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Posts Tagged ‘business’

The Art of Following Up

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Annoying calls, relentless emails. They just won’t stop following up. Another sales rep trying to close the deal, another recent college grad looking for a job. Another person who wants time that you don’t have to give.

So, we ask ourselves does following up really accomplish anything? Or does it just make potential buyers more annoyed and the reporters we’re pitching less likely to pick up a story that they’re tired of hearing about?

Truthfully, following up is essential and effective when done tactfully, but only then. Have you ever been in a personnel hiring crunch and the right person just happened to follow up? There may have been 20 other qualified candidates in the stack of resumes on your desk, but the one who made it easier for you to schedule their interview got the job. You just saved hours of sifting through resumes.

Maybe you’re a news producer trying to fill your evening news slots. You have 50 segment pitches in your inbox, but you don’t have time to read all of those. It’s the person who follows up that gets a spot, because they accelerated the process for you.

That’s the key –– make following up beneficial for all parties by simplifying the process for the person you’re trying to persuade. If they need what you’re trying to sell, then it won’t be annoying, it will be helpful. If you know they won’t be interested in what you’re trying to pitch, then have some tact and lay off. You’re not only wasting their time, you’re wasting your own time too.

A strategic follow up will create opportunities, while an irritating one will inhibit them.

Avoid the business buzzword bandwagon.

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

It seems like at the beginning of every year, you begin to hear particular words primarily in business, and then suddenly you start to hear those words in seemingly every conversation.

So far in 2017, the most overused word seems to be ‘pivot’; think about how many times you have heard this in meetings, in casual conversation, in national news ? What did we use before ‘pivot’? ‘shift’, ‘another direction’ or any other synonym. It seems to be a phenomenon that keeps going on. Like when Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg coined the term ‘leaning in’ and then suddenly everyone in business is using it.

The overuse of business buzzwords is so popular, that The Wall Street Journal created a tool for it – the Business Buzzword Generator. The tool actually generates and shares custom-built meaningless business phrases using overused business buzzwords. Some Business Buzzword Generator words include ‘cutting-edge’ ‘out-of-the-box’ ‘traction’ and ‘collaboration’.

The consistent uses of these bandwagon words are not flattering or advantageous for business professionals. It gives the impression of being insincere and unoriginal with a limited vocabulary. The overuse of these words can also saturate their meaning and influence. If everyone is ‘pivoting’ and everything is ‘cutting-edge’, it detracts from the impact of the word when used appropriately.

If you find yourself using these buzzwords regularly, try visiting and learning some new synonyms to add to your vocabulary – your employees and business associates will be grateful.

The Sharing Economy

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

The sharing economy, also referred to as the peer economy, is where owners rent out something they are not using such as their car, residence, etc. to a stranger. This start-up mentality allows owners to earn extra income and help interested people get what they need and perhaps save money. For example, when searching for a hotel in New York City for the first weekend of May, the average price is $312; the average cost for a room in New York the same weekend on Airbnb is $139. As the cost of living continues to rise and our economy becomes more focused on sustainability, this is becoming a significant disruption to the traditional sectors of transportation, hospitality – even the fashion industry – with sites like threadflip.

The traditional economy is changing and established powerful brands and corporations are facing the unlikely and unexpected competition. Car manufacturers, department stores and consumer packaged good brands have had to reassess their business models to better reflect the changing options and consumer choices. While it might just seem like renting a bike and reusing your coffee mug – the sharing economy lends itself to countless industries needing to follow fluctuating consumer priorities. Public relations and marketing teams need to help their companies and clients from an external perspective, to make sure messaging, and business development, meets consumer preference and demand.

Ann Keeling says:

There are options in the market that ten years ago or even three years ago, no one would have imagined. Truly anyone can be in the business of renting their assets – big brands are now competing with anyone from another big company to many individuals trying to make a buck.

A Crisis Colored Carolina Blue

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

The University of North Carolina has found itself in the midst of scandal, with the NCAA reporting that the university allowed for potentially more than 3,000 accounts of academic fraud. Half of the incidents were largely driven by the need to keep athletes academically eligible to play.

As one of the top institutions, both academically and athletically, the university is trying to manage fallout as the scandal continues to climb. UNC is spending nearly $800,000 with public relations firm Edelman who has a team of 14 employees working to help the school with the scandal and other communication efforts.

UNC has been working with Edelman since May. Although we can commend them for having a slight buffer in advance of the NCAA disclosure, the university took action in 2011 to eliminate the no-show paper courses from their curriculum. And that is when a public relations team should have received a call to start crisis management.

Every hour of every day, PR teams are planning for crisis or managing a crisis. Every organization is vulnerable to such scenarios. Even if things appear to be “sailing smoothly” for your business, smart and responsible businesses have a plan on hand in the event of a crisis.  It’s always better to be over-prepared, than keeping your finger’s crossed.

Ann Keeling says:

Preparing a crisis communications plan can be time consuming, expensive and in some cases, painful.  However the alternative of not having a crisis communications plan at the ready include implications like:  irreparable damage to your reputation, degradation of trust, loss of business/clients, loss of employees and could ultimately be the end to your business.  Think of it as diet and exercise for your business’s long-term health.

“Yes, I Said No.”

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

It’s time to put on the tough layer of skin and lay down the law. The key to your business success can be as easy as one word – “No.”

Wharton professor and author, Adam Grant, tells professionals: “Limiting your commitments is the only route to excellence.” Typically, we would cue a sigh of relief…but professionals at every level are not taking the advice to heart.

Success has been built on a habit of saying, “yes” to any opportunity that arises.  However, saying yes to too many opportunities, too many projects, and too many people is a recipe for disaster. The challenge is knowing when and how to say no – and Grant is just one of thousands of business consultants who hammer this advice to professionals over and over again.

Saying no is not very easy for most people and is associated with negative characteristics such as lack of commitment, negativity, and selfishness. It’s not surprising that we have built a reflexive habit of saying “yes.” Even when we do build up the strength to say “no,” it more often than not, turns into a yes. A customer argues, a friend begs; a no – turns to a maybe – then to yes. Don’t let being nice cause challenges in the workplace. You can say no, without damaging relationships or acting like a jerk.

When individuals are able to separate the personal from the professional, “no” becomes much easier to say in the name of business. Concentrate on the business component of the request. There might be clear barriers or unrealistic expectations that can be clearly and quickly explained. That said, short and to the point is a must. Don’t try to distort the message by making your rejection a monologue with a winding explanation. More often than not, your colleague won’t know what you said and you’ll have to explain again. Providing a realistic answer can help curb the typical sentiment of a no answer (anger and unhappiness), and make you feel better. Practice ahead of time, because you don’t want to have to say no twice – or end up saying yes, agreeing to something you wish you hadn’t.

There are certain scenarios where no is the ONLY option. They may seem obvious, but people still manage to get themselves into trouble by thinking they will be able to sort out the situations. Once you have mastered the realities of when you have to say no, you’ll be much more comfortable saying no in the future. Learning when to say no is a necessary skill to build your personal and corporate success, and a balanced life.