Blog Archives

Latest Reads: Week of March 26

Image Courtesy of fracasnoir.com

Image Courtesy of fracasnoir.com

What a beautiful weekend! I had a great time visiting with old friends and colleagues, and seeing family in Kansas City! Now, it’s Monday and back to reality. To help make your morning coffee a little easy breezy, here a few of my favorite reads from the past week. [Sorry apparently this didn’t publish this morning, #fail]

Pinterest Updates Privacy Policy, Terms of Service (via Mashable)
As you’ve probably heard, Pinterest is updating its TOS and Privacy Policy. So what does this mean? Well, my quick translation is: “Dear Pinterest users, we’re trying to make life simple, so (a) we’re not trying to make money off you, (b) you need to keep it Twilight PG-13, (c) you can pin all your secrets privately, and oh, by the way, we’re up the API soon! Yay! Sincerely, your favorite time-suck, Pinterest.” 

The Rise Of The Explainer Video (by TechCrunch)
Overview videos are a great way to share your visual/audio elevator speech! If you can’t explain how your product works in a brief video, you have bigger problems. Also, we spend a lot of time talking around things, but overview videos give you a step-by-step look at how something works, making it immediately actionable. Who doesn’t want that? 

Clever App Finally Cracks the Code for Facebook Dating (via Mashable)
If you saw the latest infographic on online dating [Does Online Dating Work], you know that survey results state 27% of couples say they met through mutual friends, and 38% through work or school. So, it may not be a surprise to you that Huffington Post alumni Rob Fishman and Jeff Revesz launched a matchmaking app for Facebook this week designed to help you meet your friends’ single friends. Genius or just creepy? Guess you’ll have to see for yourself!  

Five Ways to Optimize Video for Search Engines (via Entreprenuer)
Search is not dead, even though sometimes we seem to forget about it! Here are some great ways to optimize videos for search engines. These are great tangible and quick tips that really can make a difference in video views. Let me know how it works for you! 

7 Best Interactive YouTube Videos
I love an me an interactive YouTube video! Check out these videos, enjoy and let me know which one is your favorite.

How Tech and Social Media Are Changing Travel [INFOGRAPHIC]
Sticking with the theme to share an infographic each week, here’s this week’s infographic on how social media and technology have changed how to plan for, document and catalog our travels!

Appreciating the Anti-Social Side of Social Media Managers

If you’re taken the Myers-Briggs, what are the ABCs of your personality? Well my results always teeter totter on that first letter of those four letter results. Oddly, the others always remain the same. Today and most days, mine is INTJ – I being for introvert. In more uncomfortable moments, I play chameleon and land on E.

For those of us who do digital and social media for a living, the expectation is that we are, in fact, highly social beings. Business requires us to be extroverts, especially those of us in social business, so where does that leave introverts who need time for themselves and do businesses/companies appreciate the introverts who just need a social time out?

In my Sunday morning TED video binge ritual, I came across Susan Cain’s “The Power of Introverts.” It left me feeling a little empowered, and yet a little frustrated. Empowered because I want the change, and understand that if you want something, you must demand it and have the courage to not just believe but to act. Frustrated because it only stirs up moments of self-doubt and frankly guilt for my need for solitude.

In January, Forbes published an article entitled, “The Secret Power Of Introverts” highlighting Cain’s book – Quiet. I’ve included a video of Cain’s TED talk below. In the video, she talks about the advantages of introverts, the need for us to share our strengths and talents, and the need for a societal shift to appreciate introversion through behavior and action.

Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (TED talk)

Susan concludes her talk with these 3 Call-to-Actions:

1. Stop the madness for constant group work
When I graduated from undergrad, I remember the incessant amounts of group work. Yes, we do need to learn the skills of working together, but we also need to learn to work in solitude. As I get ready to start my MBA, I am fully aware that the program will require LOTS of group work. Ideas are often sparked by interactions, but there is supreme value in autonomy and independence – for introverts and extroverts alike.    

2. Go to the wilderness
I love her call for us to unplug. We live in a constantly connected world. I spend approximately 85+ hours of my week engaging and interacting with people, whether online or offline. So, when it comes time for the weekend, especially Sundays, I need a time out! For years, I felt shame and guilt for my need for solitude. Now, I mainly think, “Screw it! I need me-time.” And that’s perfectly okay.

3. Look inside and share what’s in your suitcase.
Many of us forget to listen to our own voice – find time for reflection and deep thought. We’re running. Running here, running there, running off somewhere. But rarely do we make the time to commit to ourselves. I may not come up with genius or innovative ideas or thoughts that I’ll share with the world, but I believe in process. And hopefully, as I process through those ideas and challenges for my company and our world, I may make some sort of lasting impact. So although I may not open my suitcase to everyone, all at once, we introverts can give little peeks.

And, what about you? Are you an introvert or extrovert? What are your thoughts on Susan Cain’s “Power of Introverts”?

 

More than Coffee Runners: Benefits of Interns

It’s that time of the year again – interns. The funny thing about intern programs is that it’s similar to Hallmark holiday planning – it never ends. This year, I’m co-chairing our office’s internship program. From recruitment to program planning to interviews – it’s a little overwhelming, stressful but oh-so rewarding. Interns bring with them new energy, a yearning to learn, and sometimes a naivety that helps bitter professionals (you know who you are) remember when there were no boundaries.

In a recent Bnet article, Robin Richards, CEO of Internships.com said, “Internships are valuable because they are a powerful means of expanding your social network. Personal connections and relationships are the easiest means to get you on the inside track for employment. With 7 out of 10 internships resulting in employment offers, we can clearly see a strong correlation between personal connections and success in employment.”

I agree with Robin 110%. My first internship is what lead me to my second internship, which landed me my first job – my dream job. So as I reflect on my previous internships and about our new group of incoming interns later this summer, I wanted to share my top 5 reasons internships are beneficial to us as professionals and to organizations as a whole.

1. On the job training … For managers: Interns provide first-time managers a chance to learn how to manage someone’s time, work through personal and personnel challenges and share both positive feedback and constructive criticism. This is a great role for middle managers who may not have direct reports to be better professionals. A successful internship program is one that utilizes the strengths of their interns, and helps the interns explore new skill sets. Interns walk away with a wider network and tangible work experience.

2. Expanding your network – interns and employees: Planning a comprehensive program requires people from different departments. An internship program involves every aspect of the organization and enables people who may not get to work together to plan and execute a collaborative project. For example, I’m co-chairing our program with a co-worker I attended one meeting with a year and a half. For interns, expanding their network is the most important thing they can do. My CORO internship opened up my doors to governmental affairs, non-profit, labor unions, media and communications and business. I continually run into people who were a part of the program or know of the program. It even connected me to my first job. Just one day of presentations, a solid introduction and a follow-up helped me get my foot in the door. You never know when you’ll meet someone who will help you 2,3,5,10 years from now. Every connection counts.

3. Recruitment: Internship programs are a great way to generate awareness and exposure for your company. When launching a program, there’s a lot of promotion that comes into it. From career fair booths, brochures, websites and the wonder of word-of-mouth marketing, internship programs generate awareness for your company and the great work you do.

4. Leadership visibility: I don’t mean coffee runs for your VPs or EVPs. Many times (all the time), our organization’s leaders are slammed. Running from meeting to meeting, and airport to airport. Finding time for our top execs to meet with interns can be time consuming. It’s what they walk away with that is the benefit. One hour to share ideas and remember why they created the organization is inspiring. And interns who have the opportunity to meet with C-suite folks helps them grow as professionals, build a stronger network, and ask questions from our seasoned and influential leaders.

5. Innovation: It’s common for us to get in a rut. New people bring new ideas and push us to learn that “we’ve always done it this way” is not going to pass for an adequate answer. When we talk about bright eyed interns, we say it with a little envy. The truth is – it’s that spark and energy that got us all where we are today. It’s what brings us into work in the morning – and why we are always looking for something new to learn! Interns are a reminder of that feeling – and it’s a reminder for us that we all have it, even if some of us think we might have lost it along the way. Trust me, you haven’t.

And although it’s not a number, it ranks high in each and every one of our key learnings – interns bring fun! Do you have an internship program at your organization or been in a great program yourself? Tell us about what you see the benefits are.

What Happened to Innovation?

Last week, I happened upon a Bloomgberg article spotlighting Merck’s new CEO – Kenneth Frazier. The article was named, Merck New CEO Frazier Vows Innovation, Wider Markets. Of course, you can imagine my intrigue as a pharma marketer and lover and advocate for innovation. So, I read on.

Line after line, I read empty meaning to a word I hold so dear. At the end, all that was left with a slight feeling of resentment. Has “innovation” simply become another buzzword with subjective meaning? My colleague Wendy shared a great post with her thoughts on what innovation requires. At it’s root, innovation is about renewing something existing or introducing something new. Our hope is that this new whatever-it-is will solve a problem, bridge a gap and be a positive change within the organization, company, industry and world.

For the purpose of this blog, innovation is two-fold – how it’s done and then how the story is told. For companies who are truly innovative, there is a specific type of leader, culture and goal. You can feel it when you walk into their office. We know these companies. They’re the Facebooks, Amazons, Apples and Googles of the world. For a full list, check out Fast Company‘s Most Innovative Companies.

As for how you communicate it, my fear is that innovation was inserted into a key message document to perk our ears. It worked, but left me disappointed. As communicators, we need to stop inserting in words that make our clients sound smart, but fall short. Tell us the true story, in their own words. The next time you create a key message matrix, look at it, highlight on the buzzwords, and revise.

Have you seen companies be truly innovative? If so, what are they? Any bad experiences with buzzwords? Please share!