Archive for November, 2011

Careers: Self Promotion can be Hazardous to your Brand

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Self Promotion Can Be Hazardous to Your Brand — and Your Career Personal BrandWhen is the most hazardous time for rising PR stars or newly promoted executives during their career? Immediately upon their newly acquired success. They develop one success, and instead of growing it into a second and a third, they start selling themselves shamelessly. “The brand is your promise that represents real things that you deliver,” said Steve Cannon, vice president of marketing for Mercedes-Benz USA, a company that knows something about image creation. Lyles Carr, a veteran recruiter at the McCormick Group in Arlington, Va., says he tends to discount a résumé that doesn’t list true accomplishments. “It goes back to the old commercial, ‘Where’s the beef?’ ” he says. “They’re trying to substitute style for substance.” While it’s nice to be able to boast about the sheer numbers of friends you have or Twitter posts you’ve made, sometimes less is, in fact, more. James Alexander, CEO and founder of “Vizibility,” which helps professionals and job seekers control their online identities, recently turned off all the updates from a man on LinkedIn who posted every single hour. “He’s lost his privilege to communicate to me in that way,” he says. “You can spend all this time and effort — it does take time — only to turn around and end up alienating people.” A better plan is to speak or tweet only when you really have something unique to say. Alexander says that when he’s looking to hire, he reads blogs and comments, hoping for signs of original thought. Often he is disappointed. Some “over branders” even leave reality behind by faking or exaggerating credentials and degrees — not too smart when Google is just a keystroke away. As you help more people, you build word-of-mouth referrals and job security, he says. Your brand becomes ingrained in people’s minds as useful. Another classic trap is alienating your boss with your overzealous self-promotion. So how should you split your time between the actual work you do and making sure others know all about it? How about an 80/20 split being a good ratio, with 80% of your effort going toward the job and the bonds you build with co-workers and your boss. The remaining 20% goes into sharing your work and ideas and being visible through speeches, articles, or blog posts. Of that outside self-promotion, I’ve seen the suggestion of a 70/30 split: Most of it

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should be informative, entertaining, or educational, whereas 30% can be straight brand building. Here, it’s good to create a conversation: Instead of saying, “Let us create your next website,” post the seven questions one needs to ask before doing so — and then be sure to provide the answers. At the ’”Marketing Zen Group,” the 25 staffers strive to answer every e-mail that comes in — unlike other companies, which see it as a waste of their time. Don’t you want a lifelong brand rather than 15

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minutes of fame? That takes discipline — which is, as we all know, a lot tougher than pressing the send button. by Neil Kuvin  

Non Profit Board Credibility

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Credibility: It’s All About

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Respect, Trust and Believability

CredibilityAn associate of mine has authored a powerful book entitled “The Personal Credibility Factor.” One of the book reviewers commented on Sandy Allgeier’s book by saying, “The new ‘PC’ isn’t Political Correctness — it’s Personal Credibility.” This extremely well-written and thought-provoking book made me think about Non Profit Boards — just what is the Personal Credibility of BOTH the board members and the organization?

Think about it. We challenge the new board members to write a “Belief Statement” and a “Lift Statement,” as well as promoting the Vision, Mission, AND all-important Values of the organization. We try our best to prepare board members to be an extension of the organization they represent. But have we carefully examined what my associate, Sandy, states is at the core of Personal Credibility: (1) Respect (2) Trust and (3) Believability.

We must determine if the Board Member AND the Organization is TRULY “transparent” to the community as he/she goes into the community to speak about the organization. And the big question: Is the board member bringing credibility to their public presentations?

It’s important to know that personal credibility is based on what people DO, and that applies to organizations as well. As Sandy comments, “It’s what people do that form our opinions, relationships, and ultimate decision of whether to trust and respect them.”

People around us, in and out of the organization, are always ‘observing’ — our actions are constantly under the microscope. What may have taken years in developing solid public confidence can be dashed in a moment because of actions, thus resulting in perceptions of distrust and disrespect.

There is so much information in the book that can be used for training sessions as well as many items that make us step back and assess our Personal Credibility. Listed below is some excellent food for thought, which can be the starting point for a board training session.

The Seven Steps to Increase Credibility (which should be the mantra for many organizations):

1. Know Your Stuff

2. Keep Commitments

3. Honor Confidences and Avoid Gossip

4. Know Yourself — the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

5. Choose to Value Others — the Good, and Yes, the Bad, and the Ugly

6. Ask More and Listen Most

7. Create Credible Interactions

I’m convinced that Sandy’s book should be required reading for anyone who plans to sit on a board of directors and will be in the public’s eye as they speak for and represent that organization.

by Joseph R. John

Time Management: Bluetoothin’

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Good time management: To BlueTooth or Not to BlueTooth

time managementBlueTooth is that great wireless protocol that allows electronic equipment to communicate with each other. You see it every day with those people walking around with earpieces in one ear and who seem to be talking to themselves. Yeah, pretty strange if you are not used to it.

Of course they are using a BlueTooth enabled earpiece to link to their cell phone and can make or answer calls without their phone (it’s on their belt or in their pocket) and hands free. Yes, it’s efficient, but is it good time management? Depends.

BlueTooth enabled cell phones are wonderful, and allow you to communicate clearly and efficiently with both hands free to drive, use your computer, take notes, etc. If you do a lot of this kind of work, then a BlueTooth enabled phone is for you. It can save you time by allowing you more freedom to do other things while talking on the phone.

The down side is that it can suddenly control your life and all your interactions, interrupting you when you least want it. So, it’s a trade-off.

What You Should Do:

If you do a lot of cell phone work, look into a Bluetooth enabled phone. They may well save you time by allowing more freedom in your calls. And, many new cars are now BlueTooth enabled as well so you can run the phone through your car’s audio system hands free. Safer. And it could be

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a good time management technique for you.

Just remember that while these devices are time saving and handy, you need to be conscious of others around you in your conversations.

By Robert E. Dittmer, APR

Author of 151 Quick Ideas to Manage Your Time

Time Management: Computer Training

Monday, November 21st, 2011

 Get Computer Training to Get More Efficient at Time Management

time managementIf you really want to get the most out of that computer application, you have to learn more about it. While many of us a self-taught, when we do so we really learn only the basics. One computer trainer I talked with told me that most people know how to use less than 25 percent of the capabilities of any software they use!

Many applications have many time-saving and work saving functions. But most of us don’t know they exist, much less how to use them. We can save time by gaining knowledge. The question is: learn it ourselves or attend some training.

My vote is get some training. Armed with some knowledge about a software, we can be functional. But not expert. Yet if this software is important to us, we should know everything about it. Becoming expert will lead us to greater capabilities and more efficiencies and, yes, better time management and time savings.

What you can do:

Identify the one or two programs you use the most in your work. Assess your level ability with those programs and then attend some training programs designed to enhance your abilities with them.

You will save time in the long run. You’ll be more efficient and more capable. You may learn enough to do something no one else in the office can do. It might lead to that next promotion. Now that’s a great result from good time management!

By Robert E. Dittmer, APR

Author of 151 Quick Ideas to Manage Your Time

Non Profit Marketing and Communications

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Non Profit: Make Sure There’s a Checklist for Marketing & Communications

non profit communicationsA Google search will provide many excellent checklists for organizations to “check off” all the numerous “to-do’s” and “must-do’s” for new and current non profit organizational board members. These checklists include bylaws, meeting times, fiduciary responsibilities, organizational overview, and lots more.

But, of all the checklists that exist, I believe one of the most important checklists (and oft time neglected) is the one that deals with marketing and communications — the one that tests the knowledge of the

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board member about the organization.

Many non profit organizations elect a new board member and don’t properly coach that person in the marketing and communications of the organization. Whether your board is comprised of nine or twenty-five people, you need consistency in your messages and presentations when board members go public.

Without standardization of communication pieces and scripts, what do you get? Could the word “havoc” be too extreme? What about the phrase “too many diverse messages” — is that a possibility?

Your non profit organization should already have some semblance of a “Communications Go Box” for public presentations. If it does, then you already have a built-in checklist for both new and current board members — and it really needs to be employed routinely. It’s the best way to educate your board members and reinforce the messages that will be conveyed to the public.

Ideally, you will have a marketing committee that will appoint a mentor/coach to guide the new board members through a total understanding of the organization. Remember that “coaching” is not a dirty word. All board members, new and experienced, need to practice and hone their skills for public presentations.

The following checklist includes items for introduction to AND feedback from the non profit board members; it also serves as a quick “refresher course” before board members go public. (note that these items may not be all inclusive for your organization, but it creates a baseline):

Non Profit Marketing & Communications Organizational Checklist

Introduction by Coach — Feedback & Assignments (if applicable) by Board Member and Additional Reinforcement of Organizational Information

Complete

(×)

History & Background Explain — Tellback — Q&A
Vision – Mission – Values Explain — Tellback — Q&A
What is a Belief Statement Explain — Develop Personal Statement
What is a Lift Speech Explain — Develop Personal Speech
Positioning Statement (who, what, etc) Explain — Tellback — Q&A
FAQ’s Explain — Tellback — Q&A
Brochures & Marketing Collateral Explain — Demonstrate — Q&A
Communications “GO” Box (the package) Explain — Demonstrate — Q&A

by Joseph R. John

Delegation: Improves Employee Satisfaction

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Want to increase employee satisfaction? Then consider delegation as an important tool!

delegationDelegation is a clear act of trust, if handled effectively. That show of trust is also a show of support. And sometimes showing an employee you support him can turn poor relationship into a better one, and a good relationship into a great one.

Often it is mistrust that separates us from one another. But entire communities can be transformed when we let down our defenses and show a little faith in one another. The same can be true in leading employees – and delegation can provide an excellent opportunity.

But how do you get started, particularly with someone in which you have limited confidence? As author and self-help guru Stephen Covey says, start from a point of agreement. With an employee, this can be one strength you both agree the employee demonstrates.

Select a limited task or decision that calls for that strength and delegate it to that employee. Then build from there, recognizing and rewarding the employee each time a new task is completed to your expectations.

What you can do:  Practice delegation and over time you’ll find that it can be the catalyst for reversing poor employee relationships and increasing team morale overall.

Delegation is an excellent way to develop better employee relationships.

By Stephanie McFarland, APR, mcfarlandpr@gmail.com and Robert Dittmer, APR, bdittmer@bc-group.net

151 Quick Ideas for Delegating and Decision Making

Time Management: Who Knows your cell phone number?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Do you give your cell phone number to everyone? Really?! Why? time managementIf so, you are giving them license to steal time from you. They’ll call you at all hours, at the most inconvenient times, when you can least afford the time to take their calls. That’s not good time management! A very good business practice is to limit the people to whom you give your cell phone number to those who are most important. Don’t let just anybody call you. Control who has access to you via your cell phone. That way, when the phone rings, you know it’s someone important to you, not your local hardware store telling you an order has arrived. Don’t put your cell

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phone number on business cards or other materials that everyone has access to. Make having your cell phone number a privilege, not a right. Keep that number for people you want to hear from. Good time management. Of course, this only works if you reserve your cell phone for business calls and communication. If you use your cell phone for everything, including land line replacement as many young people do, then

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you’ll be mixing business and personal. Also not a good recipe for good time management. And, potentially confusing! What you should do: Good time management is good communication management. Review your contacts who have your cell phone number. Start limiting who you give that number to so you control who calls you, not the other way around. You can waste a lot of time on phone calls from people you really did not need to hear from at times when you needed to concentrate on other tasks. You take control of that phone, don’t give up control to others. And if your cell phone is also your personal phone…well…consider at least using clearly identifying ringtones so you can easily separate the business from the pleasure. By Robert E. Dittmer, APR Author of 151 Quick Ideas to Manage Your Time