Monday, September 24, 2012

Ma Bell Got The Ill Communication

Is social media bullshit? 

I've had some days when I've wondered about that myself. With audiences that include people who still don't know how to turn on their smartphone sitting next to people who have jailbroken their iPhones and used them to tether their WiFi, it can be a nightmare to serve all during a presentation.

In many ways, today’s social media training could be compared to telephone training. You wouldn’t pay a consultant to come in and teach you how to operate your phone…a manual can do that. What you need is someone who understands the way people use the phone to communicate so that your staff may best use its features to make the tool more effective for your business. Scripting and strategy work goes a long way. This is not the time to ask how to transfer calls. You want your staff to know how to answer the phone, the expected protocol, and how to handle common problems.

Unfortunately, too often, people get stuck in the tool and can't get their head around the strategy for using that tool.

How much thought did you put into making your voicemail message? When is the last time you learned a new tip for using your telephone for business? Maybe instead of a telephone, social media training is like PR training. You need to prepare for one voice to reach many people – whether by video, audio, or text.

I’ve been reading the book, Social Media Is Bullshit. Admittedly, the title got my attention and with so much hype around social, I wanted to check out the author’s thoughts. I mean, I am a social media consultant…this could mean my livelihood, right?

Guess what? I love the book.

People put too much importance around the wrong things: Increasing follower counts, adding likes, and other superficial metrics. You wouldn’t try to measure how many people you could get to call your business phone number…but what happened as a result of that call might be worth measuring.

B.J. Mendelson challenges the authority of the likes of Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, Brian Solis and other popular social/PR big cheeses. He asserts that these guys work to preserve their livelihoods at the expense of providing anything of real value to the people who buy what they’re selling.

How are you adding value to your customers/clients/members? Focus on that today. I know I am.  

Ultimately, it all comes down to the same thing. You need to have a solid product and services before all else. If you don’t have that, you are misplacing priorities. Even if you hire me for social media strategy, you still need to focus on the basics. That should never change. You still need to build real relationships with your customers or members. Relationships that are not dependent on whether or not they are influencers. 

So, is social media bullshit? Only if you're focusing on it at the expense of your basic services. 

What do you think?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Like Playing Piano

When I was growing up I took piano lessons. Each week I would clutch my latest Bastien or Alfred's piano instruction book and march into my lesson while my mother met with her best friend over coffee. The ritual was soothing, mechanical, something I could rely on.

When I returned home, I'd go to the sunken living room with gold shag carpeting, and sit at the old antique upright piano and play. Rarely did I study the drills. Mostly I played the songs we were studying over and over and over. My goal was to get to the point where I could play the entire piece with my eyes closed, my hands automatic in their tempo and notes played.

Like the rocking of a rocking chair, playing the piano brought comfort in its regularity and fulfillment of expectations. It did what I expected it to do.

People like having some semblance of control in their lives.

What can you do to bring a sense of regularity to your own life? As we ease into the weekend, maybe you should try making a "to don't" list rather than a "to do" list. Can you stay away from social media for a day and spend more time with your family or a neighbor? Maybe you can add a walk to your day that is for pleasure and not fulfillment of your duty to exercise. Have you tried just sitting still long enough to listen to music and savor the sounds and process the way you react to those sounds?

My daughter has been practicing spelling her name. Over and over again she spells it on the backs of menus, on her drawings at school, and she takes pride in being able to spell it faster and faster and faster. Even with her eyes closed.

Don't forget to take the time to enjoy the feeling of cool air on your face as you fly to reach the stars. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Feed Your Head (Five For the Ladies)

Inspiration comes in many forms. In today's post I want to share some of the people, blogs, books, and music inspiring me lately. From PR to Pop!, this is what's feeding my head and what you just might want to feed yours.

I also wanted to target this post for women specifically because a lot of what I'm reading, learning, and investing time in happens to be female-focused right now. Once you take a look-see through my list, I think you'll figure out what I mean...

1. Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts - Look, I know it's a kinky name with all its implications, but after every woman seems to have read Fifty Shades this year, I feel I can share this book suggestion with you. Truth is, another inspiration on my list this week first told me about this book and as a result I have been embracing my pride and power as a woman more and more every day.

But Mama Gena is the focus here - not the book. The book is your primer to what Mama Gena is all about and a lesson in how to take back your power. It's an invigorating reminder to embrace life and bring everyone along with you as you live your life with passion!

Her blog is fun. There is a lot of talk about vulvas and vaginas (you'll adapt after blushing) and I signed up for her newsletter and daily messages she calls, "The Daily Fluff."

Fun. Positive. Powerful.

Check it out.

2. FitCyn - Cynthia D'Amour has been a longtime friend, mentor, and inspiration for me. She's creative and smart and driven and not a soul who knows her would dare disagree. I first met her when I joined the association community and became more involved with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).

Over the past couple of years she's evolved from pursuing a healthier life for herself to sharing her weight loss journey with everyone online and people are eating it up! (Hey, no calories in brain food, right?) And her success is not only physically visible, but you can feel her positive energy radiating out...that's the kind of thing that just invites success to your life.

She's posting regular videos to her blog, many times without wearing a stitch of makeup after her workout (did I mention she's daring, too?), and she's developing a devoted community on her FitCyn Facebook Group. I watch her videos and love this woman for sharing so much of her life - struggles and success - and her willingness to reach down and pull the next person up the mountain with her.

3. Real Jazz station on Sirius XM - What does one listen to when she's busy being happy and making a purposeful decision to transform her life into what she wants it to be?

I was struggling with finding the right kind of music to allow for my happy thoughts and my creative thinking while writing and working throughout the day.

It needed to be upbeat. It needed to be mostly instrumental. It needed to inspire the kind of thoughts and activity that I was aiming for.

Enter: Real Jazz.

As a longtime lover of jazz, finding a place for jazz in my life on a regular basis shouldn't have been a surprise, but it was! I'd been listening to a lot of alternative and chill music...not so  much jazz.

Finding the right kind of soundtrack might just be what you need to do to put a little extra spring in your step!

4. Adele Cehrs - One of the most fun, authentic, beautiful people I've ever met; Adele is blessed with business acumen and a power in PR. In fact, she owns Epic PR and is regularly paid to speak on public relations topics with a natural talent for being in front of people.

She gave me invaluable business advice after starting my own company, Amplified Growth, and told me about the awesome show, The Pitch.

We are speaking together at the upcoming ASAE Great Ideas Conference next spring on the topic of big ideas and how to know if you've got a dud or a winner...yes, we are going to make this a really special session and I can't wait! You can follow Adele on Twitter @EpicPRGroupDC.

5. Sam Horn and Pop! - Strong women will introduce you to other strong women. After I missed the chance to see Sam Horn in person at ASAE Annual this year, Adele (see #4 above) suggested I pick up Sam's book, Pop. Adele and I now practically have our own little Sam Horn book club and I've purchased more of her titles.

Sam's advice stands out because she makes it actionable. Super actionable. It's almost as good as if she did it all for you.

There you go! I have more stuff that's lighting my fire lately, but those are the top five for this week. What about you? What's working for you? Got any suggestions for me to check out? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What's Holding You Back?

If you are reading this, you are lucky.

How do I know that? You have access to a computer. You are educated enough to use it. You are literate. 

According to the demographics of my blog's readers, you are most likely employed and have a relatively comfortable income. 

But I bet you're looking for more in your life.

I'm lucky. I'm surrounded by amazing, talented people I can call friends. Individually they are each strong, inspiring, and powerful. They make me stronger by association.

I'm educated. I'm making money. I'm a wife. I'm a mom. 

I've got what a lot of people want. 

But I want more. 

I want accomplishment. I want recognition. I want to achieve greatness doing something I am passionate about. 

This week's Association Chat prompt was, "What's Holding You Back?" The discussion fired up a lot of internal questions for me and seemed to do the same for other participants. 

I asked participants to focus on their own goals and skills for the chat and to consider their desires. Moving in the direction of one's desires, intentions has been a focus for me lately and people who want to move ahead should probably make it their focus, as well. Examine that life! Challenge your comfort zone! Get real with yourself!

Please check out the entire discussion we had on Association Chat and post your comments here on what you are doing to achieve your goals in your career. Do you have tips? Have you figured out a process for creating abundance in your life that works for you? Please share! It's good karma and besides, it could bring you closer to your own goals without you knowing why or how. 

Ain't life grand?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Embrace the Unorthodox! KiKi's Interview with Jeff De Cagna, Author of Associations Unorthodox

Last week I sat down with the always provocative Jeff De Cagna about his new book, Associations Unorthodox: Six Really Radical Shifts Toward the Future.

What I love about Jeff is his candor and clarity. The guy just knows how to take ideas apart and play with them like no one else! I'm envious at how well he does this and every time I talk with him I come away a little wiser. You'll be wiser, too, for watching this interview!

I ask Jeff five questions about his e-book and if the association world listens to his answers, we'll see a pretty radical shift in the association landscape, indeed. Watch on!

  By the way, I just love this guy! Please be sure to check out his book and let me know what you think about the ideas we discuss in this interview. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Head's Up! The Awesome Is Back.

Many of you may be asking yourselves about this blog.

What's happening with it? 
Where are the regular updates? 
What's shaking in KiKi's world? 
Where is the blog bliss we long for?

I know, I know. You can dry your tears because change is a comin'. 

This week's blog will feature:
  • An awesome video interview with the always thought-provoking and unequaled Jeff De Cagna about his noteworthy e-book, Associations Unorthodox: Six Really Radical Shifts Toward the Future
  • Words of wisdom from Association Chat, just in case you haven't attended any of these chats lately, I'll give you the skinny on what you've been missing!
  • Blogs that are rocking my world lately: 6 Blogs That Are Changing My Life (for real - no joke)
  • My Methods for Fighting Past Fear of the Ridiculous (and how that's made me who I am)
  • My Upcoming Speaking Engagements and What I'm Changing About My Speaking Style to Make the Message Stick

How's that for awesome? 

You'll notice some trends, too. I'm in the midst of a deep dive investigation of what it is that truly lights my fire. My passion. My moxie. 

I didn't plan on this quest. It just sorta happened right after I went through a mid-life crisis/question of what I'm doing in this world.

But far be it from me to ever hold back on sharing what I'm learning from my own experience on this glorious spinning blue and white thing we call Earth. I've been quiet for a few months, but the time has come to move forward and bring you with me.

I'm ba-ack. And I'm ready for action.

I look forward to sharing this week's posts with you along with tales from my own mixed up, crazy, fun, and occasionally gut-wrenching journey. 

Have a great week and see you soon!