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Skill #3 Communication Management.

Skill #3 Communication Management.

Did you know how you manage your communications can affect your mental health?

 

Once long ago, in a land far, far, away, people lived in a simpler world.  There were only 3 TV networks, one or two daily newspapers in your city, and there was only one telephone on a little table in the entrance hall to your home. News broadcasts were two or three times a day, only lasting about 30 minutes including weather, sports, and financial markets.  Who needed something like Communication Management?

 

Fast forward to 2018.

 

Today there is an almost endless list of ways to learn what’s going on and to stay in touch.

  1. 24 hour Cable News channels
  2. Newspapers, both print and online.
  3. Cell phones
  4. Text Messages
  5. Email
  6. Facebook
  7. LinkedIn
  8. Google +
  9. Twitter
  10. Blogs
  11. Podcasts
  12. Instagram
  13. Reddit
  14. Skype
  15. You Tube

And on, and on.

Communication is a necessary part of all our lives and, it’s a highly valued skill.   But, you can have too much or too little.  A 2013 Yankelovich study found the average consumer is bombarded with 5,000 messages a day.  5,000!  On average, the human brain is only able to process 5 to 7 bits of information at one time. Trying to stay up with all the sources available to you can cause stress and feelings of being overwhelmed.

So what happens when your brain receives too much information? Well, a recent Temple University study cited in an article in Entrepreneur Magazine ( http://bit.ly/2qcbl6x ), says when your input reaches the overload level, your prefrontal cortex simply shuts down. In essence, you are unable to make rational decisions past that point.  Keep that up over time, and your mental health suffers as your anxiety levels go through the roof.

Yet the reverse, cutting yourself off from the outside world causes anxiety and stress as well.

 

So, What’s the Answer?

 

Unfortunately, this is something you have to figure out for yourself.   This is a recent phenomenon and one that is not being addressed in our education system.

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Only review emails once or twice a day. Pick times in the morning or afternoon that suit your schedule.  Then shut down your email services outside of those times.  This is what I do.
  2. To the extent you can, do the same with phone calls and text messages.  Let incoming calls go to voicemail, then bunch your return calls around the same time each day.  As long as you answer calls and texts the same day they are received, most customers and clients are OK with this.
  3. Limit your news input.  Pick two or three TV news shows and online/print newspapers and let that be it. Review those sources once or twice a day. You won’t miss anything.  In the current news climate, there is a constant, microscopic, never-ending, examination of every event down to who got a parking ticket. It’s almost never one and done.

The point here is for you to put yourself in control of your life by managing how and with whom you communicate. Narrow your focus to those topics that are important to you.  I doubt if you really care if the Volga River floods the town of Astrakhan.  The big plus here too is the amount of time you free up to be doing more productive things.

So pick your sources, limit your exposure, and let the rest of the world go by.

 

12 Skills You Need to Succeed

12 Skills You Need to Succeed

The 4th Industrial Revolution is upon us!

 
Traditional jobs are disappearing. Futurist Thomas Frey predicts 47% of current jobs will disappear by 2030 ( http://bit.ly/2w4whhN ). The workforce is shifting toward the predominance of the Entrepreneur and Freelancer.
 
Forbes Magazine has recently predicted 50% of the U.S. Labor force will be Freelancers by the year 2020. That shift won’t stop there.
 
I recently created a series of posts on the 10 critical skills employers will be looking for as these disruptive trends continue ( http://bit.ly/2v8mXJm ). If we are truly headed toward a workforce consisting of Freelancers, (full disclosure, I am already there) then most of us, myself included, have a lot of studying to do to acquire these skills.
 
Being a Freelancer is a lot of fun. I have found it’s not really a job, it’s a calling. The body of human knowledge continues to grow at an ever-increasing rate. Current estimates are that it now doubles every 13 months. IBM predicts before long knowledge will double every 12 minutes. As Freelancers, we will be challenged to absorb new information at an ever-increasing rate. To accomplish this, we must learn how to manage ourselves better.
 

How are we going to do that?

 
It turns out our old friend, Thomas Frey, has just released a new post ( http://bit.ly/2yFqvos ). In it, he details the 12 self-management skills we all need to develop to be successful in this brave new world.
 
Here they are:
1. Distraction Management – How many times a day do you check your phone? Social Media? Email?
2. Emerging Skills Management – What new skills will you need to acquire to do your job?
3. Communication Management – What sources do you use to collect information?
4. Reputation Management – As Freelancing becomes the predominant profession, how will you promote yourself
5. Privacy Management – How transparent can you afford to be in the future
6. Information Management – How will you manage your personal information inputs and outputs.
7. Opportunity Management – What will your specialty be? Highly specialized Freelancers can charge higher fees.
8. Technology Management – New tools are coming into existence every day. Which ones will be the most valuable to you?
9. Relationship Management – Social media has changed the very nature of personal relationships. How will you handle this?
10. Legacy Management – This life is so dangerous; no one gets out alive. How do you want to be remembered?
11. Money Management – As we become Freelancers, management of our finances becomes more critical than ever.
12. Time Management – We only get so much. How will you spend it?
 
Over the next few weeks, I will be discussing each of these topics in depth. I will also explore why they are important, and how you can improve your mastery of each skill.
Social Styles 4-Learning About the Analytical

Social Styles 4-Learning About the Analytical

Why are Social styles important?

 

This is the 4th post in the series on Social Styles.  In my previous posts,  we discussed how essential understanding these styles is to building trust with prospects, customers, clients, employees, and partners.  Your success depends on these relationships.

Today I want to discuss the Analytical Social Style.

 

What is the Analytical Social Style?

 

The Analytical Social style is the most easily described and may be the most misunderstood of all the styles.  Think of a scientist, an engineer, or an accountant.

 

Analyticals are totally task focused and will ask a lot of questions.  They are fact gatherers and number crunchers.  They want to make sure they have all the information before they make a decision.  This tendency sometimes makes them seem indecisive because there is always more to know.

 

They are reserved. Their speech is proper, formal and deliberate.  They make few gestures.  They are good listeners.

 

They take the time to develop personal relationships.

 

They are excellent planners and organizers.

 

Analytical tend to move slowly and with precision. They tend to think the process of reaching a decision is as important as the decision itself.

 

Their goals are making the right decision in the right way. They want to enhance their reputation as a technical expert.

 

If you try to move them too quickly, it will make them very uncomfortable and may damage the relationship.

 

Analyticals have much in common with Drivers and Amiables. As you can see from the grid, they are diametrically opposed to Expressives.

 

What is dialogue with an  Analytical like?

 

Analyticals love slow, orderly, fact-filled presentations.  Here’s what you can expect:

  1. They expect you to be prepared
  2. Ask detailed fact-oriented questions
  3. Stay focused on the topic
  4. They want flexibility. Give them time to consider alternatives to what you present.
  5. Give them facts supported by data.
  6. Listen carefully and take notes. Give them time to finish and ask follow up questions.
  7. Offer confirmation of what you bring to the relationship.

 

How do you approach an Analytical?

 

Approaching an Analytical may seem difficult as they often appear remote.  But,  doing a little homework will smooth the way.

  1. Do some research before you go. Find out as much about their situation as you can.
  2. Don’t engage in a lot of small talk in the beginning.
  3. Adopt a predictable, slow, task oriented approach
  4. When you make a proposal, try to make sure it aligns with their current belief
  5. Support your proposals with a lot of facts and figures.  The more data the better.
  6. Try to state your opinions in the form of a question, “What are your thoughts about X?”

 

In Conclusion

 

As business owners, you will be dealing with all these Social Styles.  Understanding the ways to engage them will deliver amazing results in the form of profits on your bottom line.

 

Note:  The material in this blog was developed from information featured in “The Social Styles Handbook” To find out more, please click on the link below to order Larry Wilson’s great book

(Full disclosure, I am a Powell’s affiliate)

 

 

The Social Styles Handbook: Adapt Your Style to Win Trust
by Wilson Learning LibraryTrade Paperback
Powells.com
Here’s 5 Ways You Can Build Your Brand

Here’s 5 Ways You Can Build Your Brand

You’ve started a business.  Now your challenge is to build your brand to attract new customers.  Here is a great post by Annetta Powell that tells you how.

5 Effective Brand Building Strategies to Attract Customers

IN MARKETING|BY ANNETTA POWELL

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Brand building is an integral aspect of personal and business development. It not only increases the voice and consumer awareness of a brand, but it also gives it an identity and worth.  The advent of participatory and interactive platforms has given many businesses the chance to enhance brand awareness and equity. If you have been thinking of building a personal or business brand,  then it is important for you to know that brand building takes a great deal of time and resources.  In the section that follows, we shall define brand building and also look at different types of brands and the steps to create a successful brand.

What Is Brand Building?

There is no one definition that actually captures the essence of brand buildingin its entirety.  Many people think that brand building is all about communicating and exposing your brand. That is just one side of it. The best way we can define it is that it is a process of creating value to consumers.  It encompasses all things that consumers know, feel, and experience about your business in its entirety.

Having defined brand building, we shall now look at 3 popular types of brands and what they stand for.

  • Service brand- this brand is built on knowledge, culture, and experience that one has with the service delivering agency/company/people. Think of Geek Squad or Molly Maid.
  • Retail brand- this brand is built on a mixture of products and service experience. Think of Chick-fil-a, Kroger, or KFC
  • Product brand- is built on the experience that one has with a specific product. Think of Nike, Ford, or Sony.

Having looked at the 3 popular types of brands, we shall now proceed to look at steps involved in brand building.

1.) Define Your Brand

The first stage in brand building is defining your brand. This is a very critical step as it ultimately determines what your brand truly stands for. When defining your business brand, you should create a checklist of its core strengths. Similarly, if you’re defining a personal brand, you should look at the skills and expertise that you possess especially those which stand out. On the same token, you also need to know what your brand stands for and what is important for your brand (brand values). Your values should in one way or another show that you are contributing to environmental, social, and economic well-being of consumers. You may not realize some of these important aspects of brand building immediately, until you look at them objectively.

2.) Differentiate and Position Your Brand

Before embarking on brand building, you have to take time to differentiate it so that you can attract attention and stand out from competitors.  To differentiate your brand, you have to create a unique advantage in the mind of consumers not merely getting attention by brand building colors or logos or other superficial elements. Once you come up with a unique value proposition, you should use a good branding strategy to position your brand in a way that will help consumers see and appreciate the greater value of your brand over competing ones in the market.

3) Build and Expose your Brand

As I indicated earlier, brand building is not a one off thing. Building a unique and powerful personal or business brand takes time and consistency.     To build your personal brand, you have to keep reinforcing your values and skills by taking up new roles and assignments that will give you more exposure.  Alternatively, you can use promotional channels, blogs, forums, and social media (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) to create a voice for your personal or business brand.

When building your brand, you should also endeavor to develop brand personality (what people know, think, and say about you). This is what drives or motivates people to identify with and engage with your brand.  The truth is; if you execute your brand building strategies consistently, then you will easily establish a pattern that will forever be associated with your brand name.

4.) Personalize your Brand

If you want your brand building campaign or brand to be successful, then you have to personalize it. It is important to give your brand an identity. Let consumers see and experience the personality of your brand in its entirety. Look at your brand as something that a consumer wants to identify with pretty much as they would with their favorite cars, cellphones, or computers.

As you engage in brand building, you should also invite customers to be co-creators of brand values so that they can feel that they also own it and relate with it.  Top brands encourage consumer-brand interaction by personalizing products to meet the needs and preferences of consumers.  When you personalize your brand, you give consumers reason to participate and engage with your brand for a lifetime.

5.) Review Your Brand

Your brand is not static; it will go through a range of motions in its lifetime. Depending on your brand strategies, your brand will either grow in strength, or remain dormant, or recede with time. In the brand cycle, new events, changes, and circumstances bring challenges and opportunities to enhance the value of your brand or re-establish it. All these possibilities should give you the impetus to take charge of your brand building activities.

As your brand name grows, so do the responsibilities and expectations to continue with brand building.  The best way of ensuring brand growth is reviewing your activities and evaluating your successes through metrics such as levels of brand awareness and levels of engagements. Regular reviews will help you seize and exploit new opportunities while upholding your commitment to remain true to your vision and brand strategy. It will also help you steer your brand in the right direction and keep it relevant as you move into the future.

As you can see, brand building is not a one off thing. You have to define your brand, differentiate, present it, and review what your brand stands for from time to time. It is very important to be clear about your branding strategies and how you’re going to implement them.  You should also adopt brand strategies that will add value to your consumers and help them develop the right impression of your company and what it truly stands for.

 

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Annetta Powell

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