Showing posts from May, 2012

Simple Tools to Help Manage Your Small Business Social Media

In the post  Use Social Network & Media Sites To Build a Strong Presence for Your Business  I explained how a small business could use sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to build a strong online presence. As long as you are creating profiles on these sites purely to get better search results you can probably manage all the updates directly through each site. Later you will probably want to use these accounts more actively to engage with people and also to add fresh content that will boost search results. Social media professionals rarely visit sites like and so on. They prefer instead to use tools that allow them to view and update several accounts at the same time. There are many of these tools but two of the most popular are Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. Tweetdeck is an application that you have to download to your computer; Hootsuite is a website so it is enough to create an account. Otherwise the two tools are quite similar. First of all they

Lose the Extra Words: Communication Lessons from Aviation II

When I am diagnosing communication problems I see that the errors fall mostly into two categories. The first is saying the wrong thing ; this is a problem of influencing and not trivial to fix. The other is simply having too many words, which is much easier to correct and much harder to excuse. Using fewer words works on several levels. First of all busy people are more likely to read what you have written if it is concise. They are also more likely to read it accurately, since scanning wordy text at high speed may give the impression of having understood when you have really missed some critical word. Finally, when the writing is done artfully, a shorter text is much easier to process because your brain cannot handle more than 7 +/-2 "chunks" at a time, so the parsing of denser information is intrinsically less reliable. Good writers have known this for decades, and "omit needless words" was one of the most important mantras in Strunk & White's legen

Five Reasons You Need a PR Person With You When You Talk to Media

Most organizations have rules requiring that a PR staffer be present or listening on the call when someone does media interviews. This "minder" is actually there to help both the interviewee and the journalist to make the interview a success, rather than being just the PR police. Some people will not feel comfortable with having a minder but I have found that it helps if you explain why it is in their interest. There are, in fact, some very good reasons why they benefit from having a PR pro present during a interview. Here are the top five: 1. PRE-INTERVIEW BRIEFING . Before the interview starts your minder can quickly brief you about the journalist, their publication, stuff they have written in the past, things they are working on at the moment and the news headlines that the journalist might have seen and could ask about. This helps to avoid surprises and makes you look much smarter. 2. TAKING NOTES . During the interview the PR minder will be taking notes -- or at

Why Well-Crafted Rejection Letters are Cheap PR

Every time I talk to job seekers I hear about companies that don't reply to applicants they don't intend to hire. Perhaps they care little for good manners, but I believe that by doing this they are also going against the interests of their own company.  Either they simply can't empathize with the applicants point of view or they are taking the very narrow view that since they don’t want a person it doesn’t matter if they hate the company. But this ignores the possibility that one day you might change your mind and want to hire them. More importantly it completely ignores the fact that this treatment creates a negative feeling that often translates into lost sales. Since I am a consultant it’s been a few years since I went job hunting but I can remember the names of all the companies that failed to send a polite letter. I still avoid their products when possible. Another company sent a very polite rejection letter and I continue to prefer their brand. Failing t

Use Social Network & Media Sites To Build a Strong Presence for Your Business

Like it or not, customers, suppliers, partners and even friends are going to Google the name of your business just to check up on who you are. If they see something reasonably solid they will feel reassured, but if they find nothing, very little or just irrelevant links they are going to be suspicious. Luckily most people are content to look at the first page of search results. Very few people look at page two and even fewer click on a link to read more, unless they see something that looks bad.  This means that to impress people all you need to do is make sure that the search results on the first page look good – the first ten links in the list. You can’t actually control what appears in search results directly, but you can create pages that will appear on this page. Search engines like Google use secret algorithms to rank results, but basically they put the most important sites on top. If you could get an article on the front page of the New York Times, Le Monde, Il Corriere d

Why Global Brands, Technology Will Not Destroy Local Culture

"Will global brands and technology bring the end of cultural differences?". This is a question I have been asked many times in culture workshops over the years by people who have seen familiar logos and products wherever they go. The answer is definitely no; cultural differences will continue to persist as they have always done so and here are three reasons why. 1. CULTURE IS MUCH DEEPER THAN BRANDS  Just because Coca Cola, McDonalds, Kikkoman and other global brands are pretty much everywhere does not mean that the consumers have all adopted the same culture. Culture is much deeper than the superficial signs that you see around you and concerns much more the attitudes that people have to time, relationships, the world around them and so on. Culture at this level is not directly visible -- though you can sometimes see visible signs, like when someone bows to a superior -- and in some cases people are not even aware of their own culture. American fast food chains can  su