THE BEST OF APRIL – Facebook for Business, Reviews, and Where to Spend

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Facebook Post Ideas

Facebook Post Ideas

17 Killer Facebook Post Ideas For Small Business Owners

A lot of the time, you feel lucky just to post something, let alone change things up. This article by Kim Garst will give you 17 ideas to make your posts more interesting, compelling and fun!

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Business Critical: Listen-To-Understand

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Listening-to-understand

Listening-to-understand

I wrote an earlier article called Listening is Visual that was about a trip during my last corporate job to Florida to meet with some technical community leaders there. I had planned to do “the usual”: I had created a PowerPoint presentation that represented the bullet points I would talk to and would help guide the discussion.  However, there was no projector and no real place to project, anyway. So much for the presentation and what seemed like control of the meeting.

What originally looked like a standard meeting became much more valuable! The real listening, the responses, the dialogue that took place was really wonderful and very valuable. I came away with a great understanding of their passions and concerns.

Since that time I have made listen-to-understand my goal in every meeting.

…I cannot emphasize this enough…

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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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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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Do You Win or Do We Win?

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Winning

Winning

Winning.

It is an obsession across cultures, sports, politics, businesses, you name it. If I win, you lose. There is no common goal or understanding. There is only I WIN.

There are, of course, different definitions of winning for different situations, players, and time. By time, I mean that no “win” is permanent.
  • The Romans won until the Goths won.
  • The Royalty of France won until the Revolution….and then there was Napoleon….he won until he didn’t.
  • The Russian Czars won until the Revolution, and that Revolution won until it collapsed.
  • Alta Vista (a search engine, for those of you who remember…) won….until Google.

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How Can Responsiveness Keep You Out of Trouble?

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Facebook Business Responsiveness

Facebook Business Responsiveness

Responsiveness is critical to customer experience. If you get an email or see a post to your company Facebook page with a request or comment from a customer (or potential customer…), letting it go for awhile (or altogether…) is a recipe for TROUBLE! The speed by which you respond not only convinces that person that you’re listening, but that you actually care what they are bringing to you. However, there’s a lot more to this than speed…

How you respond and your tone prove how you treat this as an opportunity. You can not only build a better relationship with this person, but provide an online record of how professional and customer-centric your company is. I’ve written a lot about your VACC (Visitors/Audience/Customers/Community) and how your conversation with each differs and builds toward the kind of relationship that benefits all parties. Defined as “fair exchange“, this is a great relationship, as both parties derive immense value from the framework, and all work done on it only serves to strengthen it. The stronger the foundation, the easier it can be to get past the niceties of the regular communications and unveil greater authenticity and transparency. This is particularly true of bad news you need to deliver.

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Best of November: TOP POSTS – No Turkeys Here!

Can you believe it? Thanksgiving is past and we are all on the short countdown to Christmas!? Well, while you were trying to finish off the Halloween candy AND putting together the grocery list for Thanksgiving, there have been a LOT of article published that deserve your attention…..I’ve gone through them and cherry-picked the most relevant ones for you!

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Fall Reading List

Fall Reading List

One of my favorite sites to read, Conversation Agent by Valeria Maltoni, posted the seasonal reading list. I know your reading list is already pretty long, as is mine, but her recommendations always lead to revisit and lengthen mine. I’m sure this list will do the same for you!

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Can We Save This Conversation?

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conversation

Have the Conversation

The events of this past week and my ongoing focus and interest in conversation and communication converged in a big way. Can’t ignore this one….not that I’d want to. The challenge and opportunity are too big.

The direction that America takes impacts us all as citizens and as business people. No one enjoys uncertainty, but it seems that uncertainty can provide an opening for conversation. Without going into details and the innumerable permutations that this provides, it is safe to say that, despite anyone’s expectations, things will likely turn out differently than any of us suppose at this time. Establishing and building upon conversations, we can begin to mend the trust so horribly lost over the past months and years.

The day after the US election I got to experience an election of a different sort. I am honored to report that I and 5 more of my colleagues have been elected to the Board of Directors of our local Chamber of Commerce. In this context, the first question that came to mind was “What does the national election mean for the business climate in our area?” One of the terrific things I’ve noted about the area in which I live is the ongoing, strong focus on the community. I’ve seen what I’ve come to call the Venn Diagram of Local Involvement. How this manifests itself is that I see many of the same people involved in numerous business, community and non-profit organizations. Not ALL the same people in every one, but of the community that I come in contact with, I see many of them participating and leading. These folks really CARE about each other, and, not only is that good for the community, but it’s good for business too.

OPEN UP: Do You Short Circuit A Valuable Conversation?

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Angry Meme

Wrong Kind of Meme

Like many Americans, I have begun paying a lot closer attention to “the news” online in the run-up to the election this week. I have chosen to visit The Guardian (US. Edition) as a primary news site, since they are globally known as a credible news source and run articles ASIDE FROM ELECTION NEWS, which is a bit of a breather from US – based news organizations. Even their view of our election offers some deeper articles about the tides that effect both sides and all constituencies here, which is refreshing and gets me to think….always a good thing!

They published an article this past week entitled “Meme warfare: how the power of mass replication has poisoned the US election.”  In this article Douglas Haddow writes a bit about the evolution of memes on the Internet and how they have evolved. He notes that they can be fun, stupid and/or infuriating. What they are NOT is helpful in developing debate or conversation. Here is his definition of memes (so we can all know what exactly we’re thinking about here…):

“Memes – from the Greek for “that which is imitated” – were once defined as being self-replicating units of culture. This included anything that could be learned, remembered and spread from one brain to another, such as the concept of god all the way to the popular Budweiser “ Wazzup” catchphrase.
 
Through the Internet  the idea moved from the conceptual sphere into the viscous reality of data and pixels, transforming it into something more traceable: a segment of media that is copied rapidly. This includes images, text, video, a combination of all three and sometimes real-world actions.”

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How Do You Focus To Listen?

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Listen-To-Understand

Listen-To-Understand

There is a budding resurgence taking place concerning the importance of Conversation in life and business. Not that a lot of the words aren’t just hanging out there, dissipating in the wind. A lot of businesses grab the “shiny thing” when it comes to the latest discussions and thinking around whatever can keep us growing, or at least “safe.” I still experience an enormous amount of Telling and Broadcasting instead of Conversation and Engagement, both online and off-line. Even conversation has numerous forks in the concept, the largest two seem to be “listening-to-reply” and “listening-to-understand.”
A few years ago I wrote an article about the abundance of LIKING-type behavior online in comparison to the actual conversation taking place. Businesses were still trying to figure out this new paradigm where the customers actually controlled the brand perceptions, and NOT the BRAND controlling them. Along with the immature capabilities for measuring real engagement and the misunderstanding surrounding the actual meaning and value of a LIKE or a FOLLOW or a “+1” meant that the definitions of success were too fuzzy, and likely incorrect.
Things are different now.

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