming the trusted resource is an important part the of the communicator’s professional brand. For me, it is one of the thirds in the brand pie, right up there with strategic communicator and relationship builder. However, becoming the trusted resource is a career long effort and it should not be taken for granted. Just like any part of your brand, if you don’t deliver a consistent experience, then you may jeopardize your trusted title.
For years, we’ve watched companies struggle with “trust” issues. Some of the greatest brands have lost public confidence, and gaining back the same level of trust is very difficult. In many cases, it is near impossible. Well, it’s no different for the communicator who achieves the trusted resource status. One slip, or maybe if you are lucky you may get two, but after that, the trust factor erodes. When there is trust in a relationship, you are relied upon for your credibility, accuracy and transparency in your communication. Trust is also based on the consistency of the experience with you, and your ability to deliver information or material on time.
Because time is such a huge factor in today’s society with our highly digital lifestyles, time will often get more emphasis. Of course, what you say is important, however, it is also how and when you deliver that speaks volumes. Today, you have to deliver on time, for so many reasons. And, this is not just with your media friends; it’s with your colleagues, organizations, friends, family, partners, etc. Everyone is pressed for time.
Here are three tips to help your brand remain as as the trusted resource, paying closer attention to the time factor:
- Understand the time factor thoroughly. Don’t take on the assignment if you can’t work the deliverable into your already busy schedule. Regardless of how small the deliverable appears to be, it is better to say, “No,” graciously, because of a hectic schedule. Otherwise, you will risk your trusted partner or relied upon resource status that you’ve work so hard to achieve.
- Ask if there is any flexibility on the timing so that you know if it is a cushioned deadline, or if it is a hard / tight deadline. The media, content publishers, clients, etc. may require very specific timing. You know this as a communicator. But, by asking, you will at least show that you are interested and want to make the timing work. Then, if you get an extended deadline, you need to stick to that date.
- Be honest and approach your contact early, or as soon as you know you are not going to hit the deadline. Being upfront shows your partner, friend, colleague, media contact that you respect their deadline. You are also giving that person the opportunity to find another resource, if necessary. Everyone messes up with deadlines. Unfortunately, it happens to the best of us. However, identifying an issue with a deadline, and bringing this knowledge front and center is important for your relationship moving forward.
There are many ways to be proactive to protect your status as the trusted resource and relied upon partner. These three tips have always worked for me. The actions you take from this point forward will make a big difference in your relationships, and will also help to preserve your trust factor status.
7 #PR Lessons in 2015
Can you believe it’s December and 2015 is coming to a close? Rather than share my New Year’s resolutions or point out the latest trends in PR for 2016, I’ve decided to share my thoughts about some important lessons this past year. After all, if you can capitalize on what you have learned, then you will move forward and have a much better New Year! Here are the 7 lessons:
1. Career Development: You are never too old to change, grow and reinvent yourself in your career. Reinventing yourself is one of the best ways to expand your opportunities and create new momentum. Just like music artists who master the art of reinvention, public relations and marketing professionals must do the same. You cannot be complacent. You have to shift, recreate, appeal and constantly capture attention around what you do. Staying relevant and up-to-date with the latest technology, trends and techniques will set you on the right path. The familiar saying, “we’re the cobbler’s kids without shoes,” can no longer be the case. This attitude hinders your progress and growth. Think about what has stopped you from making the smallest change to your next big, bold move, and make 2016 your year of reinvention.
2. Creative PR: According to the #PRStudChat Twitter community, creativity can’t be taught but it can certainly be inspired. Regardless, creativity is a big part of PR today. I participated in the FIR podcast with host Shel Holtz, Neville Hobson and Eric Schwartzman this past week. You can listen to the full discussion on PR trends here. On the show, we discussed a Creativity in PR study by The Holmes Report and Now Go Create. According to the study, 73% of the in-house survey respondents said they would go to PR agencies for creative ideas. At the same time, the agency participants rated the quality of their creativity as 60% worse than the creative from advertising agencies.
I’ve learned that you have to make changes in your thought process and within your organization to make creativity a part of your workflow, moving storytelling to new visual and interactive levels. Using data can certainly help to better understand your audiences and to become more intimate with your customers. Data insights will allow you to create the big ideas and to excite people with innovative and fresh thinking. You’re also able to leverage media and influencers more when you put your best creative foot forward. These influential parties will help to amplify messages and increase exposure of your campaigns. Lastly you also have the tools and the knowledge to be much more hands on in the creative process, from idea generation to actual design work (if you desire), as a result of technological advancements.
3. Relationships: Here’s is a brief but important lesson. Not every relationship will be everlasting. Of course, it would be ideal to build each relationship for the long term. In reality, there is a reason why certain colleagues and / or clients cross your pass or come into your world temporarily. At the time, they serve a very important purpose, and their presence helps you to grow or to accomplish a particular goal.
However, you have to know when it’s time to say “goodbye” to relationships not meant to last. Here’s an example … as a consultant, my job is to create the strategy, solve the challenges and help companies with their planning, infrastructure and training. In many cases, once they have what they need in place, then the best thing that can happen is they use the information and my involvement decreases. It’s actually a good feeling for me when a client can move forward and implement what’s been put into place, without my constant involvement.
Yes, just like with your children, the baby birds need to leave the nest someday. Maybe there are relationships that have popped up in 2015 that are serving an important purpose, but, at the same time, are there those relationships that you need to let go, for all parties to move onward. It doesn’t mean that you will not still be “friends” just not on the same intense level as when you started out.
4. Brand Champions: There are people that you don’t even know who will become your greatest brand champions. In 2015, I’ve met amazing professionals who have surfaced in my career and life. These are the people who I’ve never met before in person, yet have appeared through my social media communities. They are incredibly supportive of my work and I can’t thank them enough for their interest and encouragement.
For your brand champions, are you expressing gratitude? Are you taking the time to help them too? It’s an important part of building relationships that should not be taken for granted. When people are drawn to you, want to work with you and share on your behalf, then you should be mindful and an active participant, taking the time to reciprocate and give back. Even the smallest gesture is appreciated. Ultimately, the rule is never to expect anything, but when you do reciprocate it goes a long way!
5. Mentoring: Never give up on your dreams. There will always be skeptics who will say that what you’re doing is impossible or will take too much time. Perhaps, they will even tell you it’s not right for you. I’m glad I didn’t listen to the skeptics. In 2015, I discovered several new and exciting experiences, including the launch of my podcast show, Women Worldwide. I realized quickly that if you’re willing to put in the time, effort and you have the passion, then your dreams are yours, and no one can deter you. You can make your dreams come true. I accomplished my 2015 show goals. Besides the higher than expected downloads, the main goal was to give amazing women a voice and platform to share stories and impart advice. After, interviewing about 50 women, I’m well on my way. I look forward to a New Year of podcasting ahead.
6. PR / Life Stress: If you don’t have your health, then you won’t have a fulfilling career. For my family, 2015 was a year of “ups” and “downs” with family health related issues. What I’ve learned is that work alone can be stressful. But, when there is illness in the family, then this can magnify stress levels and make you feel even worse. Learning to de-stress with mindfulness and maintaining a positive mindset has become a big part of my life. Work will always be there. So, the goal is to move toward a healthy environment and focusing on your own well being for a couple of very important reasons. The first reason has to do with helping others. If you’re not 100% well, you are cannot be a good support system. Second, having your health and being positive is the best approach to fulfilling your own role to the greatest extent.
7. Working with the Media: When you’re in PR you’re in the media business and vice versa. PR and media are intertwined. Over the years, I’ve become “the media” with my blog and now my podcast. If you’re in communications, then advancements in technology and new channels proliferating daily will teach you that every individual and every company is a media company. You’re all about media as you create and share. Of course, as media entities, some people will have more influence than others. But as you experience media in different ways you will come to appreciate others for their work.
Here’s a personal example. I’m working with many PR professionals and agencies that pitch their clients as guests on my blog or on my podcast show. The tables have turned and even though I’m a PR professional, I’m now working with many PR pros, as a media professional. Sure, there may have been one or two times where I wished that I could have just jumped on the phone with a CEO for a pre-interview call (alone) for Women Worldwide. But, that’s not something that I would allow as a PR counselor myself. I’ve come to appreciate PR people even more, as I work with professionals in a different capacity. I also realize what my journalist friends have experienced over the years. It’s great to get perspective from both of these angles.
Now think about this past year? What has made it special for you and what made you feel like it was time for a change? Identify your greatest lessons and springboard to learning more. If you pinpoint your lessons and work to fix anything that needs attention, then you will move forward into a great New Year.
I want to thank all of my colleagues, friends and family for helping me to excel in my career and for providing the support to uncover the many lessons to smarter PR and a better quality of life!
If you have a #PR “To Do” List, Then You May Also Need a PR “Don’t Do” List
Most professionals I know have a running To Do list. It always feels so good to check off each item one by one, just to add one more. However, what about creating a Don’t Do list and checking off items regularly? As much as we find pleasure in our To Do lists, it’s the Don’t Do list that keeps us focused on what works and what is positive, as well as what propels us forward.
Here are a few items to consider for your PR Don’t Do list:
Don’t always focus on the blunders and gaffes in Public Relations. Yes, companies and their executives all make mistakes and often pay the price in the form of reputation damage. Although many of the errors make excellent case studies, don’t just spotlight and finger-point. Instead, let’s balance out the negative with some of the positives that showcase PR success, which is good for our industry. What have PR professionals and their companies done right lately? For every wrong, there are probably 100+ rights that don’t get discussed in our communities. It’s time to share the great stories illustrating the value PR can bring to an organization.
Don’t forget our young professionals; they are the leaders of the future. It’s so important to take the time to mentor students and professionals. Although it’s impossible to help everyone, all of the time, try your best to make time each week to answer questions, whether it’s via email, Skype or through your social media channels. Let younger professionals know that you’re there to support them and to guide their growth and development.
Don’t forget to take the best of PR forward, leaving the hype and spin behind. The focus should be on your ethical approach to public communication through all media formats. With changing consumer behaviors, emerging technology and new media channels popping up daily, remember to act in the best interest of the public you serve. Ethics should always be top of mind in your communication. It’s especially important in an age of social conversations to be cognizant of your audiences, focusing on moral principle and the dignity and respect of the public, at all times.
Don’t waste anyone’s time, especially if you’re trying to build a relationship. Be a dependable and reliable source. For example, if you book an appointment, in-person meeting or conference call, then you should not only show up, but also be ready to deliver meaningful information. Of course, we all know that “life happens” and there are times meeting or calls are missed. A note of caution … when you’re dealing with busy media, bloggers, podcasters, etc., sometimes you don’t get a second chance. Keeping your appointments and showing up interested and prepared says a lot about you. And, if you don’t, unfortunately, you may not get another opportunity to move the relationship forward.
From this point on, as you update your PR To Do list, you may also want to check off your Don’t Do list.
What’s going to top your list?
Guest Post: 3 Ways To Promote Your Business
A Guest Post By Natasha Clark, Founder of Lioness Magazine.
One of the things I have always cherished about writing is the ability to convey a story or thought. Storytelling is a powerful tool to share and exchange ideas. It is also an art, when applied and mastered carefully, that we can use as female business owners to promote our businesses and social enterprises.
As founder of Lioness Magazine, there were a few things that I learned as we launched:
- Content is key. We wanted to provide news to women to help them launch their startups or scale their enterprises.
- Maintain the edge. We encourage women to unleash the Lioness within. Whether it’s sharp images or candid dialogue, we want to give that extra oomph.
- Develop a community. I also knew that we wanted women to come to our website and leave with the feeling that they could conquer the world, master whatever they set their sights on. We needed to develop a community that was inspirational and empowering. To do that, we feature everyday women who are going after their dreams and women who have accomplished their dreams and are educating other women on how to do it, too.
Think of brands that have impacted you.
Was it a moving commercial? Was it a powerful image in an ad? One of the best album titles that always stuck with me was Maroon 5’s debut album titled Songs About Jane. How clever is that? I wanted to know, “Who’s Jane? What are these songs going to reveal about her?” And after I experienced the album I thought, “Whoa, Jane is amazing and complex.”
Now take that thought and ask yourself, “how can I relate that to promoting my business?” In my mind, Maroon 5 was a win-win. They lured me in with their catchy title and then once purchased, they delivered quality music. It’s all about user experience and the connection.
Today there are so many ways to reach out to your audience. You have radio, TV, video, social media, text, email, and even snail mail. The possibilities are endless. What isn’t limitless, though, is your first impression. There’s that old saying that people always remember the way you make them feel. What is the feeling that you want people to associate with your brand? That impression should be your jumping off point in the conversation. That’s how you begin to promote yourself.
Dove is a brand that gets it. They make women feel good. Dove does three things really well: Their ads feature real women so that women feel like they’re looking at themselves. Their commercials tell stories that engage the viewer. They ask women thought-provoking questions that spark dialogue (which leads to a lot of media coverage). As a result, women are forwarding these videos and commenting on news sites – they are engaged.
Target your promotion.
Promotion is not just about slapping your name and logo on a mug and assuming that it is going to translate into a sale. As consumers, we all know that so much more goes into our spending. Think about the aspects of a product that make you say yes to a purchase. For me, those purchases are often because it is something that I’ve been dying to try out or it’s a product or service that answers my current need. With that in mind, there are two things you need to think about when promoting your business:
1. Where is your customer?
Find out where they are and be there. Do they get coffee at a particular place? Maybe you should have a partnership with that coffee house and run a marketing campaign or giveaway.
Do they shop on certain websites? Consider advertising there. Are they talking on social media to one another using particular hashtags? Start using those hashtags and join in the conversation. Are they going to annual conferences or events to interact with their peers or what Seth Godin calls “tribes?” You might want to look into having a booth or being a speaker.
2. How is your customer spending?
We need to stop assuming that our products and services are for everyone. Once you’ve discovered your audience, you need to know how they are spending their cash. Are they best deals/bargain shoppers? Are they consumers who purchase gently used items on eBay or amazon.com?
Maybe your target demographic doesn’t care about price, only quality and prestige. Others could prefer to buy from people they trust. Those types of spenders often check for product reviews before they make final purchase decisions. In that case, reach out to blogs and ask for product reviews.
If your audience are trendsetters, they want the latest items before everyone else gets wind of it. That means you should be offering exclusivity. That can include offering VIP memberships and limited editions items. These people tend to spend on their wants, not their needs.
When you start answering these questions, it is easier to strategize about what makes the most sense in terms of promotion. For example, once you discover how your audience is interacting on Twitter, then you can focus on the best way to engage them in 140 characters instead of just tweeting random messages. If you find out your audience is on a particular website, don’t just slap up an ad. People don’t click away from their favorite website very often. They need a reason.What would be the reason? Is it to find out more about something they care about? Click by a certain deadline to get an incentive? Or maybe it’s to continue a popular discussion that is currently on this website over at your website. Think about creating an ad that aggregates eyeballs and has a call-to-action that entices them to click away.
Word of mouth never goes out of style.
If you begin to have a few superstar customers that rave to you about how much they love what you do, get their testimonial. Give them a reference giveaway. Give them an incentive that not only keeps them coming back, but also entices them to spread the word about your awesomeness.
Show your customer that you’ve taken the time to get to know them. Because it’s our business, we often only think about ourselves. But what we really need to be doing is focusing on them.
Around age eight Natasha Clark was told it was a woman’s job to take care of the home and since then she has built a career out of telling women they can do whatever the hell they want. Founder of Lioness, the leading digital magazine for female entrepreneurs, the former news reporter has created a platform to educate, elevate and support female entrepreneurs. In addition to publishing and hosting events for women, Natasha enjoys spending time with her teenage son, Shaun.