5 Productivity Pitfalls to Avoid in the New Year

Productivity buttonWith a brand new year underway, who doesn’t want to be productive? The calendar has offered us a fresh start and plenty of opportunities for productivity.

Today I took a giant step forward, thanks to the expertise of a friend with great entrepreneurial, Continue reading

Do ‘Old School’ Tactics Have a Place in Business?

Martini cocktail with an oliveIf you have been watching a lot of Mad Men lately, like I have, you may have noticed the differences between work places of the 1960s and now. Beyond the physical contrasts – offices with fluorescent lighting, typewriters, rotary phones and men in suits with narrow ties – there are some more subtle differences. I’ll call them Old School tactics.

There seems to be a whole lot more personal interaction. Do people still have face-to-face meetings? Of course. I’m sure the three-martini lunch lives on somewhere. And, people used the telephone then and now, although the technology is vastly advanced. However, because businessmen couldn’t rely on the speed and instant results that dominate today’s work environment, there was a slower, steadier pace to developing relationships.

And many of us believe that successful relationships are at the core of successful businesses. What makes for a successful relationship? Good communication, pure and simple.

Dealing with one another face-to-face demands a good grasp of verbal communication as well as being able to read someone else’s body language. Some might argue that video-conferencing and Skype have replaced the need to be in the same room with someone, but that plays right into my next point.

Much of business was done on a handshake back when. A handshake that men (and pioneering women) offered as a bond of good faith. Nowadays, I often think we offer our words but not necessarily our integrity. Integrity is Old School, along with handshakes.

Old School also implies patience and good manners. Sometimes I think people rush to be rude or to quickly make a point because today we reward brash, bold, noisy, flashy, trendy, and slick. (Questionable ingredients for good communication, by the way.) Quiet, conservative, classy organizations end up being up-ended and remade. They’re considered outdated, old-fashioned and stodgy.

Mad Men has reminded me of the strengths of Old School – the quiet confidence of someone who knows what he or she is doing, of companies that stand firmly by their longtime values no matter what the newly-sliced-bread-crowd is hawking. I believe in the sincerity of sketching an idea on paper or scribbling a concept onto the back of a piece of cardboard.

Don’t get me wrong. I think innovation is fantastic and trends are fascinating. The internet, social media, and mobile everything creates excitement and new opportunities for millions. I’m not against a new way of looking at the world, but do we have to sacrifice what has worked in the past as part of the process?

Those old days were not perfect. Far from it, especially for women in the workplace. But look me in the eye, shake my hand and build a relationship with me that is not only based on Twitter, Facebook or another form of media. Does that still have a place in today’s business environment? I sure hope so.

What is Tripping Up Your Message? Or Are You Just Dumbing Down?

b17dario128-cropped.jpgLet’s be clear about being clear – just like first impressions, you rarely get a second chance to get your message across once someone has tuned out or turned off. These days we have approximately 3 – 10 seconds before that happens. Communication is a blend of art and science: concise and precise. Your writing and messaging shouldn’t look or sound like hieroglyphics. Continue reading

Do You Fan Brands on Facebook Because Your Friends Asked?

Screen Shot for Facebook Fan Page for becoming a FanWhen is it okay to invite your Facebook friends to “Become a Fan” or as of yesterday “Like” a brand (product, service, charity, etc.) you are advocating? Continue reading

Communicate with Purpose and a Plan

Vintage Telephone by Daniel St. Pierre

Vintage Telephone by Daniel St. Pierre

What do smart phones, e-mail, Facebook and Twitter have in common with telegrams, letters, smoke signals and hieroglyphics?

Forms of communication

Communication methods

Obviously they are all forms of communication. The major difference is that everything is instantaneous now whereas in the past we waited for – and anticipated – telegrams, letters and smoke signals.

So we know what the tools are, but what is the purpose of communicating? To connect with other human beings, whether for personal reasons or professional ones. We all want to make connections with the next client, the next friend or the next person who will bring us closer to our goals. Continue reading

So Many Blogs to Follow, How to Decide?

Working by Michelle Meiklejohn

Working by Michelle Meiklejohn

There are so many blogs and gurus to follow, how does one decide? Between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and searching the Internet for specific topics, there is more great stuff to consume than ever before.

Here are a few practical ideas as well as suggestions for how to handle the deluge.

Continue reading

What’s a Nice Gal Like Me Going to Be Doing in a Place Like That?

In a word: networking.

And firing synapses in my brain like crazy because I know there will be tons of information to take in and process. Women to meet. Stories to hear and share. Connections to be made. Continue reading