Social Media Do’s and Don’ts, Ensuring a Cohesive Team, and a Better You – Best of September

Autumn

Autumn is Officially Here!

September brought more content about social media and website success, and how to keep up the continuous improvement process that is your business and your own professional growth!

Social Media Mistakes

Social Media Mistakes

Every single one of these mistakes is avoidable AND crucial to a vital social media presence for your business. Knowing WHAT NOT TO DO is just as important as knowing WHAT TO DO!

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INTERVIEW: Social Sapiens and the Seattle Shrimp Tank!

Seattle Shrimp Tank pros and Me (Social Sapiens)

Seattle Shrimp Tank pros and Me (Social Sapiens)

I was asked recently to be interviewed on a podcast (of and for entrepreneurs and business owners…) of which I have been aware and have listened to a few times. Most of my familiarity with the content and tone of it, however, derived from my relationship with one of the co-hosts, Dan Weedin. Dan is a colleague, friend and fellow Rotarian, so familiarity bred a bit of lowered attention on my part, I admit.

Dan called recently and asked me if I would like to be interviewed for the Seattle Shrimp Tank podcast. It sounded like a load of fun, so I agreed.

Some of the things we talked about include:
  • Where did social media start, what’s going on with it today, and where is it going? (the short version!)
  • What is the importance of thinking about business goals, plans and strategies when considering digital marketing and hiring an expert to help?
  • How important is it to learn how to express yourself well online? What is the balance of listening, asking powerful questions, and understanding in developing an authentic and powerful online presence?
  • What else is there other than the “usual suspects” of social media (like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Yelp, Instagram, Pinterest and the like)? Is there more there?
  • What’s the right frequency to post online?
…and so much more. Check out the whole podcast here, and the shorter video follow-up here. We covered a lot of great questions and concerns.

If this interview brought up other questions for you about your business and professional presence online, please reach out to me and also look for some other information that’s relevant to you on my site here.

Listening: Attention or Intention?

Attention Listening

Listening

“PAY ATTENTION!!!!!”

In your life, how many times have you heard that phrase, either from someone else or your internal voice? Shutting out distractions like noise, devices or the torrent of thoughts and imagination that the Buddhist tradition has termed the “monkey mind” seems nearly impossible. We slap ourselves internally in some fashion, and try to refocus on the speaker. This can be just as jarring as the distractions themselves!

Mindful Listening is really not about attention. It’s about intention. Let me explain how I understand and experience the difference.

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Listening is Hard

Listening

Listening

As an intelligent business owner and entrepreneur in the 21st century, you are already very aware of the importance of listening to your customers, prospects and audience (your Visitors / Audience / Customers / Community (VACC): you can read more about what this looks like here …..). “Listen” is, however, a word that is subject to as many interpretations as there are ears…
Going a bit deeper, what kinds of listening are there that you can leverage?
Definitions of types of listening are as varied as there are authors of articles, books and consultancies whose purpose is to guide you to a solution that works for you and your business….a solution that results in the kind of success you’re looking for: that loyalty-balance of relationship quality and profitability, with credibility overall. It’s kind of like a combination of “the right tool(s) for the right job” and a high-wire balancing act.
  • listen-to-understand
  • listen-to-reply
Since every conversation only has 100% of the time allotted for it, whether it’s 20 minutes or 2 hours or more, more listening requires less talking.
So what does more listening actually do for this relationship you’re trying to build?
It is the key to building trust.

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The Best Ways to Utilize Dialogue and Communication

Dialogue and Communication

Dialogue and Communication

The articles, books and webinars / workshops focusing on communication (a term that is becoming more and more vague, actually…) are multiplying as rapidly as cat videos online, frankly.

Who to pay attention to? How many are publishing because it’s a way to get clicks, a way to push a new book or membership offer, and how many are really spending time standing upon the shoulders of the giants who have come before (or who are working now…) and seeking ways to execute on the most effective thoughts and frameworks to bring dialogue into our lives and businesses that will change things? Few have the time or patience to figure this out.

I must confess to being caught up in this myself. This goes way back for me, to my early days as a musician and composer. I have always been fascinated by how music can touch that part of a human being in a conversation that goes to a deeper place. We are simultaneously very complex and very simple. Truth, trust-building, the components, if you will, that comprise a close and meaningful relationship with someone are common across us all. While music is as individually interpreted as any other form of communication, the use of words can be more of a challenge due to internally established meanings and contexts for each person.

The complexity comes with what Anthony de Mello calls “our programming”. We are each utterly unique in our make-up and our experiences. As a result, how I react or “hear” something from you is quite likely to be different than how someone else does. Hence my focus on dialogue in all walks of life.

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ONE THING to Drive Your Business

The One Thing!

The One Thing!

I have written previously about the obsession with THE ONE THING. In the case of my earlier article, it was the THING that you, as a business owner, feel could turn around your business or make a big splash, if you could only get it Just Right. My point in that article is that you need to step back and consider what you’re trying to accomplish, to see if that THING will actually move the needle, or if it is more of a “shiny thing” that you’re chasing, in hopes it will fulfill its perceived promise.

There’s another kind of ONE THING that can have an enormous impact on your business: Clarity of Communication. This breeds and establishes Understanding, which is not the same thing as simply communicating…

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JUNE’S BEST – LinkedIn, Trust, and Making The Most of Your Content

July - Celebrate!

July – Celebrate!

July is upon us, and we here in the States are getting ready for our annual tribute to patriotism, fireworks and barbecues!
June was a bumper crop month for quality content across the digital marketing industry, and I’m only too happy to share the top articles I’ve read:

LinkedIn Ninja Tricks!

LinkedIn Ninja Tricks!

 

 
Facebook seems to get the attention from online sources (granted, cracking the 2 billion users mark is noteworthy…), but many of the businesses I speak with are still kind of scratching their head when it comes to LinkedIn. This top list of tips and tricks from Melonie Dodaro will get you to that next level of skill in using this great professional channel.

Sincerity

Sincerity

 

 
Sincerity and Trust have been the key components for strong customer and business relationships since forever. Building them online isn’t impossible, but it is different. This article introduces some areas of consideration about communication and how you do this. The line between communication and action is pretty clear.

Credibility

Credibility

 

 
Beyond getting found, your website needs to build and maintain your professional credibility. If you’re wondering how a website can do that, then you will find this article Laura Forer of MarketingProfs very, very valuable.

My Community

My Community

 

 
When I speak about online relationships, I refer to the mental model I call VACC (Visitors / Audience / Customers / Community). In this insightful article, Irfan Ahmad digs into how a business can approach this with Facebook Groups, an underutilized resource for most businesses. If you take this on, you’re ALREADY in the lead, since chances are your competition ISN’T doing it!

Social Media Posts

Social Media Posts

 
 
So, that post from last Tuesday blew the doors off in Shares and Comments! WOO-HOO!!!!! Now, how can you leverage what was obviously a Great Piece of Content again and take advantage of it’s quality and virality? Here are 5 ways to look at….

 

Reuse That Content!

Reuse That Content!

As a follow-on to the previous article, how do you take that premier article you’ve written and reuse (or “slice & dice”…) it in such a way that you can make the most of it. Here are nine ways you could repurpose it and reach oven more of an interested audience. Remember, everyone has a preferred way of communicating, and by doing this you are making practical use of that fact!

Rudeness Wrecks Everything

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Rudeness

Rudeness

According to an article recently published in the New York Times, rudeness, even just “slight incivility”, has a negative impact upon those exposed to it. The article concerns a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics by several co-authors from the Coller School of Management at Tel Aviv University and the Bnai Zion Medical Center.

The objectives of the study were:
  • “Rudeness is routinely experienced by medical teams. We sought to explore the impact of rudeness on medical teams’ performance and test interventions that might mitigate its negative consequences.”
The conclusions were:
  • “Rudeness has robust, deleterious effects on the performance of medical teams. Moreover, exposure to rudeness debilitated the very collaborative mechanisms recognized as essential for patient care and safety. Interventions focusing on teaching medical professionals to implicitly avoid cognitive distraction such as CBM may offer a means to mitigate the adverse consequences of behaviors that, unfortunately, cannot be prevented.”

I also read an article by Valeria Maltoni entitled “Alain de Botton’s Ten Virtues of the Modern Age.Alain de Botton is, among other things, a prolific author and founder of the School of Life. (I highly recommend following these links and finding out more…). The reason this article resonated so much with me as I thought about the rudeness study is the potential solution the Virtues present to the problem of rudeness in our societies.

Unfortunately, our society has begun to prize rudeness over civility. While the most rabid examples can easily be found or recalled from the past election season here in the US, it’s been around for a very long time. We justify it by saying that we’re just “being real”. I have witnessed numerous scenes in corporate meetings and relationships where the cutting remark or put-down was used to discredit someone’s idea, derail a conversation, or redirect a discussion that wasn’t going someone’s way. One of several articles I published reviewed how this can severely impact innovation and communication, making success or even progress highly unlikely.

The study cited earlier showed that the rude remark has a global negative effect on physical performance, cognitive performance, communications and teamwork for a significant time after the comment is made. While this has potentially life-ending effects in health care, was does this imply for business?

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Doing Specifics the Right Way

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specific

Be Specific!

The challenge of being specific is that it seems impossible to scale.

What does being specific mean in your business? It’s the truth behind perception, communication, understanding, prejudice and the barriers presented by a kind of ‘telephone’ game space between people. It means that if you can connect with one person, that doesn’t mean you can connect with the next one, no matter HOW much alike they are. And that is the end point….how do you plan or strategize for this kind of connection?

Going by previous data and experience will only get you so far. And sometimes it doesn’t even work for the same person! Think about how your own thoughts and feelings have changed over the years. If the “younger me” tried to convince the “today me” of a number of things about people, places, beliefs, prejudices and things I’ve learned more about over the years, well….I would have walked away as a younger man.

So back to being specific…in business, I’ve learned that a focus on “anybody who” as a customer is actually no one. Even honing it down to “A small business owner with a company that has 5 – 100 employees and has been in business for at least 5 years” is too broad. What do they care about? What are those 2 or 3 things that are nagging, painful problems they just can’t seem to crack? While each business is unique and has its own problems, there ARE business norms and trends in the U.S. There is a certain amount of consistency.

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How Hard Is It To Actually Listen Online?

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Listening

Listening

Listening to the various voices online looks very different from listening to someone sitting across from you. You don’t get visual cues, body language, tone or very much context. Valeria Maltoni has written that “Listening is the most valuable skill nobody teaches.”

I’ve written in the past about the difference between “listen-to-respond” and “listen-to-understand”. Much else has been written and discussed about the importance of active listening, listening without judging, and the like. We concede its importance, but where is it taught? How is it learned? If learned in some way, do we use it, or do we fall back into “listen-to-respond” or, worse, blocking what others have to say because it doesn’t align with what we already know or believe? Do we actually believe that we can’t be wrong or include new information that will clarify or change what we know?

Are we REALLY THAT ARROGANT?

In business, you can play the role of a Subject Matter Expert (SME) online, which is quite helpful for your customers and audience. Doing so builds your reputation and gains recognition for you as someone “with the answers.” Of course, you have to keep working on that all the time, especially if you work in an area that is constantly in flux (which is most professions….). But, as long as you honestly work to deliver true and helpful answers, you’re good.

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