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To get what you want, you’ve got to remember it’s not about you

As a new year dawns, it's a perfect time to consider goals and aspirations. In other words: what you want to do, to achieve, to get. And, it's only natural for us to frame these in terms of what we need in order to reach our goals successfully. The hitch is this: often, reaching our goals involves others. Not always. But often -- especially with work-related goals. Reaching your professional goals depends on clients, co-workers, direct reports, bosses, community members or donors. And, in...

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Please steal these writing tips for Kindergartners. Effective for you, too. Promise!

My five-year-old son's class at school is studying a unit about mapping. His teachers, innovative and creative, always welcome ideas and interactions from parents.

I suggested a presentation about how maps could help the Kindergartners find their way in writing, too.

"Wouldn't it be handy if more of us could think of writing as fun?"

Diagramming sentences and making detailed outlines snuff the...

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Smoothly Re-launch Your Career

I put this presentation together for a short talk I gave today at the Global Leadership Mentoring Conference, in Cleveland. It explores the concept of approaching career transitions more similarly to the way we approach other regularly occurring life transitions filled with the unknown -- such as heading off to college, having a first child or entering retirement. Retirement is still in my future, but I have already gone through the anxious transitions of becoming a college student living away from...

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Please, community managers: do this — not that

Social media invites all kinds of conversations, sharing and engagement. The "rules" about the social web could be described like this:

# 1.  There are no rules.

# 2.  See #1.

do-this-not-that

Yet, while I am a fan of fewer don'ts than dos for the social web, some broad guidelines should apply -- especially when it comes to community managers, who are the voice behind a brand...

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Enough Boring Email Headlines! Case Study: This Redo Really Rocks

Here's the headline of a sales pitch email that landed (with a thud) recently in my inbox: Checking in one more time. "Checking in one more time?" Wow. Sales approaches -- especially cold ones -- don't get much less effective than that. Ordinarily, I would've just zipped it right into the trash. Then, I got the idea to turn it into a blog post that offers suggestions for refashioning a poor pitch and for amping up communication that plods so it packs...

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Use this secret to build awareness using only Social Media

A friend of mine, Jay Blanchard, Tweeted me recently and asked a great question I've heard from clients and others, too. Can you create a big buzz on a small budget -- using only social media?

The short answer is Yes! The rest of...

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Are you unintentionally sabotaging your social media success?

In business, logistics matter to customers. "But aren't logistics invisible to consumers?" Far from it. Customers clearly see the result of the final phase: inventory. Either the goods that customers want are on the shelves. Or, they're not. And if they're not, consumers don't really care why (whether the glitch was in handling, transportation, storage or delivery.) What customers do really care about is whether they can get the goods they want, at the price they want, at the time they want. If...

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Timeless leadership lessons the Titanic tragedy teaches

A traveling exhibit about the RMS Titanic, which is truly incredible, arrived recently at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland. It features hundreds of artifacts from the ship, replicas of staterooms and the ship's famous grand staircase in First Class. The exhibit tells captivating stories from the tragedy, which took the lives of more than 1,500. Many are heartbreaking and some heroic. One tale, in particular, offers insights about leadership, especially courageous and calculated leadership during a crisis....

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Use this secret and you’ll rock every job interview

First the secret: Treat the interview -- and preparation for it -- as if it were a presentation and not an interview. Know which main messages you want to offer your audience (the interviewer) about the topic (you) and clearly state them, just as you would in a presentation. Here's how to do it, step by step:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-get-your-dream-job-now-image23774123

Research with a Twist

This step isn't much different from the...

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Email marketers: To give great customer service, you’ve got to do this…

I rarely give out my email address when I am asked for it at a retail store. Two weeks ago, I made an exception. I bought a basketful of products at Sephora after a knowledgable and attentive sales person spent about half an hour with me. She didn't pressure me. She listened well. And she made several good recommendations as we talked. As a result, I bought many more things than I had expected to when I first walked into...

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Not sure how to zap jargon? Use these foolproof steps

In my last blog post -- the first in a two-part series on banishing corporate buzzwords from memos, emails, presentations and meetings -- I acknowledged that recognizing the jargon is sometimes hard. keep-calm-and-avoid-jargon Why? Because we've heard the say-nothing shortcuts so often that our ears and eyes almost get accustomed to them. Well, the bad news is this: fixing gunky corporate-speak is even harder than spotting it. And that's because it requires...

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How to spot jargon, then substitute what you really mean

After repeated use, corporate buzzwords and jargon have a way of starting to sound like normal words -- the kind of words that regular folks use in every day conversation. Except, they're not. These semantic shortcuts explain nothing, but they sound like they might. Corporate-speak is easier, but far less effective, than describing something simply. (Einstein wasn't a genius only about physics!) Einstein

One of the...

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