Posts Tagged ‘communication questions’

Do you need to respond?

August 29, 2013

I get about 100 odd email messages a day. That number is per email inbox. I have 4.

I am not alone. Email, with its fast bad self, is way too easy for even the half witted among us to create. Some even consider hitting send on a half finished email communication. #guiltyascharged. Or, better yet, they communicate verbally and then send an email confirming they spoke. #gross

I have had enough but luckily, as my inboxes burgeoned, my capacity to figure out what email messages require responses grew too. Here are my tips:

If your boss writes you, RESPOND. Duh!
Ok so maybe your boss writes a lot of email. You despise them secretly. Poor you. Hah! No one above you in your organization (the flat organization is NOT reality kids) thinks that so stop being not so smart and respond to their email queries or at least acknowledge what has been sent. Why is this important? 4 reasons: Bosses are busier than you are. They pay your salary. They do your performance reviews. Responding strokes their ego and any boss who claims that is not important did not work their way up an organization. It’s not about sucking up – responding to email from superiors is also a way of showing R E S P E C T.

Family first. Kinda.
Ok so your aunt Edith forwards you jokes. Ignore. But if your husband writes you or your kids, find time to respond. Hey, being a great parent these days includes digitally being there. Don’t slip on the close family email and hey, once in a while, send aunt Edith a hello too.

Respond to potential mentors
You want to work your way up. You are hoping to get noticed. Then you get copied on a mail from someone important and you don’t respond. #stopthemadness! Hit reply, change the subject and send a short note. Getting noticed can be hard but reaching out digitally can help you network. Remember though, important people get busy – don’t expect a response back. Chances are they are a boss (see point one) but they will read it eventually or at least remember that the young bright one from department x wrote them a note offering help as needed. Hello “new go to person”.

Get off mailing lists
I still have my first email account. I subscribed to school enewsletters and, when the Internet was young, I willingly shared my email address in the hope that irrelevant, never to be revisited store/ website x,y AND z would “add me to their important mailing list”. That’s where the 100 email messages to my personal accounts were born.

Be smarter than I was then. NEVER subscribe. Or do what I do now, unsubscribe to any mailing list email you have not read (and can recall) the last four messages from.

Oh yeah and silly rabbits out there – don’t give your work email to mailing lists! You want to be a boss one day – all those email messages should be from people that need you – not Victorias Secret. (I still subscribe to them though – hello Jammie’s!)

Oh yeah and last tip – add aunt Edith to my blogs subscription. After these tips I may lose some of you. 🙂



Who are you talking to?

April 6, 2011

Effective Presentations Are About the Audience - NOT The Presenter

We’ve all been there. Presentations FILLED with information that is probably important. The presentation seems so boring though you can’t focus beyond the introduction and spend most of the time checking out the presenter’s clothes, teeth, eyes, underwear etc rather than focusing on the content of the presentation. To those presenters who have suffered the audience XRAY (where the audience literally looks at you with more detail than even an x ray scanner), I suggest you ask yourself just ONE question before you prepare your next presentation – WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO? Oh and one more question – WHY SHOULD THEY CARE?

Far too often presentations are developed focused solely on the importance of the content to be conveyed. While this approach may seem prudent, and YES much detail should be focused on accuracy and presentation style, such an approach is less the effective. Why? Today, tomorrow and forever audience really care about the W.I.I.F.M. – What’s In It For Me. Thus, unless you take significant time to to analyze your audience considering who they are, what they care about and why they should care about they content your are presenting and THEN tweak your presentation to suit that audience, chances are they’ll just be focused on YOU and miss all the important stuff you over populated those power point slides with.

Basic pre-presentation questions (beyond the alleged one I said presenters should ask themselves):

  • Who is in the audience?
  • What are their main concerns/ interests/ hobbies?
  • Why should they care about what I am going to say?
  • What examples of interest to THEM can I draw upon to help make my points more clear?
  • What doubts are they likely to have about y subject matter?
  • What about me/ in the room is likely to distract the audience?
  • What statements will be most interesting to them?
  • What should I NOT say as it is likely to offend them?

These are just a few. Master presenters cater their ENTIRE presentation to the needs/wants/ desires to their audience. Be a master presenter. Start by just answering – WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?

Go be better communicators


Does Print Media Still Play a Role?

December 4, 2010

I have long been an avid believer that digital media would eventually consume traditional media. I believed wholeheartedly that already, as the digital native graduates from high school, generation X and the baby boomers are forever seeing the last days of the power of the print media and the fall of television to YouTube, Hulu and others. I have admonished advertising campaigns spouting the quotations of Social Media Guru Eric Qualman “Only 14% believe advertising”….”word of mouth is now world of mouth”….then reality struck. In the Caribbean, traditional media still plays a major role.

How did reality strike? Less than two months after some volunteer pr strategy work with YUMA to launch their Facebook page (well documented in the blog) led to international recognition of the entity and over 7,000 Facebook fans, a family owned business used a similar Facebook strategy + radio advertising + print media coverage. Surprise! Customers walking into the store CAME through the doors WITH the articles on the store in hand…more people told the store staff (I DON’T work there – I have a full time job that DID sanction my involvement in opening the business) they heard about the business on the radio than on Facebook! People opening their wallets were also GASP – more interested in hearing about future specials by text rather than email! It was an Oprah – esque AH HAH moment…or in more Caribbean terms it was an “Oh Gyad Oy” moment… Could it be the marketing teams who have tightly hugged the low internet penetration statistics in the Caribbean as the reason why they could never enter into anything more than a beach fling with social media….could it be these people, MBAs in hand and supported by research that goes against my gut instinct that the days of the power of press as we once know it be over….could all those folks that frown on my social media training session as frivilous….SIGH are they right? Are we in the Caribbean still hooked on print?

The answer – yes….and not really. Print media used to play the leading role in mechanisms by which the public could be accessed by Communicators/ advertisers….now…the role is important….but a new star has been born. Already, entities like the Guardian Media Group are opening embracing social media and, those with Caribbean roots can read the Advocate, Guardian, Express, Gleaner and others online AND leave comments, tweet and cite the stories on Facebok, Twitter and, for the savvy and adventurous (no examples yet)- Tumblr.

Am I saddened? Nope. I am heartened, should social media already be the star of Caribbean communication with such low penetration rates and use admittedly beyond the immediate means of those below the (as much as I hate stratification) lower middle class, it would mean we as a multiethnic and increasingly literate population are too easily swayed. Possibly our Caribbean need to balance the words of the web with the reality of a human edited and printed report shows that we believe news need come from a multiplicity of sources for, even in the first days of Caribbean produced and created media, it took us quite a few years to trust our own media houses enough to report news that occured just down the street from us. Those of my Grandfather’s generation remember feeling the pride of touching our first newspapers but still waiting anxiously for the paper from England to arrive, SAVING UP to but same as it was considered an indulgence AND THEN comparing the reports (if any) to confirm news reports. Possibly, we take longer to abandon traditions and possibly, our trust levels for accuracy are lower than those that live where corner houses were not the original news editors. I mean not to be disparaging in the least. As avaricious as my appetite is for social media, I too often verify Twitter feeds, Facebook messages about “news” by waiting to read/hear/see same from our official news media channels. For this, I must answer my own communication question today – does print media still play a role with a resounding yes…I will thus, though with a knowing smirk, bow to the Marketing professionals who has asked me to temper my statistically unsound passion for social media as “THE WAY” to get messages out and agree, if only for now, that social media must be balanced with traditional media for true effective Corporate Communication plans….As I sign off, I’ll reach for my morning sorrel  and  read the articles in the Trinidad Express, Guardian and Newsday by getting my moist fingertips dirty as they touch the print in what has become a family Sunday Ritual.

What are your views on social media vs. traditional media?