Social Media – Know How

November 10, 2009

I am curious as to how you read the title. Did you mentally put a question mark at the end, or did you feel the excitement of an exclamation point!

Exclamation Point for Me!

If you read the title with an exclamation point was that because you are competent enough to be a “coach” to others, because you are “in the know” on how to use social media for a variety of purposes, and you are “in the know” on places to go, people to listen to regarding getting the most from social media.

Question Mark for Me!

And if you are in the question mark group, perhaps you are one of many who are struggling to understand social media. Asking questions like should I be engaging in social networking, or committing more time to online communities. Maybe you are wondering if there are really benefits to using it for your business. And maybe, just maybe, you are trying to put your arms around how to learn to use this new technology.

It’s All About the Conversation!

Whether you felt an exclamation point or you were hoping for a lesson on social media because of your questioning of this new world, here is the root of social media. It’s all in the conversation. I am challenging you, whichever side of the fence you are on, to join in conversation. Share your favorite websites, LinkedIn groups, people to follow on Twitter, etc. that have helped you grow in your knowledge on social media. For those of you wanting to join in but didn’t have anyone to ask, here is your chance! Post your questions. Let’s start talking about what works, what doesn’t, and try to help each other out by breaking down the barrier to social networking.

One request: please post your comments on this WordPress blog site where it asks you to “leave a comment/reply.”

It will be much easier to follow the conversations if they are all in one place.
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Eileen Weisman is a communication strategist, an on-going student of social media, good listener, a walker, a recycling expert, a dog lover, and a mother of the bride (read previous posts to learn more). Contact The W Group to discuss opportunities for improving the listening environment within your company or organization

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Preaching Technology

October 11, 2009

If you are a regular to my blogs you know I turn everyday experiences into lessons for leadership, honest communications and employee engagement. Opening my Sunday paper today was the following headline and story:

PRAISE FOR TECHNOLOGY
Tweeting during church services gets blessing of pastors.

Now I am not preaching to bring religion into the workplace, but there sure is a lesson here, one I have been preaching….You have got to set up “listening stations” at work.  Just like the leaders of this church, you as leaders of your congregation of employees must recognize and begin to address how you are going to hear from them.  It’s not business as usual anymore. And here is a quote from the article:

“The nondenominational church recently started a new service encouraging parishioners to tweet their thoughts, reflections and questions in 140 characters or less via Twitter, the popular micro­blogging social network.”

Wow!  How many of you would have expected that one?  Now I am not saying tell your rabbi, pastor, priest or minister to take up tweeting, or to encourage tweets during their service (but feel free to forward them this blog), but it sure is an eye-opener that life is changing everywhere, even in places of worship!

So here I go again, preaching to you about the multi-gen workforce you can’t ignore!  I said it before, and I will say it again, “How about using Twitter during a town hall meeting.”  Or better yet, use it every day as a feedback mechanism, let’s just rename the suggestion box “TOFI”—Twitter Opportunities for Improvement!  Sure, this concept might be difficult for you to grasp but I am asking you, no begging you, to at least consider it.

What’s your soap-box issue regarding your workplace? Let’s start a conversation to see what you feel needs immediate fixing!  Take a minute and write something in the “reply” section of this blog posting!

Eileen Weisman is a preacher of using technology to hear employees, a communication strategist, a dog-lover, an avid recycler, and a mother of the bride.

Contact The W Group to discuss opportunities for improving the listening environment within your company or organization.

 

The answer is quite simple: Senior management is responsible for getting the word out to everyone, no matter the size of the business or organization.

 

Maybe your business isn’t global or your business doesn’t have thousands of employees. Perhaps your organization is so small that a formal internal communications strategy isn’t necessary; I don’t agree.

 

Whether you consider yourself a big business or a small business as long as you have employees or associates you need to be certain you have a formal strategy of communicating to those who assist you in the success of your operation.  Hearing important information from the top of the organization carries much weight and is the sign of strong leadership.

 

Peter Drucker (1909-2005), the man often cited as the inventor of modern management, would tell you to ask employees what needs to be done to make the business a success.  He would say to respect everyone’s ideas, learn from them, and incorporate as many ideas that make sense. Productivity and performance will improve when each employee feels their ideas are being considered.

 

According to Intel Corporation’s co-founder Andrew S. Grove: “Like many philosophers, he [Drucker] spoke in plain language that resonated with ordinary managers. Consequently, simple statements from him have influenced untold numbers of daily actions; they did mine over decades.”[1]

 

If your organization is small, speak to as many of your associates as is possible.  If you don’t have weekly staff meetings consider creating one that is interactive, action-oriented, and goal-driven.  No one wants to sit in a weekly meeting to hear information that could have been read in an email. Your personal delivery of news coupled with asking for input drives associate engagement.

 

And if you are a large company with multiple locations, even internationally dispersed, communicating successfully is possible. It begins with senior management at each location listening to those in the workplace.

 

So whether you are a big or small organization, internal communications begins with senior management listening, speaking in a way that can be understood in the lunchroom, and ensuring there is a process in place for everyone to understand the business and the business needs.

 

Be sure to create avenues for employees to be heard.  Consider an employee opinion survey to be administered at least two times a year.  Hold town hall meetings and measure their success.  Lead by example; listen to your associates and they will listen to you.  Always remember that successful communications is a two-way process.  And successful businesses have strong strategic communication plans.

 

Eileen Weisman is a communications strategist who designs successful communication environments for clients, ensuring that important messages are heard, visible, and understood. Her business philosophy is “You can improve performance by improving communications.”

 

 


Times are tough right now.  The economy is creating anxiety in everyone’s world.  People are worried about their job, their homes, and their family’s well-being.  They are thankful to have a job but may bring their worries with them every day to work.  They may obsess about life’s challenges and not be able to focus well.  Rumors are negative energy and non-productive.  You want to avoid rumors in your workplace.

 

If you have defined your companies core values I am certain trust and honesty are among them.  These values apply not only to your customer relationships but first and foremost with those who contribute to the daily success of your business.  Once trust has been tested, “business as usual” will not have the positive image you have enjoyed in the past. Confidence in you and your words will be questioned, and negative energy becomes a daily occurrence.

 

Honesty during tough times is not easy but being forthright in your internal communications within your organization can bring positive results.  Consider including your employees in identifying cost-cutting opportunities and give them as much information as possible in trying to find solutions to some difficult situations.  The concept of “inclusion versus exclusion” can yield dramatic results in engagement.

 

Today we call it “transparency.” But over 200 years ago, Benjamin Franklin stated, “Honesty is the best policy.”  And in 2009 it should still be the #1 core value of any organization. 

I am introducing my blog, our new web site, and myself which serve as your personal invitation to engage in a strong business partnership with The W Group.  The W Group has been around a long time and has built its reputation on creating strong relationships with its clients.  If we haven’t met formally I look forward to our first visit!

 

Each week I will post a new “Tip of the Week” on our web site and the blog will provide common sense details around the topic.  Sometimes we might create a white paper, mention a case study or recent report that supports the issue and provides you with specific data and a more compelling message on the subject.

 

This week’s tip is the most basic of internal marketing communications: 

 

Preparing an annual communications strategy to support your business plan ensures greater success of your goals.

 

My guess is you spend a lot of time preparing your yearly business strategy.  You may have an entire team working on it and everyone is proud and excited when it is finally presented to senior management. Congratulations, but….

 

All the priorities along with all the initiatives can only travel as far as the words on the page without a communication plan aligned to match each priority.

 

Your associates, employees or donors need to understand how they are part of the business plan, why it is important for them to support the plan, and how everyone benefits from the plan.  If you don’t connect the dots from the boardroom to the lunchroom, you diminish your opportunities for success.  You may need to think like an interpreter translating each initiative into the language of your audience; this is essential to your communication strategy.

 

Remember to speak the language of your associates, employees and donors.  Corporate jargon and business terminology is fine for your document, but put everything else into words that turn your business into a thriving bee hive where the buzz is about engagement, and the results of your efforts become obvious through your bottom line.

 

How do you do that?  With a well written and executed strategic communication plan.  Visit http://www.wgroup.net