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Ira Koretsky
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Duane Bailey
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Guest Bloggers
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I remember when voice mail was introduced in the mid-80's. I was working for AT&T and, during a visit to the Bell Labs facility in Holmdel, NJ, I recall being awestruck by the presence of the AT&T Model 2500 answering machines on each desk. These machines were, at the time, top of the line models and allowed users to record their own personalized greetings.

At the time, my sales office had a receptionist who would take messages from incoming callers while we were out. The messages were very brief – something akin to "while you were out, Theresa P. called."

Years later, while managing a customer care center for AT&T, I got my own voice mailbox. I could record my own greeting, assuring callers they had reached the right number. Callers could now leave me longer and more detailed messages. Early on, many would zero-out, preferring to speak to my administrative assistant instead.

During much of my professional selling career, voice mail became the preferred medium for communication between my customers and me. Voice mail was ubiquitous and people became more comfortable with it. My personalized greetings were updated each day and I promised to return calls within two hours. Messages were rich in verbal content and were often longer than I would have liked. I used to keep a spiral note pad, where I would methodically write down each voice message I received (along with the time and date).

At some point during the last 5 years or so, voice mail has become irrelevant – at least for me. I no longer record daily greetings, I'm lucky if I get more than two messages per day and I haven't kept a spiral notepad in years. The preferred communication medium is now email, and the standards that once applied to voice mail now govern my email interactions (e.g., personalized email signatures, out-of-office greetings and my own personal commitment to returning emails within two hours). And when I want to communicate with someone, I'll send an email or a text.

Voice mail once played a pivotal role in shaping how others perceived our personal and corporate brands. Not anymore, I'm afraid. After all, when was the last time you left a voice message for someone?

Does your brand have a social media policy? If so, does it include guidance for how employees should respond to unplanned tweets?

A social media policy provides employees with a set of guidelines for communicating online about your brand. While many social media policies include pre-approved responses to anticipated tweets and require employees to submit their posts for review prior to posting, there are times when a little spontaneity is appropriate.

Unplanned tweets – positive or negative – present brands with an unexpected opportunity to interact and engage with customers in a personal way. Conversations between two people are difficult to predict and even harder to script in advance. Designating someone in advance who communicates well and trusting him or her to use good judgment when responding to unplanned tweets are ways to encourage genuine conversations and deeper relationships with your customers.alt

 

In my experience, one brand that does an exceptional job of responding to unplanned tweets is Lifetime Fitness. I visit my Lifetime club on a regular basis and frequently tweet about my experiences while I am there. Almost always, as in the example above, I'll hear back from the brand (@lifetimefitness) within minutes of posting my tweet. In some instances, they'll even share my post with others by retweeting it.

While social media can be an opportunity for your employees to help build your brand, there is also an inherent risk that an inappropriate post or comment could inadvertently damage your brand's reputation. An effective social media policy can help achieve an acceptable balance between the opportunity social media presents and the risk that accompanies it, with the right mix of guidance, planning and trust.

altTwitter recently announced the addition of a feature that allows users to send group direct messages (DMs) to up to 20 people. Direct messages are private messages sent from one Twitter user to other Twitter users who follow you. Direct messages can now be used for one-on-one private conversations or between groups of users.

While you can only invite users who follow you to a group, the followers you add to your group DM don't need to be following each other to be in on the conversation. Within a group DM, users can share text, tweets, pics and emojis. The current release does not include video sharing capability.

Twitter users like you and me now have the ability to hold ongoing private conversations with a select group of people. I've had situations where a group of my followers retweeted one of my tweets and a subsequent conversation about its content ensued among us. Brands and other savvy Twitter users might now use the group DM feature to target specific groups of followers or advocates with content tailored to their interests.

For more insights on Twitter conversations, please see:
You Are What You Tweet
#ICYMI: Now There's an App for Understanding Hashtags on Twitter
My #FirstTweet

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Having traveled around the world both on vacation and speaking, I have come across a variety of interesting food names:

- Chicken with wilted spinach
- Stinky tofu
- Vegetarian meatballs

You may have heard, even tried some of these. By themselves, do the titles immediately make you think “yummy?” or do you mentally cringe? Personally, I cringed at "wilted spinach." Why would I order something out of date or not fresh? Because this was served at a very nice restaurant, I laughed out loud. It sparked quite an interesting conversation with my dining partners.

Quite unintended, I ended up liking the phrase wilted spinach quite a lot as a metaphor for bad messaging. As a result, I titled our approach to testing messages, “The Wilted Spinach Test.” At its core, the test looks to evaluate whether your words/messages resonate with your target audiences. At a detailed level, do your words/messages mean what you want them to mean? Words matter. A lot. To some, one word could be positive and to others, the very same word could be negative.

Do your written, spoken, and social media communications cause audiences to ask good questions, contact you, or skip right past you?

Geetesh Bajaj of Indezine.com shared a new post from Microsoft from January 22 titled, "The Next Chapter of Office on Windows."

Here's the introductory paragraph..

Yesterday’s unveil of Windows 10 showcased a new generation of experiences that will empower people and organizations to achieve more. In partnership with Windows 10, the Office team is bringing a fantastic new set of Office experiences to this platform, furthering our mission to bring the unparalleled productivity of Office to everyone, on every device. Over the past 12 months, you’ve seen us reimagine the traditional Office experience for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. The next step in this journey is the delivery of touch and mobile optimized versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook for Windows 10.

The post provides some hint at Office's “universal” apps on Windows 10 and Office 2016.

 

LinkedIn has released its annual list of the top ten "most overused, underwhelming buzzwords and phrases in LinkedIn profiles of 2014." Open your profile now and check to see if any of these words and phrases are appearing in yours:

   1. Motivated
   2. Passionate
   3. Creative
   4. Driven
   5. Extensive Experience
   6. Responsible
   7. Strategic
   8. Track Record
   9. Organizational
 10. Expert

Are you a highly motivated professional? Passionate about your work? Proud of your track record? Well, then, so is everyone else with a LinkedIn profile.

Your LinkedIn profile is your personal brand. The most successful brands stand out. It's time to stop describing your brand with these overused and meaningless buzzwords and phrases. After all, who among us is not motivated? Is each one of us not passionate about something? And what does it mean when someone says he or she has a proven "track record" of success, anyway?

Instead, replace these buzzwords and phrases with concrete examples of the business results you've achieved. Show potential employers how your contributions have impacted top- and bottom-line performance. Make yourself stand out. Brand yourself as the answer to the challenges your next employer is facing.

For more insights on LinkedIn and your personal brand, please see:
Is Your Personal Brand In Need of a Makeover?
Personal Branding: Stay Relevant with a Current LinkedIn Profile
Make Your Personal Brand Stand Out in LinkedIn

Monday, January 26, 2015

Words to Avoid - “Anxious”

altFor business communications, you should avoid using the word “anxious.” Anxious is a word all too often misused. You’ll hear people saying, “I’m anxious to meet Julie.” Or “I’m really anxious about xyz.”

By definition, anxious means: “characterized by extreme uneasiness of mind or brooding fear about some contingency” (Merriam-Webster Online).

For business communications, always use “eager.” By definition, eager means: “marked by enthusiastic or impatient desire or interest” (Merriam-Webster Online).

If there is a cause to use “anxious” to convey worry, we suggest using “concern” or “concerned.”

Since all of your business communications to your target audiences are related to your relationship and what you offer to them, choose your words carefully.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Are Best Practices Holding You Back?

I like to try new ideas. I like taking risks. And I embrace change. It's how people and organizations grow.

Old ideas (i.e., "what's worked before," "what others have done," "the way we've always done it," etc.) are all too often packaged as "best practices" by leaders who are risk averse and resistant to change. When someone tells me the reason for not trying something new or taking a risk is "best practices," my first instinct is to call them out on it. I'll ask them to show me their best practices or I'll go online and search for my own "best practices" on how to drive change and transformation.

We live in a dynamic world. Change is all around us. We can either embrace that change or we can fight it with legacy thinking and traditions.

The New Year is a great time to look ahead and think about the things you're going to do differently in the year ahead, especially if you're a sales professional. Change is a constant in sales – the result of evolving market conditions, increasing competition and sales quotas with year-over-year growth targets.

You can embrace this change with these ten sales resolutions:
   1. Spend four more hours in front of your customers each week
   2. Learn one new fact about your industry each week
   3. Establish yourself as an industry expert on one social media channel
   4. Give your prospects one big reason to engage with you, outside of price
   5. Give your customers one big reason to expand their relationship with you and your brand, outside of price
   6. Make every customer interaction about them, instead of you
   7. Include five reasons to buy in every proposal, with a focus on value
   8. Sell high and wide within your customer organizations, with a goal of meeting one new decision-maker or influencer on every call
   9. Obtain one new customer testimonial each month
 10. Empower your customers through conversations that include words like: "and" (instead of "but"), "do" (instead of "try") and "yes" (instead of "no")

You can do this. Make 2015 the year of the customer, and your best year ever, with these resolutions.

  

For more insights on selling, please see:
Achieving Market Share Growth in a Weak Market 
If You're Selling, Are You Showing or Telling? 
The Power of the Human Touch in Sales 
If You're in Sales, Tell Me Something I Don't Know 
Are Your Customers Looking for a Better Deal?

 

The holidays are upon us.

It's time for all of us to take a well-deserved break: spend some time with family and friends, enjoy the festivities, and reflect on your experiences of the past year.

If you're like me, you started 2014 with a list of goals in mind. The current year is coming to a close and the New Year is approaching. It's time to look back. Celebrate your successes. Learn from your mistakes. Recognize and thank the people who helped you along the way. Set new goals for 2015.

Most of all, take some time to enjoy the spirit of the season.

While content may be king in the digital age, it needs to be delivered to the right audience at the right time and at the right place to make it meaningful and relevant.

This shouldn't come as a big surprise to marketers. After all, the central premise behind every successful sales presentation is knowing your audience – what their pain points are, what they're doing about them and how failing to resolve those pain points will impact your prospects both personally and professionally. It's also helpful to know where your audience is going for answers to those pain points – your competitors, trade associations, industry consultants, scholarly journals, white papers, social media, etc.

I was reminded of this recently during a visit to one of the big-box home improvement stores. I was looking for a rust-inhibiting spray paint for use on a bathtub when an associate started telling me about the store's promotion on kitchen cabinet re-facings. His knowledge level of cabinet re-facings was impressive. What he failed to realize was, at that moment, I could care less about re-facing my kitchen cabinets.

Great content, for sure. The same cannot be said for the context in which it was delivered. My pain point was a rusting tub, I wanted to repair the tub with a rust-inhibiting paint and the impact of my failing to find an answer to my pain point might be a potential water leak (which, incidentally, could cause extensive damage to the kitchen below the bathroom where the rusting tub is located). I also had previous experience with a rust-inhibiting spray paint and just needed to know where I could find another can in a different color.

Think about your digital content. I'm guessing it's awesome stuff. Now think about the context in which you are delivering it. Are you targeting the right audience? Are you delivering it at the right time and place? Are you present in the places where your target audience is going for answers to their questions? Or, are you trying to sell kitchen cabinet re-facings to a guy who simply wants to repair a rusty bath tub?

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Good Spelling Leads to Good Selling

When I was an undergraduate marketing student at Fairfield University, my English professor would remind us of this simple admonition: "Can't spell, can't sell."

I didn't appreciate the power of his words until a few years later when I became a salesperson. As a young account executive for a Fortune 500 technology firm, I was selling more than just the latest information technology. I was selling ideas, solutions and my company's (and my) reputation.

Few things did more to challenge my credibility with customers than incorrectly spelled names and words in my proposals and presentations. These seemingly simple errors were perceived as evidence of indifference, insufficient preparation or a lack of attention to detail. It was also a stretch to claim expertise about some thing if I couldn't even spell its name correctly. In an instant, spelling errors could potentially unravel deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars that were months in the making. 

So, as it turned out, my professor was right. Good spelling leads to good selling.

 

For more on how to increase your sales, please see:
Increase Sales with Better Storytelling
If You're Selling, Are You Showing or Telling?
If You're in Sales, Tell Me Something I Don't Know

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

You Are What You Tweet

Do you remember when you first signed up for Twitter? It might have been for personal use. Or perhaps it was on behalf of a corporate or professional brand. You started with a blank slate, building from the ground up. You could be anything you wanted to be.

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You crafted a brief bio. You added a profile and background photo. You chose your words and images carefully because you wanted the world to know you in a certain way.

Then you started tweeting about topics that interested you, your friendships with other people, activities you enjoy and happy moments in your life. You built a small following of like-minded followers. People formed impressions of you and your brand.

Then one day, you lost your composure. A frustrating experience with another person or a brand prompted a torrent of angry tweets. Your tweeps spread the word through RTs and marked them as "favorites". Eventually, you got the attention you wanted and your issue was resolved. Your followers, and others outside your follower base, began to see you in a different way.

Or maybe you decided to include something edgy in your tweets, like an NSFW image or some RTs laced with profanity. Once again, your tweeps spread the word through RTs and marked them as "favorites". You even picked up a few more tweeps along the way. Your followers, and others outside your follower base, began to see you in a different way.

Before long, prospective followers, customers or employers began looking you up online. They wanted to know more about you and the kind of person you were. What they found on Twitter told them everything they needed to know about you and your brand.

You are what you tweet.

 

For more on branding with Twitter, please see:
Why Social Media Marketing Is Right for Your Brand
Make It Personal: How to Communicate with Greater Impact
Reputations of Non-Social Brands Are Fair Game On Social Media, Too

One of the easiest ways to monitor your online reputation is to Google your name and see what comes up. This is particularly important for job seekers, consultants and others who are marketing their personal brands online.

You can refine your search by adding your skills, experiences or specialties after your name. By doing this, you're essentially using a long tail keyword and it's a more specific way for recruiters and other searchers to find more specific and relevant content about you. Long tail keywords can help boost your visibility in search results, add credibility to your brand and increase conversion rates (e.g., LinkedIn connections, requests for interviews, invitations to meet, etc.).

I'll use myself as an example. A recent search for my name on Google returned a total of 3,290,000 listings. Among the ten highest ranked listings (i.e., the ones that appeared on page one), three included links to me. There was one to my blog profile at The Chief Storyteller (#2), one to my Twitter account (#6) and another  to my LinkedIn profile (#8). By scanning the brief descriptions that appear with these listings, you might get the sense I'm a regular contributor to The Chief Storyteller blog and my work experience includes marketing, sales and social media.

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Now take a look at what happened when the search was narrowed by adding the keywords, "marketing and sales," to my name. This search returned 82,100 results. Marketing and sales-related content from my social media profiles, blog posts and SlideShare account appeared in nine of the top ten listings. The content associated with these listings was deeper and more relevant to anyone who might be considering me for a specific marketing and sales opportunity or engagement. While the number of overall results returned was far lower than those from the general search, their quality was much higher.

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Take a moment to Google your own name and see what comes up. Once you've done that, try narrowing the search by adding keywords that describe skills or experiences you have. Are the results consistent with the way you would want others to perceive you and your brand?

Strong relationships are built on trust and two-way communication. This is true of relationships online as well as off. We tell stories about our experiences and share relevant information with the people we are closest to. They, in turn, respond by engaging us in further conversation. Over time, a bond of trust develops and a relationship is formed and nurtured.

Brands who want stronger relationships with their prospects and customers are increasingly turning to content marketing strategies that move beyond the traditional view of self-promotion.

Why?

By publishing useful and entertaining content, brands are building trust. They're doing it by telling stories of their successes with other customers and sharing useful information that might help their prospects and customers achieve their personal and professional goals.

They're also engaging in two-way conversations with their prospects and customers. People are seeking information from the brands. The brands are responding to and engaging them in real-time, much like you and I would if we were having a face-to-face conversation.

What does this mean for brands and their marketing teams?

The brands whose content marketing strategies will yield the strongest relationships are the ones whose marketing teams embrace customer interaction and engagement. My own experience tells me it is virtually impossible to understand and translate customer insights into strategies that build and nurture relationships without first investing in those relationships. It's the age of the customer and marketers can no longer afford to dictate strategies from behind focus group two-way mirrors or from the insular environment of "behind closed-door" offices.

When I showed up to my daughter's after school classroom, I was greeted by her class' election day voting.

For Governor, Jake won by a landslide. Superman barely earned Sheriff. Senators Pook and Eeyore won handily.

For the House, Elsa crushed and Anna sqeaked by Ariel.

I thought it quite clever how the teachers used the children's favorite characters to teach and demonstrate our voting.

What can you do to make learning/training more interesting?

 

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When was the last time you updated your resume? Revised your LinkedIn profile? Networked with people you've never met before? Took a class to learn a new skill? Searched for your name online?

If you can't remember, maybe your personal brand is in need of a makeover. The unexpected loss of a job, a decision to pursue a career change or an application for a promotion are all situations where a relevant and engaging personal brand can accelerate the achievement of your career goals.

Your personal brand is the story that you tell with your resume, LinkedIn profile, business networking activities and interactions, investments in continuing education and your online presence.

Tips for updating your personal brand include:
• Maintain a current resume; include recent jobs and the quantifiable results you achieved for each
• Update your LinkedIn profile regularly; add a compelling headline and a current profile photo
• Leverage business networking opportunities; meet new business contacts and refine your elevator speech
• Learn new skills; attend classes at local universities, participate in webinars hosted by alumni career services staff, industry experts and vendors
• Be deliberate in your social media postings; include content that reinforces the message you want to convey

Your personal brand is one of your strongest career assets. You get out of it what you put into it.

I'm excited to be part of the third Cleantech Open Southeast Regional Summit in the Washington, DC area. If you are at all involved in green, energy, cleantech, etc. I strongly encourage you to attend. CTO is a global organization with partnerships in every sector working with cleantech.  alt

Here's the write-up of my portion, taking place right before the reception and gala dinner, Wednesday 23 October, 4 to 5pm. I'll be the emcee and facilitator of the ~15 companies presenting their elevator pitches. I'll keep it interesting, lively, and provide some constructive suggestions to everyone.

Cleantech Open Semifinalist/Alumni Showcase and Technology Demo – Join Ira Koretsky, the Chief Storyteller®, and Cleantech Open semifinalists and alumni companies as they showcase their technologies. Audience members will cast ballots for the company that will win the “People’s Choice Award” to be announced at the Awards dinner and celebration.

 Here's a partial listing of the many distinguished speakers and panelists:

- Heidi VanGenderen, Director of Public Engagement, U.S. Department of Energy
- Najada Kumbuli, Investment Officer, Calvert Social Investment Foundation, Inc
- Robert Griffin, Director, Renewable Energy Office, U.S. Department of the Navy
- Sara Hanks, Founder & CEO, CrowdCheck
- Honorable William Euille, Mayor, City of Alexandria
- Scott Dockum, , Program Manager, SBIR, U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Dr. Barbara Kenny, Program Director, Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships, NSF
- Manny Oliver, Director SBIR Programs, U.S. Department of Energy
- April Richards, Director SBIR Programs, Environmental Protection Agency
- Walter McLeod, Principal, Clean Power Group-Africa
- Stephen Morel, Climate Finance Specialist, Overseas Private Investment Corporation
- Aneri Patel, Energy Access Officer, UN Foundation, and Executive Director, ENVenture
- John Spears, Sustainable Systems International & Clinton Global Initiative Advisor
- Elizabeth Dougherty, Director of Inventor Education, Outreach & Recognition, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
- Ed Greer, Venture & Business Development, Dow
- Jim Efstathiou Jr., Editor, Energy & Commodities Bloomberg News

 

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When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile? Do you even have a LinkedIn profile?

A LinkedIn profile is a great way to tell others about your personal brand – who you are, the experience you have and the value you bring. A good LinkedIn profile is more than just an online resume. It's a form of marketing content designed to build an audience and generate interest in your brand. It is and should be an integral part of your overall job search strategy. A current profile reinforces the brand-building efforts you've made through prior job performance, volunteer activities, face-to-face networking, personal connections, informational interviews, social media outreach and engagement, job applications and, of course, the formal interview.

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If one or more of these characteristics apply to your LinkedIn profile, it might be time for a refresh:
  • A missing or outdated profile photo
  • A default headline that shows your current title and company
  • The presence of overused buzzwords and phrases (e.g., "extensive experience," "results-oriented," "proven track record," etc.)
  • An incomplete profile with a noticeable absence of employment history, experience or results
  • A lack of credibility (e.g., few or no endorsements and recommendations from supervisors, peers, subordinates, customers and suppliers)

Go ahead. Take a look. What is your LinkedIn profile saying about you and your brand?

 

For more insights on how you can improve your LinkedIn profile, please see:
Personal Branding: "What Do You Do?"
5 Insights for Marketing Your Brand on Social Media
LinkedIn Announces New Profile Section for Volunteer Experience
Make Your Personal Brand Stand Out in LinkedIn
Is Your LinkedIn Story a Best Seller?

On one of my military-focused LinkedIn Groups, Army Veterans, someon recently posted this question, "Can anyone recommend a good military to civilian resume writing service?"

For professionals who have spent a career in the military service, it can seem like a daunting task converting military speak to corporate speak.  It certainly does take time and patience. Here is my response I posted along with some how-to article links at the end I wrote.

 

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Four suggestions:

a) Assuming you seek out professionals, ask to see 10 or more samples of military to civilian resumes--make them prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, they can turn your experience into language/messages corporate professionals understand and in the end say, "I want to meet Troy;"

b) To avoid generic language, think Q&Q, qualify and quantify. Look at position descriptions posted on the Internet (e.g., Dice, Monster, Ladder, etc.). Examine critically the PD. What language/phrases do the PDs have? Can you identify and establish trends? Yes, consider including them. Next do searches (e.g., google, bing, yahoo) for position titles...you will be amazed what appears--full resumes from people around the world. Again, look for language/phrases you "should have" in your resume.

c) Do some some introspective thinking to develop your own ICP - Ideal Company Profile. Culture, work habits, zip code, industry, position, opportunity for advancement, etc. This will help you create a much more focused job hunting campaign--this makes it easier for everyone when you are searching for the right fit. Recruiters will ask you all of the questions anyway, friends will know what companies to make referrals into, and your time will be effectively used;

d) Visit the organizations mentioned above (phone, internet, in-person for Veterans Affairs, HireourHeros.com, Armed Forces Support Network, Disable Veteran Outreach Program (DVOP), and more). There are a lot of people with great ideas out there. Get different perspectives until you find the path that matches your style, personality, and goals.

Feel free to email me your ICP and resume. I can share some suggestions.

I have written several how-to articles, links below.

Tell Me About Yourself: How to Wow Your Interviewers
http://www.thechiefstoryteller.com/blog/item/746

Communications Audit: 10 Critical Communication Elements for Your Career Success
http://www.thechiefstoryteller.com/blog/item/694

Every Accomplishment Should Be Great: 5 Steps to Compelling Resume Accomplishments
http://www.thechiefstoryteller.com/blog/item/669

LinkedIn for Job Hunters: Tips to Create a Must-Read Profile
http://www.thechiefstoryteller.com/blog/item/646

67 Tips for Using LinkedIn to Help You Find the Job You Want
http://www.thechiefstoryteller.com/blog/item/753

18 Tips for Job Hunters, New and Experienced
http://www.thechiefstoryteller.com/blog/item/747

Does Your Resume’s Summary Scream? How to Write a Summary Section that Screams “Schedule an Interview with me Today!”
http://www.thechiefstoryteller.com/blog/item/612

The “What Do You Do?” Answer: A Key Tool in Your Sales Toolbox
http://www.thechiefstoryteller.com/blog/item/197

Tell Me About Yourself - It's the Most Important Answer in Your Interview
http://www.thechiefstoryteller.com/blog/item/736

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Personal Branding: “What Do You Do?”

One of the most important foundational elements of your personal brand is your elevator speech. Your elevator speech should tell your core business message or story in 30 seconds or less, about the duration of a typical elevator ride.

A good elevator speech starts with a compelling headline and includes one to three sentences that explain what you do and the benefits of working with you. It should succinctly summarize your business story, resume or curriculum vitae (CV). Most importantly, it should tell your story in a compelling way that leaves the listener wanting more.

When crafting your elevator speech, be sure to move beyond a simple recitation of your experience. Tell your listener how your experience translates into a tangible benefit to him or her. Include a statement explaining what sets you apart from the others in your business, field or specialty.

 

For more Chief Storyteller® insights on crafting your elevator speech, please see:
Increase Brand Equity with a Unified Story 
Business Networking In a Foreign Land 
Elevator Speech – Not Just for Breakfast 

Join me at what will prove to be a highly useful business summit. Hosted at the beautiful Marriott Fairview, the Turkish American Business Group Annual Small Business Summit, offers a variety of speakers and panels all designed to help you grow your business.  The agenda includes:

2:00 - 2:40 Check-in

2:40 - 3:00 Opening Keynote by Varol Ablak, CEO of Vocelli Pizza with Emcee Dan Nainan (old friend of mine)

3:00 - 3:50 Access to Capital, Commercial Lending and Alternative Funding

3:50 - 4:00 Coffee Break

5:00 - 6:00 30 Tips in 30 Minutes by 3 Experts to Grow Your Small Business (Ira Koretsky's program)

6:00 - 7:00 Reception

8:00 - 9:00 Gala Dinner with Congressman Rob Wittman, Talha Sarac, President of PERA Construction and Chairman of the Turkish American Business Network, Nick Spanos Co-founder of Bitcoin Center at NYC, John S. Powell, SVP of EagleBank, and William D. Euille, Mayor of Alexandria

 

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Soon to be a Veteran? Veteran? Spouse? Looking for hands-on career advice? Join me and a distinguished group of presenters providing free career workshops at the annual Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference in Washington, DC.

I was part of the 2013 program and look forward to this year's event. While the event is Army-focused, any service member, veteran, and spouse is welcome.

The American Freedom Foundation workforce hiring event at AUSA is presented by Sourceamerica® and GES.  12 workshop sessions take place October 13 – 15 to provide resources and information for veterans and transitioning military.  I'll be giving my program, "“Your Upcoming Tour on Main Street:  How to Positively Engage and Influence Hiring Managers with Your Words and Stories" on Monday 10/13 10:30am to 12noon and Tuesday 10/14 1pm to 2:30pm (list of all programs)

AFF "mission is to honor the men and women of America’s armed forces, raise awareness for their service and sacrifice and raise money for organizations that serve and support our Veterans, active duty military and their families." 

If you need any more information please let me know (contact me here).
 

 American Freedom Foundation’s Warriors to the Workforce
Hiring Event at AUSA Announces Workshop Sessions  

12 Workshop sessions will take place October 13 – 15 to provide resources and information for veterans and transitioning military 

Attendance at Warriors to the Workforce Hiring Event is FREE and open to veterans, military service members and spouses.

Presentations will include topics such as mental readiness, confidence building, networking and presentation skills, resume writing, interviewing techniques, job searching, career planning through goal setting, translating military skills and training into civilian life and corporate experience, among others.

In addition to these transition workshops, veterans will have the opportunity to meet with some of the country’s largest and most veteran friendly employers including Aerotek, ASM Research, ATK, Inc., BAE Systems, Calibre Systems, CSC, Didlake, Inc., Easter Seals Veterans Staffing Network, esri, Elbit Systems of America, First Command Financial Services, General Dynamics Information T echnology, Goodwill Industries, Hendrickson International, Kaplan University, Linden Industries, Melwood, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pride Industries, RNDC-­?USA, SAIC, Still Serving Veterans, TFD Group, University of Phoenix, USACE, VETS Group, Working Warriors Nations–MVLE and Department of Veterans Affairs.

Attendance at Warriors to the Workforce Hiring Event is FREE and open to veterans, military service members and spouses.

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As an MBA graduate of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, I am excited about next week's presentation.  I'll be presenting "Executive Storytelling" with fellow part-time MBA students. 

It was a serendipitious meeting with Megan, the professional development program chair. We met at a Smith School Event for International Development. After chatting a bit, I learned Megan worked for the Department of the Army and I'm an Army veteran. Soon after, we talked about a variety of topics, which led to the "What do you do?" question.

A few months later, I'll be sharing some great video clips, thoughts, ideas, and exercises on business storytelling. I'm looking forward to a dynamic exchange of ideas.

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According to the 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report published by Social Media Examiner, the top three benefits of social media marketing are greater exposure, traffic and marketplace intelligence. It's no wonder 97% of the marketers surveyed indicated they were participating in social media marketing.

If your brand is represented by the remaining 3% of the sample who has yet to make the leap to social media marketing, let me share some thoughts on how social media has helped me market and grow my brand:
  • Higher brand awareness
  • More traffic
  • Increased access to market intelligence and insightful content

When I first created my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles over four years ago, my personal brand was nothing more than an idea in my head. Since then, I have added Facebook, Pinterest, Foursquare, Snapchat and blogging (here at The Chief Storyteller) to my social media marketing mix. I've become a curator of insightful content, both others' and my own, on a focused set of subject areas like marketing and sales, social media, fitness and outdoor recreation.

A deliberate, integrated marketing communications plan that utilizes a blend of the social media channels I participate in has helped me to expand awareness of my personal brand, driving more traffic to my posts and ultimately increasing others' exposure to me.

During the past four years, my personal brand has enjoyed steady and phenomenal growth. Yours can, too, with the right social media marketing strategy.

For more insights on social media marketing and branding, please see:
Content Marketing: Why Blogging Should Be Part of Your Growth Strategy
Make It Personal: How to Communicate with Greater Impact
Reputations of Non-Social Brands Are Fair Game on Social Media, Too

"How to Create Your Unfair Competitive Advantage"

Snag your spot now for a jammed-packed program with Social Marketing Maven Kim Walsh-Phillips.

This is the next exciting event from my organization, Ignition Shift.

Join us for this interactive workshop to discover:

- How to get inside your prospects heads to close more sales without conducting expensive research
- The marketing formula of  promotion +  giveaways to produce more sales in 29 days
- How to leverage social media and advanced strategies to outpace your competitors without spending more on marketing

Plus when register, you will receive a Facebook Ads Guide, a step-by-step ads blueprint to create Facebook Ads that sell lead to market domination! (Discounts expire this week - so CLICK HERE to get your spot now!)

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Results you will get include changes you can make in your operations to drive deeper, more meaningful, and more valuable relationships with your marketing dollars!  Join us!

Location

The West End Cinema (best indy theatre in DC!) and patio is a great, convenient location for us to enjoy connecting with other growth minded, accomplished business executive teams.

Your Ignition Shift team is excited to craft a fun and socially engaging experience for all of us to connect with the ceos and executives joining us for Kim's workshop. We'll have a red carpet interaction before Kim starts, and a fun, gift filled, social opportunity to run your marketing challenges by Kim post event!

 

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About Your Speaker  
Kim Walsh-Phillips, www.Facebook.com/KWalshPhillips, is the award-winning Speaker, Author, Strategist and CEO of IO Creative Group, a direct response social media agency.  She is a techie marketing geek with great shoes, a hatred of awareness campaigns and an obsession for marketing with a sharp focus on ROI. Kim has worked with brands such as Sandler Training, Dan Kennedy, Pamela Yellen, Harley-Davidson, Chem-Dry, and Hilton Hotels to increase revenue through direct response marketing. Kim is the author of "Awareness Campaigns are Stupid and Other Secrets to Stop Being an Advertising Victim and Start Monetizing Your Marketing" and the upcoming book co-authored with direct response marketing legend Dan Kennedy, "The NO BS Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing."
 
(Again discounts expire this week -  CLICK HERE & grab your spot now!)

I stumbled across a blog post from HubSpot the other day on the benefits of business blogging ("The Benefits of Business Blogging: Why Businesses Do It, and You Should Too" by Corey Eridon). Among the top benefits cited in the article were the following:
  1. Blogging helps drive traffic to your website,
  2. It helps convert that traffic into leads,
  3. And it helps establish your authority.

In short, business blogging drives growth. It can increase brand awareness, website traffic, credibility, leads and revenue.

Yet, a 2010 study by eMarketer found only 40% of businesses were using blogs for marketing purposes. While we can be certain that number is higher today, I continue to encounter businesses who still don't blog. If your business is among those who haven't tried blogging, maybe it's time to consider it as a potential growth tactic.

Still not convinced?

Consider these recent content marketing statistics:
  • 79% of B2B marketers use content marketing to achieve brand awareness goals (Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, October 2012)
  • 77% of Internet users read blogs (Social Media Today, August 2013)
  • Social media sites and blogs reach 8 out of 10 U.S. Internet users (Content Marketing Institute, February 2012)
  • Companies with active blogs have 97% more inbound links (Content+, February 2012)
  • B2B companies who blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who don't (Social Media B2B, March 2012)
  • 61% of consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post (Social Media Today, August 2013)

We live in a world of acronyms.

This was true before Twitter and, more recently, Instagram and Facebook. Thanks to social media platforms like these, acronyms have taken on a new form – the "hashtag" – and have become so much a part of the vernacular that the term was added to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary in 2014.

A hashtag is an acronym or cluster of letters, preceded by the # symbol (which, incidentally, is known in Europe as a hashmark). Hashtags were originally used on Twitter to mark topics and keywords so that others would be able to search on them. Instagram and Facebook began supporting hashtags in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

Anyone can create a hashtag.

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It can be difficult for users, particularly new ones, to know what a hashtag means. So on Friday, Twitter rolled out a new feature to users of its iPhone app that explains the meaning of hashtags. When a user searches on a hashtag (e.g., #icymi), the app will display an explanation of what the hashtag letters stand for, followed by a series of tweets containing the hashtag.

Twitter iPhone app users can now find quick and easy explanations for common hashtags like #icymi, #tbt, #iot, #yolo and others. It's all part of a concerted effort by Twitter to widen its appeal by making the user experience more intuitive.

The American fast-food segment is highly competitive. Competition among brands is fierce – with respect to price, food quality, service, location, and the condition of each restaurant. Established brands are struggling and, for many, same-store sales are declining.

So when rising food costs caused Chipotle to raise U.S. menu prices an average of 6.25% to 6.5% during the second quarter of 2014, analysts expected a negative impact on store traffic and sales. Instead, Chipotle's same-store sales grew 17.3% for the second quarter, despite a weak U.S. economy. This was preceded by a strong first quarter, with 13.4% growth, and a steady history of extraordinary growth since the company was founded in 2003.

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Chipotle's growth is unique among its peers in the U.S. restaurant industry, whose same-store sales rose a mere 0.3% in the second quarter of 2014. In an attempt to lure customers and boost sales, many of Chipotle's competitors now offer lower-cost, "value-meal" or "healthy choice" menu options in addition to their standard fare.

Chipotle has taken a different approach.

Instead of trying to be like everyone else, Chipotle is redefining the customer experience. Chipotle believes food served fast doesn't have to come with the look and feel of a traditional "fast-food" experience. Their "Food With Integrity" promise is a strategic gamble that American consumers would be willing to pay more for food with great taste and nutrition. It's also evidence of their commitment to sustainability – that educated consumers would place a higher value on food that is sustainably raised with respect for animals, farmers and the environment.

The market research firm, PlaceIQ, recently profiled fast-food customers at several competing restaurant chains and found Chipotle customers to be among the best-educated. And as Chipotle has shown, better-educated consumers are willing to pay more for a product that is better and more sustainable.

For more on how brands are using sustainability to redefine and differentiate their customer experience, please see:
How Doing One Good Thing Is Making a Difference
Beyond Green: The Transformative Nature of Sustainability
A FRESH Approach to Going Green
Maximum Fun Meets Minimal Impact

The other day I gave one of our Storytelling for Executives workshop programs. In it I showed one of my all-time favorite videos, the Turbo Encabulator.  I show it to demonstrate the best and worst aspects of using jargon. Most people do not even realize how much jargon they use in his or her various communications. This video is a humorous way of gently reminding everyone to minimize jargon. One of the program participants asked me for the actual text of the video (see below), prompting me to write this post.

You owe it to yourself to watch this one and half minute video to be completely awed at the delivery by a truly gifted presenter, Bud Haggert. If it wasn't for the fact that nearly every important word is made up, you might actually believe he is talking about a very technical, highly complex piece of machinery, the Turbo Encabulator.

Director Dave Rondot shares the background of how the video came to be...

This is the first time Turbo Encabulator was recorded with picture. I shot this in the late 70's at Regan Studios in Detroit on 16mm film. The narrator and writer is Bud Haggert. He was the top voice-over talent on technical films. He wrote the script because he rarely understood the technical copy he was asked to read and felt he shouldn't be alone.

We had just finished a production for GMC Trucks and Bud asked since this was the perfect setting could we film his Turbo Encabulator script. He was using an audio prompter referred to as "the ear". He was actually the pioneer of the ear. He was to deliver a live speech without a prompter. After struggling in his hotel room trying to commit to memory he went to plan B. He recorded it to a large Wollensak reel to reel recorder and placed it in the bottom of the podium. With a wired earplug he used it for the speech and the "ear" was invented.

Today every on-camera spokesperson uses a variation of Bud's innovation. Dave Rondot (me) was the director and John Choate was the DP on this production. The first laugh at the end is mine. My hat's off to Bud a true talent.

 

Wikipedia has an entry providing some nice background information on the origin of the Turbo Encabulator idea, posting by Time Magazine (I bought the issue), the actual GE product data sheet included in the General Electric Handbook (see picture below), and more.

Here's the text. Enjoy!

For a number of years now, work has been proceeding in order to bring perfection to the crudely conceived idea of a transmission that would not only supply inverse reactive current for use in unilateral phase detractors, but would also be capable of automatically synchronizing cardinal grammeters. Such an instrument is the turbo encabulator.

Now basically the only new principle involved is that instead of power being generated by the relative motion of conductors and fluxes, it is produced by the modial interaction of magneto-reluctance and capacitive diractance.

The original machine had a base plate of pre-famulated amulite surmounted by a malleable logarithmic casing in such a way that the two spurving bearings were in a direct line with the panametric fan. The latter consisted simply of six hydrocoptic marzlevanes, so fitted to the ambifacient lunar waneshaft that side fumbling was effectively prevented.

The main winding was of the normal lotus-o-delta type placed in panendermic semi-boloid slots of the stator, every seventh conductor being connected by a non-reversible tremie pipe to the differential girdle spring on the "up" end of the grammeters.

The turbo-encabulator has now reached a high level of development, and it’s being successfully used in the operation of novertrunnions. Moreover, whenever a forescent skor motion is required, it may also be employed in conjunction with a drawn reciprocation dingle arm, to reduce sinusoidal repleneration.

 

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