Training to Communicate

Anyone that knows me well knows that I have a passion for writing – in fact, it’s really a passion for all things communication (including speaking, video, social media, etc.). As a blogger, I traffic in a lot of written material. Much of what I see is, quite frankly, pretty amateurish.

ID-10087526Writing clearly and succinctly is crucial to work effectiveness. And it’s a rarely-trained skill. It doesn’t matter what position people occupy in their profession. Everyone from the newly-hired salesperson to the CEO needs to sharpen communication skills, if they want to be viewed as professionals (see this recent post by Dave Kerpen).

If people are spending an average of 28% of their time dealing with e-mail – then just improving that one area of business writing can return a lot of potential productivity gains!

In the past month, I’ve sat down with a couple of great providers who do corporate training on communications/writing skills. I found myself nodding so vigorously during discussions that it’s a wonder I didn’t end up at the chiropractor’s office! As I underscore in my Vendor/Project Success workshops, the basic principles of project and vendor management will be used in all future career areas – just like learning to drive a car, it’s an “evergreen” skill set. Writing and communicating clearly? –even more so.

Clear communications lead to clear actions. Foggy communications lead to misunderstandings, back-and-forth clarifications, and frustration.

Let’s train ourselves and our people how to effectively move thoughts to the keyboard and beyond (and if you need a communications training vendor/provider recommendation, just let me know – steve [at] connectionagent dot com). It can never be wrong to sharpen this skill!

10 steps to successful business writing jack e-appleman-paperback-cover-artAlso, here’s a book recommendation for you. 10 Steps to Successful Business Writing* (by Jack Appleman) is a compact, simple-to-absorb volume that gives practical, step-by-step advice on how to write more clearly.

The opening paragraph in the introduction says it all:

Successful business writing starts with simplicity. The beauty of simplicity is that it can produce results faster.

With chapters like Know Where You’re Taking Your Readers; Be Explicit, Clear, and Concise; Grab Your Readers’ Attention; and Master The Documents You Use Most Often; this book dives immediately into straightforward advice with plenty of practical application.

I’ve spent a good bit of time with Jack lately (we have a common bond in the realms of clarity and training!), and he has shared with me how he can also partner with corporations and provide valuable training for employees. If you’re interested in Jack’s services, let me know and I’ll make the connection.

*Amazon affiliate link

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Postscript: Just saw this nice summary about how to write effective e-mails that people won’t ignore, by Bryan Garner via HBR blog.

Your Silent Audience

Blogging can be a discouraging enterprise at times.

Is anyone even reading what I write? Why are there so few comments? Where’s the engagement?

silenceWhile we all crave tangible evidence that people appreciate what we write, we should never forget that most of our audience is silent.

For every commenter, there are many others who are absorbing, thinking, learning, growing, laughing – privately.

Your every Facebook status may not garner a lot of comments. But you’ll be surprised how sometimes, months later, someone comes up to you and remembers. And comments. Live.

I don’t comment often on Jon Swanson‘s stuff. But I read it regularly. I keep very close tabs on Greg Hartle’s adventures, even if our on-line back-and-forth is more sporadic. Most of my direct banter with Tom Webster is ironic and punny, but the fact is, I relish his thoughtful posts.

Yes, we need to write for our more engaged readers. But don’t forget your silent audience. You might not hear much from them, but they’re waiting to hear from you.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Finding Your Blogging Voice

voiceAnyone can write a blog post (well, maybe not anyone, from some writing samples I’ve seen!)

But how do you find your unique blogging “voice”?

I’ve been blogging on marketing topics for over 6 years. Yet I feel as though I am only now finding my writing voice. Many of the same topics and ideas occupy my mind and flow out of my keyboard, but it has taken quite some time to develop the style and approach that is “me.”

Let me give you three steps to finding your blogging voice. Warning: simple to list. Hard work to implement!

  • Start
  • Interact
  • Continue

First, you have to start. You can’t develop your writing skills in the abstract realm of your private imagination. Every blogger looks back at early posts and cringes a bit. That’s normal. Drop the perfectionism and just start writing – assume that you actually do, right now, have something valuable to say!

Then, interact. Find other people writing and blogging and read their stuff (here’s a good start, from writer/blogger Jeff Goins). Comment. Learn from them. Let others interact with your ideas – they’ll show you, even without meaning to, how to improve your skills (I just this moment got a DM on Twitter from a reader who provided a female perspective on my post this morning that I never even considered!)

Finally, continue. Blogging for people who want to become writers with a unique voice is a long-term commitment. Don’t get hung up on instant results. Your masterpiece work is probably a good ways in front of you, and you are building toward it.

You have a voice. You have to begin to let it out and train yourself over time. Lots of folks will help you develop. And, in the meantime, you’ll make an impact, even with a smaller readership. So…Go!

If you’ve been blogging for a while, how long did it take you to feel like you’d hit stride and found your voice? How did you get there?

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hitting the Pinnacle of Buzzwords

I freely confess to hating business buzzwords and jargon. Like David Meerman Scott and many others, I find the practice of repeating technical-sounding phrases in an effort to appear knowledgeable to be pompous and counter-productive.

It’s an over-leveraging of verbal resources. Yes, I went there.

Now, at the same time, I love a broad and deep vocabulary. Words like “obfuscation” (which means, if you’re not familiar with it, the use of words to obscure rather than clarify meaning). Obfuscation is a great word that actually nicely describes what buzz-jargon does.

I have found one company (which will remain anonymous) which has managed, over time, to establish a new benchmark in meaningless blather. Every trip to the well of this company’s jargon pool brings forth a new wealth of meaningless bloviation (look it up – another favorite vocabulary word). I thought I’d share just a bit from the latest press release, for your edification and amusement:

____________ today published a strategy pharmaceutical companies can apply to reinvent growth for established drug brands. Addressing the total context of change reshaping the operating environment, the approach shifts the center of gravity in pharmaceutical brand management, focusing on market collaboration and novel linkages to create new health and business value. Available for download through the _________ website, the strategic brief builds on the concept of ‘health ecosystem design’ introduced by _____________ as a new model for competitive strategy, regionalization and employer initiatives, and account-based sales to integrated delivery networks.
_____________ has pioneered a methodology for market strategy defined in 21st-century terms, an approach that enables an evolutionary leap in solutions for growth and competitive advantage. The firm was the first to introduce ‘marketing ecosystems’ as a framework to synthesize strategy, media, content and distribution platforms for in-line products.

Now, I ask you – do you have any CLUE what is being talked about here? Oh, and this company’s tagline now is: A New Grammar for Strategy. Enough said.

Lesson: talk about your business in plain English. Leave obfuscation to the pros….

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The Blog Slave

When you started blogging, it was pretty liberating, wasn’t it? Finally, a format for expressing your ideas! No barriers of time or distance to an audience. And once you started mixing words with other bloggers (and eventually meeting those people at conferences and tweetups), the energy continued to flow.

slaveUntil you became a blog slave.

Blogging can be a delightful tyranny. As you build an audience, as you see more incoming links, as you check Technorati rankings or see your name for the first time on the Ad Age Power 7,545 list of marketing blogs (OK, they say 150, but it doesn’t seem to stop there…), you begin to feel the pressure. You don’t want to lose your standing. Your momentum. Your ranking. As they say in academia, publish or perish.

Dump that emotional ballast overboard as fast as you can, OK? Because you are not the sum total of your ability to produce. Your value is you, not your writing output.

I read today how blogging friend Beth Harte feels a need to suspend writing on her excellent blog, The Harte of Marketing, for a season. As part of her post, she says this:

As well, I know social media is quid pro quo and while I try my best to keep up with other blogs (reading and commenting), comments on my blog, etc. I am falling WAY short and for that I am terribly sorry. I would completely understand if people stopped commenting/tweeting my stuff.

Well, the fact is, other things really are more important than obeying Master Blog (as Beth discusses in her post), and Beth’s value to me is not tied to her “production.” She is a friend. She has nothing to prove. Her blogging production couldn’t possibly be top-notch anyway if she’s doing it out of a wearied sense of duty. Treadmills aren’t usually where we get into a creative zone.

Beth doesn’t strike me as the type who wants to live like that. She’s a community-builder. And I would like to hope that putting my keyboard aside for a time would not cause the wonderful people in my network to drift away or be less than the great people I know they are. Otherwise, I’ve failed to build and be part of a community. Or I’ve associated with a bunch of artful fakes! (which I don’t believe for a nanosecond).

If you’re strictly building an “audience” for your “production,” then it will be hard to avoid the slavery. Blogging will be a chore. At times, yes, all the creative and interaction work can be a bit of a slog now and again. But let’s never become slaves, trying to produce bricks without straw, and expect that of others. That’s when I quit for good!

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Five in the Morning 020309

Geoff Livingston over at the Buzz Bin has some meaty thoughts about personal branding vs “team social media” within a larger company. This is a valuable discussion. Personal branding for a solo entrepreneur is one thing, but how do we approach putting a “face” on an organization when interacting with the world at large? Just for the fun of it, here’s a mega-post with a bunch of recent links touching on personal branding, from David Petherick.

Mario Sundar is on a tear on his personal blog. First, Using social media to help your friends find a job (this is a real passion of mine). Then, Perfectionism ain’t Bliss –  just do it and don’t worry about making it perfect. And finally, some lists of Twitter worthies to follow. Mario, for those who don’t yet follow him, is LinkedIn’s chief blogger; he also maintains his own personal blog.

Image Recognition Software/Service – from TechCrunch blog. This is a big deal, actually. There are so many images now published on-line, a huge challenge is going to be finding/sorting/identifying/filtering. Here is one company (Milabra) that’s making a run at it, and their solution sounds very promising.

It’s easy to just listen to the voices that you already agree with. We also need to consider other points of view, lest we become infected with group-think, or an inflated sense of self-importance. This muse/rant by Kevin Palmer is a needed corrective as we consider the place of social media in the world. Guest post is found on Social Media Explorer blog – it must be good, because I rarely point to the same blog 2 days in a row (nice job, Jason Falls)!

Downturn. We’re in it. From the NY Times Small Business Toolkit section – Lessons Learned from Hard Times Past. There’s a surprise quote in there…

PLUS – What Happened to your Nose? The latest from Ann Handley‘s A N N A R C H Y blog. If you’re not subscribing to this wonderful treasure of muses and amusements, you should be (Ann – the Zamboni reference is a stroke of genius!)

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PLEASE NOTE: There is reason to believe that the Google/Feedburner changeover has created “issues” with RSS feeds for my blogs (and others). Here are the feeds for my three blogs; if you’re a reader, would you please re-subscribe just to make sure? Thanks!

:: Subscribe to the StickyFigure blog (that’s this one!)

:: Subscribe to the Steve’s Leaves blog (that’s my personal blog – you’ll see a story from there below)

:: Subscribe to the Impactiviti blog (that’s a pharma-specific blog, for my consulting business)

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Five in the Morning 010809

Real-time. Chris Brogan today talks about real-time coverage of events, using as an example his live-tweeting of a press conference last night. What do you think – how much of a game-changer is this? Frankly, I think that the convergence of the tools (cameras, smartphones, etc.) and the platforms (blogging, Twitter, etc.) has already fundamentally changed the game. Immediacy is now here, and we’re just realizing it. Latency is….well, a thing of the past.

2009 – The Year of Going Social. From the blog of Laura Fitton (Pistachio). “The bad news for business? You’re late. The good news? You’re not too late…”

Is Social Media the same as Marketing? Beth Harte‘s asking – what do you think? I’m guessing most of us have had this discussion, at least in our own heads. “…a good communicator does not always make a good marketer nor does a good marketer always make a good communicator. They are two different disciplines.”

Want a nice daily summary of some Social Networking headlines? Here’s one of my secrets. Business Week‘s Business Exchange. Worth a daily visit.

Jeremiah Owyang provides a nice summary blog post of Social Networking news each week. Well worth subscribing to. Here’s the latest.

PLUS – What’s Cramberry? A cool spin on an old technique. Too neat-o to pass up a link. From ReadWriteWeb. And, just because the headline is so imaginative: The Art of One Butt Cheek Blogging (from Copyblogger).

Like this? Re-tweet it on Twitter (just cut/paste):
Get today’s fresh-brewed Five in the Morning fuel from @swoodruff right here: http://TwitPWR.com/1Dd/

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Five in the Morning 121808

Blah blah blah Sponsored Blog Posts blah blah blah. OK, this horse has been flogged pretty heavily over the past week, but what I like most about this post by Ron Miller is the series of comments underneath. The discussion. And one important take-away is this: as we all learn, evolve, and try new things (like a fully-disclosed sponsored post) in social media, let’s allow our preconceived notions to be challenged a bit, instead of jumping down each others’ throats with knee-jerk Right/Wrong pronouncements…in this light, I also think Shannon Paul has some very interesting perspectives (The Tao of Social Media).

Peter Kim gives a very helpful 22-point list of social media tools (with usage examples for each), joined with an encouragement to just get started!

Speaking of tools, Jacob Morgan lists out Tools and Metrics for Monitoring Social Media Success. Nice.

Ten Advertising Words to Avoid. Actually, this is a very good reminder for a lot of writing, even blog posts. If you want to be free to be that which you really can be, take the opportunity to consider the synergy of drinkability and you’ll be a better writer, guaranteed!

Matt Dickman discusses a Best and a Worst new-ish Twitter service. I agree with his assessments.

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Five in the Morning 121508

5-lit-upSocial Media Predictions 2009 – a bunch of them from top bloggers, all consolidated in one free download! Cool. Thanks for the link, Joe Jaffe!

Writer’s Toolbox – 35 best tools for writing online. You’ll be familiar with a bunch in the top half of the list, but the second half has some less familiar resources.

Brands don’t belong on Twitter! Brands absolutely do belong on Twitter! Point – counterpoint, from the Mashable blog. What do you think?

ROI and Social Media. Here’s an interesting take, from the training world – a 4-point framework for measurement, based on Kirkpatrick (I’ve been involved in the training industry for years, so this is an interesting spin). From Mel Aclaro. Plus, is it easier to measure ROI from social media as opposed to traditional media? Thought-provoking post from Jacob Morgan.

Chris Brogan addresses the whole blow-up over sponsored advertising on a blog post. Really, folks, take a deep breath. The guy practices full disclosure, he experiments with new methods for advancing on-line business – what’s the problem here? Are we chasing some mythical ideal of the pure Oracle (sorry, Larry Ellison – not your Oracle) that will speak to us from on high with no taint of personal bias, no worldly interests, no brushes with the horrible and impure practice of commerce? If that’s what you’re looking for, then you’re after some Kool-Aid that you’re not going to find anywhere in the blogosphere – or on planet Earth, for that matter. Social media (or any type of media outlet) is not populated with angelic beings practicing “pure” journalism, “pure” conversation, or “pure” anything else. I have enough to keep busy striving toward some level of personal purity of heart, let alone imposing unrealistic expectations of “purity” on other bloggers. Sheesh…!

PLUS – an example of clear communications (under 140 characters!) from a 7-year old.

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Five in the Morning 121108

John Moore (Brand Autopsy) begins a series sharing thoughts from Inside Drucker’s Brain (IDB Project). Intro here, first post here.

27 Practical Ideas that will Transform Every Organization. Distilled wisdom from Tom Peters.

The Catchup Lady breaks up with UmbrellaToday.com. Why? Well, you just gotta deliver the goods…

Kirsten Wright shares the ABCs of creativity. Well, 25 of them. Can anyone help her with “x”?

Blogger’s Choice winners for Open Web Awards. Actually, that post isn’t terribly interesting, now that I look at it. So why not visit Olivier Blanchard‘s rant on business cards?

PLUS – Are these folks just amazingly creative, or do they simply have too much time on their hands? Either way, it’s cute, and worth 1 minute and 20 seconds of your time! And while we’re at strange on-line holiday celebrations, have some fun Destroying a Fruitcake.

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Five in the Morning 112008

Has your company’s social media cat meow’ed yet? The glass-half-full guy, Terry Starbucker, has some valuable thoughts on this.

Is There a Hierarchy in Social Media? (as in: where should you start?). Nice overview of the basics from Jeff Paro, over at Small Business Branding blog.

Seth Godin has a free download for you – the Tribes Q&A book.

Brian Clark over at Copyblogger talks about strategic collaboration. I include this because I think it is the most important emerging business model for talented entrepreneurs to tap into. Many new businesses, and business models, are waiting to happen…

Socially fatigued? Interesting thoughts (that we can all relate to!) from Karen Swim.

PLUS – Andy Nulman having a little fun priming the market for his upcoming “Pow! Right Between the Eyes!” book.

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Five in the Morning 111408

Six ways to Build your own Personal Developmental Network. From the smart and always-helpful Liz Strauss.

What is Passion anyway? From those folks with their Brains on Fire.

Laura Ries on It’s the Category, Stupid. What do you think of her thesis here?

Free Social Media for Small Business e-book, put together by John Jantsch and Microsoft. Cool!

A simple reminder from Drew McLellan.

Discard this ACE. From Stickyfigure blog (ummm…that’s me).

New e-mail tool: AwayFind. Reviews by Chris Brogan and Sarah Perez. I could see this being very useful for some folks…

Just for a little Friday fun – nice looks can deceive! 50 very strange buildings. And, from TechCrunch, an imaginative way to get some exposure, if you can spare a shirt and $75!

And big congratulations to Ian Schafer!!

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Five in the Morning 110608

Income Security” – an interesting thought from Jason Alba (he of Jibber Jobber fame). What do you think? Oh, and part 2 is now up, with a bunch of good input from the clowd. (the virtual crowd, the cloud, get it? Never mind…)

You DO know about Mack Collier’s “Viral Garden Top 25 Marketing and Social Media Blogs” – right? If you don’t, go there NOW and find out where lots of the cool blog readers hang out.

Facebook, and Obama’s success. Some numbers shared by Louis Gray.

Into Logo design? The you probably want to check out LogoDesignLove. Just sayin’…

Interested in SMR (Social Media Releases)? Of course you are! And so is Todd Defren. So find out from him if they work

BONUS – Way to LIght up Your Booth. What was the most creative booth promotion I saw at Ad-Tech this week? You might be very surprised…

PLUS – Want an insanely complete start page portal? Check this beastie out!

HEY! Have you found – or written – a Five-worthy post? Feel free to suggest entries for the next day’s Five in the Morning (stevew at stickyfigure dot com) or DM me via Twitter (@swoodruff)

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Five in the Morning 103108

Drinking from the Twitter fire hydrant by using TweetDeck. Nice post from Beth Kanter. I’ve been a TweetDeck fan from its inception, and it keeps getting better.

Does your Tagline Create Clarity or Mystery? A helpful post by James Chartrand at Copyblogger. Make your headlines/taglines count!

Guy Kawasaki talks about the launch of his new book, Reality Check. What do I like most about Guy? His ability to laugh at himself. Read the book Foreword, which is in this post – F.U.N.N.Y!

Removing your “Perfect” Filter. Great thoughts from Mack Collier. I’ll bet you can relate…

Am I allowed to flog one of my own posts? Ah, why not…I did a guest post for Lewis Green’s blog this week, on Where Business Opportunities Hide. You’ll also get a glimpse of the thinking that led to my starting my own consulting company.

BONUS: A little Friday Fun: Famous Blogger Sucked into Second Life, Disappears.

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Five in the Morning 102908

From John Jantsch at Duct Tape Marketing: Customers are your most effective sales force.

Chris Wilson (Mr. Fresh Peel) on the Rise of Personal Branding. An interesting book is recommended.

Seth Godin ‘fesses up to some pretty spectacular failures. Lesson: keep going!

What was the most effective channel for getting birthday wishes? David Berkowitz discusses his experience. There was one clear, dominant, unquestioned leader!

Matt Dickman presents some very interesting data about the relative preference for IM/SMS/Email among different age groups. Neat stuff!

BONUS: Kill the Buzz. Now! Read the Comments – that’s the best part!

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Age of Conversation (2) Available NOW

The long-awaited second edition of The Age of Conversation is now available! This group-authored book is a great introduction to social media, told in the voices of dozens of practitioners (see list below!).

I was honored to contribute a chapter to both the first and second editions. And the collaborators are top-notch!

You can buy the book right here. There are hardback, paperback, and e-book versions available. All proceeds to Variety – the Children’s Charity.

Here is the author list!

Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Chris Brown, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Schawbel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Dave Davison, David Armano, David Berkowitz, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, John Herrington, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kristin Gorski, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tim Brunelle, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem

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Kill the Buzz! Now!

I clicked on the headline link because it looked interesting.

Then my jaw dropped, 12 inches per paragraph, until I had to pick it up off the floor.

It couldn’t be. A PR gift! The most perfect press release illustrating Wordslaughter, 1st degree. The most astonishing pile-up of incomprehensible buzz-words and meaningless jargon ever assembled in one place! Surely it was a joke, a parody?

Nope. It’s for real – read it for yourself.

Here is a sample of the blizzard of words, phrases, mantras, and business pixie-dust concepts contained in this inspired document:

    …a framework for pharmaceutical companies to develop a new value proposition for sales into medical group practices…the approach positions a pharmaceutical component as the keystone to an entire ecosystem of businesses marketing to physicians…Commercial models are designed and in turn “optimized” to promotional response curves…commodity inputs…has reached its productivity frontier…Opportunity space for value innovation…intimacy of interactions in the business ecosystem…We are unique with a framework to help clients innovate, differentiate their strategies, and shape new ideas at a system level.

But wait…there’s more!

The website copy was written with the same attention to jargon detail. If you thought the above phrases are parody-worthy, just head on over to the on-line mothership and try to grasp the 30-second elevator speech. Or, better yet, try to grasp anything.

    The concept is a forward-thinking approach to synchronize action in a complex environment and build new knowledge to improve decision making. It looks at the whole of a marketing game with new planning, sense-making, and decision-making strategies.

Marketing and PR should not be done by philosophers and engineers. Because the end result is not promotion, but self-generated spoof!

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Five in the Morning 101508

Becky Carroll lets us know about the Customers 1st conference, in November at Disneyland.  Read the post – looks like a terrific event!

What is Social Media Marketing and how can you use it effectively? Great stuff from Mack Collier.

Doug Karr asks, Do (blog) Comments equal Conversions? Short answer – no.

One win is all it takes – a quick encouragement from Jim Kukral.

An interesting perspective from Penelope Trunk5 reasons why you don’t need to write a book. Authors, what say you about this?

And, for a laugh… (hat tip: Todd And)

There probably won’t be a Five in the Morning on Thursday, as I’ll be at a conference…but then again, I might get really motivated at 5:00 am!

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Five in the Morning 100808

I like this post, and the accompany video, on Rohit Bhargava‘s blog, about Chili’s-To-Go.

Jason Alba gives us some advice on How to Find a Job during a Recession.

The Hero’s Journey – A Metaphor for Video Storytelling. Fast Company column from the prolific and ever-interesting Director Tom.

Return on Whatever. MarketingProfs Daily Fix post, by yours truly, on the compulsion to try to calculate Return on too many things. Join the discussion in the Comments!

Crowdsourced Java. A great campaign by Adam Singer. And I want some Coffee 2.0!

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Return on…Whatever

My latest MarketingProfs Daily Fix post focuses on the compulsion to try to establish Return on Whatever (RoW). I argue that the RoW is only appropriate for a limited subset of tactics that can be directly measured as to results…many good business decisions need to be made based on doing what we believe is right.

Extract: The problem is, the RoW mindset can inhibit people from making sound business decisions for the simple reason that something is the right thing to do. The green-tinted RoW glasses can be like handcuffs, preventing businesses from implementing healthy long-term strategies because of a compulsion to show short-term tactical dollar returns. Calculating financial returns on specifics, in other words, can be a murky science at best – and a ball-and-chain at worst.

Here’s the entire post: Return on Whatever

This link brings you to all my MP DailyFix posts.

Five in the Morning 100708

Drew McLellan asks: What do you think of this Domino’s dancing pasta guy ad? My answer: I love it!

Would you like to (perhaps) get featured on the “big” news sites (like CNN, NY Times, etc.)? Problogger shares a few tips.

Igor‘s free, downloadable company naming guide. Wow.

Does color matter for your brand? Check out this quick overview from the Swiss Miss.

Bloggers: What Not to Wear! From Copyblogger.

BONUS: Earth from Above hi-def pix. Amazing!

Five in the Morning 100608

From Ann Handley (@MarketingProfs), on her personal blog A N N A R C H Y – a very bittersweet birthday story. Profoundly touching.

TechCrunch points out a new and improved AlertThingy coming up…this appears to be another step in the evolution toward MetaMee. Can’t wait to try it out!

It was the beautiful photo that first drew me into the post, I confess. But anything from Valeria Maltoni is worth reading, and this is no exception: The Distance between Avoidance and Attention in Customer Service.

Speaking of customer service, Doug Meacham is no longer Expect(ing) Great Things from Kohl’s.

Seth Godin gives 9 SOLID Steps to Powerpoint Magic. Seriously, if you do any presenting whatsoever, you need to read and apply!

PLUS: Congratulations are in order for Douglas Karr, who is starting a new position in social media, and Greg Verdino, whose blog just transitioned into the terrible two’s.

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Five in the Morning 100108

From Alan Wolk: Authenticity is the new Storytelling: “These days, ‘storytelling’ has been replaced by ‘authentic’ as the buzzword-du-jour. Everything that consumers touch is ‘authentic.’ Every vain attempt by a brand to hide the fact that it’s behind a marketing effort is done in the name of making it more ‘authentic.'”

An encouraging customer service story, from Keith Ferrazzi: Go Canada!

Matt McDonald explains why we should hire his Mom! I love this use of a blog…

10 Commandments of Blogging. A take-off on the classic 10. Pretty good advice here, actually!

Good stuff by Mack Collier: let’s stop pontificating about social media, and starting teaching!

BONUS: Top 50 NASA photographs of all time.

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Not Quite What I Was Planning

not-quite-what-sm.jpgQuite possibly one of the briefest contributions I’ve ever made – Six Words. A recently released book called Not Quite What I Was PlanningSix word memoirs by writers famous and obscure features page after page of fun and interesting six-word summaries of life’s lessons. The editors at Smith Magazine asked for contributions on-line, and sure enough, mine was accepted (page 175) along with many others.

A few favorite samples:

    “Was rebellious teen. Now raising one.”
    “Good, evil use the same font.”
    “Awkward girl takes chances. Fun ensues.”
    “Always working on the next chapter.”

I won’t tell you mine – you have to buy the book to find out!

Lots of goodies in here – in fact, this is a perfect “bathroom book”!

A Public Reading of the Age of Conversation

Seems to be the going thing these days for AOC authors to “strut their reading stuff” publicly on blogs and on Flickr. Although Sean over @ Craphammer has done us all one better with the worldwide premiere AOC video (and it’s a gem!)

So, with minor reservations, I’ll join the club. You see, I only ordered the e-book version, so…

Age of Conversation reading

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