Showing posts from February, 2012

Why You Need to Have a Social Media Policy Even if You Don't Use Social Media

Fernando Nothisrealname owns a successful restaurant that draws customers from the local area mainly by word of mouth and popular restaurant guides.  He has never had the time or inclination to use social media so he never gave the subject any thought at all until recently. Like many people without social media he also had no social media policy. Most likely he never thought about it and even if he had he would probably have thought that since he doesn't use social media he doesn't need a social media policy. Turns out he was wrong.

His aha moment came when he learnt from a social media savvy friend that one of his waiters was mocking customers on his Twitter account. The comments were probably meant only for friends but unprotected tweets can be seen by anyone and with enough retweets could easily reach one of his customers. They also didn't mention any names, but customers could easily recognize the incidents.

Whether it is a good idea to ignore social media is debatabl…

How Building a Team Culture Makes Global Teams More Effective

When you are going to visit a faraway land you can prepare by attending an in-depth culture workshop for that country so that you are at least able to understand what is happening, and maybe to adapt your behavior. But what happens when you are working in a team where members come from many different cultures? You can't simultaneously adapt to everyone so you need to find an alternative solution.

In my experience the most effective solution to this very common problem is to define a new team culture that is not the culture of any single member, but is something everyone can live with.  This means that before the team starts to work together you should discuss how cultural differences will impact the way you work, agree some shared "team" rules that everyone can live with and then manage the communication with people outside the team.

For example, people in hierarchical cultures like to copy their boss in emails while people from less hierarchical cultures tend to copy p…

How to Look Better in Video: Eight Easy Tips

Whatever you do these days there is a good chance that one day you are going to appear in video, either at a live streamed event or in a recorded interview. Even if you are usually behind the camera it's useful to know how to explain to someone how they can look better when they are facing a camera.

Like in everything else, practice makes you better, but you can save time by using these tested techniques.

CHECK CLOTHES, HAIR BEFORE START. Use a mirror or anything that reflects to make sure your hair is not sticking out, your collar is not out and so on.

MAINTAIN A SLIGHT SMILE so that you have a neutral expression on screen. TV makes a neutral expression look like a frown.

MOVE YOUR HEAD NOT EYES to change the direction of sight. Moving just your eyes to one side makes you look dishonest.

LEAN FORWARD SLIGHTLY in your seat because it looks much better than leaning back or sitting upright.

USE HAND GESTURES but limit the space you move them in to keep them in the frame.


Influencing: Three Reasons Why You Should be Talking with Adversaries

One of the most underused and underrated influencing techniques is to maintain a dialog with your "adversaries" -- the people that you believe are your enemies or opponents or in some way on the "other" side. Yet able politicians, business leaders and other strategic thinkers have shown over the years that this is often the best way to achieve results. You will never succeed in achieving your goals without the support of other people, or at least their non-opposition, and most organizations are not democracies, so even if the majority of people like your idea it takes just one determined opponent to derail your plan. That's why it is often the opponents who decide if you are influential or not, so to maintain a conversation with them is critical to your success.

There are many ways in which the conversation with adversaries can help you, but there are probably three that are deal makers:

YOU LEARN MORE ABOUT THEIR VIEWS. It's easy to avoid people who appear…

Recruiters Not Only Check Social Media, They Use Them to Identify People

In the workshops I teach about social media and networking in universities I always stress that people need to take care of their online reputation because companies can and do google candidates to see what comes up. Many times I have been asked if they really do that. Well, yes they do. In fact they do more than that because some recruiters actively search social media to identify suitable candidates for positions.

I am reminded of this by a new job ad posted by Bombardier Transportation in Sweden, where they are looking for someone who will both search their existing candidate database and also mine social media looking for people who are a good fit for open positions.  Bombardier is certainly not the only company to think of this and mining social networking sites looking for candidates is normal practice for recruiters. They do not limit themselves to the people who apply for jobs but look for good matches even among people who have not applied and even some who are not looking f…

Three Reasons Why Allowing Employees Access to Social Media Benefits an Organization

Most of the articles I read about employee use of social media focus on the downside risks -- security threats, loss of productivity, leaks of confidential information. If that were the only side to the story the decision would be simple. But it isn't. There are several compelling reasons why allowing your employees to access social media in the workplace is actually beneficial to the organization. In most cases these benefits largely outweigh the risks, which could be mitigated by effective training and communication.

1. CONNECTED EMPLOYEES ARE MORE EFFECTIVE. Nobody can work in complete isolation, whatever they may think. To be effective and productive you rely on help from other people and the best way to be sure of getting that help is to have a strong network of people who can answer your questions or proactively share with you a useful new method, tool or idea. This is maybe intuitive but if your intuition doesn't get it then I recommend you read How Bell Labs Creates S…

Why Googling Baby Names May Be a Waste of Time

Having an unusual name has always made it easier for people to remember you, but in this Age of Search Engines having a name that is rare or even unique makes you much easier to find. People with common names can be practically ungoogleable, which is fine if you want to maintain a low profile, but not so good otherwise.

Techcrunch's Alexia Tsotsis wrote recently in But What If You're Un-Googleable "In third grade being the unique and uncommon 'Alexia Tsotsis' sucked, but, in adult life I’m all like,”Hell yeah, I’ve got the first slot for my name in Google!” As the only Alexia Tsotsis in the world right now I feel pretty damn good "  With very much the same idea in mind many parents now google potential baby names, screening both for  names with unpleasant connections and anything that is too common. This was even reported in the NY Times recently in What's In a Name? Ask Google.

I would agree that it seems a sensible precaution to make sure that the name…