Archive for April, 2010

LinkedIn Profile Critique: Thom Allen

Posted in Social Media on April 19th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

A local friend, asked me to critique his LinkedIn Profile.  

Let’s get started, from the top of the LinkedIn Profile to the bottom:

  1. GOOD: just the name – not an email, not how many connections you have, not telling me you are a LION, etc.  Clean, not distracting, not noisy.
  2. OK: I like to think of the LinkedIn Professional Headline as an opportunity to share your very condensed elevator pitch… not just tell me your job titles.  Imagine we meet and you say “Hi, I’m Thom, web designer, information architect, entrepreneur.”  That doesn’t do much for me.  Think of this as an opportunity to give me a marketing message.
  3. NICE: it’s a good picture – the key is that it’s a closeup headshot… that’s what LinkedIn (and I) want to see.
  4. NOT BAD: updated in the last 4 days.  This is a great opportunity to tell your LinkedIn contacts what you are up to – I’ve been amazed at how many people actually see your status updates.  Think about keeping this updated at least once a week (or tying it in with your Twitter Tweets).
  5. HMMMM: I got a lunch invitation, which lead to two speaking opps and some book sales, because I had CEO in my profile.  But aside from that I encourage people to put something more value-add as a title.  Don’t make something up just for SEO, but I wonder if you change the title to something your target audience is searching for if they won’t find you more often?
  6. HMMMM: I don’t like the LLC… it does nothing for me.  I have no idea what your company does… where can I find out more?

 

  1. HMMMM: 13 LinkedIn Recommendations is fine – nothing wrong with that.  However, since you have 500+ connections I would hope to see more Recommendations…. just my thoughts, like I said, 13 is OKAY, especially if they are well-rounded and well-crafted.
  2. NOT BAD: 500+ is fine, but the thing that makes me question the quality of any of those is the ratio of Recommendations to Connections.  At least I look at that and say “okay, he knows some stuff on LinkedIn, enough to be connected to a lot of people.”
  3. OUCH!!: Dude, get my DVD.  Or listen to any of my podcasts or webinars.  This is one of the easiest, fastest things to change.  Go to your Profile page and next to the links click the EDIT link, and then in the drop down click OTHER, and then freehand something more descriptive about your company “My iPhone Development Company,” your blog “My Professional/Photography Blog,” and … My Facebook?  How about “Connect with me on Facebook.”
  4. NICE: Cool, and you are very active there.  I LOVE this new field so I can learn more about you, and interact with you better on Twitter.
  5. PERFECT: You got your vanity URL… nice job.

 

  1. WEAK: “I’ve pretty much been developing”… you can tighten that language up.
  2. WEAK: “I’ve done everything from coding to design, to product management.” Clean that up but break it down more.  ”As a professional developer I’ve _________, which helps companies _______.”  ”As a software designer I specialize in ________ and am passionate about _______, which results in ________.”  ”As a product manager for various companies I’ve been able to _________ which resulted in ________.” (see notes below, after the 6th bullet point)
  3. WEAK: “I really want to work with” I would find another way to word that… sounds begging.
  4. WEAK: this sound like begging too, but you haven’t given me any reason (any meat) to really think you are going to be my CTO or VP.  Also, it would be nice to know what size company you think you are a match for – Fortune 100 or small company?  Funded or entrepreneur… etc.
  5. WEAK: See your full profile?  I thought I was on your full profile… where else do you want me to go?  There is very little meat here for me to really know if I want to move forward with you as my CTO or VP.
  6. WEAK: Oh yeah… “as a complete afterthought… ”  … this is like listing “and I know how to use Microsoft Office products…”  … it is a “maybe this is an important skill.” If you are good at it then include it somewhere in the Summary.

When you write your LinkedIn Summary I want you to think about using the entire allotted space, which is 2,000 characters.   Tell me stories (like I show in #2, above).  Think Problem-Action-Results.  Give me MEAT.  This summary is way too short to really tell me much about you.

  1. GOOD: This is a feed from your blog.  I am not sure how many people actually pay attention to this, but realize it’s on your Profile so make sure that what you are writing about is on-brand with the rest of your LinkedIn Profile.
  2. HMMMM: Not sure why this even shows up, I thought it only showed up if you added slides… apparently not. Anyway, I LOVE the idea of YOU adding a visual presentation to your Profile, and this is how to do it.  So make up a 15-20 slide presentation about you and your strengths and put something there… !

 

You are missing an opportunity to put MORE information about your current company, what you guys really do, who you serve, what your role is, etc.  Look at the difference between the first company (1) and the second company (2).  Why are you giving more info about (2) than (1)??

This list of Groups gives me a really good idea of what you like, who you hang with, etc.  It is on-brand and not distracting… not bad

There you go – how’s YOUR Profile?

Strategies For Overcoming Feeling Overwhelmed

Posted in Uncategorized on April 19th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

Written on April 7, 2010 by Trish in HR General

HR professionals wear many hats. When you work in HR, the moment you take off one hat, another one pops on. One minute you’re thinking like a recruiter, the next you’re handling an employee relations issue, the next you are strategizing with a leader on a plan or program.  One hat I like wearing is that of coach and counsellor.  I use my skill and experience to guide managers and employee and often, it spills over to family and friends.

Regardless of whether I am at work or at home, there are people who need advice and guidance on how to best respond to certain situations.  Quite frequently, it involves the individual being completely overwhelmed with the demands that others put on them and that they put on themselves.  Even I have fallen prey to these feelings in the past.  There is one exercise I have found to be helpful in this situation.  I call it the One Small Thing.

Here’s how it works:

  • Make a list that includes each area of your life where you feel overwhelmed. For example, work, spouse, children, personal.
  • Now, each day do one small thing that can ultimately lead to change in that area of your life.
    • For example, if the problem is your job and you think you can repair the relationship, one small thing may be scheduling a call with your boss and communicating more. If you feel like you need to move on and repairing the situation is not an option, use each day to make one call to someone in your network who can help you find a new position.
    • If the issue is at home with your children, the one small thing might be asking them to spend time taking a walk or talking with you, going on a bike ride, finding something around the house to work on together.
    • If the issue is personal and you’re not building in any time for your personal interests, the one small thing may be to commit to scheduling at least fifteen minutes a day to do something selfish, just for your enjoyment.
  • Each day, keep track of what you’re doing in each category.

If you follow the ‘one small thing’ exercise, I guarantee that after a couple weeks, you’ll find that you’re much farther ahead in creating situations where you can be successful and fulfilled.  By approaching a problem in incremental steps, you will find that you are no longer overwhelmed.  You will be taking control over the things you CAN control and that is the right approach.

10 Social Media actions you can take now!

Posted in Social Media on April 19th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

By Social Small Biz on January 4, 2010

In many ways 2009 was the year that social media came of age. 2010 is therefore likely to be the year when more and more businesses start giving it a try.

 

1. Secure your name – with more and more people and businesses now using a range of social networks, it is important that you protect your brand by ‘taking’ a presence on the popular and emerging portals. Even if you don’t intend to use it straight away, at least it will be there for you in the future

2. Decide your objective – what are you aiming to achieve through social media? Sales? Brand awareness? Make sure you have an idea about this before you start

3. Find your customers/clients - with so many possible social media tactics and portals out there, it is important to do your research. One of the best ways to do this initially is to ask your customers what they currently use. Do they prefer Twitter or is Linkedin their primary social network of choice?

4. Just give it a go – sometimes with social media, the best way to learn is just to get going! You might want to set up a personal account first to try and get the hang of things before launching in from a business standpoint

5. Start small - there is no need to go in full throttle from the start. Begin small scale and work out what is best before increasing your activity

6. Focus on content - content is king online and often the key to success is creating great content that your audience will want to read and share. Whether this is blog posts, videos or tweets, coming up with something engaging is vital

7. Put in place measurement targets – as with all marketing, measurement is important. Put in place some initial targets – these could be qualitative or quantitative – e.g. website hits, sales, followers on Twitter etc.

8. Monitor what is being said - keeping an eye on any mentions of your brand on the web is vital to social media marketing. You can check out our selection of top free monitoring tools

9. Keep an eye on the competition – competitive advantage is important in business. So keep an eye on what your competition is doing online through social media. Is there anything you can replicate? Are they behind the game? Can you secure an early advantage?

10. Share your experiences with others – The social media community is very collaborative, especially in these early days. So why not share your experiences – good and bad – with others. We plan to run some small business social media case studies in 2010 so do get in touch if you have something to share!

What action will you take in the immediate future?

The Art of the Elevator Pitch: 10 Great Tips

Posted in Articles on April 19th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

Written by Audrey Watters

 

The elevator door opens. And there stands your ideal investor. It’s the chance of a lifetime. But that chance only lasts as long as the elevator ride – you have less than a minute to make an impression. Hopefully, you’ve got a well-crafted elevator pitch ready to give.

The elevator pitch is not the hurried presentation of a full-blown business plan. It’s an introduction, an overview and a pitch – and a short one at that – meant to capture the attention of a potential investor. Of course, an elevator ride is a short one. Guides for elevator speeches that say you have one minute surely overestimate the amount of time it takes for an elevator to move from floor to floor. Of course, an elevator speech isn’t restricted to elevators. Rather, it comes in handy for any occasion where a concise presentation is appropriate.

When crafting your pitch there are two key things to keep in mind: its content and its form. In other words, it’s not just what you say but how you say it. Here are a 10 tips to keep in mind as you craft your elevator pitch.

1. Keep it short. Be succinct. According to Wikipedia, an adult’s attention span is eight seconds, so be sure to give just enough information (and more importantly perhaps the right information) so that after only hearing a sentence or two, someone knows what you do – and if it’s a pitch, what you need.

2. Have a hook. As Mel Pirchesky advises, “The objective of the first ten or fifteen seconds is to have your prospective investors want to listen to the next forty-five or fifty seconds differently, more intently than they would have otherwise.”

3. Pitch yourself, not your ideas. As Chris Dixon writes, “The reality is ideas don’t matter that much. First of all, in almost all startups, the idea changes – often dramatically – over time. Secondly, ideas are relatively abundant.” Instead of talking about ideas, highlight what you’ve done – the concrete accomplishments or skills – rather than some intangible concept or a future goal.

4. Don’t forget the pitch. It’s easy to get so caught up in the details of who you are that you neglect to mention what you need. What amount of financing are you seeking, for example?

5. Don’t overwhelm with technical or statistical terminology. While being able to tout one or two amazing and memorable phrases or figures can be useful, don’t fill your elevator speech with numbers or jargon.

6. Practice. Rehearse your elevator pitch so that when the opportunity to give it comes, you can deliver it smoothly.

7. Use the same tactics for print. You can hone your elevator skills by practicing them in writing. Babak Nivi describes the email elevator pitch here.

8. Revise. As your startup moves through various stages, be sure to update and refresh your pitch.

9. Be involved in the startup community before you pitch. Business Insider suggests “Engaging in online discussions, writing insightful blog posts, and participating in the relatively small startup community can earn you a ‘strong presence’ that gets you noticed by potential investors.” Building relationships with investors before pitching to them will help your success.

10. Listen. When seeking to build strong networks, remember it can be just as important to listen as it is to talk.

Have you an elevator pitch prepared for when the Lift door opens?

5 Keys to Running a Productive Meeting

Posted in Articles on April 19th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

By Anne Field
Apr 09, 2010 -

If you’re like most small business owners, meetings are the bane of your existence. In fact, you and your staff probably spend a great many hours in rambling, unnecessary, or badly-managed  pow-wows. But, in the current tough climate, when employees are stretched to the breaking point,  who can afford wasting time in productivity-sapping meetings? 

As it turns out, there are several simple ways to boost meeting efficiency. Try following these five steps:

1. Determine whether email will do the trick

Before you even think about scheduling a meeting, consider the possibility of  other alternatives. If the topic is straight-forward and doesn’t need a lot of give and take, email probably will suffice. But, don’t go overboard. “If you’re discussing an issue via email and there continues to be extensive, inconclusive back and forth, you’ll need to have a face-to-face interaction with the group,” says Stephanie Calahan, a productivity and management consultant in Bloomington, Ill.

Rule of thumb: If you have to go back and forth on the same topic more than three times, it requires a meeting.

2. Prepare ahead of time

There’s no way around it: running an efficient meeting takes planning. That includes everything from ensuring key attendees can make it, to thinking through how to handle potential disagreements. “The time you put into planning will pay off in huge dividends later on,” says Calahan.

Perhaps most important is creating an agenda. “You need to write down what has to be accomplished, so everyone can see it’s not going to be an endless waste of time,” says Damon Danielson, founder of  Arrange.cc, a startup that helps businesspeople schedule meetings efficiently. The agenda should include the purpose of the meeting, a list of everyone attending and the issues to be discussed. In addition, indicate the start and finish time and how long the discussion for each item is allowed to last.

At the same, make it clear everyone also needs to come prepared. That’s easier said than done these days, when time-starved employees, “may get the email, but not bother even to open the agenda up,”  says Calahan. The solution: Establish in one-on-one conversations that you expect all staff members to prepare before meetings.

3. Stick to your guns

Once the meeting has started, don’t allow what Calahan calls “scope creep.” That means not letting attendees veer off into matters unrelated to the agenda item at hand. If participants launch into an off-topic discussion, suggest they talk about it after the meeting . “You need to be a policeman,” says Danielson

The same is true for keeping to the time limits you set. Should a topic need more than the allotted number of minutes, you might have to schedule another meeting to discuss it in greater depth.

4. Use follow-ups strategically

Include in the agenda a time to discuss necessary actions that need to be taken after the meeting. Doing so accomplishes more than making sure steps will be taken to follow through on decisions. It also ensures everyone leaves the meeting with the same expectations and understanding of what went on.

5. Try to leave employees solid blocks of meeting-free time

“A lot of employees get started on a project, then cut it short because they have to go a meeting,” says Calahan. When they return to their desks, they spend 20 minutes or so refocusing—only to find they have to run off to another meeting shortly after. One answer:  Schedule your meetings so that employees have at least a day when they can work without interruption. 

“With a day of no meetings, you’ll see productivity shoot up,” says Calahan.


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