Here it is, Thanksgiving, and it is time to reflect on what we are thankful for this past year.  I could share with you how my heart is full of love for my family and friends, because it is.  But it is more appropriate for me to share with you what I give thanks for on a professional level.   This year I want to reflect on how truly thankful I am for the web evolution and revolution.

I am thankful that there are groups on Twitter and on LinkedIn that connect me with like-minded professionals, asking and answering questions that help me grow.  I am thankful that subject matter experts are providing free webinars to share knowledge on social media, marketing, and networks that increase my ability to benefit from Web 2.0 and that allows me to share this new knowledge with clients; we play it forward and that is a really great gift.  I am thankful that conversations happen constantly on web sites and I can make better product choices prior to a purchase.  And I am thankful that restaurant reviews can make my dining experience more tasteful than tacky.

Yes, the new web works for me.  I am in touch with family and friends far and near through Facebook, I am up to date in real-time on what’s happening around the globe through Twitter and based on my research, it is only going to get better.

Open sourcing is allowing companies like Google to improve new products before they come to market.  Just visit the next evolution of Internet interaction at Google, entitled “Wave.” 

And I am thankful for competition and how it drives innovation.  Today Apple’s iPhone is the benchmark for smartphones, and all hand-held technology.  According to PC World, Apple has approved over 100,000 apps and I am thankful that almost 20,000 of them are free.  But wait, there’s more.  We are the recipient of better products because competition is healthy, and Joe Wilcox, from Betanews is predicting that Google’s Android will take the top stop in mobile devices in 2012. Imagine that!

How many of us could have predicted we would be in virtual conversations and in virtual communities 10 years ago?  I am thankful for creativity and thankful for progress.

Here are just some of my favorite sites and sources (in alpha order) of which I am thankful.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?  Share your thoughts and hopes for social media’s future and what you appreciate about it today. Share your thoughts and thanks by leaving a comment. And thank you for reading my blogs.

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Eileen Weisman is a communication strategist, an on-going student of social media, a 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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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

W small only   Driving to my weekly networking meeting I saw a dog walking down a major thorough-fare with traffic coming right up on it!  I stopped my car, put on my flashers and hoped my car, the dog or I didn’t get hit!  We all survived the moment, and now I had a beautiful Cavalier King Charles spaniel in my car!  Now this dog definitely belonged to someone, this is not your average dog—high maintenance might even be an understatement.

So now what do I do?

The first thing I did was take the dog to the nearest vet office to see if it had a microchip since it did not have a collar with tags.  No chip!  I did learn the dog was a boy and he was not neutered.  This is all important info which I figured would further define the dog’s identity when I was able to locate the owner.cavalier

 With three dogs at home I couldn’t bring this flea-full animal into my house.  So I took him to my vet where he would spend the day being pampered and receiving shots while I began executing against a communication strategy to find the owner.

How did I do this? 

First!  I made calls to the pounds, the local vets, I posted on Craig’s List, I contacted the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Society of Houston, and I send out a tweet to see if anyone was looking for a missing Cavalier King Charles spaniel. I posted in the “lost dog” section of Craig’s List that I found a dog (many details not included—see next paragraph).  I also posted on Facebook a request for a foster home for this cute boy as we have three dogs in our household and another would just be pushing it!

Next, I made signs.  Now since this is an expensive doggie, we didn’t put the breed on the signs.  We simple stated–Found Dog, Small Male, White and Tan. Call xxx-xxx-xxxx. I left off the breed, as you never know who is in the market for a high-end dog and would love to claim ownership!

I placed the signs strategically around the area where the dog was found. I chose a 2 mile square area to place the signs.  Additionally, I focused heavily around parks and schools, and major intersections.

Then our family waited. 

Nothing the first night but by morning a dog-lover who was walking her dog around one of the parks saw our sign.  She called!  She told me she saw a sign on a front lawn not far from the park saying “Lost Cavalier King Charles spaniel.”  Unfortunately, they had no phone number on their sign—their only sign in the entire neighborhood!  She gave me directions to the home, as I don’t even live in that neighborhood.  I drove over (without the dog), rang the bell, and asked questions.  I felt I had found the owners of our cute little man!  The owner was in tears and followed me to my house.  With many tails wagging, (my dogs included) the owner and the dog were reunited!

There are a few morals to this story.

  1. Have your dog micro-chipped (it doesn’t hurt, and it is not expensive)
  2. Always, always have a collar on your dog with your contact information
  3. Check your fence to be certain there are not any escape opportunities
  4. Put signs up and think strategically about where to place the signs and be sure to include contact information
  5. Use every opportunity you can think of to communicate you lost your dog or you found a dog

And what does this mean to you?

Whether you are looking for a dog, or looking to create awareness in your company or organization you need a well-thought-out plan.  Begin by defining your audience, hone your message to the audience, create a delivery strategy that matches the demographics of your intended recipients, create listening posts to identify if your audience is listening, and if they are not, immediately fine-tune your strategy!  Keep refining and measuring until you are happy with your results.

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A Public Note of Thanks!

I would like to thank my dog-loving daughter for her assistance is helping me with this lost dog endeavor. I couldn’t have done it without her!

Our poll this week is a test of your heart-strings!  What would you do?

 

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Eileen Weisman is a communication strategist, a good listener, a walker,  a recycling expert, a dog lover, and a mother of the bride.  Contact The W Group to discuss opportunities for improving the listening environment within your company or organization

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Dress Story

As I shopped for a dress for our daughter’s wedding I experienced the “shop till you drop” phenomenon and actually had no luck.  I didn’t want a “mother of the bride” dress; that’s just not my style.  I needed something with movement, yes, that’s what I was looking for, something with movement!  After exhausting myself and anyone else who was willing to trek around with me, I had an idea worth exploring.

I am not a pack rat but do hold things I feel have value.  In the back of my closet I had a dress I wore to my sister-in-law’s wedding 36 years ago.  I saved it because it was beautiful–beautiful material, beautiful style, and it had movement!  My daughter even agreed this could be the dress!  Her comments gave me hope but it needed some work to update it a little.

We took it to a reputable designer and she felt it didn’t need much!  This option saved us money, and I got to wear a unique dress that couldn’t be found in any boutique anywhere in the entire world, at least not in 2009!

So I guess you could say I recycled the dress.  

The Challenge

And now here is the challenge to you. If you have been a successful company or organization for a while, I bet you have some things you could recycle in 2009 with a little updating using technology and ingenuity!

Maybe something in your business just needs a little dusting to be brought back to life.  Is there an employee recognition program that was successful 10 years ago and could possibly breathe new life into your business environment?  Employee engagement is the new terminology, but the concept has been around forever. 

How about a newsletter or hotline on “opportunities for improvement” that may have been part of the quality movement back in the ‘90’s.  Can you recreate it using Twitter or texting where employees send ideas as soon as they see them? 

And how about an awareness campaign to promote your message, but rather than posters you create video messages using YouTube; it could even be a contest.  Imagine the buzz around the most creative entries. 

Anything is possible.  Just think back to something that worked really well for you before and maybe, just maybe with a little tweaking it could work even better now!

Consider recycling; it has many benefits including helping you be a good corporate citizen, and providing potential cost savings to you and your organization.  Why not look through that closet! You might be surprised what you find.

Let us know if you have an old idea that you decide to recycle.

Need to discuss movement of ideas in your business? The W Group ensures its clients’ messages are visible, heard, and understood.  Awareness is step one, but you really are only successful when there is a behavior change….movement from acknowledgement to action.

Eileen Weisman is a communication strategist, a recycling expert, a dog lover, and a mother of the bride.  Contact The W Group to discuss recycling opportunities within your company or organization.

thumbnail logoWhat is your immediate reaction to those two phrases? I hope you are nodding your head and agreeing with the title. That is a great first step.  But are you walking the talk?

 Listening seems like an easy task, but it really takes a sincere effort to stay engaged while the other person is speaking.  Whether it is directly to you, or the person is talking to a group, get yourself focused on each word because as a business leader you must be tuned in to what is said around you.

 Have you heard, listening is not the same as hearing?  Active listening is a skill. Have you asked anyone who works for you if you possess this important leadership quality?  May I suggest a 360 review? A strong leader would not be afraid of this review process.  Not familiar with the 360? 

Here is a short definition of the 360:  A process in which an employee or manager receives feedback about his or her competencies from peers, supervisors, direct reports, and internal and external customers. It’s a complete picture of the impact one has on those with whom he or she interacts on a frequent basis.[1]

 The 360 is a formal process and should be well constructed to reflect job core competencies. If done well, you can maximize its value. 

 But we should be listening on a daily basis to ensure we understand the mood of our organization as morale can have a direct and significant impact on the bottom line—good and bad!  I wasn’t kidding with the “lecture and lose” comment; it is true.  People won’t be listening to you if they feel you don’t listen to them.

 Encourage good listening in your organization.  Have an open door policy. Create a safe listening environment such as email, a secure voicemail box, or use Twitter. Have town hall meetings and include a survey after the meeting to ensure everyone, not just the extraverts get to ask questions.  Use the town hall meeting survey to define your next meeting.

 Today’s workforce expects you to listen to them in different formats.  With four distinct demographics, you can’t depend on the old ways to keep everyone engaged. 

 Do you think you are a good listener?  Let us know!

 

Eileen Weisman is a communication strategist at The W Group, who helps her clients create messages that are visible, heard, and understood!  You can improve your bottom line by improving your communications.

 

 

 


[1] Linda Gravett, Ph.D. SPHR