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Tuesday
Dec232014

Erasable Internet

The hacking of Sony Pictures has sparked speculation about an erasable Internet. In a world where everything is public, you may want a communications platform where what you say suddenly disappears.

Sony CEO Amy Pascal undoubtedly wishes for a mulligan so she could put all her snarky comments about Hollywood counterparts on the equivalent of Snapchat, so they would vaporize soon after they were read.

High-profile figures, such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, have tried to scrub their online past without complete success. Stuff never fully melts away. There is always somebody who took a screenshot of an offending rant and shows no hesitation to spread it anew when the moment is right or, in the case of Gingrich, wrong.

Google’s ever-evolving algorithms have put the kibosh on trying to bury old bad news with happy feet good news. Whitewashing is pretty much kaput.

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Tuesday
Dec162014

Getting Your Audience to Lean In

The first thing a speaker or presenter must do is establish rapport with his or her audience. Unless listeners are leaning in, they are likely to tune out.

Giving a speech or presentation requires careful preparation and practice. But even the best speech or clever presentation can fall flat if there is a gulf between speaker and audience. 

Bridging that gulf is what separates speakers from good speakers. It also is what distinguishes a speech you hear versus a speech you remember. 

Establishing speaker-audience rapport rests with the speaker. Even if you pay to hear someone, you expect the speaker to make the first move to create a bond, a reason for sharing time and mental energy together and a good excuse not to check smartphone messages.

Here are some tips on how to establish rapport with your audience:

Call out associations you have with the audience or members of the audience. 

Former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson started his speech at the Portland City Club by briefly describing tours he had taken and recognizing people in the audience for their roles in the success stories he had seen. Thompson made a connection between himself and his audience that he underscored throughout his speech with examples from his Portland site visits. The speech was more than a decade ago and I can still remember how he opened it and his main points, especially his strong advocacy for public health. 

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Tuesday
Dec092014

Make Your Story Pitch Clickable

To get noticed, story pitches to the news media still need a local angle and a good hook, but now they also need to be shareable online.

A pitch containing useful, relevant information or an inspirational story has a good prospect of earning clicks and shares from readers. Shareability makes your story pitch more irresistible. 

News reporters and editors have always cared about the readability of stories, which they reflected in where they placed stories in newspapers or on radio and TV. But the digital era has added the new dimension of clickability to the equation of determining the value of a story pitch.

As more of the news and news viewers migrate online, there is more pressure in newsrooms to zero in on stories that have online appeal. Some news organizations use pay incentives to encourage reporters to find and write stories that are clickable. Online analytics take a lot of the guesswork out of what's being shared and what isn't. 

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Wednesday
Dec032014

Your Relevance is Your Message

Effective websites are publishing platforms that allow you to post content of interest to your customers or clients and build a relationship with them.If you wonder whether it is time to mix things up on your corporate website, you probably missed the memo about keeping your website mixed up all the time.

Effective websites stopped being electronic brochures a long time ago. Now they are publishing platforms that allow you to post content of interest to your customers or clients and build a relationship with them.

Put more directly, you should be adding fresh material to your website continuously to give your audience a reason to keep coming back. This is true regardless whether you are marketing a product or providing information about a complex public issue.

Good websites often resemble blogs. In fact, some websites have morphed into blogs. Other websites have become online newsrooms. Still others are similar to Ebooks, with a storytelling theme and look and feel.

Content is more varied and visual. It includes photos, videos, charts, screenshots and infographics. Think of the difference between National Geographic and the TV Guide.

Instead of just the facts, many websites convey a brand personality or the personalities of service providers.

All of the content is aimed at the singular objective of engaging your viewers, answering their questions and offering useful information. It is less about you and more about them. Your relevance becomes your message.

If you are reaching out to customers or constituents on a regular basis, then you should be thinking about your website constantly. A website isn't a marketing panacea, but it should be the core of your marketing plan, the place you invite people to come to see what you have to offer. It should be a place they find appealing and enticing enough to return again and again.

Wednesday
Nov192014

How Wonder Woman can help pump you up for your big moment

Power Posing can help you feel like a super hero.

The pressure is on. Whether it’s an interview or a presentation, your palms are sweaty and your voice is shaky.

Don’t just stand there. Strike a pose. Just make sure it’s a power pose.

In her powerful TED talk Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy talks about how emulating Wonder Woman doesn’t just change your mindset, it changes your body chemistry.

A power pose is one where your body language is open and looking powerful. There is the classic, CEO feet on the desk pose, as well as the victory pose with your hands spread in a large “V” above your head. The opposite is the low power pose. Your body is hunched down and curled up.

Cuddy’s research had one group assume a power pose for two minutes and the other a low power pose. After just a two-minute "high power pose," the risk tolerance of the high-power posers increased, while the risk tolerance of the low-power posers reduced.

“This, the researchers found, was the result of a profound change in body chemistry. Testosterone is the "dominance" hormone,” said Cuddy. “After a mere two-minute pose, the testosterone levels of the "high power" posers rose 20 percent. Testosterone levels for the "low power" group, meanwhile, fell 10 percent.”

So should you walk into your next presentation and put your feet up on the table? No, but while waiting for your big moment, find a private place and power pose for a few minutes. You will be amazed at the difference it makes.