Posts

Showing posts from June, 2016

Why Asking Other People Sometimes Beats Googling

Image
In networking workshops I always tell people that networking is important not just for finding jobs. Among other things it is also a key part of any influencing effort and it is very helpful for obtaining information. With a strong network you will receive useful and timely information that you never thought of asking, and you will find it easier to get answers to your questions.

But both in workshops and in Q&A forums like Quora people often ask why anyone would ask questions to other people when there is Google? Can't you get the same information yourself by searching? Doesn't asking people annoy them? There are some simple factual questions where asking a connection would be overkill. Want to know which city is the capital of Finland? That's clearly a job for Google. But there are some compelling reasons for asking your network in plenty of other everyday cases. Here are the top five:

Google just gives the sources, not the answer. There are some trivial cases where …

Why You Should Make Media Contact Info Easy to Find

Image
Here's an interesting experiment to try. Ask someone not familiar with your company -- maybe the new intern or a friend -- to find the media contact information on your website. Did they find it? How long did it take?

If it seems to take a long time or -- the worst case outcome -- they can't find any useful media contact information then you have a problem. Yet this is a problem that is surprisingly common, even for businesses and organizations that should know better.

When someone just has to write about your company or whatever they have to try through other channels --  sometimes I have resorted to asking through Twitter or Facebook -- but very often they just need to talk to someone in your business. If your media contact information is missing or hidden they just ask someone else and you miss the opportunity.

It also matters how you provide contact information. What most journalists are looking for is an email address and a phone number for those urgent requests where on…

Influencing: Learning from the Everglades Airboat Case

Image
Since the 1940's the characteristic airboats of the Florida Everglades have been carrying tourists and hunters through the grassy swamplands of the state's southern tip. But when the Everglades National Park was expanded by a new law in 1989 there was a provision calling for the use of airboats to be phased out to reduce damage to the park ecosystem.

Restricting any popular activity is complicated because many people will oppose the ban, and in any democratic regime opposition will at the very least delay plans if not actually derail them.

Dealing with opposition is the key problem in any influencing case and the Everglades Airboat Case is no exception. If the regulators simply ban the use of airboats in the expanded park area where people have been airboating for decades they can expect some vocal opposition. What they have chosen to do is instructive and an interesting lesson for students of influencing.

According to reports in the media, the way that the law will be implem…

Asking Help from Online Strangers? Better Fix Your Footprint

Image
Like many people I have no problem with helping strangers who reach out through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora and other social media provided that the request is reasonable and polite. But I realize that there is another factor people consider: your online footprint.
Since I don’t know you all I have to go on is your online reputation, and most of the time I am not going to Google someone just to see who they are. The first place I will look is the profile on the site where they tried to contact me. Quite often people contact me on Twitter, Facebook or Quora who have no biographical information, no links to other profiles and sometimes even no photo. This is a deal breaker. Why should I make an effort to help someone I don’t know if that person doesn’t even identify themselves? This is the digital equivalent to approaching me in real life with a paper bag over your head, asking for a favor without revealing who you are. Not many people feel the urge to help in these circumstance…