Friday, December 19, 2014

The weekend read

Let's scrape up what's left of this week, communicators, and clear the windshield for the weekend. Time to de-ice with my finds of the week, shared first in my Twitterstream and curated here just for you:
I don't need to scrape to find superlatives. You're the best for showing up here again in time for the weekend!

If you work with scientists, physicians, policy wonks and other subject-matter experts, you'll find useful my popular workshop, Be an Expert on Working with Experts. The next session is February 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. Register at the link by January 9 to get the best rate; all registration closes January 29 or when all seats are filled. Don't miss the workshop communicators call "informative and eye-opening."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Paperless and paper, yes: How social media has changed my ways

My consulting and coaching business is 10 years old this year, and almost immediately after I launched it in 2004, I found myself looking for ways to go paperless in the office. Blogging was just the start, serving as my primary marketing vehicle then and now; all my social media presences drive users back to the blogs. Today, my file cabinet's empty and much of my storage is in the cloud. But this year, I went back to paper--for just a few uses, all of them designed to leave my office rather than stay there. Here's what has changed, and how you can get discounts on the services that help me use, and lose, paper:

To get paperless:
  1. I gave up scanning receipts and business cards and got Shoeboxed, which gets an envelope of my receipts and business cards from contacts every month, scans them, recycles them, and makes it easy for me to download them in a variety of useful formats. Get 10 percent off Shoeboxed with my link. For anything else that needs scanning, I use a portable Doxie scanner. It mostly lives on my desk, but is small enough to pop into a suitcase if I need it on the road.
  2. My reading's electronic, whether I'm listening to audiobooks from Audible or reading ebooks on my Kindle and scanning RSS feeds in Feedly Pro. Several years ago, I donated hundreds of books to a local charity and kept just a few hard-to-find references and art books. 
  3. I stopped signing paper contracts (with the exception of one slow-to-modernize client) and sign everything with DocuSign, which has helped me process and sign contracts all over the world with ease. Use my link to get 30 days free and 10 percent off DocuSign.
  4. I gave up my file cabinet and transferred the contents and most of my brain to Evernote Premium, and now I create new documents in Evernote and clip articles from the web right into my notebooks. I've integrated my email, Feedly Pro, IFTTT, DocuSign, and a host of other programs with Evernote, making it easy for me to capture what I want to save. Use my link to get a free month of Evernote Premium once you register, install, and sign into your first free Evernote account.
I go paper-yes these days when I want to market on a personal level. The catch: Everything I order is designed to leave the office eventually! For this, I use MOO's ever-expanding range of products, and recently ordered the following for 2015:
  • Revised letterhead and envelopes, primarily used to send handwritten, personal notes to clients, particularly clients I've coached 1:1. It's a more intimate form of outreach that suits the business relationship, and makes a major impact. Inc. magazine offers tips for writing standout thank-you notes, in case you've forgotten how to do it.
  • Updated business cards. With more and more international contacts and clients, my cards now include ways to reach me on Skype as well as by phone and email. I include a photo of me on both cards and letterhead so the new contacts I meet can remember me better, and I chose a MOO design that coordinates my card and letterhead visually. I've even ordered a rush set of MOO cards when I ran out right before a conference in Amsterdam, and had them delivered to my hotel via MOO's European site.
  • Customized holiday cards for my clients, collaborators, and suppliers. MOO lets me print a custom message with room for a handwritten one, and adjust the back of the card to remind recipients I'd like to work with them in 2015, how to refer me on LinkedIn, and what my core business offerings are, briefly and attractively. You can add logos or pictures, too. The cards come with envelopes.
  • A two-sided postcard flyer about my coaching services. It's the briefest of summaries to let clients know that I coach speakers 1:1, in training groups, and backstage or in advance for conferences, as well as my credentials and contact info. Again, envelopes are included, although these also may be used as handouts at workshops.
  • Invitations for a series of client parties I'll be hosting in 2015. The design allowed me to customize a standing set of contact information, leaving plenty of room for a handwritten invitation.
  • For my houseguests, a series of cards they can tuck in their wallets with my home address so they can find their way back, landline and cell phone numbers, and most important, the codes for my secure wifi. These stay in the guest room for easy access--no need to wonder when to ask for the info!
Right now, my office looks like a paper processing plant, but not for long. Those letters, notes and invitations are headed out into the world! Use my link with MOO to get 10 percent off your first order, or more if you choose MOO for 10+ employees across your business.

If you work with scientists, physicians, policy wonks and other subject-matter experts, you'll find useful my popular workshop, Be an Expert on Working with Experts. The next session is February 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. Register at the link by January 9 to get the best rate; all registration closes January 29 or when all seats are filled. Don't miss the workshop communicators call "informative and eye-opening."

Friday, December 12, 2014

The weekend read

Let's take the spotlight off you and this messy week, shall we, and put it where it belongs: Lighting a path to the weekend. In the starring role as we roll toward that bright object are the data, reads and leads I shared in my Twitterstream this week. They've been culled and curated here to spotlight only the best news for communicators:
For me, the end-of-week spotlight is always on you! Thanks for coming back again.

If you work with scientists, physicians, policy wonks and other subject-matter experts, you'll find useful my popular workshop, Be an Expert on Working with Experts. The next session is February 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. Register at the link by January 9 to get the best rate; all registration closes January 29 or when all seats are filled. Don't miss the workshop communicators call "informative and eye-opening." And if you are an expert, please share the workshop with a communicator near you...it'll pay off in the long run.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Scientists, docs, experts: Send this to a communicator

This is for all the experts--scientists, engineers, physicians, policy wonks, and other subject-matter experts--who want to love the communications pros they work with, but find it difficult.

You get that participating in legislative testimony, donor meetings, and media interviews can be helpful. But those requests are taking up too much of your time, coming at the last minute, and you're feeling generally unprepared for them. So more often than not, you're not available or at best, uncomfortable.

I've seen you out there, and worked with many like you in a long career of working within organizations loaded with scientists and experts. These days, I've created a workshop I wish I'd had when I first started working with experts, and I want you to share it with a communicator you want to love.

Be an Expert on Working with Experts gives communicators what they rarely see: A look at the world from your perspective and preferences. The goal is better cooperation and better understanding of how communicators can support experts and meet communications and public-facing goals at the same time...without anyone getting hurt. Communicators call it "informative and eye-opening," and said "I particularly appreciated her emphasis on understanding a speaker's needs and motivations in order to help them deliver the best possible presentation."

Registration details are below. Pass them on to a communicator, fundraiser, or government relations pro near you, and anticipate a better working relationship to come. This workshop fills up fast, so don't delay in sharing it! If you're at a university, it may help your communicator to know that the February session follows the CASE District II conference in Washington, DC, and is an easy public transport trip from the conference hotel.

The next session of Be an Expert on Working with Experts is February 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. Register at the link by January 9 to get the best rate; all registration closes January 29 or when all seats are filled. Don't miss the workshop communicators call "informative and eye-opening."

Friday, December 05, 2014

The weekend read

Strong and hot. That's how you like your coffee, and your weekend read, my carefully brewed collection of reads, leads, and data, shared on my Twitterstream and curated here for you, communicators. Start that bottomless refill now:
You're the cream in my coffee, just for showing up every week. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Winning the long-form interview: Fewer talking points and CEOs

Any reporter or producer will tell you that the long-form interview, particularly on radio, requires a different level of preparation. And that goes double in this Communications Network interview with NPR Fresh Air radio host Terry Gross,

Gross, whose hour-long program routinely features 20-to-40-minute interviews, shared some insights on using talking points for preparation, and using technical jargon. Here's what she had to say about an interviewee loaded with repeatable talking points:
Yeah, it’s like the last thing we want. There are some [shows] you need to go in with talking points because the person interviewing you is not going to know what to ask you. They’re not necessarily going to get to what’s interesting. And you need to come in armed with the points you want to get across. But you don’t want to sound like they’re talking points; you want them to sound spontaneous. On some shows, cable news shows, if they sound like talking points, maybe that’s not a bad thing. But we’re not that show. So you have to know where you’re sending the person and arm them accordingly.
And then she was asked about CEOs who tend to use what one of my clients calls "jargonese," in this case, a phrase like "building systems." She equivocated not at all:
No, no, no, no, no. You cannot use those words. If people are talking about building systems, they are not going to be on our show. There are times when I think the CEO shouldn’t be the person who should be sent out—it’s the person in the field. If you want to talk about effective teaching strategies, maybe you want to send an effective teacher, who can tell first person stories about what works and what doesn’t in the classroom.
So, media relations types, there's your target: A CEO who can handle a long-form interview without sounding like either a robot or a jargon-laden strategic plan. Can you manage that? If you want media training for that CEO to increase storytelling and conversational interview skills, email me at eloquentwoman AT gmail DOT com.