Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

What happens after the storm?

August 26, 2016

So your company has been through some “ish. That’s no surprise, no company becomes great without facing the storm. But when the fan has been cleaned and  the clouds start to clear, its the communicator’s job to help a company deal with what happens after the storm.

My answer is simple: The focus needs to be on the survivors.

No leader with a company that had offices in NYC’s Twin Towers for the attacks of 9/11 focused on anything other than employee health and wellness in the aftermath of the attacks. When the ash clouds covered the city, the focus was on those directly affected and survivor well being. The best leaders know that this focus should never shift – no matter how bad that last round of layoffs was – the people you chose to keep need to be reminded that they = company success. They matter. The company HAS to care.

As companies struggle to deal with the changes of a slumping economies and profits, the focus must be on those staff members who are still at work.

So how do you focus on the survivors? The rainbows that come in the aftermath of Corporate slaughter are generated from the passion and dedication of a workforce that feels cared for. Expressing care is not just in the form of yet another “feel good” email. Leaders must walk the talk. Here are some tips.

My tips:

  • Keep it real:Sugar coating a situation to employees = lying = distrust = demotivated employees. Who wants those around right? Be honest about the state of the company, explain the reasons for cut backs (please ensure they are legal) and employees will be more likely to stay on the bumpy ride with you.
  • Say Thank You: I’ve written a bit on this before. A recognized employee is a motivated employee which means, they’ll likely stay around. Recognition need not always be tied to money. As increasingly generation X & Y prefer flexible work environments and millennials just want time off, consider giving a day off, early dismissal on a Friday etc to recognize staff. Hey, even a hand written thank you card is awesome – who writes anymore right? Whatever you do, say thank you, make it meaningful and tie it to what matters to the employee.
  • One on One 911: A leader I look up to in the energy industry makes time each quarter for one on ones with all staff in his organizational chart. A L L. Over 40 people report to this man indirectly – he meets with everyone from secretary to manager. Why? Time = interest = increased motivation = increased productivity. I have tried this approach and it works. Giving employees the time to speak through their challenges and to again, recognize their achievements one on one definitely bears the fruit of increased productivity. #tryit The August 8 2016 Harvard Business Review wrote a great article on the importance of one on ones and, of course, tips on how to make them happen. 
  • Train to Retain: When financial times are tough, training and travel are one of the first two line items to be removed. My views on this one are very strong. Investing in the capability of your people is some of the best money you will ever spend – just ask the now Amazon effect proof Home Depot whose founder One of the easiest line items to cut is employee training. Not investing in training is a mistake says Bernie Marcus, the billionaire founder of The Home Depot in an Inc 2009 article: “Training sometimes seems like a small thing, but it is actually the first step in empowering people to do their jobs well,” Marcus says. “No matter what an employee’s position was within the company, he or she could make a contribution by being creative or working hard. Training combined with providing employees a sense of belonging and rewarding them for results were the keys to our success.”I’ve left roles when I felt my development was not being given significant attention by the company. Yes, staff development costs is not the sole responsibility of the employer, but indeed, not all development is classroom based either. Mentoring, on the job training, hell, even exposing high performing staff to senior level meetings, etc are all great ways of developing in role. But, employer be ware, if you won’t invest in your people, another company will.

Hopefully these tips will help your company’s survivors. Know of course, that these approaches can’t live on paper or email – you will note, many require actual conversations. Help your leaders through the process by preparing key messages and talking points on your company’s way forward. Then give it a few months for things to get better. And, of course, when they do, send me a thank you for these tips. 🙂

 

What’s in a Name?

August 22, 2013

So you are opening a company. Congratulations – you are doing what just about every person under 25 is doing these days. As Generation Y and Z become increasingly disenchanted with the hum drum of the multigenerational workplace, they are opening their own businesses. First stop? Choosing a name for their new “start up”.

And that’s where the landscape has changed. Where as companies of the 2000s (ie: the first decade of this century) got away with calling their companies all sorts of odd names (Yahoo much???), today’s world is a bit more simple. Few are the company names that evolve into verbs like Google. Also gone are the names of the 1950s too -” Sanford and sons” type names are now non existent. Why?

Enter the importance of a front page Google result (or Bing if you dare).

As businesses fight for search engine optimized space, as tags and meta tags continue to dominate how businesses are found in search engine results, business owners are becoming (and rightfully so) more savvy in the names they select for their companies. Think Jones Communication Consulting instead of Joneacorp.

The public is more impatient than ever. We don’t want to wait for you to explain what we do. We want info as quickly as Search engines can find it. So the choice of a name is important and choosing a straight forward business name is smarter than an artsy fartsy name.

Be straight forward in your brand name and you’ll win every time.

Hugs

Thinking of Social Media brand management D.I.Y.?

August 19, 2013

ImageYou’ve heard all the success stories. Start ups and entrepreneurs that build amazing brand awareness and business by promoting via social media. So now, when those businesses are now going multi-platform (i.e.: expanding beyond one social media site) you are thinking of taking your “Facebook Plan” to the next level by going beyond your friend base – ALL BY YOURSELF.

Wake up and smell the multi-platform reality.

Social media D.I.Y. (do it yourself) brand building was successful for entrepreneurs 3-5 years ago because it was new. Growth was easier back then. Audiences were pretty much captive to one site and EVERYTHING was cool. 

Back then, social media was like the world to a toddler. Everything your social circle did online was awesome and you HAD to try it out. It was “rad”/ “killer”/ “fresh” or basically any cliche social statement of youth that is now totally passe. Social media has grown up

Need another example? Ok. 

Back then social users said things like: “Oooh my BFF just liked (insert cool boutique name). They MUST be cool. Let me like it too by clicking my mouse.”

ImageToday social users are less wowed by the same activity saying: “OMG my Facebook friend just checked in at (insert boutique name). How lame that store’s not even on Instagram. I just un-followed my BFF bc their check ins are TOTALLY killing my smartphone battery.” 

If you don’t get the difference. Let me spell it out. The social media audience is no longer captive or easily wowed. We can’t stand “social spam” and chances are, we’re checking sites via our smart phone where battery life is king and frequent is less appealing than newsworthy. Social recommendations (recommendations by friends via social media) need to be AUTHENTIC and not business generated to be meaningful. 

Re-enter the PR profession. 

Around the world PR company CEO’s (likely all now under 50 with the older generation being kicked out in favor of those who understood this ‘digital age’), are breathing sighs of relief. The more savvy among them are saying “I told you so”. Why? History gives us a good reason to know why ITUSO (I told u so) can so easily be “what’sapp”ed throughout the PR world. 

Social media evolved as advertising did initially (somewhat so anyway).

Before the rise of the newspaper, stores advertised with simple signage. They depended on word of mouth from customers and good signage to make their business grow. Then billboards, radio and newspapers entered as ways to reach the public and more focus was put on them to help grow business. Word of mouth always remained important but the media by which to capture attention of the public became more complex. Expertise was needed. The PR agency was born. Today PR is reborn because the varying ways to reach audiences online have evolved WAY beyond business posting signs in their online business window. 

In addition to there being more channels – there are simply more social media users. Those store window signs just don’t cut it anymore. Businesses need help. 

So is social media D.I.Y. impossible for businesses? Not impossible BUT then again, its not impossible to solve a Rubik’s cube on the first try either (of course, you can Google ways to do that too!). So how do you grow your digital brand in today’s social media landscape? 

Hire a digital media consultant. There are a few of us out here with actual social media track records. DO NOT JUST HIRE AN INTERN (glad I got that off my chest)! Whether you hire someone certified in social media with a track record of growing a variety of business social media presence or a large scale agency,  digital media consultants work with various budgets.

To reminders here

1. Don’t be cheap – you get what you pay for. 

2. Empower yourself with enough education to at least have a sense of what the consultant is doing. (Stay tuned – I’ll have an offer to help you with this in the coming weeks). 

As you educated yourself, keep in mind that savvy social media management is not “a post here” and “a post there” – its a STRATEGY with set targets, goals and measurable milestones. Where to start?

Think about why your existing channels (ok we know its totally ONLY Facebook for 99.9% of you out there) have likely plateaued in growth or engagement. How? Look at your content and ask – what’s new here that will make customers/ fans/ friends come back.  

Get that answer then find a partner in a specialist. Tell them your vision. Agree on clear objectives. You focus on growing your business and let them work for you to help grow your digital brand. 

Hugs! 

 

About those Photos….

March 1, 2013

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Don’t look now – you’ve been tagged! Trinidad and Tobago Carnival 2013 is over. The glitter is finally out of your hair. The suntans are beginning to fade and the good times are now memories…or are they?

Enter the embarrassing social media picture.  Exit your reputation (potentially anyway).

Today, those few moments of “wildness” as we say in T&T, can be captured digitally and live on forever. So, what can you do about it? You’re probably not going to love the answer. 

In reality, there is only prescription to prevent your reputation from coming into question as a result of an illicit photo featuring your image – don’t put yourself in compromising positions. Told you that you would not like it. 

I am promulgating that you refrain from the revelry that is T&T carnival? Should you dress less scantily? Where will this nonsense type of advice end you wonder? It stops there – just avoid the compromising positions! 

I’m not saying not to “tief a wine” – I am saying to be smart about it. Be aware that your actions can come back to haunt you so limit the moments. 

Ok so to those of you still reading, the advice gets a little better. Set some standards and make your friends aware of them: 

  1. No photos please! Ever notice how MANY of those illicit photos feature people looking straight on at the camera? There’s a reason for that. Some people like the wildness captured. Fight the power. Stop striking poses and fewer photos will be taken
  2. You better as somebody! Ask your friends, family and partygoers in your circle to refrain from taking pics of you “living it up” in a party/on the road for carnival/ “liming”. Explain that you’re not keen on the photos of your revelry being shared with the world. Identify the consequences for those who violate that up front and ask that they respect your opinion. (Note, piccong will likely will follow. Your friends may tease you a bit, but after a while, they’ll understand). 

  3. To tag or untag? Untag is the answer! While your friends may not take photos of you, the world is now full of photographers. Papparazzi (interpret as other party goers who INSIST on taking photos everywhere they go) need only have a mobile phone to capture a moment. They post. Friends tag you. What do you do? Change your settings to ensure only YOU see tags or, even better, that any tags require your permission. This way, fewer photos you don’t want will be visible on your social media profiles. 

  4. Take it a step further. If you don’t like the photos – write the websites, people who posted them and ask them to be removed. Yeah – I’m serious. I’ve done it and generally people comply. 

So, I’m not suggesting you change your offline life completely to avoid pictures (though some slight tweaks won’t hurt). I am suggesting that you aggressively manage your online profile. Consider starting your own blogs and you tube channels to share the image of yourself you want the world to see. 

That said. Offline ALWAYS meets Online. Ensure your reputation does not “wine to the side” when they meet. 

How to Keep Your Job AND Your Social Media Presence

February 27, 2013

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We reach! People are losing their jobs because of social media. No longer just in the US/ UK – but right here at home. 

Trinidad and Tobago has had various examples in the past year of social media use negatively impacting the real, offline, lives of users. Whether it was that sad video of children being made to fight that made it to Facebook, the erratic tweets of political enthusiasts during the recent elections, or even the reporters that have lost their jobs/ are under investigation for “rants” on social media – FINALLY social media is having an impact on real life in T&T….or is it the other way around? 

Stop the madness people. Your real life IS your social media life. You take time out of your day to read blogs, check your Facebook accounts, follow trends on Twitter and Lord knows, you are viewing videos on YouTube – a site so popular it now impacts what makes it to Billboard’s top charts. 

So, you’re logging on to social media for about 30 minutes. Did not realize more than just your friends are there huh? Your boss is too smarty! According to Facebook research shared by technology trends site Mashable, worldwide, Facebook users spend 10.5 billion minutes each day surfing the site — and that doesn’t even include mobile use. Collectively, that’s nearly 20 years per day that people spend living online instead of offline. Do we REALLY think that this does not have an impact on real life? Guess what, your real life includes a job – and employers are starting to look more closely at what you are doing online and what that could mean for your offline behavior

And keeping your posting settings private…MEH! That’s not going to really help you in the long run. Got friends? The Caribbean is small, T&T is smaller. Someone is going to see that post that reflects your real life. Seen a screen shot posted this week? Yea…I thought so. 

Harlem shaking in your boots about that picture/video/post that you may not want your boss to know about aren’t ya? 

So is it possible to keep your job AND your social media presence? Yes (obviously). How? The advice isn’t too different from advice I shared three years ago:

  1. Don’t list your place of employment on your personal profile. What? Really? Yes. Why? Because this way it becomes a little easier for your company to distance itself from your statements. Before listing your employer you should seek their social media policy on this anyway – to review and be familiar with their tips and guidelines (even though these evolve). Even if you do NOT list your employer – your posts (as are all our offline/ real life actions) are often covered by your employee code of conduct and confidentiality statements. This tip has a downside. It can take away from building your professional brand – particularly if you are a newer job seeker. Consider posting your place of employment only on LinkedIn or professional sites that YOU DO NOT link your Facebook, Twitter or other more personal social media sites to.

  2. Don’t make your personal social media accounts your work accounts. This is a classic mistake. You reply to customer queries on twitter, correct wrong from your personal Facebook account or discuss work in forums with the view of protecting your company’s reputation. Courts in the US are trying to figure out if this is ok. As many view social media as the new water cooler. But in the lovely, breezy Caribbean, there’s no precedent set yet and…um…do you really want to be the guinea pig here? Unless you are authorized to do so or specifically required to via contract, avoid this. Refer queries about your company to your media relations/ customer relations/ PR department. 

  3. Don’t share anything via social media that you would not want your grandmother/ grandfather/ boss to know. Those pics of you taking a belly shot off the stripper at the last bachelor party you attended – maybe not such a good idea tagging yourself in it or worse – posting to TWITTER. Even with the strictest privacy settings, a screen shot can take your reputation down.

In summary? Be smart offline and be even smarter online. You will keep your job and your social media presence – no matter where you work. 

Facebook for Kids? NO

January 31, 2012

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Parents are humans. They make mistakes. Dealing with colds, homework you forgot how to do but have to help your kids with and (gasp) the fact that kids cost a fortune can’t be easy. Thus, I forgive the many misguided parent who says – “my child is on Facebook and I’m worried.” Young grasshopper parent, let me school you.

If your child can still be referred to as a child…they ought not to be on Facebook. Decoded: If your kid is under 13, Facebook is NOT for them. Am I a prude? Sure. Is this a smart suggestion? Double sure. The offline world is barely safe enough for adults – much less the online world for kids. As for Facebook for those under 13? Its akin to letting your child have some wine with dinner – every night…like a bottle…and then wondering 5 years later why the kid grew up to be a future aa attendee (and we don’t mean American Airlines).

Why? Lord knows teens and adults are addicted to what is playfully called “Macobook” in the Caribbean. As February approaches in the Caribbean, the freeness of the carnival season (on Trinidad anyway) gives rise to idle thoughts, party photos and, well, candid shots catching amusing (read as on the boarder of vulgar) moments in parties known here as fetes. You don’t let your child fete so why allow them to watch that FB facilitated live stream of the woman dancing around in a lace top?

Ok exit Carnival as my prude-ness may seem like a cultural snub. Enter the photos of brutal car accidents, sex offenders caught in the act or much more commonly, the “slack talk” that dominates many a status in the hope of installing amusement. You would not expose your child to this day to day so, why let them surf facebook where it can be so prevalent.

I am not stupid. I know the world is changing and even traditional media can bombard people young and old with material heretofore (take that for an old fashioned word) deemed forbidden. My suggestion is not censorship but rather caution. All young ones need conversations about digital footprints, about not talking to strangers (on or off line) and on the new power of photography. these convos need start long before signing on to any social network. Not just this dominant oNe about to be IPO’d for 100 billion.

Before signing on ask your young one some questions?
1. Why do you needed to be on Facebook?
2. What do you understand Facebook to be?
3. Do you understand we will share access to your account and I can cancel it at any time?
4. Before posting any photos or videos, do you understand the need to seek the permission of your parent and anyone else in the video/photo
5. Do you understand that everything you put up there can be potentially viewed by strangers?
6. Do you understand privacy settings?
7. let’s agree on potential consequences for online behavior that does not meet our family’s expectations

It’s not all perfect but hell, it’s a start. Again Facebook under 13 not ok but regardless of age, these 7 questions should form the foundation of a young person’s pre social media life.

Don’t Make LinkedIn another Facebook

January 2, 2012

Happy New Year. I’ve bitten the bullet and begun to dig deep into my new year’s resolutions. High on the list was updating my LinkedIn profile – a task I highly recommend to all but rarely get the time to do myself. As I sorted through well over 300 connection requests, I realized how many people miss the importance of LinkedIn. They confuse it with Facebook. They mistake connecting for “friending” and thus potentially derail their professional online presence. Thus, my decision to blog today came naturally. Facebook is about friends. LinkedIn is about work and connections – don’t mix the two.

My inbox was riddled with great requests from colleagues in my field and in fields I interact with. Co-workers with whom I have met and worked with and even the odd consultant with whom I have done business. The decision to connect there was easy. Their networks will likely have future business leads for my consultancy and, chances are, we may have tips and advice we can swap digitally should we never be able to make it to the next “networking” meet up. But to the sad few that sent messages about appearance, who admitted to wanting to connect to get access to my contacts to “promote their business” or “link up for drinks”. Alas, with a furrowed brow, I clicked ignore.

In a world where lines are constantly blurred, the decision to keep your online life “professional” is hard enough. Why dilute the one site that can really help with that (LinkedIn) with watery connections? If you are connected on LinkedIn, see it as a professional link. Not all these folks may be drinking buddies, but chances are, your LinkedIn connections are people you may want to work with again.

Just my two cents. Happy New Year. Look out for more frequent blogs – that too is on the new year’s resolutions list (along with drinking more water and finding a way to be successful without working as hard…wish me luck on that last one!).

Hugs! (Professional ones).

Social Media Case Study: A Hairy Success Story

November 11, 2011

Entrepreneurial Headaches Can be Eased by Social Media (photo: Mindsoup)

Digital media is the foundation of entrepreneurial success. The onset of digital media has allowed young professionals the opportunity to dabble in the “side business” without deviating from their day to day career. In essence, the access to niche markets, ease of market research and ability to measure success once could only be accessed by those few business folks with deep pockets for start up marketing costs. Now, digital media (the combination of mobile and social media) can bring business dreams alive.

Enter the personal case study.
A year ago my family invested in a small retail business. In a far fetched and little supported idea I had based on a Miss Universe observation, thousands of dollars in clip in hair extensions were purchased. We were going into the hair business. Me – a woman who could barely style her own hair despite hours of pageant training had been convinced she could be the face of a well researched, high quality hair brand. Money wired. Shipping costs paid. Web connection enabled and boom! The shipment was delayed. I tracked it everyday and I vented on my Facebook page about the delays.
Scared we would lose out on the Halloween hair buying rush (this does not exist by the way), I started the business’

A sample of the pictures posted.

Facebook page and posted information on hair care, hair extensions, photos of women with good hair styles – just in an attempt to keep my friends and family who would be supporting the store engaged in what I was planning to offer – a shopping experience that was based on educated and informed choices.  The page grew to 194 in a week. The shipment was not closer. I prayed. I posted on the business page.
A cousin saw the page. She liked it and recommended it to a friend. My cousin and her friend had curly hair. They shared with me how hard it was to find products that worked for them. They suggested I get a product for “curly cuties.” I listed. I did the research online. I found the supplier. I ordered the products and thanked my cousin for the suggestion.
I kept posting. My screen kept showing me my products were crawling from the supplier. The page grew to around 249. The growth was the only good news. Marketing funds were drying up. My investors worried. I posted some more.
A friend and famous beauty blogger, Afrobella, saw my posts. She inspired me to consider products for natural haired ladies. I did the research. I found the supplier. I ordered the products. I thanked my blogger friend.
Money done. Patience running thin. Halloween passed. I kept posting information on hair care, the products I would bring in and photos. Did I mention money was D O N E?
The page grew to just shy of 300. Shipment reach! Opening planned…of the doors. Money for fancy grand opening spent on the products suggested by the friends. Investors vex.
A local fashion blogger saw the post that we were opening. She came on opening day to do a “feature”. She bought a product. Other customers also read about the opening and shopped. But she wrote about the experience. Others read the blog. We had customers the next day.
Enter the meeting of traditional and new media. A “product launch” was done in San Fernando – in a drug store in the mall. I featured the date and time on the Facebook page. A Facebook friend was the feature’s editor for a paper. I invited her online. She came. She wrote for the paper AND on her blog that was about…HAIR!

A Photo from the ENV Clip In Extension Product Launch

Another friend saw the planned launch. She suggested I film it. She knew a friend who had a film business and could do good work for a small fee. I paid it (account in minus now). Two weeks later an informercial was posted on the Facebook page. People shared it. They liked the fact that a percentage of all profits (whenever they came) would be donated to cancer charities. My family liked that the concept was inspired by my mom. They pressed the like button. Their friends saw the posts = more awareness = more customers.

Via an email, I asked the most followed blogger in T&T, Saucy Trini, to consider sharing a media release I wrote about the store. She did. She shared a link to the store’s Facebook page. The page following spiked. I thanked her.
Customers were encouraged to share their mobile numbers. When sales ebbed, I sent broad cast messages from the mobile phone I bought for the store. To keep costs down a blackberry group was started. Customers shared their “hairy” stories on the Facebook page. I started a blog. We tried Facbeook ads. 300 friends grew to 200 shy of 9,000 fans and customers. The foundation of success was laid. Thank you digital media. Thank you Mr. Zukerberg. Thank you RIM.
The above story is 100% true. It is shared to inspire other start up businesses (not hair please 🙂 ). It is a case study that highlighting that social media helped a small business survive nearly crippling delays by creating an opportunity to build brand engagement even before the business opened the doors. The “Hair It Is” story shows that LISTENING to customers is key to business success and super easy due to social media.
This blog is about Communication Questions. So, having read those 843 words, Why aren’t you using social media for your business again? Social Media works. Try it.
This commercial for Hair It Is and Social media brought to you by, Danielle A. Jones – upcoming speaker at Caribbean Digital expo. Ha! Another commercial! WHOOP! Hair It Is!

To Add or Not To Add? That is the Question!

October 19, 2011

You’ve faced it. A co-worker or person you met casually at a social event attempting to add you as a Friend on Facebook

The Definition of Friend Has Changed Since They Made the top TV Sitcom

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Worse. You are AT the event and a Blackberry is whipped out along with the question: What’s your BB pin – I’ll add you.

Five years ago there were close friends and best friends. Now there appears to be a conundrum caused by the question: To Add or Not To Add. What is a friend and how close do we have to be to add you to my social media world or (gasp) my smart phone messaging list.

Should you add this new person to become their friend?

Are they already a friend because you met them once?

My answer to both? Set rules for yourself and stick to them. The definition of friend has changed a lot since Jennifer Anniston and crew made it seem all fun and games on TV! Digital friends have more potential for ruining your reputation that genuine ones. With the click of a button you can begin digital assassination. With a mobile phone you can misconstrue text messages and take BBM/What’s App etc posts out of context to the detriment of the sender. So you need to set some ground rules and share them so people respect them.

If faced with the Facebook question of adding a person you barely know, consider sending a direct message (inbox message) saying: So great meeting you, I prefer to get to know people a little better before we become Facebook friends. Look forward to meeting up again soon! When next will you be hanging out?

Rude? No.

You acknowledged the friend request, stated your own personal policy and indicated you hoped to meet up again soon. Clear? Yes.

Will some be offended? Yes.

Should you care? No.

Why? If a person really wants to become your friend, they should respect your values. Being clear and upfront about your personal policy is a way of protecting your privacy and digital image. In the world of tomorrow, that image will be priceless. Don’t let fear of being honest cheat you of your future.

What about the add me to your BBM/ Smart phone question? Depends on how you operate your smart phone. In reality you shouldn’t be doing anything on your smartphone (especially Black Berry Messenger) you would not want your grandparents, boss or religious leader to see. If you don’t that’s a whole other risk. However, if you simply prefer a closer link consider saying:

Let’s exchange numbers. I prefer voice calls and texts. My number is…

Direct? Yes.

Opens up to further conversation? No.

What if they ask…? Say. Sorry, I really prefer just to exchange numbers.

Will they decline? No.

By offering your number first you take control of the conversation and show your being open to stay in touch. You also state two ways they can use the technology to stay in touch. Don’t be afraid to say no.

You don’t have to use these phrases verbatim. Just have a personal policy. Maybe you don’t want to be Facebook buddies with your boss or coworkers. I once had a team member that said “I don’t add co-workers to my Facebook”. I asked why. They explained. I had no choice but to respect it…It is after all – social media.

Don’t wait for the question to have a policy people – have your answer ready and don’t be afraid to use honesty to protect your digital integrity.

Communicating In Times of Transition?

February 21, 2011

Want change - take some time to listen

Change communication is a specific area of expertise for Communication professionals. While there are numerous training courses on the subject, I dare say that experts in this field are developed as professionals  go through periods of organizational change and express a willingness to also listen and act on the advise of those who never have.

Confused?

Change happens. So does crap. They trick is to try to make sure when your company goes through organizational change, it is not a period of lots of organizational CRAP! Simple way to do this is to have those who experienced changes before, sit and talk with those who never have. Listening and sharing concerns, and views before the “change campaign” evolves.

Far too often, companies develop the strategies that will drive their organizations through periods of uncertainty/ new management/ new products etc without ever taking significant time to listen to the concerns of the actual employees that will actually work in to move the company forward.

Think of it this way. A car’s engine can be top notch. If you keep focusing on the engine and ignore the tires, at some point the car just won’t be able to move.

My suggestion for an equation to help with communication in times of transition?

30% listening to staff + 30% listening to external stakeholders  + 20% planning +15% execution +5% measurement

I’m not a math person, but that equation can be a great step in helping your organization move through periods of transition. Once communication is two way, open and honest, most companies can survive even  the most challenging of periods!

My mother used to say – listen twice as much as you speak and you’ll notice people will likely consider you more intelligent.

Denise’s loud mouth, opinionated daughter…over and out!