Tuesday, April 30, 2013

10 things communicators don't know about experts (and vice versa): My talk for #NCIPAN

An expert who insists her research is the "first" and "only" evidence, when it's not. Putting a researcher into a media interview on the federal budget sequester and squirming when he answered awkwardly, because he hadn't been prepped for difficult questions. High-level experts who insist they need no training, but misfire repeatedly when speaking, doing interviews, or interacting with key audiences like donors. 

Those were just some of the examples of communicators' challenges with experts during my session on 10 things communicators don't know about the experts they work with (and vice versa,) part of the National Cancer Institute Public Affairs and Marketing Network conference of communicators from NCI-funded cancer centers. To say it was a lively discussion would be an understatement, and I made sure communicators also heard about their foibles when interacting with experts. One communicator attending the conference wrote later to say:
Listening to a scientist speak at a later presentation, I had an ah-ha moment, by relating it back to what you said earlier in the day. The scientist talked about how it takes them years to do research and months to share it with colleagues, and then we come to them with this quick timeline of getting it out to the media and public.  This process is truly foreign to them, completely contrary to how they work.
You bet. But a few adjustments in how communicators work with experts can make the experience better for you and for them. Just keeping in mind how "completely contrary" our approaches are helps. Better yet: Learning the preferences, habits and concerns of the experts you work with--particularly around public communications--will save you hours of frustration and get better results.

If you're a communicator who works with smart folks--subject matter experts, scientists, engineers--you'll get that and more at my upcoming workshop, Be an Expert on Working with Experts. Set for June 13, this day-long session will help you figure out your experts' default communications style and how to work with, not against it, as well as ways to handle feedback, help them avoid "dumbing down" their information without sacrificing clarity, and more. 

As one participant in the last workshop said, "If you ever have the opportunity to take a workshop with @dontgetcaught, do it! Best training I've ever had. Informative and eye-opening." Register here--and don't forget, you'll get a substantial discount for signing up by May 16.

The slides below from my presentation at the conference offer a glimpse at what we'll cover in more detail in the workshop, and you can find other slides from the conference here. Will I see you at the workshop?




If you found this post useful, please subscribe or make a one-time donation to help support the thousands of hours that go into researching and curating this content for you:

Friday, April 26, 2013

The weekend read

Let's tie up this week, shall we? I've been collecting string all week on Twitter, where I find and share data, reads and leads useful for communicators. Follow these threads to get to my best shared items:
Follow these threads for great comms jobs: The Level Playing Field Institute in Oakland, Calif., is looking for a half-time communications manager....TechnoServe seeks a vice president, development and communications...Population Services International wants a senior communications manager.

Don't forget that discounts are still in play for my 3 unusual workshops for communicators in June--but not for long.

I love the chance to string along with you on Fridays. Thanks for reading and being here.

If you found this post useful, please subscribe or make a one-time donation to help support the thousands of hours that go into researching and curating this content for you:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Since social trends are visual, a crash course on how to see [video]

You're busy shooting and sharing online video and Instagram photos, sharing shots on Pinterest and Flickr, posting a Vine here and an infographic or type treatment for a quotation there. There's no denying that the visual is the strongest of social media's enduring trends, with YouTube now up to a billion views per month and Pinterest poised right behind Twitter and Facebook, both of which keep expanding their visual options.

But you may not have a formal visual orientation to your very visual social media work. And you very likely haven't learned how to see as an artist or designer does. Time to correct that. If you're standing around criticizing someone's use of Comic Sans, but don't realize that letters are an expression of motion and how that works in design, there's some work to do. Even if you never design something directly, learning to see will help you better communicate what you want to design professionals.

I'm fortunate to have pursued art as a hobby and as a professional, learning design principles in a classroom and practicing them over and over, offline--and eventually selling the results. But the truth is that many communicators armed with today's visual tools have no background in seeing and design. Inge Druckrey: Teaching to See, a film about a design teacher with 40 years of helping students learn to see, gives you an easy and compelling way to dip your toe in the water. Fast Company shares this thoughtful look at the video and its teachings, and why they are useful widely, noting "If you do one thing today, watch this 40-minute crash course in Design Thinking." I agree. You'll hear testimonials from Druckrey's students and even Steve Jobs in citing the importance of learning to see.

Here's the video. What else have you used to expand your visual thinking to help yourself in social media communications? And if you're already a visual artist, check out my post on social media for the visual artist: 11 ways to promote your work.


If you found this post useful, please subscribe or make a one-time donation to help support the thousands of hours that go into researching and curating this content for you:

Friday, April 19, 2013

The weekend read

Park your bumper car over there, kids. The ride that was the workweek is over, and it's time to hit the refreshment stand for your choice of the fresh finds I made and shared this week on Twitter. Or sit down until that dizzy feeling stops....
Workshops to bump up your smart quotient, coming in June: Communicators are already registering for the 3 workshops I'm leading in June, with substantial discounts if you register early. They include:
  • Refreshing Your Blog, a half-day workshop June 6. Learn the trends and updated tactics you need to revive, refresh or renew your blog and make it work for today's audiences.
  • Be an Expert on Working with Experts, a full-day workshop on June 13 for communicators and others who work with scientists, engineers and other subject-matter experts. 
  • Messaging Me, a 2-hour lunch session for job hunters, sharing the messaging tactics public speakers use so you can put them to work in your interviews.
Jobs got bumped from the lineup this week, but they'll be back. In the meantime, you know you've been bumped up to the top of my list for showing up here on Fridays, right? Have a wonderful weekend...

If you found this post useful, please subscribe or make a one-time donation to help support the thousands of hours that go into researching and curating this content for you:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

5 new looks at data on your audiences on social media

I'm a collector of audience data on social media, and you can usually see my latest finds in the Friday posts known here as "the weekend read," as they occur. But recently, five insightful piles of data have come across my desk that represent new ways to slice the pie chart. I'm hoping they prompt new ways of looking at data for you:
  1. Go global: In Why Koreans Love Tumblr and Other Social Media Surprises, Fast Company takes a look at Bitly's breakdown of traffic to social media sites by country. While it only looks at traffic routed through Bitly, a URL-shortening service, its snapshots offer useful looks at not only networks based in the U.S., but their foreign counterparts.
  2. What time is it? Ask your audience: Time of day and day of the week are important, if oft-ignored, factors for social network posts intended to reach audiences, so looking at social media use against those factors can tell you a lot about your audience. Arbitron Mobile Oy's recent report that "primetime" is the same time for television viewing and use of social networks and gaming is a perfect example of the type of insightful data you should be seeking. My question: Is that when you're posting?
  3. What time is it, part 2? Chitika Insights looked at North American mobile web browsing for nearly a week, hour by hour, comparing usage on desktops, smartphones and tablets. It's a nuanced look that might help you consider where and when to deploy a particular format or platform.
  4. Think about where your user's using: Here's a report that suggests that Facebook users engage twice as much with videos on their mobile devices as on their desk- or laptops. Place-based user data like this can help you make the leap to a mobile-optimized site, and direct your thinking about content form and frequency.
  5. What's typical? The infographic from SocialKnowHow below details--in word-cloud fashion--the habits of the average user on Facebook, one way to slice the more than 5 billion pieces of content shared on the site each week. And a pie that big needs slicing...


If you found this post useful, please subscribe or make a one-time donation to help support the thousands of hours that go into researching and curating this content for you:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The fig-leaf embargo: As cover goes, it's nearly worthless




Ever been to the Vatican Museum in Rome? As you walk through hallways of the world's most expensive art collection, you may notice that most of the marble nudes of male figures are sporting fig leaves*. You know fig leaves: As cover goes, they're nearly worthless, more for show than anything else. We all know what's supposed to be under there, but you're making us wait to see it for reasons of your own. Sometimes there's a little extra drapery, but that's just another kind of fig leaf.

This week, fig leaves came to mind when I was reading about--of all things--embargoes on news about journal-published research studies. (And you thought science was boring.) Last week, the Embargo Watch blog reported on a new record for a short-term embargo on a news release. Reporters were given just 38 minutes of advance word on two articles coming out in the New England Journal of Medicine, both about human infection with bird flu, a hot topic that every news organization covers like a blanket. This beat a previous NEJM short embargo of 49 minutes, shaving 11 minutes off the total--at least as far as anyone's been keeping track.

Mind you, in 2010, those halcyon days of yore, Embargo Watch was eyeing askance a nine-hour embargo from The Lancet and a four-hour embargo from NEJM. So in three years, NEJM has gone from four hours to just over a half-hour, on occasion. One reason this causes an outcry: The supposed standard once was seven days, now down to four or five days at major journals. That's a time period determined to strike the balance between being reasonable enough to allow reporting on a complex scientific story, without being so long as to tempt anyone to break the embargo to get ahead of the pack. I'm thinking Embargo Watch needs a new watch--maybe a minute egg timer or a stopwatch--for embargoes, since it used to generously define a "short embargo" as "less than 24 hours."

Most of the journals with embargoes strongly believe that they enhance media coverage, something they'll rarely admit in public. But in fact, embargoes don't guarantee news coverage. The public reason for having an embargo is that convenience is being created for the researchers, communicators and journalists who are expected to organize themselves and their public statements around the embargo. Here, too, is a fiction. When embargoes get this short, the convenience factor disappears and is replaced by a fig leaf....a 38-minute one this week.

Many journals get along just fine without embargoes. That's been true for decades in the physics community, and new journals like eLife are launching without even trying them. So why should communicators care? This may seem like a rarified-air issue, one that affects just a handful of organizations publishing data. But companies, organizations, government agencies and PR agencies copy the practice--often badly--leading to more myths about embargoes, and that actually makes more useless work for everybody. This week's case was pretty straightforward: There was no chance that two papers on humans and avian flu would go unnoticed. So just what were those 38 minutes supposed to cover for those involved? If they were the fig leaf for appearing to be helpful, it might be time to drop that cover.

*The statues, originally anatomically correct, were altered in a "defacement campaign" conducted by the Church. Next time you're in the museum, I dare you not to look. You'll find the story in City Secrets: Rome.

If you found this post useful, please subscribe or make a one-time donation to help support the thousands of hours that go into researching and curating this content for you:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

8 years in with this blog, let's work on yours at the Refreshing Your Blog workshop

Tomorrow, this blog will reach its 8th birthday, and it still feels like the most natural work I've ever done. Early on, I offered "blogging for your business" workshops, at a time when many people couldn't fathom using this versatile tool for business purposes. This spring, I'm coming back to the workshop format to offer a half-day workshop, Refreshing Your Blog, on June 6.

While blogging feels natural to me, that doesn't mean that I don't need to refresh my blogs from time to time. There's plenty of organization and strategy behind this blog, because I set regular times during the year to reconsider my content, timing and other approaches--and so should you. This session will give you a sense of current trends, opportunities, and strategies to make your blogging at once easier and more focused. My emphasis will be on tactics that will help you blog more in less time, wherever possible.

This morning workshop includes lunch, follow-up resources and plenty of time to focus on your specific questions and issues. If you're just not sure about where to go from here with your blog, or want it to be better or different, this is the session for you. Attendees at my previous blogging conferences have gone on to do great things with their blogs. Why not join their ranks? Communicators, business owners and other bloggers are already signing up. Find out more and register here--you'll get a great discount for registering early, by May 9.

If you found this post useful, please subscribe or make a one-time donation to help support the thousands of hours that go into researching and curating this content for you:

Friday, April 12, 2013

The weekend read

Proud as a peacock that you got through this particular week, are you? Well, there's no need for an ostentatious display...until you've seen the great reads and leads I shared this week on Twitter. Pride yourself on looking smarter by Monday with these finds:
The pride of learning new skills: I've got three useful workshops for communicators coming up in June--but you'll get better discounts if you register early, and seats are already filling. Choose from a half-day session on Refreshing Your Blog...the popular full-day workshop, Be an Expert on Working with Experts...or a lunchtime session for job-hunters on Messaging Me. I hope you'll be among the lively gangs registering for these workshops! 

Strut your stuff for these communications jobs: The American Society for Training and Development wants a senior writer/editor for its magazine....the Carnegie Corporation needs a director of communications and content strategy...North Carolina State University seeks a director of communications for its College of Sciences.

Proud doesn't begin to describe how I feel about having you hang out here right before the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"Should I use slides even if I don't normally use them?"

I was coaching a speaker last year, a nonprofit CEO who's getting invited to larger and larger forums to share his message. He's a natural storyteller and likes to tell the story of his organization's mission with a mix of personal tales about himself and about the population it serves. He moves around when he speaks, rather than using a lectern, and uses gestures and vocal emphasis to underscore his points. But he was worried about slides, even though he never used them.

"Should I be using slides?" he asked me. "I don't use them now, I never have used them, and I don't really want to start." So what prompted the question? "I'm now on stage following big-time speakers, speakers who've been at TED or who sell a lot of ebooks or are recognizable thought leaders, and they have some pretty slick slide decks," he answered. "I'm wondering if I need something similar to break into the big time?"

I'm coaching some of the speakers for next week's TEDMED conference, and that same question has already come up. Speakers for the TED conferences can go back and look at previous talks, and if they are used to slides or feel as if many speakers use them, there's a natural tendency to think, "Maybe I should have slides myself," even if they had not originally planned to do so. That second-guessing might be part of the normal fear of public speaking, that exposed feeling we get when we put ourselves out there on stage.

In fact, both the TED Commandments and the TEDMED Hippocratic Oath for speakers barely mention slides, although TEDMED takes the time to urge speakers to pledge "I will use visuals to enhance my words, not duplicate them." Both conferences want your slides only if they add to your presentation, not form its entirety--and speakers sans slides are often the most popular. 

Why is that? If you're not reading from or focused on your slides, you'll connect more directly with the audience, via eye contact, posture and language. Your style will get more conversational, and thus more engaging. And if there's going to be a contest between which is more compelling to watch--a human face versus a slide--the human wins hands down.

So here's what I tell the speaker who doesn't use slides but thinks he might need to do so:
  • Will the slides do something you can't? If the slides support and even expand on what you're saying, that's one possible reason to include them. If they merely echo your words, you don't need the repeat--and you truly don't need them to say in writing what you are saying out loud, one of the things that most annoys audiences about slide-users. One of the earliest TED talks I saw was by Hans Rosling, who uses unusual statistics and animated bubble charts to help the audience see his points, a good example of graphics that support the talk well. Wall Street Journal reporter Robert Lee Hotz, speaking at TEDGlobal about his trips to Antarctica, shows pictures of a place we're unlikely to see--a fantastic reason to use slides--but they support, rather than supplant, his words. Here's a telltale sign: If you have one slide for every point, chances are you don't need them all. Remember, one of the things that audiences like least is the feeling that the speaker's just reading the slides.
  • Will you make yourself uncomfortable by adding a new variable? There's so much going on in your body, mind and senses when you speak that I advocate avoiding the addition of new variables, particularly when you're getting ready for a high-pressure talk, a talk you've never given before or when you're close to the date of the speech's delivery. Why add something new, something that isn't a habit, into the mix? For many speakers, that new variable will be enough to distract them, make them uncomfortable or worse, help them forget what their focus is.
  • Can you use invisible visuals or other tactics instead of slides? Invisible visuals is the name I give to word pictures, those things that speakers describe so well, the audience members can "see" them in their minds' eye. They're stronger, and far more memorable, than any slide. You also can use props, gesture and even movement. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden, a speaker at TEDMED 2012, used no slides but is a fantastic gesturer, sketching out a progression of data in the air during his talk to underscore it. No pictures necessary.
You'll find more tactics for how to fly without slides on my public speaking blog, The Eloquent Woman. Let me know if you need a speaker coach, with or without slides: Email me at info[at]dontgetcaught[dot]biz to get ready for your next big talk or presentation.

(Photo of a slideless presentation by CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, via TEDMED)

If you found this post useful, please subscribe or make a one-time donation to help support the thousands of hours that go into researching and curating this content for you:

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

7 things journalists and communicators can learn from Roger Ebert on social media


If you got caught up in the many obits and remembrances of film critic Roger Ebert, who died last week at age 70, you may have missed this very smart appreciation by Claire Suddath, writing for Bloomberg BusinessWeek on Roger Ebert's Social Media Legacy. As a follower of his Twitter account, I've been used to having Ebert as a near-constant companion, and have dipped into his blog posts and Facebook entries. But Suddath sums up just how much more he'd done, and how early he did it, beyond his prolific film reviews:
...his abiding legacy is the way he assimilated computers into his daily life and served as an example for other writers. Ebert first logged on to the Internet in 1990 through CompuServe; by 1993 he was using a laptop to e-mail dispatches from the Cannes Film Festival back to his editors at the Chicago Sun-Times. Three years later, in 1996, Ebert pushed the newly digital Sun-Times to put 2,000 of his reviews online for free. The archive dated back to 1985 and was easily searchable by title or star rating. The Internet gave Ebert more ways to connect with his readers, and despite his illness (he was diagnosed with cancer in 2002 and lost the ability to speak in 2006), Ebert actually grew more prolific in his final years. He averaged 200 movie reviews per year (last year he hit a career record of 306), kept a blog, obsessively entered the New Yorker caption contest, and wrote the occasional Op-Ed. But he unexpectedly thrived on Twitter.
Since he was a longtime newspaperman, I think there are lessons communicators and journalists can learn from Ebert's forays into social media, at least 7:
  1. You're never too old to try social media, nor to try changing the system around you: Did I mention he was 70 when he died, still blogging and tweeting up to the end? That he was 53 when he pushed for putting his reviews online for free? NPR's Scott Simon remembered him as a "Chicago newspaperman who typed with two fingers — it sounded like a machine gun, columnist Bob Greene remembered on Friday — who was from the age when reporters were fueled by ink and booze." And if he could adjust, so can you.
  2. Be clear: "Jargon is the last refuge of the scoundrel," he said. Every tweet, every blog post, stayed true to his usual clear prose--and it paid off.
  3. Be honest with your readers: On his Sun-Times blog, Ebert wrote about his alcoholism and, better yet, his recovery and relationship with Alcoholics Anonymous--with the irresistible detail about once taking Ann Landers to an A.A. meeting, but more importantly, an authenticity and humility that make this post compelling reading. This post is a great example of what blogging can do: It's not just about him and his story, but in disclosing so many details from his experience, he offers a rare picture that I'll wager made (and still makes) it possible for others to consider this path.
  4. Have some social media rules for yourself: It's tough to do better than Roger Ebert's rules for tweeting, with a hat tip to Sarah Milstein for the pointer: "My rules for Twittering are few: I tweet in basic English. I avoid abbreviations and ChatSpell. I go for complete sentences. I try to make my links worth a click. I am not above snark, no matter what I may have written in the past. I tweet my interests, including science and politics, as well as the movies. I try to keep links to stuff on my own site down to around 5 or 10%. I try to think twice before posting."
  5. Always be trying something new: In his final blog post, announcing a new digital company for his content and a redesign for rogerebert.com, Ebert also let us know he'd launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project.
  6. Be your own publisher: Suddath notes at the end of her article that the Sun-Times erected a paywall in 2011, so you'd have to be a registered user to read its very nice obituary for Ebert, the writer who'd given it a worldwide reputation. Ebert even had that figured out: You can read the Sun-Times obit for free on rogerebert.com.
  7. Balance the snark with empathy and kindness: He was a critic, after all, but it was Ebert's empathy and genuine niceness that prompted the flood of social media remembrances and testimonials last week. People were sharing posts about the personal answer he sent their letters and emails, the time he posed for a photo with a fan, the kindnesses he'd done. Ebert got social, and got relationships, online and off, and it showed.
Ebert didn't confine his self-reinvention to social media. I've written on my public speaking blog, The Eloquent Woman, about how he rethought public speaking and kept doing it even after cancer surgery took away his voice. Boy, are we going to miss him around Twitter.

If you found this post useful, please subscribe or make a one-time donation to help support the thousands of hours that go into researching and curating this content for you:

Friday, April 05, 2013

The weekend read

How was your week this week? It's time to split open the fruits of your labors, otherwise known as enjoying the weekend. Let's peel back the layers of news and reads I shared on Twitter first, though. There were some juicy finds this week:

Juicy jobs for communicators: Duke University Development wants an executive director of marketing and communications...Trout Unlimited seeks a vice president of marketing and communications...Humanity United, with offices in San Francisco and Washington, DC, is looking for a communications director and a manager of digital brand and outreach.

Workshops due to ripen in June: Communicators are already registering for the 3 workshops I'm leading in June, with substantial discounts if you register early. They include:
  • Refreshing Your Blog, a half-day workshop June 6. Learn the trends and updated tactics you need to revive, refresh or renew your blog and make it work for today's audiences.
  • Be an Expert on Working with Experts, a full-day workshop on June 13 for communicators and others who work with scientists, engineers and other subject-matter experts. 
  • Messaging Me, a 2-hour lunch session for job hunters, sharing the messaging tactics public speakers use so you can put them to work in your interviews.
I love you, a bushel and a peck, for being here with me every Friday. Here's to a fruitful weekend for you!

If you found this post useful, please subscribe or make a one-time donation to help support the thousands of hours that go into researching and curating this content for you:

Payment options

Thursday, April 04, 2013

From the vault: Tweeting about food, and why it's smarter than you think

"I don't want to join Twitter and find out what you ate for lunch."

It's the universal dismissal of Twitter, the suggestion that we only post about what we just ate, as if that were the consummate waste of a reader's time, let alone the poster's time. Why would you want to lallygag around like that?

Right, because you don't ever talk about food at work, home or in between. You don't eat a big breakfast when you're facing a long work day, make deals over lunch, or steal candy from the office jar. You don't line up at that trendy food truck on lunch break, or hit the bar around the corner because their happy hour sliders make your heart sing. You're not dieting or quitting a diet. You don't cook or let others cook for you. You don't ask for seconds, special-order, takeout. You don't gather around the holiday board with your loved ones. No sirree, not you. All business, you are. Without food touching it.

I'm on to those anti-food-tweeters, because that diss sounds like all the other automatic dismissals of Twitter by people who are too afraid to try it--they're just making food the roadkill, so to speak, with a little side-diss of you and your overall tweeting for good measure.

Truth is, not everyone tweets about food. But those who do are accomplishing all sorts of useful and often businesslike, even profitable, things that you're not. And yes, I am one of them. Why? Food might just be the One True Social Media Topic, because it does so many things you already want and need to accomplish in social media circles. Food:
  • Is a universal connector: It's considered one of the most basic needs of humankind, something your stomach tells you on a regular basis. That opens you up to more conversations, being relevant as it is to more people. You do want to connect and have conversations on social media, right? Choosing food as one of your topics is as good a bet as any that others will start a chat with you--everyone can relate to food, no matter their position. It works at cocktail parties and networking events, and it works on Twitter. As points of entry go, it's easy. 
  • Gets as complex and intellectual as you wish: Go read what food writer Ruth Reichl's having for breakfast. I dare you. Then engage with Mark Bittman or Marion Nestle on food politics and research. Or, if you dare, follow journalist Maryn McKenna, who probes the microbes in your food, food contamination and more. Lately, I'm getting 140-character recipes from master chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Eric Ripert that I can put to use in the kitchen. What you got? That's serious food.
  • Invites information-sharing: A tweet about what you're eating might let me ask for the recipe or a restaurant recommendation, bring me around the corner to your office to see if you'll share, let me tell you about a better/worse/made-by-me dish, discover we both like liver and onions or something else we have in common. I once worked in an office in which no fewer than six of us turned out to like liver and onions, and we had a memorable lunch of the same that bonded us forever--the few, the proud.
  • Adds dimension: If you're mostly all-business on Twitter, posting about what or where you're eating lets us see more about you, layering on perspective that makes you multi-dimensional. So much the better if you have a special take on food, whether you cook it, eat it or choose wines to go with it. Even sharing special meals--you're off to an anniversary dinner or have just been honored at a banquet--helps us know you better. And what better way to line up restaurant partners on a business trip than to reach out to your Twitter followers?
  • Provides an ongoing source of topics: You'll be eating every day, won't you, so you'll have an ever-unfolding array of content if you choose to tweet about food. Food can lead to all sorts of conversational avenues (are you eating, cooking, delivering, producing, inspecting, describing?) as well, which further expands your content options.
  • Cements business deals: My food tweeting--mostly about what I'm cooking--has ferreted out every client or potential client of mine on Twitter who likes to cook or eat well. That means we have more in common, and more reasons to talk. You can keep your cold calls and mailers, my friend. Over here, we're swapping recipes and plotting good meals for the next time we're in the same city. Food-tweeting can lead easily to meetings in real life, and I guarantee the food-tweeter will enjoy better meals on travel, thanks to Twitter pals (yes, @egculbertson, I'm looking at you).
  • If you wish, limits what you share, on safe ground: Being a universal topic also makes food a safe one. I often advise new tweeters who want to balance personal and professional topics on Twitter to pick three personal topics they'd talk to anyone about at a business cocktail party or before a meeting, and food might well be one of them. You can show yourself to be a person, not a bot, more effectively that way. I do it with food, travel and music, myself.
  • Is more than a tweet: As with any social medium, you shouldn't mistake the medium for the content.  People tweet about food because they enjoy making it and eating it, and sometimes, sharing it because they delight in it, want to complain about it, or hope you'll join them. Breaking bread isn't about the breaking, but the bread--and coming together to do it.
If those of us who tweet about food want reassurance, there's the warm and newly open kitchen of Dinnerlist, a new social site that lets you share what you ate for dinner, along with recipes, food experiments and more in open or closed groups you create. Chef Faye Hess of the FayeFood blog--one of my favorite food writers--is behind it. Ready to stop dissing and start tweeting? Try the updated second edition of The Twitter Book, the best guide going. You can find me on Twitter as @dontgetcaught.

(This post updates and expands on one I published in 2011.)

If you found this post useful, please subscribe or make a one-time donation to help support the thousands of hours that go into researching and curating this content for you:

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

3 smart communicator trainings: On blogging, work with experts & messaging you

I've got three smart training options for communicators already scheduled for June 2013. Register early to get a substantial discount and take advantage of these unusual and useful professional development opportunities, all taking place in Washington, DC: 
  • Refreshing Your Blog, a half-day session that will help you update and reinvigorate your blog, Tumblr, or other regular posting mechanism on social networks. On June 6, from 9:30am to 1:00pm, lunch included. Register here.
  • Be an Expert on Working with Experts, a popular and intensive day-long session for communicators, development officers, government relations pros and others who work with policy wonks, scientists and subject-matter experts and want to be more effective at it. On June 13 from 9:30am to 4:30pm, lunch included. Register here. 
  • Messaging Me, a 2-hour lunch session, will help you apply message development principles used in public speaking and presenting to your job search. If you struggle with how to answer those typical open-ended questions like "tell me about yourself" or "walk me through your resume," this will help you articulate a message about you concisely and clearly. On June 18, from 11am to 1pm, lunch included. Register here.
These workshops are all centrally located and near public transportation in Washington, and easy to reach from the airport or train station, so don't hesitate to register, no matter where you are based. Please feel free to forward these training opportunities to your friends and colleagues, and consider coming with other members of your team. You'll find useful info about travel and cancellation policies in the workshops FAQ. If the dates don't work for you, let me know when a repeat session would work, or inquire about bringing one of these sessions to your location. Just email me at info@dontgetcaught.biz

If you found this post useful, please subscribe or make a one-time donation to help support the thousands of hours that go into researching and curating this content for you: