I think I finally made the connection of how to use and balance my various online presences.
I've been blogging here since 2004 and I suppose that makes me an old-timer in the world of business blogs. I've always tried to make this blog a balance between posts about the markets we serve, the products/services we sell, and a peppering of other off-topic items that I hope will be of interest to readers.
LinkedIn used to be a place where I connected with a few business contacts, but for the most part I left it untouched and unchanged for long stretches at a time. Then I started thinking about starting a company and all the people I wanted to ping for advice and otherwise just keep in touch with over time. So using LinkedIn became a much more active experience for me; connecting, seeking recommendations, giving recommendations, linking to this blog, adding a short slideshow, etc. I also took LinkedIn up on its offer for a discounted business account which gave me access to InMail. I didn't know if I'd make much use of it, but I can tell you that in the half dozen or so times I've used it to reach out to someone new, they have always replied and we have always made a follow-up connection. I realize it's a feature to be used carefully and not abused, but it is truly a great way to reach out to people whom are otherwise just out of reach and for whom I have something of value to offer.
Then there's Twitter. At first I wasn't sure what to do with it. I found it intriguing in a voyeuristic sort of way and dipped my toe in to see what it was all about. I followed a bunch of people, retweeted and quoted some Tweets, some people followed me back, retweeted and quoted me a bit and so on. Nothing overly exciting and I felt I still wasn't really "getting it." Then, one day, I kind of "got it" and it helped me put blogging, Twitter and LinkdIn in perspective to help me use them as a three-legged stool of sorts. So here's what I figured out...
Putting it all together
LinkedIn is my business presence, this blog is my business voice, and Twitter is my personal voice. They can all play nicely together, but each must play its own role.
LinkedIn is where I can connect on a business level, keep track of people as they move around the business world and have people learn more about my company. I link this blog to my LinkedIn profile because I post mostly about business-related things, but I don't link my Twitter account to my LinkedIn profile because I find my tweets to be less business-related and more personality driven.
This blog is where I write about mostly business-related issues as I described earlier. I do have new posts go out as a tweet because I think those who follow me on Twitter are likely interested in what I blog about. And as I said above, I also have my blog posts appear in my LinkedIn profile.
Twitter is emerging as more of my personal voice. I tweet some business-related items and links, and retweet from others when it makes sense, but for the most part Twitter is where I want to share things I like and have more of a dialog with people (albeit in short bursts, which is the very nature of Twitter). So if you want to know what I'm like in a business meeting, read this blog. If you want to know what I'm like over a beer, read my Twitter feed.
With all the said, there is one business purpose for which Twitter is proving to be very valuable and that's search. There is so much being said on Twitter that it would be hard to find any topic or event of consequence that doesn't get some tweets. By setting up saved searches I'm able to know, in real-time, when something of value to me is being tweeted. As a concrete example, that real-time knowledge recently allowed me to jump into a exchange between a journalist and news anchor about one of my products being featured on television that night. The journalist and I went from tweeting- to following each other and DMing (exchanging direct messages via Twitter between followers)- to emailing- to an interview with me that will soon be published. That happened because I was listening and able to engage instantly, while the topic was fresh.
So is there a black and white rule for using these various tool and integrating them with one another? Certainly not. This is my story and it has evolved over time (and will likely continue to do so), and thousands (millions) of people will have their own story and that's the point. Find the way these tools work best for you, engage in a way that makes sense and most importantly, start listening.
A final note about how Facebook fits into all of this...for me, it doesn't. I've simply decided that I have the tools I need between this blog, LinkedIn and Twitter. Each serves a purposes and I don't believe they leave any holes for me. As Chris Brogan recently said in a webcast. he can post on his Facebook wall for friends to see or he can post on his blog or Twitter for all to find. So for friends and family Facebook may be a great tool, but for business it's not part of my mix.
I'd love to hear stories of how others have found their mix...
Here's a cool idea...decide who you most inspire, create something unsolicited, original and cool for them, and deliver it to them in a public way. I wish this were my cool idea, but these Daily Bizcards are the brainchild of cartoonist Hugh MacLeod of gapingvoid fame and author of "Ignore Everybody."
What I find most fascinating is that Hugh doesn't even personally know some (most?) of the people for whom he creates the cards. He admires them, creates a card that he feels captures their personality, then alerts them via his blog and Twitter that he's made it just for them and that he'd like to send them 100 for free.
This is a very cool idea for making connections and building relationships. Hugh is a cartoonist and he can bang these cards out in a few minutes, but he clearly takes the time to make the illustration speak to the individual and it's a damn good way to not only tell the world who he admires, but to connect directly with those people in a way that's both flattering and genuine.
So this is my tip of the hat to Hugh to thank him for getting me thinking more creatively about how I connect.
The Perception Analyzer, developed by Dialsmith, was featured in the KGW's webcast of the Republican Governor's debate in Portland, Oregon. Focus group respondents, using Perception Analyzer dials, gave continuous, real-time feedback to what they were seeing and hearing and the resulting line graph was presented on KGW.com along with the video of the debate.
Dialsmith's Perception Analyzer technology is the same as what is used by CNN, MSNBC, and ATV in Austria. Dialsmith offers research and broadcast services to political and television clients around the U.S. and worldwide.
I became intrigued today by Umair Haque's riff on the HBR blog on the Dumbwaiter Pitch, "What's the one-word description of your business?" He feels the traditional 30-second "elevator pitch" is useless and those who truly understand the value of what their company offers can boil it down to just one word. Not easy, to be sure, but a worthwhile exercise to see just how focused one is on what they truly offer the market.
So, can you do it? Let's see. I'm running a contest to see who can come up with the best Dumbwaiter Pitch for their business. The rules:
Inc. magazine features an interview with Dr. G. Clotaire Rapaille on the secrets of successful salespeople. I first became aware of Dr. Rapaille's work when he was featured in "The Persuaders" on Frontline, the same episode that featured the Perception Analyzer. I then tore through his great work, The Culture Code.
What most caught my attention in the Inc. article was the notion of "getting to no" or rather that a sale is not complete when a client or customer says "yes," but rather when they say "no."
There is a very well known book called Getting to Yes and countless books and articles on the notion of avoiding or overcoming "no," but I have yet to ever read an argument for making "no" the goal and I have to say that for all my years of sales training and experience, it's a real ah-ha moment for me.
In sales it's always about avoiding or getting past the initial "nos" and getting the client to say, "Yes, I'll buy what you're selling." But Dr. Rapaille's argument is that stopping there, at the "yes," is premature. Successful salespeople know that there is always more to sell, or to upsell. So getting to that first "yes" puts you in the ballgame, but you're not done until you get the "no." Until the "no" (as in, "no more") comes, the game is still on and you're still selling.
As previously posted, television network ATV in Austria recently brought Dialsmith and the Perception Analyzer to Austria to work with their network and consultants to conduct a focus group and air the real-time moment-to-moment results during the broadcast of a presidential debate. We had the pleasure of working with Dr. Peter Hajek of Peter Hajek Public Opinion Strategies and Martin Thür, reporter and producer for ATV. You can watch the debate with results online and Martin has been kind enough to offer some background on what led to his interest in bringing the Perception Analyzer to ATV:
David Paull: Hi, Martin. What is the focus of your work at ATV?
Martin Thür: David, first and foremost: Thank you! You did a terrific job. Your company and especially Dan [Welch, Dialsmith's director of products and support] were one of the most professional and nice people I ever had the pleasure to work with. To answer your question, I work in the ATV news department as a reporter and producer. I’m responsible for all election programs here at ATV.
DP: How did you learn about the Perception Analyzer and what made you want to bring it to ATV for the debate?
MT: We saw it on CNN. I just liked the tool, this instant response to everything that is said, matches perfect with our needs. Our target is to let our viewers understand why politicians say things, how this affects their life. The Perception Analyzer gives us the possibility to integrate a large group of non-voters in a political debate.
DP: What were your goals for the use of the technology and how do you feel those goals were met?
MT: Well first of all our goal was to implement the data into our live studio environment. We connected our Viz pros with your Dialsmith guys and they worked seamlessly together. On a political level we wanted to know how parts of the non voter react to the things Mr. Fischer said. We divdied the focus groups into a group split into the main party preferences, age and gender. It was only hours before the broadcast as we knew for sure which participants of the focus group where really there, and which not. Dan had no problem at all with that and did a terrific job implementing the new focus group members.
DP: What kind of feedback have you received about the technology and its impact on the broadcast since the debate aired?
MT: A lot of people asked us who it was done with, and how they can use it. In general people wanted to see even more from the focus group, so I think it worked perfect.
DP: What was it like for you to work with Dialsmith?
MT: One word: Perfect.
I also want to say it was a pleasure working with Martin and his colleagues at ATV. They knew what they wanted and were great to work with to make it all happen.
I don't rave about many hotels, but one really gets it right, especially for the business traveler. If you're unfamiliar, Club Quarters is a European chain that's been opening hotels in major U.S. cities. When searching for a deal in Midtown Manhattan this week I came across Club Quarters opposite Rockefeller Center.
I stayed at my first Club Quarters in London last year and it was good and maybe I'm just so impressed because the one in NY offers so much more than any other hotel I've experienced in this price range and with this location.
The rate was great for Midtown (less than $230), there is free Wi-Fi all throughout the hotel and in all guest rooms and free computer use in the lounge. They also offer free bottled water (not one bottle when you check in and not one you can purchase for $5 or more...no, all the free bottled water you want. Seriously, you can bathe in in for all they care!).
What really blew me away was when I needed to make a photocopy and send a fax. I asked at the front desk if they could help me out and without thinking twice (and with no intention of charging me anything) they immediately made my copy, sent my fax, waited there for the confirmation, handed it to me, thanked me, and kindly requested that I have a pleasant day. That would have easily been a $10 transaction anywhere else in the area. They were also very friendly and accommodating with directions, recommendations, and whatever else I needed.
Bottom line...great hotel, great service, great amenities, great location. It takes a lot to stand out like this and they deserve some recognition and certainly my repeat business for it.
Following in the footsteps of CNN and MSNBC's use of the Perception Analyzer during the on-air broadcasts of the 2008 presidential debates and for the focus group discussion of the 2010 State of the Union speech, ATV in Austria is bringing Dialsmith and the Perception Analyzer to Austria for it's on-air broadcast of the upcoming speech by President Heinz Fischer. The speech will air Sunday 18 April.
More information is available on the ATV website and here is translated text via Google Translate:
Sunday 18 April 2010, 20.15 clock
ATV My choice - The President
The focus group ATV
Can Heinz Fischer convince non-voters?
30 women and men, selected by pollster Peter Hajek, form the ATV focus group. This randomly selected Austrians of all social levels and ages ago to assess each set of the incumbent. This ATV first places in European television known as the Perception Analyzer used.
This coming from U.S. technology makes it possible at any time and in an instant approval or rejection to measure every member of the focus group. A simple twist of the measuring wheel is enough of the Perception Analyzer. Viewers can watch while the responses of Federal approval or rejection of the group. The campaign is reporting, as it has not seen in Austria.
Dialsmith is thrilled to be working with ATV and I'll post more details and a wrap-up after the speech.
The title of this post is the name of one of the chapters in the book, REWORK, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson of 37signals. There are many chapters in this book that have inspired me to try some new things, but 'Meetings are Toxic' has led to one specific idea that people seem to really like so I thought I'd share.
As the guys point out in the book, just because Outlook (or Entourage or Google Calendar or whatever) defaults to scheduling in 30-minute increments doesn't mean that a meeting should last a second longer than it absolutely has to. To that end, I suggest scheduling meetings with non-traditional start and end times. If you think a meeting can be covered in 17 minutes, schedule it for 17 minutes. Start it on time and end it on time. And the odd start and end times will get people's attention and let them know you're serious.
All you have to do is, rather than selecting and start and end time on the hour or half hour, simply highlight the "Start time" and "End time" fields and manually type in an exact time:
People will ask you, "What's with the meeting you scheduled from 10:05 - 10:22?" You can say, "Well, I'm not available until 10:05 and I only need 17 minutes of your time, then I'm off to do something more important at 10:23." Is it a gimmick? Sure. But it drives home the point that meetings get derailed and dragged-on all the time and you're not having it any more.