Posts Tagged ‘Branding’

If you’re a business owner or an author using a sample chapter of your book, a report, or a tip sheet as a list-building incentive, consider replacing it with a manifesto. A well-written manifesto can do a better job of helping you build your brand and grow your list, paving the way for you to sell more books.

Manifestos are better list builders because they take a stand. Because manifestos strongly advocate a position, and are usually passionately written, they operate on an emotional level, tapping into the power of commitment.

Cialdini and Commitment

Robert Cialdini, the best-selling author of Influence: The Power of Persuasion, has spent his entire career researching the science of influence, earning an international reputation as an expert in the fields of persuasion, compliance, and negotiation.

Influence: The Power of Persuasion has become one of the most frequently quoted psychology books among marketing professionals. In it, Cialdini describes 6 weapons of influence. The longest chapter is devoted to commitment. The main idea is simple: once individuals commit to an idea or a course of action, they tend to remain committed.

The power of commitment is rooted in an individual’s self-image and a desire to avoid appearing wrong to others; the more public the commitment, the stronger the commitment.

Commitment, social media, and list quality

I was reminded about the power of commitment when I ran across Sunni Brown’s Doodle Revolution Manifesto, one of the strongest community-building list-builders I’ve seen in a long-long time.

Sunni Brown is co-author, with Dave Gray and John Macanufo, of Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers. Gamestorming is currently one of Amazon.com’s top 1,500 bestsellers overall, as well as a leading book in several business categories.

My route to signing Sunni Brown’s Doodle Revolution Manifesto illustrates the importance of quality online content, backed up with the power of social media.

My journey to the Doodle Revolutionary’s Manifesto

Here’s the social media and quality content route I traveled that led me to Sunni’s manifesto (and this post):.

  • Friday afternoon. My journey began when I discovered Gamestorming at the local Barnes & Noble.
  • Early Friday evening. My exploration continued when I got home, searched online, and visited the Gamestorming site and blog. Later, I Googled each of the authors. My search lead me to a Tweet by @bangalaurent, Laurent Sarrazin. The post described Sunni’s free, i.e., no registration, Revolutionary’s Booklist. I was intrigued, checked it out, and downloaded it.
  • Late Friday evening. Later, after downloading the Revolutionary’s Booklist, I spent a couple of pleasurable hours with it, discovering interesting titles and exploring their authors online.
  • Saturday morning. I was so impressed with the list that I shared it with a dozen clients and friends, both local and around the world. Later in the afternoon, I received e-mails from several recipients, thanking me for sending them the list.
  • Sunday night. Pleased with my experience so far, I returned to Sunni’s site, reread the Doodle Revolutionary’s Manifesto, reviewed the names of the individuals who had already signed it, then signed it myself. I also added my name to her e-mail newsletter list (which was not required to sign the Manifesto).

Lessons from my Doodler’s Revolution journey

Here are a few of my big takeaways from my odyssey:

  1. Size of following does not equal influence. The Twitter post that began the journey was by someone who had less than 30 followers! But, Google didn’t care when they displayed their Tweet, and I didn’t care when I followed it to Sunni’s list.
  2. Content quality is more important than quantity. If I hadn’t been impressed by the Revolutionary’s Booklist, my journey would have ended. But, because the content was relevant, useful, and concise, I felt compelled to share it. Moreover, the Doodle Revolutionary’s Manifesto is just 2 pages long—it’s the Gettysburg Address of list-building incentives. I might not have read a 12-page report or an 8-page manifesto, but I had no trouble reading a well-written 2-page manifesto.
  3. Quality outsells “selling.” The Revolutionary’s Books PDF is free from selling; there’s only quality content and a clean layout, plus a tongue-in-cheek footer, “With love from www.doodlerevolution.com and www.sunnibrown.com.” A nice, light-hearted touch.
  4. Story and emotion win. The Doodle Revolutionary’s Manifesto wasn’t written by a committee and for a committee. It was written by a passionate believer speaking directly to other passionate believers. It succeeds because it’s engaging and provides a chance for believers to confirm their beliefs. In fact, the writing style is entertaining because it goes slightly overboard. But, overboard is sometimes OK! As opera proves, there’s a time and a place for colorful and passionate writing.

Takeaways and opinions

What are your takeaways from my journey from anonymous prospective reader and website visitors to a person who has publicly committed to a cause? Would a similar manifesto and online approach help you build your brand, grow your list, & sell more books? What would your manifesto be about? How could you get your prospects to commit to it? Share your impressions and questions as comments, below.

rcp-heming-picRoger C. Parker helps others write books that build brands. He’s written over 30 books, offers do-it-yourself resources at Published & Profitable, and shares writing tips each weekday. His latest book is Title Tweet! 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Article, Book, and Event Titles
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Flexible Focus #40: The 8 frames of life: Society

by William Reed on February 10, 2011

Defining your role and your mission

What is your place in society? At one time, and still in many countries, this was a not a question which you were permitted to answer or control. Rather, it was a matter of birth, circumstance, good or bad fortune, and your place in society was largely determined by people and circumstances beyond your control.

Throughout history in various times and places, individuals and groups of people have raised this question, and asserted their right of self-determination, the right to determine their own role and mission in society.

Now due to the momentum of such movements in the past, and the amazing impact of technology to connect people and facilitate communication, these questions are being raised widely around the world, not just in the traditional style of political movements, but in a brand new style of personal movements.

No man is an island.So said English poet John Donne in 1624, and the connectivity of life today is increasingly obvious, in the environment, on social networks through the Internet, and in the mood of the times. We are all connected, for better and for worse, and one of the fabrics of our connection is Society, the fifth of the eight frames of life on the Mandala Chart.

A new kind of nation

While nations continue of course, with governments and economies performing a mix of useful and some useless functions, there has emerged in the last decade a new kind of nation, formed of social networks residing virtually on the Internet, but with feet firmly on the ground in the real world.

The movie Social Network, featuring the meteoric rise of the world’s largest and fastest growing social network Facebook, in which one in 12 people on the planet is now a member, is a story of how one such nation was formed in just a few short years.

The beauty of Facebook, and of Social Media in general, is that it is a classless and virtually free territory. Virtual real estate is much easier to come by, more accessible to visit, and easier to connect and cultivate than its counterpart in the real world. On my Creative Career Path Column I wrote about the Facebook phenomenon in an article called What’s in a Facebook Fan Page?

But how do you communicate your role and your mission, or even make your voice heard at all, in a online nation that if it were a country, would be the third largest population in the world, behind only China and India?

The territory in Social Media is dominated not by force or even by size, but by establishing a presence, having a clear message, and delivering value. It is an ongoing process of continual improvement in your ability to create content, and make it accessible to a widening circle of people who like what you offer, and are happy to tell their friends about it.

How do you engage people on Social Media?

It is now possible, and much easier than ever before to establish a presence and a personal identity using Social Media. There is plenty of good and generous advice searchable on the Internet about personal branding through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin, and many other popular social networks. Much of this advice centers on joining the conversation. An important, but often overlooked ingredient is having something worth saying.

The challenge is not so much how to get online but rather why, knowing your role, mission, and purpose in engaging in Social Media. Above all, you need a platform, a website or blog on which you can take a stand and express your ideas. As shown in the figure, the platform is the hub for engagement with both social and traditional media, and can give you great leverage in your engagement with society.

Many people struggle with creating a short self-introduction, a 30-second message that engages people’s interest, and makes them want to hear more about you. With a little help from a good designer who understands social media, you can make this much easier with a high-quality graphic in the form of a logo, or online business card which introduces you in just 3 seconds!

This is more than a conversation starter, because it leaves a lasting impression, and it stays online, delivering your message to an ever widening circle of people who get and are interested in your message. Unless you are a brilliant graphic designer with social media savvy right out of the box, you are better off getting help from someone who already is. My website and Facebook Fan Page were both created by the Bigfish Webchicks in New Zealand. They can get you there further and faster. The before/after picture speaks volumes.

Social Media Mandala

The key ingredients in social media are content, communication, and creating a channel. People like having a range of options for content delivery, depending on their communication style and lifestyle preferences. Social Media is set up to accommodate as many types of styles and delivery options as possible.

Even with the best media platform available, ultimately it is up to you to create the content and continually refine and engage people with your message. Using Facebook as an example, by creating a Fan Page you can easily deliver your content in the form of a blog, photos, videos, lists, discussion forum, event pages, a bio, and links to anything or anyone you like. Download a Social Media Mandala to help you think about what you might want to include or improve.

Of course there are many ways to engage in society without ever going online, an option which has only become available in recent years. However, increasingly it is an option that you cannot afford to ignore. You can engage well in both worlds on and offline, and skillfully integrate the two. You may choose what you want to filter for privacy or for focus, but in the interests of integrity, be yourself in both worlds.

William ReedWilliam Reed specializes in applying practical wisdom from Japanese and Asian culture to solving the problems of modern business and living. He is the author of the Flexible Focus column on Active Garage, the syndicated column Creative Career Path and the book A Zoom Lens for Your life. William is also a Representative Director and Co-Founder of EMC QUEST Corporation, which provides Coaching for Communication and Change, World Class Speaking™, and Accelerated Action with GOALSCAPE™.
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Dancing for your Tribe

by Guy Ralfe on March 11, 2010

For the 4th time in my life I am resigning and taking a step into the unknown world of no job. This time I am doing it on a small scale, I am only moving my family across 8 states and not between continents. I don’t know what it is – maybe we just have a strong nomadic gene!

I have been working at Maconomy for a little over 3 ¼ years and am closing the door on the most exciting, hectic, challenging and learning chapter in my career. I would like to say a big Thank You to all at Maconomy who have pushed, supported, helped and laughed with me. If  you think you have the heart and attitude to be a business consultant, there are few finer places to refine your skills than at Maconomy

Before I lose you  – this is not about my career, but rather the reflections about making the decision to move and how vital networks and tribes are to being able to perform such drastic moves. For a long while I have had the ambition to branch out and become an entrepreneur but the opportunity has just never seemed to be there (bad luck?). But suddenly this opportunity has presented itself (luck?) and it makes sense to the point that I am willing to trade one tribe for another and turn the world I know upside down.

I hear people saying “you are lucky” and my response has often been “you make your own luck” and I speculate that there is a close resemblance between luck and the company we keep. There is  a lot of talk around tribes in the social networking space which may be a key to how an opportunity appears as suddenly available. I have had the ambition to start a business venture for the longest while, but what has lacked is another tribe in which I have been able to create an identity in which the opportunity can be exposed. Once this opportunity was exposed and I assessed I could coexist within the new tribe the natural movement is to make the transition. Rajesh Setty posted a great article on why nice people will win – the realization of this opportunity for me is just a positive consequence of making those connections and maintaining an existence to another networked tribe.

We have to have an identity and a presence with which people can make a connection and assessments across our networks. If we do not have this people will not think of us and we will just blend into the crowd and the opportunity will pass us by …and be snatched up by the colorful and loud person nearby! This is why it is so important to ensure we maintain a presence in the social networks we choose, and to leave an impression with those we meet and interact with.

Another similar example was our saleslady, who wished to make contact with a company. After a search on LinkedIn she found out that I was connected to someone who had worked at the company. This person had just sent me a LinkedIn invite after a ½ day meeting we had had some 8 months earlier. I really was not sure he would remember me, but I reached out to him to see if he could make an introduction. Surprisingly, he did remember me and was willing to help make an introduction. That is seizing the opportunity …not Luck!

So go make some noise, post a status update, tweet, call someone – get out there and pick your opportunity – Dance for your tribe!

Guy RalfeThis article was contributed by Guy Ralfe, co-founder of Active Garage and co-author of the upcoming book ProjectManagementTweets. You can follow Guy on Twitter at gralfe.
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Social Media BRANDing – 5 tips to make it work

by Deepika Bajaj on February 25, 2010

Digital branding in the new internet marketing age is creating the need for marketers to understand how they can measure social media interactions with their brand, how to measure social brand loyalty and create social brand equity. Companies are more and more interested in learning how to make social media work. There are many assets on the internet that a company can create using Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and many other such channels. And then this creates a need for them to manage their digital presence and brand.

Here are some channels that companies have frequently started to build:

1. Facebook Fan pages
2. FB Connect
3. Twitter Channel
4. SEO and Ad Targeting
5. Social media enabled company web sites

But the HOT question still remains – What next? How to set goals and identify gaps?

Here are some of my recommendations:

1. Revenue Growth: The social media activity needs to have a strategy to increase revenue. It is important to choose social media tools and tactics that align with increase in engagement to ultimately drive revenue growth. This is a distribution channel to leverage information you develop daily. Don’t be afraid of social networking or Twitter. Virtual Goods and Gaming are huge opportunities as are fun quizzes and polls and other lead generation activities.

2. Know your customer: Social Gaming and social media are NOT for teenagers only. It is important to know your customer. Millions of people visit FB and Twitter daily. It is important to know where to find your customer or draw their attention if there is something you feel might of interest to them. Don’t limit yourself based on what you know, try to find out who your customer is and how easy it is for them to find you where they are.

3. Content is KING: Content is still relevant to draw the attention. If you have something that people value, they will be drawn to learn more. If they find it meaningful and relevant what you have, then they will come back for more. Eventually, you will build credibility and they will purchase – take us back to point #1.

4. Mobile: Be on TOP of your mobile strategy. My iPhone is my mini computer and I don’t go anywhere without it. So, If I am your consumer, you want me to have access to you while on the move. The cool iPhone Apps that allow you to check in to airlines, pay bills and order pizza are examples of how companies are finding ways to be close to the customer.

5. Build Relationships: Cannot emphasize on this enough. If you have strong relationships, competition will find it hard to break in. Response to customer queries is critical and don’t forget if one customer praises you – you will be making GOLD. So, do whatever it takes to keep your customer happy. I say give them such a incredible experience that they never switch to your competition and become your unpaid, voluntary brand ambassadors online and offline

DD-new-pic-headshot Contributed by Deepika Bajaj, President and Founder, Invincibelle, LLC and co-founder, ActiveGarage (the company behind 99tribes). Deepika is also the author of the book DiversityTweet: Embracing the growing diversity in our world and Pink and Grow Rich:11 Unreasonable Rules for Success You can follow Deepika on Twitter at invincibelle
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Executives leading change are in a situation much like Moses’ when leading the Israelites through the desert to the Promised Land. There is the desire for relief from the constant complaining. The loss of resolve or simply being tired can create a yearning for a quick fix or a simple solution. One of the most common forms of giving in to this temptation is clinging to misconceptions regarding technology and its benefits.

Two of the deadliest misconceptions are the belief technology by itself solves problems and the belief human nature changes with new technology. Sales agents can play upon this by proposing something that has the phrase, “All you have to do is…”

So, before you part with your hard-earned money for the latest-and-greatest system let’s look closer at these sweet, deadly poisons and their remedies.

Misconception: Technology Solves Problems

The assumption with this misconception is the problem and the solution are external to the people and organization. Somehow the problem and solution are separate from individual ownership of risks and responsibilities associated with change. Problems will go away by signing a purchase order or contract. A false sense of confidence develops proportional to the blindness present. The situation is similar to the person speeding down the freeway without a map. They don’t know where they are going but they sure are making great time! Typically, in the end everyone is miserable and unhappy. The client scapegoats the vendor and the vendor says the client provided no direction and needs change orders.

Remedy: Solve the Problem First

Technology doesn’t solve problems, people solve problems. For a successful implementation of technology in a changing environment first focus on the principles discussed in the previous two blogs:

  1. Change Management #1: Leadership: Navigating with an executive map and compass
  2. Change Management #2: Morphing Organizations: The executive samurai and complexity theory

Work with your teams to know where you want to go, build a map of the business terrain, build a plan, and organize your people to move towards the goals.

This begs the question, “If it’s not the solution just what is technology?” The answer is in the word itself. The root for “technology” is the Greek word “techne,” which means, “to craft, to build, to put form to, to bring into existence.” In other words it’s a means to an end not an end in itself. It is a tool for building the solution.

Briefly, what you want to do is solve the problem first (functional specification) then pick the vehicle for expressing it (technical design specification).

Misconception: Technology Changes Human Nature

This misconception assumes providing an external something will improve people’s attitudes, sense of responsibility, and performance.  Cooperation will spontaneously increase with new technology.

Remedying: Resolve Political Problems First

The reality is most people resist change and want to hold on to their personal agendas. I discovered this in the first few years of operating my business. Networks were at its heart. Some clients were a dream and others were nightmares. These differences influenced my answer to an apparently simple question, “What is a network?” The best answer, the one that made the most sense and was immediately understood was, “A network is a hard-wired political system.” Laughter ensued.

With change the concern for self increases and people become stressed. Stress can lead to unpredictable behavior. Even small, unpredictable behaviors can be quite serious in complex, changing situations. Why? Small behaviors can have a disproportionately large impact on a complex system by pushing it past a tipping point. For example, in November, 2001, at the largest airport in the world, Atlanta Hartsfield, a Georgia college student passed through security then ran back through it and down an escalator to get a camera bag left in a coffee shop. September 11, 2001, was two, short months ago. Security reacted quickly, shutting down the terminal. The domino effect shut down almost all flying in the United States for the rest of the day.

This brings up a second answer to the question, “What is technology?” The answer is, “Technology is an amplifier. Applied properly it can make a good situation better. Misapplied, it can make a bad situation worse.” In the end, the more time spent getting everyone on board with the change management process and associated technology the better.

In the next blog we will look at team building and dealing with the challenges of human nature.

If you benefited from reading this, have any comments, would like more information or are simply as interested in change management as I am send an e-mail at gwmonti@mac.com or visit www.ctrchg.com.

Gary Monti PMI presentation croppedThrough his firm, Center for Managing Change, Gary Monti has over 30 years experience providing change- and project management services internationally. He works at the nexus between strategy, business case, project-, process-, and people management. Service modalities include consulting, teaching, mentoring, and speaking. Credentials include PMP number 14 (Project Management Institute®), Myers-Briggs Type Indicator certification, and accreditation in the Cynefin methodology. Gary can be reached at gwmonti@mac.com or through Twitter at @garymonti
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Is using Social Media an impediment to your Organization?

by Himanshu Jhamb on February 8, 2010

Au Contraire, it can lead to improved productivity and branding.

First and foremost, let’s get one thing clear about Social Media. It is not just a tool, or a tactic or even a strategy. It is simply a channel for having online conversations. Depending on if you know and intend to use it purposefully or not, it can increase productivity… or not. There are two kinds of stances organizations that do not believe in the power of Social Media take when it comes to using Facebook or Twitter, at work.

  1. Employees will be distracted. They’ll spend too much time on these sites and it will be an impediment to the actual work. So, they should not have access to these at work.
  2. Social Media is not useful at all. I don’t want to know when someone is going grocery shopping or cleaning his car.

The issue with the first stance is simply not about social media. It is about ethics. Just like you shouldn’t be browsing the internet for 7 hours a day in your 8 hour workday and you shouldn’t be chatting on the phone about your favorite football team with your buddy for the better part of your workday, you shouldn’t be using the different social media channels for extended periods of time. Blocking the websites wouldn’t do a lot of good if the people in your organization are looking to spend the majority of their working hours elsewhere. You might want to look at “Why are they distracted”? more than “What distracts them”?

The issue with the second stance is simply ignorance and a fixed way of thinking about social media. There are some Social Media Rockstars who have branded themselves impeccably using the various social media channels. It does not mean they have never got subjected to online conversations about grocery shopping from other folks. It simply means they have been participating and contributing to the social media space purposefully and with an open mind. They do not allow themselves to be led by popular opinion. They are in the department of changing the popular opinion… or even being a source of a new one! There is a reason why companies like CNN, BestBuy, Dell and JetBlue continue using Twitter and the reason is simply that were ready to experiment and they’ve found a way to make it work for whatever it is that they are after. Contrary to popular belief, these companies not only use Twitter as a channel to market their offers but also to have online conversations with their customers which, mind you, involves listening to the customer’s concerns and then engaging with them by taking action to best take care of them.

Regardless of your organization’s stance on Social Media, Social Media is here to stay. It’s not any different from any new practice or technology that is invented. About 30 years ago or so, with the advent of computers, we got a real taste of what machines can do from a small microchip. About 20 years ago or so, we got a taste of what connectivity means with the advent of the internet. Perhaps it’s time for organizations to give up their rigidity on Social Media and leap into this new decade with a sense of exploration and genuine intrigue to see what conversing online means with the advent of this dangerous opportunity (Social Media).

Himanshu JhambThis article was contributed by Himanshu Jhamb, co-founder of ActiveGarage and co-author of #PROJECT MANAGEMENT tweet. You can follow Himanshu on Twitter at himjhamb.
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Learning and Timing

by Thomas Frasher on December 4, 2009

long_range_targetMy article this week is about timing. There is an old saying “Experience is what you get, right after you needed it”.

There are things that you can time, the coffee maker, the bus schedule and so forth. There are many more things that you cannot time and attempting to time them is a mistake.

For Example: timing the stock market, similar to gambling in Las Vegas, where everyone knows the game is rigged and plays anyway. Attempting to time the stock market will eventually get you if you are playing alone. That’s why successful stock brokers get paid no matter the outcome of your transaction with them.

Timing certain types of projects is also a mistake. I work in the large scale software industry and if a project is an addition to an existing product, timing makes sense and indeed is necessary. If, on the other hand, we are building something completely new to the world, we cannot time it, and we are almost never able to resist the urge.

For things that are new to the world, much must be learned, therefor the time required is the time needed to acquire the knowledge to complete the project; be that brain surgery or a new software product. The knowledge and the skill must be acquired over time, a practice must be developed that retains that skill and then the project can be timed. Usually at that point you have completed at least the first pass and are ready to move on. Only after you have the experience can you time the next iteration, and even then, if you are doing something that is new to you, your team or the world, you need to take the time to learn.

I’ve said is almost all of my articles, you will not get where you are going alone, you need help. Help can come in many forms: parents, friends, acquaintances, government structures, business structures, etc. The number one thing that, as business people, we can find to help us are teachers. Find someone better at what you do than you are and learn from them. Learn everything you can, from everyone you can. Be discriminating in your teachers though, find the best, if you find someone better, switch. Move fast and learn to learn fast.

With learning comes obligation. As I said before, you need to learn from great teachers, you must have something to offer them in return like money, time, etc. In return you must spend some of your human capital to learn: time, lost opportunity, money etc. Education comes with a price, you must pay it. When you stop learning you are finished.

Another point about the obligation of learning; you must teach. There is a Buddhist maxim “To know and to not do is to not know”. Teaching cements your knowledge, it is a mechanism of our minds that when we teach we learn as well, the subject we are teaching. So to learn, you must teach, find a student, and be a student.

Go find something new to learn! Stretch your mind and teach someone else something new! Do it for yourself.

Thomas_Frasher This article was contributed by Thomas Frasher, co-founder of Active Garage. You can follow Thomas on Twitter at tfrasher.
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social-mediaWe all agree that social media is really effective in discovering people who have similar passions. Still, being in sites like Linkedin and Facebook, where people are connecting randomly it is hard to understand the value of these relationships you are building. It is possible, there isn’t any… But we will never be able to build deep relationships without one on one interaction or meetings in person… So, here are some steps to take virtual social interactions into real world:

1) Be present in community networks

Meet people in community forums that share your common interests. This way you can build relationships with people who live close to you and so you have access to them… In case of social media, these relationships can be in different parts of the world and not be as meaningful for your work or personal interests…

2) Take your business cards to these events

Don’t underestimate the value of business cards…it is great to have blogs, twitter accounts – but there is just a simple problem – to find you in cyberspace, one needs to know your full name….what if they got the wrong spellings or wrong name. With a business card, one can always Google your name…

3) Build Relationships

Yes, you can ReTweet posts and help other elevate their profiles…Still, there is value in sharing other gifts than RTs. Try calling some people you haven’t spoken in a while…you will be surprised how much more pleasure it is to talk to people than to DM or Email.

4) Understand social

Historically, social has been associated with people meeting, talking, exchanging ideas in person. These conversations have led to many innovations, wars and even consensus…the MasterMind thoery dictates that it requires people to exchange ideas that create possibilities they could not see for themselves… Humans will always be Social Animals…Long way before we become Cyber Beasts. So, engage in brainstorming ideas in a conversation….

5) Pleasant Personality

There is a advantage if people see you as having a pleasant personality…that is never visible on social media channels. Some people put pictures that are not true to their real selves…Don’t miss out on being generous to other with your pleasant personality….This will help you surround yourself with people who might potentially become friends, business associates or life partners… So, build connections with social media but power your relationships with personal interactions…

DD-new-pic-headshot Contributed by Deepika Bajaj, President and Founder, Invincibelle, LLC and co-founder, ActiveGarage (the company behind 99tribes). Deepika is also the author of the book DiversityTweet: Embracing the growing diversity in our world and Pink and Grow Rich:11 Unreasonable Rules for Success You can follow Deepika on Twitter at invincibelle
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Managing Your Identity – Telephone Etiquette

by Thomas Frasher on November 20, 2009

whats_in_your_telephone

A professional business people our identity in our marketplace is extremely important.  Identity or brand is an early indicator of the cost of doing business with us. A well respected identity results in lower cost to your marketplace, no matter what that marketplace may be.

Today’s article focus’ on a single aspect of identity management that has raised itself to me several times this week: Telephone Etiquette.

How many of us use conference calling and online meeting sharing systems (Skype, GotoMeeting, Meetingplace, etc) to conduct our meetings?  I have been in 8 conference meetings this week where 2 or more participants were not geographically located in the same area as the main meeting.

Given that we are more and more, required to conduct business in a more virtual fashion, identity management takes on a different complexion. With a virtual meeting, there is little if any visual cues to help people move the conversation along or not step on one another verbally.  Today’s article gives some simple guidelines for making conference calls work more smoothly and helping to build your identity as a competent business person.

1. Pay close attention to your proximity to the telephone or microphone.  Voices will be softer or louder based on this distance and can give the impression that you are either not paying attention or that you are otherwise engaged.  Remember people are "seeing" with their ears on a conference call.

2. Don’t tap the table that is holding the telephone or microphone.  While those in the room may not be able to hear it, the mechanical noise will be transferred to the phone or mic and it is very distracting on the receiving end. Likewise shuffling papers near the phone of mic can be inordinately loud and prevent others from actually hearing what was said.

3. No Side Conversations! This sends a clear message that you don’t consider others thoughts valuable, if a side conversation starts up, as a business leader you need to stop it or bring it into the main part of the meeting.

4. My pet peeve, make sure the other person has finished talking before making your contribution.  care must be taken to manage the meeting so that all the opinions are heard and all the information needed to be passed is passed. I personally must work to remember to not talk over someone. It is very rare when that is required, so be on the lookout for this one.

5. Pay attention to what is being said by others. You have no permanent lock on good ideas, so make sure you are open to the ideas of others, it will improve the quality of your own ideas.  Another peeve I have is when it is obvious that the other person is simply waiting to start talking and they are only gated by me speaking, they are not listening (I admit I’m guilty of this as well).  If you listen carefully to the other people on the conference call you may find the your opinions of them and their contribution may change.

Above all remember to respect your virtual meeting colleagues, which is what the list is all about anyway.

Thomas_Frasher This article was contributed by Thomas Frasher, co-founder of Active Garage. You can follow Thomas on Twitter at tfrasher.
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Branding – Your brand lives both online and offline

by Laura Lowell on November 5, 2009

There seems to be a perception that online communication is radically different from offline communication.  I strongly disagree.  As Jennifer Jacobson said in her new book, “Communication is communication, both online and offline.”  The tactics are certainly different, but the objective, tone and purpose is the same.  It amazes me when I hear of people pretending to be someone else online – especially professionally.  Yes, there are the stories where it worked to the persona’s advantage, but most of the time, this is not the case.

One of my favorite online/offline stories is about Britney Mason (aka Dave Peck).  Dave was (and still is) a middle-aged father of five, by his own description.  He was new to social media and created a fictional person, Britney Mason, who developed a really big following based on her knowledge of social media and her big boobs (again, Dave’s description).  No one had met her, they had just interacted online. One thing led to another and finally Dave was forced to fess up on national TV with a profile on CNBC.  For Dave, and Britney, things turned out OK. But this is definitely the exception and not the rule.

For most of us, we need to carefully consider our behavior and how it affects our brand, both online and offline.

Online: Online conversations have been compared to a cocktail party.  In “real life” you wouldn’t walk into a cocktail party, or a networking event, or other gathering and start shouting “look at me!”  The same holds true for online communication.  Here are some of the rules of online etiquette you should try and follow:

  • Be authentic: don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.
  • Be honest: lies, even little ones, will come back to haunt you.
  • Be polite: DON’T YELL AT PEOPLE IN ALL CAPS!
  • Be relevant: in a conversation, don’t change the subject to suite your needs.
  • Be friendly: make friends as they are the foundation of your network.

Offline: Offline conversations are more natural for most of us since we’ve been having these all our lives.  Not surprisingly, the rules of polite behavior are pretty much the same whether you’re online or in person.  In person, you can tell almost immediately if someone is being authentic, if they are trying to pull a fast one on you, or only care about what you can do for them. These are the folks who say “thanks” but you know they don’t mean it.

In a recent study I conducted I asked professionals to rank a list of activities based on how important they are in communicating your personal brand.  10 being the most important and 1 being the least important.  The results are interesting:

  • Personal presence and speaking ability are the most important elements when communicating your personal brand
  • Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn – while important – are less relevant than articles, books or your website.

Branding online and offline

What does that tell us?  Your brand lives both online and offline.  We are no longer one or the other; we are now a combination of our personal presence on our social profiles, our speaking ability and our books and blogs.

When it comes to building your brand, remember, we are who we are.  Who we are doesn’t change based on whether we’re online or offline.  Unless you’re Dave Peck, of course…

Laura Lowell PicThis article is contributed by Laura Lowell, Author of the Amazon bestseller ’42 Rules of Marketing’ and the upcoming ‘42 Rules to Build Your Brand and Your Business’. You can follow her on twitter at @42_rules.
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