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Promote yourself

1. Be interesting

You already know what interests you, but you should consider what will interest your followers. Learn about them through research and their own self-promotion so you can find a way to connect their interests with what you have to promote.

2. Be authentic

Share the real you. Say what you truly believe and not what you think others want to hear.  Being likeable helps too. Getting others to promote you openly will actually work even better than talking about yourself. If you can’t engage other people to talk about your accomplishment, then maybe it’s not worth talking about.

3. Provide value

Value comes in all shapes and sizes from an entertaining story, a lesson, or a simple joke that makes people smile and breaks up their day. Creativity in your delivery may even get people to share your promotion.

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How women get ahead

Work hard

Doing excellent work is a baseline. If you don’t produce outstanding results, you won’t attract the notice of bigwigs at the firm who can propel your career forward. Hard work also entails knowing which skills you need to develop to get to where you want to be. “Many people want to jump levels and get to the top by their gut feel, but what you don’t know can really create a minefield for you,” says Karen Peetz, vice chairman at BNY Mellon and one of three women on the executive committee. “Things like driving a strategy, managing staff, understanding financials are often learned more at the micro level before you get to the macro. You need that experience before leaping ahead.”

Do work no one else wants to do

Stepping up when no one else is will is a great way to get noticed. In 2001, Donna Milrod was a recently-minted managing director at Deutsche Bank when she offered to take on a project no one else wanted. Her task was to devise a strategy for handling internal regulatory issues stemming from the firm’s acquisition of Bankers Trust. “I took a risk early on to volunteer for this really horrible assignment that was really critical,” she said. “I felt that I had the skills, even though I was relatively junior.” Succeeding in the assignment gained her exposure to the board and to senior management.

Cultivate the people in charge

Figuring out who has the most powerful voice in the room is the first key to your success. The second is devising strategies to attract their interest in your career. Mentors are important for giving you guidance on your career. Sponsors are more critical because they’re the ones banging on the table to bring you on for a new job or assignment.

Know what you want and go for it

Being clear about your goals is paramount. Veronika Sonsev was the first woman in AOL’s business affairs department, which handled the company’s mergers and acquisitions as well as corporate transactions through ad sales, when she joined in 1998. Now 37, she’s had experience starting her own companies and is the founder of Women in Wireless, a nonprofit that promotes female leaders in mobile and digital media. “In the summer of 2010, before I quit my job, I would go around telling everyone I was an entrepreneur and that I was starting my own company,” she said. “Once I called myself an entrepreneur, I was thought of as one.”

Promote yourself legitimately

You can be doing great work, but if no one knows about it, you might as well be invisible. Deborah Buresh Jackson worked at Goldman Sachs in the 1980s in healthcare investment banking, a group that was just starting to get hot. Her first week, she was assigned to work on a $95 million transaction that involved raising money for the expansion of a hospital in Memphis, Tenn. “When you’re on the road, it’s really hard for senior management back in the office to know what you’ve done. I learned early on to tell the senior people how exactly I had contributed to the deal,” she said.

Network with your peers

Many women make the mistake of seeking sponsorship from only the people above them. Some of the people you work with are going to be in charge and could help you rise in the ranks. “It’s connections with people your own age that will help you get promotions,” said Amy Siskind, a former head of distressed debt trading at Morgan Stanley and the co-founder of The New Agenda, an organization dedicated to advancing women into leadership roles. Siskind, 46, was the first woman managing director at Wasserstein Perella because a friend she had worked with in her mid-20s had landed there and pushed for her hire.

Make your own career

If a position you want doesn’t exist, create it. Similarly, if you don’t have the mentors and sponsors helping you get to the next opportunity, get there yourself. Carolyn Buck Luce, 59, learned this firsthand when she joined Ernst & Young as a partner in the corporate finance and restructuring group in 1991. “Most women had grown up there and I wasn’t well-known,” she said. “I didn’t have large networks that would have normally helped me progress.” So she volunteered to run the firm’s e-commerce strategy, which would guide the firm’s investments in certain e-commerce companies. From there, Buck Luce was asked to become the national director of strategic investments, a new position, and lead E&Y’s investments into other companies such as IT security and smaller tech-related operations.

Leave to get ahead

Sometimes you can fast track your career by walking out the door. Casey Stavropoulos, 35, joined APCO Worldwide as a manager of crisis communications in December 2004, then left last November to become vice president of strategy and marketing at Tula Foods, a Chicago-based consumer goods company. She believes it would have taken her 15 years to move up the corporate ladder. Now, she’s one of three principals at the start-up foods company. “It’s definitely stepping outside the box, but there’s something about paving your own way,” she said.

Dress well and play golf

The old adage “dress for success” still holds true. “Men of a certain caliber have bespoke suits. Women tend not to be as conscious that dress is part of their professional brand,” says Rand Kaspi of LawScope Coaching. You don’t need a bespoke suit, but you do need to avoid walking around in flats and khakis with a sweater set. Once you dress the part, act the part with both clients and superiors. Whether that means studying up on squash because a client is a devotee or brushing up on vintage wines because a vice president once expressed his penchant for them, you’ll need to delve into hobbies you may not have considered. If all this talk of hobbies is making you think of the one sport through which deals are made, you are correct: You need to learn how to play golf. You don’t have to be good, but you have to be competent enough to be invited for quality bonding time.

Turn Those Frowns Upside Down

Some business problems are harder to fix than others. But very few problems can be as frustrating and difficult to address as an unhappy customer.

That’s because there’s no single way to “fix” a broken customer relationship. Every situation — and every customer — is different. Success depends on your ability to listen, adapt, evolve, and rise to the challenge.

Yet there are important techniques that every small business can use to win back unhappy or dissatisfied customers. Put these methods to work, and you’ll have the tools you need to turn even the most ardent critic into a loyal — and vocal — repeat customer. In today’s business climate, this could make the difference between success and failure for any small business.

1. Find Out What’s Wrong

This seems obvious, but many business owners and their employees neglect to ask one vitally important question: “What happened?”

2. Get to the Bottom of the Problem

Once you discover why your customer is unhappy, it’s time to assess who, or what, is to blame for the problem. If a miscommunication occurred, for example, you’ll want to acknowledge that you or one of your employees could have done a better job of articulating a specific policy.

3. Refer New Business to the Customer

If you did blow it with a customer, few things say you’re sorry like sending business to their door. Referring one of your own associates to a customer — former or otherwise — demonstrates that you have that customer’s best interests at heart. It’s also a subtle way of suggesting that it’s possible to move on and build a new business relationship.

4. Calibrate Your Language (and Your Tone)

If you want to convince someone to give you a second chance, use language that not only persuades but also enhances your trustworthiness and real concern.

5. Offer a Specific Plan of Action

Once you’ve made it clear that you understand what went wrong and why the customer is unhappy, offer a specific strategy to make things right. Vague assurances are exactly that: vague. You’re far more likely to win over an upset customer if you present them with a specific solution to the problem

6. Offer an Incentive

Once you’ve offered a solution to the problem, sweeten the deal with a price break or some other special incentive. The “incentive” doesn’t even have to involve your own products or services; a gift certificate to a local restaurant, for example, is another option to consider.

 7. Empower Your Team

If you want to solve customer service issues, you’ve got to give your employees the power to fix problems and make things right. That’s especially true when it comes to dealing with unhappy customers.

8. Launch a “Win Back Customers” Campaign

Assemble your fabulous sales team and create a campaign just for previous customers, particularly ones who left disgruntled or otherwise unhappy. Conduct the campaign via social media and in print to make sure you reach everyone. Tell customers you miss them and want to do something — whatever it takes — to get them back.

9. Work Through the Customer’s Anger

At first, an unhappy customer who hears, “What would you like us to do?” or “How can we make the situation right?” might not actually pay attention. They may be so accustomed to being ignored that they won’t notice that you’re working hard to engage him and find a solution.

But be persistent. If a customer requests something that is truly beyond your abilities, gently negotiate toward a middle point. Most customers will appreciate the effort, even if it takes them a few minutes to get over their initial anger — and fear of rejection.

10. Seal the Deal

Once you win back that unhappy customer, do your best to keep them. Start out at once by expressing your appreciation, and never stop. Remind yourself from time to time why your customer became disgruntled in the first place. The last thing you want is to have to woo back an unhappy customer a second time!

Excellent Communication

Whenever you have a message to communicate (either directly, or indirectly through a third party) make sure said message is true & correct, well reasoned, and substantiated by solid business logic that is specific, consistent, clear and accurate.  Most importantly, keep in mind that communication is not about you, your opinions, your positions or your circumstances. It’s about helping others by meeting their needs, understanding their concerns, and adding value to their world. Do these things and you’ll drastically reduce the number of communications problems you’ll experience moving forward.

1. Do not speak lies: In most cases, people just won’t open up those they don’t trust. When people have a sense a leader is worthy of their trust they will invest time and take risks in ways they would not if their leader had a reputation built upon poor character or lack of integrity. While you can attempt to demand trust, it rarely works. Trust is best created by earning it with right acting, thinking, and decisioning. Keep in mind that people will forgive many things where trust exists, but will rarely forgive anything where trust is absent.

2. Get personal: There is great truth in the axiom that states: “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Classic business theory tells leaders to stay at arms length. I say stay at arms length if you want to remain in the dark receiving only highly sanitized versions of the truth. If you don’t develop meaningful relationships with people you’ll never know what’s really on their mind until it’s too late to do anything about it.

3. Get specific: Specificity is better than Ambiguity 11 times out of 10: Learn to communicate with clarity. Simple and concise is always better than complicated and confusing. Time has never been a more precious commodity than it is in today’s marketplace. It is critical you know how to cut to the chase and hit the high points, and that you expect the same from others. Without understanding the value of brevity and clarity it is unlikely that you’ll ever be afforded the opportunity to get to the granular level as people will tune you out long before you ever get there. Your goal is to weed out the superfluous and to make your words count.

4. Focus on the leave-behinds not the take-aways: The best communicators are not only skilled at learning and gathering information while communicating, they are also adept at transferring ideas, aligning expectations, inspiring action, and spreading their vision. The key is to approach each interaction with a servant’s heart. When you truly focus on contributing more than receiving you will have accomplished the goal. Even though this may seem counter-intuitive, by intensely focusing on the other party’s wants, needs & desires, you’ll learn far more than you ever would by focusing on your agenda.

5. Have an open mind: I’ve often said that the rigidity of a closed mind is the single greatest limiting factor of new opportunities. A leader takes their game to a whole new level the minute they willingly seek out those who hold dissenting opinions and opposing positions with the goal not of convincing them to change their minds, but with the goal of understanding what’s on their mind. I’m always amazed at how many people are truly fearful of opposing views, when what they should be is genuinely curious and interested. Open dialogs with those who confront you, challenge you, stretch you, and develop you. Remember that it’s not the opinion that matters, but rather the willingness to discuss it with an open mind and learn.

6. Shut-up and listen: Great leaders know when to dial it up, dial it down, and dial it off (mostly down and off). Simply broadcasting your message ad nauseum will not have the same result as engaging in meaningful conversation, but this assumes that you understand that the greatest form of discourse takes place within a conversation, and not a lecture or a monologue. When you reach that point in your life where the light bulb goes off, and you begin to understand that knowledge is not gained by flapping your lips, but by removing your ear wax, you have taken the first step to becoming a skilled communicator.

7. Replace ego with empathy: I have long advised leaders not to let their ego write checks that their talent can’t cash. When candor is communicated with empathy & caring and not the prideful arrogance of an over inflated ego good things begin to happen. Empathetic communicators display a level of authenticity and transparency that is not present with those who choose to communicate behind the carefully crafted facade propped-up by a very fragile ego. Understanding the this communication principle is what helps turn anger into respect and doubt into trust.

8. Read between the lines: Take a moment and reflect back on any great leader that comes to mind… you’ll find they are very adept at reading between the lines. They have the uncanny ability to understand what is not said, witnessed, or heard. Being a leader should not be viewed as a license to increase the volume of rhetoric. Rather astute leaders know that there is far more to be gained by surrendering the floor than by filibustering. In this age of instant communication, everyone seems to be in such a rush to communicate what’s on their mind that they fail to realize everything to be gained from the minds of others. Keep your eyes & ears open and your mouth shut and you’ll be amazed at how your level or organizational awareness is raised.

9. When you speak, know what you’re talking about: Develop a technical command over your subject matter. If you don’t possess subject matter expertise, few people will give you the time of day. Most successful people have little interest in listening to those individuals who cannot add value to a situation or topic, but force themselves into a conversation just to hear themselves speak. The fake it until you make it days have long since passed, and for most people I know fast and slick equals not credible. You’ve all heard the saying “it’s not what you say, but how you say it that matters,” and while there is surely an element of truth in that statement, I’m here to tell you that it matters very much what you say. Good communicators address both the “what” and “how” aspects of messaging so they don’t fall prey to becoming the smooth talker who leaves people with the impression of form over substance.

10. Speak to groups as individuals: Leaders don’t always have the luxury of speaking to individuals in an intimate setting. Great communicators can tailor a message such that they can speak to 10 people in a conference room or 10,000 people in an auditorium and have them feel as if they were speaking directly to each one of them as an individual. Knowing how to work a room and establish credibility, trust, and rapport are keys to successful interactions.

11. Be prepared to change the message if needed:  Another component of communications strategy that is rarely discussed is how to prevent a message from going bad, and what to do when does. It’s called being prepared and developing a contingency plan. Again, you must keep in mind that for successful interactions to occur, your objective must be in alignment with those you are communicating with. If your expertise, empathy, clarity, etc. don’t have the desired effect, which by the way is very rare, you need to be able to make an impact by changing things up on the fly. Use great questions, humor, stories, analogies, relevant data, and where needed, bold statements to help connect and engender the confidence and trust that it takes for people to want to engage. While it is sometimes necessary to “Shock and Awe” this tactic should be reserved as a last resort.

 

Social Networking

It is not about quantity – it is about quality.

Having 2,000 contacts on LinkedIn does not necessarily mean that you are a good networker. How can you actually know all those people, and how can you keep up a dialogue? So, be picky when accepting contact requests on social networks. Try to find some common ground like people you both know or events both of you attended. And feel free to decline a request if it does not feel suitable to connect.

Your network is larger than the amount of your online contacts.

With the emerge of Social Networks we sometimes forget that there are still people who are not part of the buzz or at least are not part of your online activities. Still, these people belong to your network. They are your (extended) family, friends, neighbours, (ex-)colleagues, your dentist, your hairdresser etc. Do remember that there is life outside of the internet and keep in touch with these people as well. They might know you much better than your virtual friends do.

Be social.

Keep a social calendar and send birthday greetings to the people in your network. It is acceptable and way more personal to do so via a private message instead of posting it to a Facebook wall. If you learn that someone has a new job, take some time and write a little congrats note. Ask a question about the new job and don’t be surprised when people reply. Imagine your contact informs you that she is about to set up a new department and is looking for people to join her team. Here it is: your chance!

Listen first.

Pay attention to what others do, read their updates and react to them. If someone posts a question online, reply to it if you have an answer. Like a post, leave a comment on a blog article, share it with your friends, recommend resources or introduce people with each other.

Maintain your network.

Recently, I got a message from someone I have been connected with on different platforms. We have not met so far yet have exchanged messages and opinions. The person wrote a rather long message telling me about an exciting project and the possibility to meet the project owner in Dubai as he happens to be there from tomorrow on. The issue: I left Dubai more than two years ago and have been living in Europe since! Try to keep up with any moves people in your network make. Double check on hard facts before you actually get in touch.

Keep people informed.

If you move jobs, cities or countries, do update your online profiles. Send an e-mail to the “inner circle” of your network (i.e. the ones that you are in contact with regularly) and announce your move. How would people otherwise know what you are doing?

Be direct.

If you need help, ask for it. If you have a question, ask. If you are looking for a job, say so. If you are looking for a business partner, announce it. If you want to meet someone, contact him/her. If you would like to connect with someone, ask if the other person wants that, too. Questions are the key!

Be patient.

A network takes time to grow. The older you are the larger your network is, especially your business network. It takes time to build up trust and most people need more than one interaction to remember you as someone who could help them out.

Support and help others.

Remember the Golden Rule: Give before you take!

Take things offline.

Try to meet people in person – as often as possible. This is easy with people in your neighbourhood, of course. Whenever you travel to other places, do check if you know people who live there. Get in touch with them and set up a meeting for a coffee or a drink. After all, it is your personality that qualifies you for a job, not your online profile!

Enjoy it!

Reinventing your Press Release

1. Choose the Right Keywords

Search engines think like your audience. Before you begin to write, know the keywords or phrases that will drive them to the news release and motivate them to click through to pages on your Web site. Do basic keyword research on sites like Google AdWords, Wordtracker or Keyword Discovery.

2. Use Your Head

Use one to two keywords in the headline and subhead. Search engine spiders read left to right, so take that into account as you compose your headlines and your first paragraph. Use no more than 200 characters in the summary or subhead.

3. Optimize From the Top Down

Spiders also read from the top down. Using keywords in the first two paragraphs makes a much bigger impact than using them lower down. As you write, think in sound bites, like 140-character tweets.

4. Don’t Over-Link

As with keywords, don’t overdo anchor text, as it causes confusion and dilutes the impact of the links themselves. Offer two to three links for a 400-word press release.

5. Use Multimedia

Research shows that press releases with pictures, video and other multimedia get at least 80% more search traffic than text-only releases. They’re usually more appealing and interesting, too. You’d be surprised how easy it is to create your own video or add visuals that support your product, message or campaign.

Effective Link Building

1. Link building should not be a quick fix process.

Because Google knows what’s happening under the hood, it’s never recommended to boost up your link profile immediately or in any unnatural time frame. 1000 links in three months? Sounds made up right? And Google knows it. So, link building always has to be gradual and “natural”.

2. Do not try to game the system.

Technically, we might be trying to game the system, but make sure it’s not aggressively stupid. You need to research what your natural niche is and leverage it. For example, if you have a website about “Red Apples” you need to stick to building backlinks on Apples and Red Apples not Oranges or Green Apples.

3. Link Building should go hand in hand with other SEO efforts.

There is no problem if it is otherwise, but  link building works most effectively when you also do other SEO like content building and on site optimization.

4. Relevancy should be the key factor.

Make sure you have enough content on your website that when found or discovered through your new links compliments to your anchor texts and article. This might sound like very general advice but this is extremely important. Make sure your anchor texts are carefully drafted and the content they link to are optimized well.

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