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Posts tagged ‘public relations’

The Professional Introduction – 7 Tips (to not be creepy)

Here’s the scene: you want to meet someone—a very important someone who can do important things for your career—but you’re not sure how to get to them… to meet them, to contact them… Then, you come across an individual who can help. She knows that someone, and she can introduce you to that someone, and she is willing to make the introduction for you. SWEET!spock

Let’s be clear, though, she is not recommending you—you both just met for goodness sake. She is not going to coach you, mentor you or be your best friend. She is merely offering to help you make the first contact with someone who can benefit you.

Okay, so she gives you this important someone’s contact information, and while doing so, she tells you a little bit about the important someone: why she is making the introduction, why that someone is as important as she seems, ways that you can benefit that someone and thereby develop a mutually beneficial relationship…

Here are some tips for YOU as you go about the professional introduction process:

  1. Pay attention to details: before you meet the important someone, pay attention to the details you are being offered about that person
    • How do they like to be contacted: phone, email, short get-to-the-point messages or long flowery flattering prose, etc.
    • Why is the person making the introduction bothering: why do they think the very important someone is so important (this is key to earn brownie points with both people—mention this specifically), how will the important someone possibly benefit from the introduction, what can YOU expect from the introduction, etc.
  2. Always have the end and the important someone’s best interests in mind. In other words, know what YOU want and anticipate the needs of the important someone, and when introducing yourself, mention how you intend to meet their needs and go for the ask—what you are offering to do and why (by the way—don’t bother mentioning much about what you need or why—frankly, no one cares much beyond mere curiosity)
  3. Highlight your skills and what specifically you are offering: if it’s obvious that you’re just in it for what you can gain, expect to receive a polite brush-off
  4. Do not expect the person who made the introduction to care one way or another if you got what you needed out of the introduction—they have two concerns: a) did they make a mistake in introducing you to this important someone and b) will any of their needs be met because they made the introduction. YOU don’t matter.
  5. If the introduction goes well, you contacted the important someone properly: you were polite, kept your message short and simple, highlighting the benefits of your offer along with why you are the right person to provide whatever it is… were specific in what you wanted and how this will benefit the important someone, GREAT WORK! Even if you don’t get exactly what you want, you were successful in your introduction, and the important someone will very likely remember that
  6. If you screw up the introduction: get verbose, overly familiar, lack clarity in what you want and how it will benefit the important someone, and at worse come across as insulting and uninformed about the important someone… I have some good news for you: you can only improve form here! It’s not likely you’ll do worse the next time.
  7. The worst kind of introduction is not bothering. Go ahead and make the mistakes if you must, and if things don’t seem to go your way, seek out advice. You may have blown your chances with both the very important someone and the person who bothered to introduce you, but that doesn’t mean you’ve blown your chances with the world. Professionals are very often willing to give advice, coach and mentor—you can even hire a professional coach to help you fine-tune your skills. It does matter.
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Thought of the day: Voice

Voice is critical–when you communicate, your voice is what is remembered. Not what you said but how you said it. Your voice also will determine if your message(s) will be remembered, absorbed and if any action will be taken as part of that communication. What is voice? It is the difference between ordering someone to do something you need done versus convincing someone that they want to come on board and help you champion a shared cause. Your voice, your authentic voice, the one particular to you, is your gut and instincts combined with your inspiration and heart speaking on behalf of your head and ego. Let it sing. Your voice is you.

Thought of the day: Remain Open

Communication: Remain open. Open to receive new messages in new ways and to be openly responsive to the messages of others. Remain open to new ideas, especially if you find them challenging. Your first job is to actively listen. You can communicate back with far greater effectiveness when you first grasp then respond to the needs and messages of your audience. They will know you are communicating with them versus at them.

Daphne’s List of 7: A word about writing recommendations for people

Times are tough and competition is ferocious. Recommending a friend colleague, student or employee is serious business. What you have to say and how you choose to say it matters and can help sway a hiring manager or other decision-maker when they are deciding to work with an individual. Here are seven tips to consider if you’re ever asked to write a recommendation:

  1. No–feel free to say no. There are many gracious ways to decline a request for a recommendation. If for any reason you are not comfortable recommending a person, say no. Do not recommend a person if you are not confident that you want to recommend them. You are not only promoting the other person when you recommend them, you also are extending your personal and professional reputation to them. There are countless reasons you may not wish to recommend a person, so use your best judgment.
  2. Please write it yourself–there is a common practice of friends, professors and supervisors asking recommendees to write their own recommendations. Please don’t do this. While you might think you’re complimenting the recommendee, you are not. You’re sending a message that you either aren’t sure what to write about this person or that they aren’t worth your time for you to take a few minutes to do it yourself. If you are in a position where you are fortunate to have a 3rd party subordinate (executive assistant, intern, etc.) who can craft a rough recommendation draft for you to fine-tune and add in personal details and, etc. that’s acceptable. Please don’t ask the recommendee to do this, though. This is their moment to learn what you have to say about them, provided it’s an open recommendation. And this can be quite meaningful.
  3. Do ask for details–feel free to ask the recommendee for details so that you don’t have to do all of the work. If you are an employer, as the recommendee to provide salary and work history information. Ask for something in writing detailing the purpose of the recommendation such as who is the recommendation going to, what do they want to know about the recommendee, what is the recommendee proposing to do for the recipient of the recommendation, what qualities or qualifications does the recommendee wish to highlight. One you have these details, make an effort to give a little more than what is requested if you believe this recommendee is worth that.
  4. The form–If it is a recommendation form, be honest but not brutal. Be fair. For instance, if you had a particular unfortunate issue with a recommendee, examine your perspective of that issue before you check a box against them. Do you believe that this unfortunate issue will continue and could potentially cause problems, was it something that only happened once or twice, are you certain that your perspective of the issue is accurate, etc. Always fill out the comment section. If when you read the form you determine that honest answers will not be in the best interest of the recommendee, talk to the recommendee. If you feel it would be appropriate, explain why it would be best for you to not complete this form for them. You may also choose to find a shorter, less revealing way to decline completing this form. Not completing the form is a better choice that completing a recommendation for that will have a negative slant. Make certain you let the recommendee know your decision as soon as possible to allow them to find another person to complete the form if possible.
  5. Talk about it–once you have completed the recommendation, feel free to have a discussion with the recommendee about what you’ve written. This could be a meaningful opportunity to verbally reinforce how much you value the recommendee and the talents and experience they have demonstrated to you. Try not to turn this into a coaching session–if this is necessary, please do this at another time. This need not be a long talk, just a couple of words of thanks or encouragement would be very appropriate.
  6. Moving on–if you are the current supervisor of an employee who is wishing to move on from a position and he or she requests a recommendation from you, please try to be supportive if possible. Very few employees stick in the same position for more than a few years anymore, and they deserve an opportunity to move up or move along to help fulfill their personal and professional goals. This can be a difficult conversation for both the employee and employer, but maintaining a positive frame of the conversation from both individuals is critical. After all, you are only being asked for a recommendation. He or she may not get the job, and you will most likely continue working together from here on for quite a while. Try to keep the conversation as positive and comfortable as possible.
  7. Social Networks–primarily LinkedIn, are a great place to exchange recommendations. Please take these recommendations as seriously as any recommendations you write. Many prospective  employers actually do read these, and they do help shape decisions. About social networks and why recommendations on LinkedIn matter: It’s not a bad idea to work on branding yourself as a valuable cutting-edge professional on social networks. In this generation, it is common for prospective employers to search for you online to see what you’re all about “virtually.” LinkedIn, blogs, Facebook, Twitter are all social tools that can help shape a professional’s online brand. Your recommendation speaking to that brand is an effective way of supporting an employee, friend or colleague you value.

A SMALL WORD ON DAMAGE CONTROL

 

Be the messenger

 

 

Be the messenger. If you are the source of the leak, you have a better advantage in framing it, controling content and reducing the overall sting. The main objective: reduce the impact of the message. Make it common and therefore not so newsworthy. Also, Comment on reports of the message often. Correct misinformation and continue to control the content and frame. Chances are, the gossip wil fizzle out before it gets its wings. And if it takes flight despite your efforts, you’ll be a few steps ahead, piloting the plane and plotting a safe landing.

The real damage begins when you are not prepared for the gossip, you didn’t predict possible pitfalls, and you’re left playing catch-up to the rumors after they began spreading. This leaves you in a position of reacting, which makes it difficult to keep a cool strategic head. The likelyhood of ever being able to gain control of the situation when it starts like this is slim to none.

Lastly, try to have eyes and ears everywhere. Know who you can trust, and always report mishaps rapidly upstream. While reputations can usually be rebuilt and public trust reestablished, it’s better to not be in that position at all if possible.

A solid communications plan addressing damage control will help you and/or your company predict potential risks of damage and allow you and your team to rapidly unfold a well-plotted damage control plan vs. reacting at every turn in fear and uncertainty.

Want to know about events and Tampa Bay greatness?

Check out Brand Tampa: www.brandtampa.com and say hi to Julia Gorzka, founder of Brand Tampa.

Say hi to Julia Gorzka, founder of Brand Tampa

Daphne’s List of 7 (Part 3): Social Media Communication Etiquette–Be nice!

Daphne’s List of Seven: Social Media Communications Etiquette

1. Do not spam:

a) If you said it once, take your time before saying it again, and please at least reframe it so that you’re speaking differently, perhaps to a different audience.
b) Even if your information is marvelously different and compelling, please don’t keep posting it within a short period of time. Give your audience time to read your content, absorb it and think about it before you provide your next eight great bits of wisdom. Use a blog to post lots of content often vs. mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.

2. Do not have an agenda to arbitrarily build your friends or followers on social networks. Specifically, please do not send friend requests to individuals you do not know and whom you have not had a meaningful interaction on the web or in person.

3. Communicate:

a) Build a two-way dialogue on-line with as many of your on-line friends and followers as possible. This is about networking and communicating. Ask questions, respond to other’s questions and ideas, and please take the time to personally respond to direct messages and postings directed specifically to you as your time allows.
b) As you mind-cast or post compelling content, think of ways to engage your followers with this content. What are some ways to entice them to interact with you and your content?

4. Be friendly and polite:

a) Even if your postings are all about business, it’s okay to reach out to people and comment on things related to life and society. Think of this as hot sauce, and use it to personal taste. Some people like it hot and others just want a little flavor. I’m just recommend that you avoid bland. People want to see that there’s a person behind the great content.
b) Sometimes, some people can be rude. Please don’t be one of them. Being polite is a direct reflection on your character and the image of your business (if you’re representing one). Respond with please and thank you (or Plse & Thx), respond to people who are communicating with you, give credit to other people for their great ideas and repost their great ideas.

5. Keep your cool:

a) Don’t let someone on-line get under your skin, and if this is unavoidable, please do not let it show on-line. Step away and respond with a cool head.
b) Please avoid personal attacks. Honestly, this just reflects poorly on your image.

6. Think of ways to increase transparency:

a) Transparency is more than a buzz word, it’s a way for people to get to know you and your company (if you represent one) and increase trust.
b) Ways to do this include, admitting if you make a mistake and posting a correction, posting links to reports on measurable objectives and outcomes (if you have them), inviting followers and friends to ask questions about products and services and your business in general, etc.

7. Have fun and get excited!:

a) If you have fun and get excited, it shows, and it’s contagious.
b) You will attract more people to you with your positivity, excitement and fun-loving nature.
c) Most importantly, it’s fun to have fun!

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