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Ira Koretsky
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Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Veterans Day 2016

speaking, presenting, keynote, workshop, motivational speaker, storytelling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing all of the active duty service members and veterans a happy and healthy Veterans Day.

It all started in college in ROTC. Great experiences that then lead me to active duty in the US Army. I spent five excellent years supporting military health.

speaking, presenting, keynote, workshop, motivational speaker, storytelling

I'm back! Back to kickoff the 2016 Business EXCELerator Series for Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. I had honor of kicking off the 2015 series, with my elevator speech program.

MCCC is an awesome organization that I'm proud to be a member of for years. They do so much for the community...

My topic is "Executive Storytelling:  How Leaders Use Stories to Engage, Persuade, and Inspire."

Brief Description:  Learn how to turn your personal experiences into powerful workplace stories that engage and inspire your stakeholders. Follow a proven framework complemented by practical training aides to develop your high-impact stories that influence change, motivate teams, obtain approval, and secure funding.

I'll be reviewing my executive storytelling framework, having fun with "That's Interesting, Tell Me More" exercise, sharing some powerful videos, and walking through the Leadership Story Framework.

Agenda and More Information

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What a great time. The room was filled with business owners, executives, sales professionals, marketing folks, and those in customer service from corporate, non profits, and government (boy that was a lot of lists!). I had them do my exercise, "That's Interesting, Tell Me More," to set a foundation for their leadership story. This foundation identified what was missing -- powerful words, powerful message, and powerful delivery.  I reviewed my story framework, shared some insightful videos, and was engaged with a variety of great questions.

Here's the excellent write up from the Chamber...

"Ira Koretsky, CEO, The Chief Storyteller® presented “Executive Storytelling: How Leaders Use Stories to Engage, Persuade and Inspire.” A key differentiator in the marketplace for any business is customer service.  Ira stressed the use of effective storytelling to be remembered and to demonstrate your value and that of your organization. When you tell a personal, workplace story, select one that that has a universal message. The best story is one that is easily shared. When developing your story, “start in the middle,” keep it under three minutes, and always inspire your audiences to think or act differently. Your organization can and will be changed by changing the stories executives tell, customers tell, and employees tell."

 

 

 

figure of speech, repetition, speaking, presenting, impact, messaging

I’m often asked, "When it comes to deciding what story to tell, where do I start?”

Great stories are those that touch people, that touch people with a personal experience shared in a memorable workplace message.

When you are thinking about the next strategic presentation, board meeting, report, etc. where a story will help advance your agenda (when won't it?), think about experience moments. These are times in your life where you gained new insights and where you changed because of these new insights. These insights should be profound such that they still affect your thinking and actions today.

Then take these experience moments and turn them into workplace stories with a specific message, a specific idea, a specific action you want your audiences to take.

Experience Moment Suggestions:
- Experiences that changed you a) Related to a person or b) "Aha" moments/epiphanies
- Firsts:  First win, first loss (playing sports, hobby, tournament), and first promotion
- Friends & Family:  Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt, Uncle, Mother, Father (always great sources of stories, sayings, messages)
- Media:  Movies, books, poems from childhood to adulthood

figure of speech, repetition, speaking, presenting, impact, messaging

The English language has hundreds of figures of speech to help you improve the effectiveness of your communications. Anaphora is an excellent example of repetition.

Look at the examples below. Find ways for you to experiment by including this figure of speech in your written, spoken, and online communications.

As always, test your use of language. Is it engaging, persuasive, and memorable? If not, (ruthlessly) revise.

 

- Definition:   A word or phrase is repeated at the beginning of a successive phrase, clause, or sentence, two or more times
- Pronunciation:  ah-NAF-oh-rah
- Also Known As:  Epanaphora, Iteratio, Relatio, and Repetitio
- Etymology:  Greek, “carrying back”

Example:  “Freedom's Forge," Book Launch Event, Author Arthur Herman, 5/2012
Now, what I want to do here tonight is to tell you a story. And this is a story that usually is told backwards. {If you go to the} textbooks, {if you go to the} movies, {if you go to the} usual discussions...

Example:  Rick Blaine in Casablanca the movie
{Of all the} gin joints {in all the} towns {in all the} world, she walks into mine

Example:  President John Kennedy, Inaugural Address, Jan 1961
{Let both sides} explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us. {Let both sides}, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms, and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.

{Let both sides} seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.

{Let both sides} unite to heed, in all corners of the earth, the command of Isaiah--to 'undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free.'

branding, messaging, content marketing, marketing, positioning

I'm sure you have heard the phrase "Facts Tell…Stories Sell."

It is something I live everyday, especially when it comes to presentations.

That's why I have teamed up with Colleen Jolly from the 24 Hour Company to offer a hands-on webinar, "How to Tell Stories through Visuals:  3 Steps to Winning Presentations." It is a 90-minute webinar on June 15 at 10:00 PST, 13:00 EST, 18:00 BST, 18:30 IST, 23:00 AEST

I have known Colleen for years. One day over lunch we realized, "Why haven't we done this before?" She is a master at visuals - graphics, images, pictures, charts, graphs - you name it. She has an impressive portfolio you can see here.

Together, we will walk you through, in a hands-on approach with examples, how to develop better visuals complemented with high impact storytelling.

Description
Learn how to sell your story -- with words AND pictures -- in this 90 minute webinar and join from anywhere in the world! Ira Koretsky combines his storytelling expertise with Colleen Jolly's eye-catching visuals to give you a simple, three step process to win your pitches, every time. Practice honing your messages with slides that pop in this interactive session, learning from the best edu-tainers around!

Time
90-minutes, June 15, 10:00 PST, 13:00 EST, 18:00 BST, 18:30 IST, 23:00 AEST

Fee & Registration
$97 USD, registration at 24 Hour Company

 

 

branding, messaging, content marketing, marketing, positioning

If you were to watch the brand new advertisement from car sharing service Lyft, you might be tempted to dismiss it as absurd and ask "What's the point?"

I think the problem lies with the timing of the message. Lauren, the protoganist, exits her car and uses her mobile phone around :45 seconds. That's 45 seconds folks... of waiting to get to the point of the commercial. The key message, "Riding is the new driving," appears shorly therefater at the :55 second mark. 

In today's whiplash society of ad to ad to email subject line back to banner ad and so forth, 55 seconds may seem like an eternity.

Perhaps Lyft wants us to think of all the seeming visual cacophony as micro messages representing feelings we experience when in rush hour and similar unpleasant driving situations. Then of course, think positively about using Lyft (the fun, light music helps lighten the mood as well).

Now, if Lyft is pursuing a soft approach to branding instead of attracting more customers, this approach may work. Or perhaps, Lyft is relying on social media to drive interest and therefore visitors to its various social media platforms such as YouTube where the advertisement just went live. Since its launch on April 25, the ad has garnered about 116,500 views.

 

 

speaking, presenting, keynote, workshop, motivational speaker, storytelling

I'm honored to be delivering the opening keynote for the 15th Annual Departement of Energy (DOE) Small Business Forum & Expo in Atlanta May 23 to 25.

My topic is "Awaken the Storytelling Giant in You."
Description: What if the right story inspired your company's targeted program, site office, or laboratory to add your company to their team? What if the right story persuaded the small business program manager to invite you to hear your ideas and company's capabilities? What if the right story prompted the small business program manager or contracting officer to recommend your company? What difference could that right story mean to your company? Join Ira for a lively and insightful keynote on how to turn your experiences into powerful stories that engage and inspire stakeholders throughout the DOE Community.

I will also deliver a complementary workshop that will be a hands-on program later in the day.

*** If you are attending, please send me a note and let's coordinate schedules.

Here's more information on the event:

The Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), is proud to present the 15th Annual DOE Small Business Forum & Expo at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, GA, May 23 - 25, 2016.

Dr. Ernest Moniz, United States Secretary of Energy, will welcome everyone Tuesday morning. Throughout the event, there will be plenaries, educational workshops, a large Exhibit Hall, as well as business matchmaking sessions. Over 800 attendees will represent all levels of Federal, state, and local government agencies, the small business community, large/prime contractors, and many more!

The OSDBU goal is to provide maximum practicable opportunities in the Departments' acquisitions to all small business concerns.  The OSDBU created this 2 1/2 day event to connect small businesses with various DOE offices and programs to enhance DOE's overall mission of ensuring America's security and prosperity by:

- Strengthening and sustaining America's Energy Independence
- Introducing new innovations in areas of Science and Engineering
- Enhancing nuclear security through defense, nonproliferation, and environmental efforts

DOE2016 will provide small businesses with the information needed to help you navigate through the largest civilian agency within the Federal government.  General sessions and breakouts will include subjects, such as:

- Finding and Winning Simplified Acquisitions, Part 1 & 2 (from my friend and colleague, Guy Timberlake of the American Small Business Coalition)
- DOE Headquarters Panel
- DOE National Laboratories and Site Office
- DOE IT Opportunities
- DOE's Supply Chain Management
- National Nuclear Security Administration (East Coast Locations)
- Executive Storytelling: How Leaders Use Stories to Engage, Persuade and Inspire (my breakout session)
- More...

Agenda (click here)

Speakers (click here)

 

 

 

You've been tasked with drafting a social media strategy for your brand. Initially, your goals are to build your company's reputation and raise brand awareness. As the brand takes hold in the market, your goals will include increases in customer engagement, conversions (a.k.a. sales) and loyalty.

Public relations? Marketing? Or both? Is there a difference?

Too often, these terms are used interchangeably – without a real understanding of the role each brings to your brand. One, public relations, is about building reputations and raising awareness among members of your target audience. The other, marketing, is about converting that audience into paying customers. As best-selling author and marketing consultant Al Ries sees it, public relations lights the fire and marketing fans the flames.

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The purpose of public relations is to educate and build relations with all stakeholders – investors, community members, lawmakers and regulators, industry thought leaders, current and potential customers, etc. Marketing's role is to educate and influence current and potential customers. Public relations supports marketing by creating a favorable climate in which to operate and, the reality is, you need both to accomplish your goals.

Public relations, while different from marketing, is an integral part of your brand's overall marketing strategy.

 

For other insights on social media and content marketing, see:
Absent Context, Your Content Is Meaningless
You Are What You Tweet
How Content Marketing Builds Stronger Relationships with Your Brand

reduce jargon complexity engage audiencePolish-born British novelist, Joseph Conrad said, “He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, in the right word.”

Words are power. They stir emotions. They cause people to make choices. That’s exactly what you want to do—get your target audiences to act.

Magazines and newspapers write between the 8th and 10th grade levels. Why so simple? To ensure EVERYONE understands the message and content, as quickly as possible.

Reducing jargon and sentence/word complexity are key to enhancing engagement with your stakeholders.

Here are some suggestions to increase your messaging impact:
- Reduce jargon and acronyms
- Use shorter words
- Keep your sentences short. Keep them to a maximum of 15 words
- Use the free Readability Tools included with Microsoft Word®. Target 50 and above for the Flesch Reading Ease and target 10th grade or lower for the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level
- Ask the opinions of people outside your organization and industry. Do they REALLY understand your messages? And appreciate them?
- Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Edit ruthlessly

Experiences are enduring. Experiences are shared by people in writing, in social media, in person, in email, etc. How do your audiences respond and share your messages?

In honor of Dr. King and celebration of his holiday, here is one of our favorite quotes.

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

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marketing communications double check qa

Thom came to us as a successful 30-something ready for his next sales managerial role. After the meeting, he was pumped. He had all these great ideas to transform his ho-hum cover letter, resume, LinkedIn, etc. into exciting, tell me more experiences, stories, and bullets.

In fact, he was so excited and enthusiastic he wanted to send out the next version of his resume the very next day. We were scheduled to meet next week to review his updated materials after he spends time revising and obtaining feedback from his network and mentors.

After suggesting he send his resume to us for a quick review, he politely declined. We politely insisted. We knew he didn’t get anyone else’s feedback and certainly no one else did a quality check (e.g., spelling, grammar, format, white space, word choice, dashes consistency, etc.).

Thom emailed it. Among several things (see quality check items), this is what he had under his current position.

- Developed and executed the sales department. Supported a multi-national team of 12 sales professionals across five technical product lines.

We are embarrassed (a little) that we laughed loudly. After a quick telephone call to point out Thom’s mistake, he just didn’t see it. “What was wrong with what I wrote?” We had him delete the second sentence and just look at “Developed and executed the sales department.” He laughed. He asked that we not turn him into the police for murder (smile). Now he was convinced NOT to send it out until he obtained more feedback and at least two people helped with a quality review and we looked at it as well.

Whether it is brand new content on your website, a new YouTube video, a revised brochure, an updated LinkedIn® profile, and certainly your resume, please, please have some "outsiders" review the item. While a mistake isn't going to land you in jail, it may cost you a prospect? a client? or that job opportunity?

storytelling limit goals

Want a good way of creating drama and adding suspense in your stories? Set near-impossible goals.

As an example, imagine you are watching an Indiana Jones movie. The rock wall falls away and Indiana has just seconds to jump. Everyone in the theatre is watching with rapt attention. Indy’s goal? To escape? And if you were in the audience, it would seem impossible and all hope would be lost? Right?

You too can heighten the emotional aspect of your story by adding organization limit goals or personal limit goals. Here are two quick examples of points to tell in a story.

Organization Limits
- My boss gave me an ultimatum. When the calendar shows May 31, software development must stop. Get it done, do it right, and do it within a ridiculously meager budget.
- If it wasn’t done, we would lose one of our biggest clients and most importantly, our jobs. I could feel the sweat trickling down my back.

Personal Limits
- Midway into my week-long hike up the mountain, I realized I was in over my head. The expected moderate difficulty hike to the top was everything OTHER than expected. I was not prepared for the drop in temperature. My gear was inadequate. I was dehydrated, I was hungry, and I was afraid.
- Mentally, I was giving up. Nothing, and I mean nothing, I could think of was working. I hadn’t slept for two days. I didn’t know what to do.

Everyone at The Chief Storyteller® wishes you a warm, safe, and relaxing holiday season. Here's a little storytelling humor.

secret-formula-for-great-storytelling

Monday, December 14, 2015

Tweet with the End Result in Mind

tweet with end result in mind

Think about the actions you are trying to inspire among your followers before you send your next tweet. Give potential followers convincing reasons to “follow” you.

Send Tweets to:
- Share information
- Challenge trends and conventional thinking
- Entertain and make them laugh
- Help them bond with others
- Connect them to other like-minded individuals (remember Twitter is a community of communities)

Match the type of tweet to the preferences of your audience and your goals. Are these actions consistent with the results you are expecting? Social media rewards those who share the right information with their audience.

If your event managers are spending the bulk of their time on event logistics – shipping, delivery, set-up, staffing and tear-down of your exhibit booth and promoting it on social media – you may be missing the bigger picture. In the world of event marketing, booths are table stakes. While exhibit booths play a role in promoting your brand and engaging customers, event management requires a more holistic approach.

Achieving business outcomes involves other stakeholders in your organization, and requires a commitment to measuring and reporting on quantifiable results beyond the softer metrics of brand awareness and engagement.

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Your customers want to know how your products and services speak to their needs and interests. Your sales managers want to know how your participation at an event is helping their teams turn qualified leads into closed sales. And your executive management team wants to know how your presence at a show or event is contributing to business outcomes, like revenue and return on investment (ROI) goals.

To ensure your event marketing program is meeting the needs of your stakeholders and achieving your desired business outcomes, develop and implement a scorecard for evaluating the success of each show or event. As a starting point, consider adding the following quantifiable metrics to your scorecard:
• Number of visitors
• Most and least popular discussion topics
• Number and type of social media mentions of your brand, key messages and event hashtag(s)
• Number of qualified leads
• Number of closed sales
• Average revenue per closed sale
• Cost of participating in the show or event

Follow each event with a post-event assessment, inviting candid feedback from the various stakeholders within your organization. Review and report on your results. Develop and implement corrective actions, when necessary, to improve performance. Use the output of each assessment to quantify your ROI and to inform your participation in future shows or events.

LinkedIn Tips

Here's a total revision to of one of our more popular posts published a few years back (67 Tips for Using LinkedIn to Help You Find the Job You Want). I categorized the tips, added several, and removed the outdated ones. Suggestions, feedback, your favorite tips?  Please let me know in the comments.

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If you were not aware, LinkedIn is the number one business social media site in the world. Today, there are over 380,000,000 members with an average of 5,000,000 joining every month. Some interesting statistics:

- Officially launched on May 5, 2003.
- 4,500 members as of May 2003
- Available in 24 languages
- > 8,700 full-time employees with offices in 30 cities
- Members come from > 200 countries and territories
- Top Countries: USA 118M+; India 31M+; UK 19M+; Canada 11M+; France 10M+; China 10M+; Italy 8M+; Australia 7M+; Mexico 7M+; Spain 7M+

The tips are designed to improve your profile and for you job seekers, to help you find a job. These are the top ones that colleagues, clients, and friends have found most helpful. There are a lot more!

Suggest you identify the best tips for you. Then prioritize what you will do in what time frame. I did include a 30 Day Must Do, To Do list. Also, based on several suggestions from folks, each tip is on a separate line to facilitate a check-list approach.

Whatever you need from LinkedIn, be deliberate with your time and how you interact with the LI network.

30 Day Must Do, To-Do List

  • Customize your professional headline (it is critical to have a compelling and engaging headline...this is what people who search see first adjacent to your picture)
  • Check and correct grammar (copy/paste into your favorite word processing software - I have never seen anyone's profile with no grammar errors)
  • Check and correct spelling (copy/paste into your favorite word processing software - you might be surprised at finding a spelling error)
  • Check and correct readability (use Microsoft Word's Readability Tools). Generally, you should write at or below the 10th grade level. Most USA magazines write between the 6th and 8th grade levels. For comparison, The New York Times writes to the 10th grade level. For Readability, your goal should be greater than 50.
  • Omit your personal information that may lead to identity theft (e.g., birthday, marital status, and address...While its fun to get happy birthday notes. Today's hyper fraud and attack world, I'd suggest you omit it)
  • Spend time (a lot) on your summary. After your professional headline, it is the important section. It is what people read first (unless you changed the order of the sections).
  • Spend time (a lot) on your Skills. This is an important section as people can search on your skills.
  • Put your value proposition/elevator speech in your summary
  • Use action verbs and active voice. If you live and work in the USA, suggest you use first person voice. If you work a lot with people in the USA, also recommend first person voice.

  • Use a professional looking photograph. No cut-outs/cut-offs, boats, children, spouses, etc. There are exceptions to this rule of course (only a few). LinkedIn statistics show that profiles with pictures perform substantially better than those profiles without pictures
  • Use your personal email address for your account. This ensures you will always have access to your account

New to LinkedIn

  • Complete your profile (LinkedIn research shows members with complete profiles are more successful in securing employment and complete profiles show up higher in search results
  • Invite people to join your network with a personalized/customized note…EVERY time
  • Expand your network by adding people you know (Consider allowing LinkedIn to access your Outlook, Gmail, etc.)
  • Consider including your maiden name (women) in your profile name. This ensures people who knew you before you got married can still find you
  • Fill out your educational history (many people skip this. And join your alumni group)
  • Fill out your employment history, from right after college to present (many people skip this. And join your alumni groups if your organizations have them
  • Take advantage of the New User Guide from LinkedIn

Advanced LinkedIn Content, Positioning, & Messaging

  • Change the website link for your blog from "My Blog" to a proper name such as "The Chief Storyteller Blog"
  • Change the website link for your company/personal site from "My Company" to a proper name such as "The Chief Storyteller® Website"
  • Change the website link for your LinkedIn public profile to a proper name/organization name such as "http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/TheChiefStoryteller"
  • Change the website link for your Twitter account to "Twitter" or your Twitter name such as "chiefstoryteller" 
  • Add into your profile articles and publications you wrote
  • Add into your profile presentations you gave via SlideShare.net
  • Ask for recommendations (helpful article Every Accomplishment Should Be Great: 5 Steps to Compelling Resume Accomplishments)
  • Consider including your LinkedIn address in your email signature
  • Consider upgrading your account to LI Premium
  • Expand your network by adding people that are like-minded (use groups, keywords, 2nd degree connections, and suggestions from LinkedIn)
  • Seek out advice from some of the smartest people in the world (any member can answer your questions - LinkedIn Inmail is a good way)
  • Help write your recommendations to ensure it is on-message - the message you want to communicate
  • Identify and include keywords relevant to audiences that will search for you
  • Join alumni groups to ensure you stay connected with high school, college, and graduate friends and colleagues
  • Join groups for personal development
  • Join professional groups important to your career success
  • Consider re-ordering your Skills. There are two approaches:  Listing your top rated skills and listing the skills you want more "clicks" on.
  • Track statistics for Who's viewed your profile. Identify trends

  • Look closely at Who's viewed your profile. Consider reaching out via LinkedIn InMail or connecting directly
  • Track statistics for Who's viewed your posts
  • For those that viewed your post, consider reaching out via LinkedIn InMail or connecting directly
  • Track statistics for your Actions Taken. Examine what activities you have completed and what ones you should be working on. Don't get caught up in the "gamification" aspect. Do what is right for you.
  • Visit the LinkedIn blog to gain insights and to learn more about changes coming
  • Use the "Follow Company" feature to stay current with organizations you have an interest in joining or learning more about
  • Use the "Saved searches" option to save your favorite search queries
  • Turn off your update notification in your settings when you are revising your profile for content changes, then turn it back on. Leave it on if you want people to know about job changes and other significant changes to your profile.
  • Consider turning your profile summary into one that is story-based 
  • Add the appropriate key words to your profile. Add the words your prospective audiences are searching for and the words you want to be known for - emphasize what your audience's point of view.

Building and Nurturing Your Network  

Ensure what you do share is very interesting and very relevant. LinkedIn is still a "noisy" social media community with articles, updates, announcements, sales solicitations, LinkedIn InMails, Pulse, etc.

  • Send articles of interest you come across from your favorite websites
  • Send articles of interest you come across from your favorite bloggers
  • Answer interesting questions in your groups thoughtful, education-focused responses
  • Share content from your blogs in your updates
  • Share content from your blogs in your Company page
  • Share content from your blogs in your Showcase pages
  • Share content from your articles in your updates
  • Share content from your articles in your Company page
  • Share content from your articles in your Showcase pages
  • Share content from your newsletters in your updates
  • Share content from your newsletters in your Company page
  • Share content from your newsletters in your Showcase pages
  • Share content from your favorite groups (not private)
  • Connect strategically with selected LiONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers) matching your interests to expand your network
  • Leverage advanced search functionality to locate/connect with people with experiences and education like yours to see where they work and where they worked
  • Look through your connections’ connections for good-fit additions for your network
  • Send notes to people in your network when you see status updates or changes to his/her network
  • Share news with appropriate Groups
  • Write recommendations for people in your network. Suggest you ask the person first for keywords and preferred concepts/ideas to write about

Career - Job Seekers / Job Hunters 

There may be some duplicate tips here. I wanted to ensure the tips specific to career were in this list.

  • Download Box.Net and then include your cover letter and resume
  • Help write your recommendations to ensure it is on-message - the message you want to communicate
  • Join professional groups important to your career success
  • Perform competitive intelligence research on the target organizations before applying for a position
  • Perform competitive intelligence research on the target organization's competitors before applying for a position
  • Perform competitive intelligence research on people (e.g., hiring managers) before applying for a position
  • Perform competitive intelligence research on interviewers before your phone screen or in-person interview (e.g., read profiles, do Internet searches, read articles, and read blogs they wrote)
  • Perform competitive intelligence research using the LinkedIn reference check tool on interviewers before your phone screen or in-person interview 
  • Perform competitive intelligence research use advanced search to find current employees. Send a personalized request for a telephone call to discover more information about the prospective organization
  • Perform competitive intelligence research use advanced search to find former employees. Send a personalized request for a telephone call to discover more information about the prospective organization
  • Spend time (a lot) on your Skills. This is an important section as people can search on your skills
  • Search frequently the LinkedIn job opportunities
  • Use the "Follow Company" feature to stay current with organizations you have an interest in joining or learning more about
  • Turn off your update notification in your settings when you are revising your profile then turn it back on. 

personalize linkedin profile

A few days ago I received this form-letter LinkedIn invite (see picture below).

I'm sure you get these...while sometimes fun to read, they have a variety of "bad" characteristics, some more than others. And to me, they really hurt your credibility. And always end up being deleted.

At The Chief Storyteller®, we often find if there is one error, there are at least three more errors.

The "Hi Ellen" greeting is what first caught my attention. Second, where was the personalization and more specifically, the relevance to me? What does "mutually benefit from connecting" mean?

Here is a list of the most common "bad" characteristics we see.

- Lacks personalization - overall, obviously a form-letter
- Lacks personalization - greeting - absence of a name (e.g., "Hello,")
- Generic subject line / irrelevant subject line
- Typos - misspelling, poor punctuation, poor grammar, bad word choice
- Lengthy - sentences and/or letter
- Poor organization of points and supporting points
- Lacks a strong and relevant call-to-action
- Inappropriate greeting and closings
- Far-fetched claims / chest-thumping
- Wrong names used (like this example) / misspelled names

For this invitation-to-connect form letter there are 5 bad characteristics:
- Lacks personalization - overall, obviously a form-letter
- Generic subject line / irrelevant subject line
- Unspecific body copy / irrelevant body copy
- Lacks a strong and relevant call-to-action
- Wrong names used

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Body Language Non Verbal Communications

While working with a client, I discovered something quite amazing and funny. Here’s what happened (short story version)…

My engagement was to help Ed (name changed) and his executive team to improve their influence and thought leadership. One of the easy fixes was to update their much-to-casual photos. In turn, the photos would be posted to touch points like their website, LinkedIn®, Twitter, blog, etc. I encouraged Ed to hire a professional photographer.

My next meeting with Ed was focused on his LinkedIn profile. I went to the website and downloaded his new photo, which looked the first picture below (I posed for this picture to protect confidentiality).

After downloading, I opened the picture in Photoshop to crop and post to LinkedIn®. I then laughed and laughed loudly. I now saw Ed’s entire original photo. Business on top and party on the bottom with his casual blue jeans and somethings in the background that should not have been there. A thought then popped into my head …was this true for everyone? Yes, all six executive bio pages.

What the designer did was take the quick approach by simply changing the HTML code to display a certain part of the image. The designer did not think the situation through as to the possibility a visitor would download the picture. And Ed went the route of asking one of his employees who was an aspiring photographer to take the pictures.

The moral of this story is…validate your visuals -- photographs for the web, visuals for presentations, pictures for Instagram, preview photos for social media sites, and the list goes on.

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Body Language Non Verbal Communications

Cultural differences are sometimes easy to see, understand, and adopt. Others, not to easy.

If you are traveling to another country or interacting with an audience with different cultural backgrounds, be sensitive to language, humor, traditions, and taboos.

For this tip of the week, let’s focus on hand gestures. There are many nuanced and obvious hand gesture differences. Research the country thoroughly to avoid embarrassment as well as the potential for your audience to focus on the "wrong" things rather than your message and you.

Purchase books, ask your local embassy for advice, and use your network to meet/talk with people who grew up in the respective country.

Here are two illustrative examples with answers immediately below.

 

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A few weeks ago, Ira presented a half-day “Executive Storytelling” program to nearly 70 social change leaders from more than 50 countries.

They were the Fellows from the Atlas Corps’ Class 18 “Welcome Week.” One of Ira’s big take-aways was Find the Right Balance. Here is his summary from his blog post.

“Many of the Fellows were tackling sensitive culture, justice, and historical issues. Some of the issues were heart breaking and would bring tears to your eyes hearing some of the stories. I encouraged the Fellows to share these stories while keeping in mind that tugging on someone's heart to inspire them to be part of the solution, you must find the right balance of emotion and benefit.

In general, people do not want to be overwhelmed with an emotional appeal. They want a reasoned set of arguments with clear benefits. Weave your emotional appeal just enough so that your audience truly understands what is at stake. Empathy over sympathy.”

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Here is a helpful info graphic with a variety of interesting and highly relevant data/statistics.

The "Psychology of Influencer Marketing" infographic, by way of Fractl and BuzzStream, includes in the description, "Take your content promotion tactics to the next level by incorporating a few insights from psychology..."

How has been your success with these tactics? Or your own?

 

 

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We couldn’t agree more…“We eat with our eyes first” is a common phrase from Master Chefs around the world. That is why so many restaurants spend time and money perfecting the presentation of your meal. Think of how much you are impressed when everything entices your senses, perhaps even all of your senses.

The smell from the freshly baked bread, the visual beauty of how everything is laid out on your plate, the sizzle of your fajitas, the texture of the moist cupcake, and of course, the expected taste tingling your brain to hurry up and eat already.

In the two study's below, Charles Spence, PhD, Professor of Experimental Psychology, was a co-author. He wrote, "People's perception is typically dominated by what their eyes see."

So, when it comes to your presentations, what can we learn from this age-old practice when it comes to your slides/visuals such as pictures, charts, and graphs?

Spend as much time as you can to ensure your visuals pass The 3-Second Test. Within three seconds, will your audience completely understand and appreciate what you are “trying” to communicate?

This means your slide has these three aspects well covered:
- Readable:  fonts and graphical elements (boxes, circles, pull quotes, etc.) are easy to read
- Understandable:  easy to understand with one key message
- Appealing:  use colors to their maximum advantage and limit them to three colors with graphs and charts; use pictures where you can with minimal text

Next time you are reviewing or designing a slide, ask yourself, “Do I want to know more?”


Studies:
1. “Assessing the Influence of the Color of the Plate on the Perception of a Complex Food in a Restaurant Setting” by Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, Agnes Giboreau, and Charles Spence, Flavor Journal

2. “The Influence of the Color of the Cup on Consumers’ Perception of a Hot Beverage” by Betina Piqueras-Fiszman and Charles Spence; August 23, 2012, Journal of Sensory Studies

 

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A few weeks ago, Bhavesh Bhagat from Confident Governance, and I co-presented a keynote presentation at the annual ISACA DC conference. ISACA is an association of IT, Audit, Security & Risk Management, and Cyber professionals.  Its roots go back to 1967. More information on ISACA below.

I met Bhavesh at an Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) two-day event where I was presenting a variety of programs on the elevator speech/value proposition, LinkedIn Makeover, and Media Relations. 

Over the coming months, we created a different kind of "technology" presentation titled, "Awakening the Hidden 'Risk Giant' in You." 

And I do mean different. 

Bhavesh...
- kicked the keynote off sharing a personal story of his time at The Grand Bretgane in Athens, Greece
- talked about the absence of Pluto from our solar system
- shared his outlook on life as a musician and how it positively affects his views as an ISACA professional
- showed a video clip from Daito Manabe's Elevenplay Dance Performance with Drones (yes, drones)

I...
- shared a personal story about my time in Egypt at the famous Sphinx and how that relates to brand and personal recognition
- showed a video clip that epitomized what not do in a presentation
- redefined word clouds into message clouds and how they can benefit you in determining your message
- emphasized the importance of "changing the conversation" (meaning change your messages and personal and organizational stories) to effect change in your organization

I had a great time at the conference. And want to thank Bhavesh again for his invitation to co-present.

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From the ISACA website:  "Today, ISACA’s constituency—more than 140,000 strong worldwide—is characterized by its diversity. Constituents live and work in more than 180 countries and cover a variety of professional IT-related positions—to name just a few, IS auditor, consultant, educator, IS security professional, regulator, chief information officer and internal auditor. Some are new to the field, others are at middle management levels and still others are in the most senior ranks. They work in nearly all industry categories, including financial and banking, public accounting, government and the public sector, utilities and manufacturing. This diversity enables members to learn from each other, and exchange widely divergent viewpoints on a variety of professional topics. It has long been considered one of ISACA’s strengths."

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In describing Atlas Corps, Scott Beale, Founder and CEO, shares that Atlas Corps is "an international network of the world's best non profit leaders and social change organizations.  We bring leaders from around the world to serve in the U.S. to learn skills and share their perspectives. And then go back home to create a global network of the world's best social change professionals."

I met Scott about a year ago through a program hosted by CRDF Global and my good friend Natalia Pipia.  We talked briefly and then over the course of about a month outlined a communications program to be offered to the next class of Atlas Corps' Fellows.

Today, I had a the honor of spending a half-day with nearly 70 very passionate social change professionals from more than 50 countries (see picture below). My program was "Executive Storytelling: How to Use Stories to Engage, Persuade, and Inspire."

Two big take-aways:

- Passion opens the door to opportunities. Scalability opens the door to investment. Several of the Fellows are doing great things in their respective countries. They were looking for local partners and investors to help them expand outreach. Someone asked a question sparking a lively discussion of passion and scability. I emphasized investors around the world will always be more receptive to an idea that scales, whether it be for social good or for economic gain.

- Find the right balance. Many of the Fellows were tackling sensitive culture, justice, and historical issues.  Some of the issues were heart-breaking and would bring tears to your eyes hearing some of the stories. I encouraged the fellows to share these stories while keeping in mind that tugging on someone's heart to inspire them to be part of the solution, you must find the right balance of emotion and benefit. In general, people do not want to be overwhelmed with an emotional appeal. They want a reasoned set of arguments with clear benefits. Weave your emotional appeal just enough so that your audience truly understands what is at stake. Empathy over sympathy.

I really enjoyed spending time with the Atlas Corps' Class 18 Fellows. And I sincerely look forward to staying in touch and helping them continue to make a (big) difference in the world.

The next day, Scott posted this very nice recommendation/testimonial. 

Ira did a fantastic job with this public speaking and storytelling workshop to the Atlas Corps Fellows. He engaged a diverse and professional audience of nearly 70 leaders from over 50 different countries and after a four-day training on Marketing and Communication skills, Ira was the favorite presenter for the majority of the Fellows. He is fantastic!

 

With its fantastic history of excellence, Atlas Corps has built a world wide reputation, drawing thousands of applications each year (apply here). What it needs most are host organizations (contact Atlas Corps here). Host organizations receive a variety of benefits. If interested visit the website or email me.

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The Fellows sat at tables of six to eight. On some of the tables I saw name tents with each Fellow's name in a variety of languages. I didn't think of asking them to translate my name until my program was nearly over. I did manage a few...languages and countries of origin are labeled on the next photograph.

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I did manage a few...languages and countries of origin are labeled. Too bad I wasn't able to do more...next time!

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Yesterday while meeting with a client and reviewing his LinkedIn profile, we were talking about how he can demonstrate his skills and, past performance. And how to do so with recommendations, which he only had two. While we were strategizing on a plan to request tailored recommendations, he asked, "Do you know how to send these recommendations easily?" I smiled and said, "yes I do."

I thought to share how as this week's tip.

One of the best reasons to use this LinkedIn hack is for job seekers, recruiters, and HR teams to easily view a candidate's recommendations for his/her ENTIRE profile with one click rather than having to search a person's profile, job-by-job.

A not-so-obvious reason is for organizations to demonstrate excellent customer service, past performance, etc. to prospective customers, partners, etc. Organizations should link to team member profiles with the representative recommendations.

Here's how:

1) Log-in to your LinkedIn profile
2) Click on the [Profile] menu option, top left of your screen, close to the blue LinkedIn logo
3) Scroll down to your summary information. This is the box with your picture, name, professional headline, etc.
4) Look at the bottom left of your summary box for a gray LinkedIn logo and a URL (see orange arrow below). This is your public profile URL.

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5) Copy your public profile URL, paste it into your browswer, then add #recommendations at the very end. Press and you'll see just your recommendations for all of your employement history. This is how the URL would look to view my recommendations.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/thechiefstoryteller#recommendations


Note:  If your LinkedIn profile is outside the United States, delete the country letters from your profile URL.

If you have any trouble email me.

 

Source:  I found the original article here (Showcase Imagery) and simplified it above for you.

 

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During a facilitation session to develop a new mission statement for a non-profit client, several of the executive team members encouraged the group to use “strive.”

We politely pointed out strive is a wishy-washy word, and should not be used.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary states the definition of strive as “to try very hard to do or achieve something.” The implication is you achieve your goal. In reality, you may or may not.

In business, like Yoda from Star Wars aptly said, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

Avoid wishy-washy words such as strive, hope, surely, chiefly, usually, going to, often, sort of, possibly, and many more.

Words like these reduce your effectiveness when communicating with your stakeholders.

I receive more cold calls each week than I can count. Phone calls, voice messages, emails, Twitter DMs, LinkedIn messages and sponsored Facebook posts.

I've witnessed no shortage of creative approaches. Early morning or late afternoon phone calls, intriguing email subject lines and targeted social media messages are among the many tactics eager salespeople have used to lure me into a conversation. And, yet, I return very few of the cold calls I receive.

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If you want me to answer, inspire me.

Give me a reason to return the call. Show me you've done your homework and you truly understand my or my organization's needs. Offer me a solution to a problem or challenge I may be facing. You might even inspire me enough to answer your cold call.

 

For more on effective selling techniques, please see:
Selling Beyond Price
If You're Selling, Are You Showing or Telling?
• If You're in Sales, Tell Me Something I Don't Know

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Elmer Wheeler said, “Your first 10 words are more important than your next 10,000. In fact, if your first 10 words aren't the right words, you won't have a chance to use the next 10,000.”

Wheeler is one of the fathers of sales. Perhaps you know him from the famous phrase, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak,” which he coined in the 1940s?

Starting your presentation is one of the most important parts to a successful speaker and audience experience. The beginning sets the tone. The beginning puts your audience into a frame of mind. And the beginning sets up the expectations for what’s to come.

Your beginning should be well thought-out and rehearsed. It should grab them in the first 10 seconds. A great quote works very well. Everyone loves a great quote as it has a lot of meaning shared in just a few words.

Whether you realize it or not, the quotes you use are a reflection of who you are and how you think. As such, only use quotes that have had a profound impact on your thinking. Now when you share the quote with your audience, share a little story about how you discovered the quote and its impact on your life. Your audience will “feel” the authenticity in your story and better appreciate the quote’s message.

Here are a few sites to find great quotes:

- BrainyQuote
- World of Quotes
- Quoteland

Over the past five years or so, I've become a prolific online communicator – on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, the ChiefStoryteller® blog, etc. I don't have a formal editorial calendar and never saw the need for one.

Until now.

I recently began producing a weekly newsletter. Unlike my previous experience with social and other forms of online communication, I now rely on others for content, review and publication. There are workloads, vacation schedules, software updates, systems outages, family emergencies and unplanned absences to consider. The people I depend on require advanced notice and consideration of their time.

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For me, an editorial calendar has become a necessity. Consider these benefits, which I'll refer to as the three C's:

• Cadence – Without one, it would be difficult to maintain a consistent cadence. Once you commit to publishing a weekly newsletter or blog, skipping a week is no longer an option. The same goes for social. Your audience expects to hear from you on a regular basis.

• Content – Planning your content updates helps to ensure the information you share is relevant to your target audience and consistent with your brand's identity and purpose. Followers of a brand committed to health and sustainability, for example, would not find stories of overindulgent nightclub experiences particularly relevant.

• Coordination – An editorial calendar is first and foremost a plan. It affords you the ability to coordinate your communications among the various channels you are using – online newsletters, blogs and social channels. It also ensures the people who are responsible for your brand's communications are coordinating their efforts around a singular purpose and strategy.

While developing an editorial calendar may seem like more work in the short run, the benefits I've identified will ultimately lead to a more efficient and rewarding process for everyone involved.

I was at a neighborhood social function recently when one of my friends, a C-level executive at his firm, asked me if I placed any stock in LinkedIn recommendations when making a hiring decision.

What prompted his question was a recent experience, where he had discovered glaring inconsistencies between a candidate's track record and the glowing recommendations that had been posted on behalf of the candidate in her LinkedIn profile.

While I'm a fan of LinkedIn recommendations, I've always believed it's important to consider them in the context of "doveryai no proveryai" (or "trust, but verify"), the old adage and Russian proverb made famous by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980's.

Without exception, every LinkedIn recommendation I've ever seen is a glowing one (mine included). The LinkedIn user has sole discretion regarding the content of the recommendations that get posted to his or her profile. So, yes, I suppose it's reasonable to think of them more in terms of owned media and less as earned media.

If you're wondering why this distinction is important, consider the results of Nielsen's 2012 Global Trust in Advertising Survey. Of more than 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries, 92% said they trusted earned media (e.g., word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family) vs. 58% who trusted owned media (e.g., messages on company websites). If I have that much control over the recommendations my friends and colleagues post on my online profile, are they really not just another form of messages on my "company website"?

What's a hiring manager to do? How can you be assured of the veracity of LinkedIn recommendations?

Let me offer a few suggestions:

• Look for evidence of impact elsewhere on a candidate's LinkedIn profile.

If a candidate's recommendations tout his or her ability to deliver results, the candidate's profile should list specific results, achievements and timeframes.

• Ask the candidate for more information and examples during the interview.

If a recommendation speaks to a candidate's history of fostering positive working environments, ask the candidate for two or three short stories attesting to his or her experience in creating and sustaining those kinds of organizational cultures.

• Insist on a commensurate number of recommendations from people with similar working relationships who have not provided reviews on LinkedIn.

No brand is without its detractors... and its share of less than flattering reviews. Insist on telephone references from others among the recommendation peer group, who have not provided them on LinkedIn, for a complete picture.

LinkedIn recommendations can be excellent and credible indicators of a candidate's qualifications as long as you take the time to "trust, but verify."

 

For more on personal brand authenticity on LinkedIn, please see:
If Everyone Else on LinkedIn Is Motivated, What Makes You Different?
Marketers: What Evidence of Impact Can You Provide?
Make Your Personal Brand Stand Out in LinkedIn
Truth in Advertising: Did They Really Do That?

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