Archive for the ‘Communicating’ Category

Getting Ready to Negotiate with Others? Start by Negotiating with Yourself

Friday, August 4th, 2017

Whether we are negotiating with managers, parents, colleagues or friends to find a mutually rewarding agreement or relationship “…the biggest obstacle is actually ourselves – our natural tendency to react in ways that do not serve our true interests….But this obstacle can also become our biggest opportunity.”

In his book, Getting to Yes with Yourself and Other Worthy Opponents, author William Ury explains “that if we learn to understand ourselves first, we lay the groundwork for understanding and influencing others.”  http://www.williamury.com/

Ury introduces “Six Challenging Steps” that may at times seem like common sense…common sense that is uncommonly applied.” Ury’s experience includes 3 ½ decades of working as a mediator with people and organizations from all walks of life. The Six Challenging Steps offer specific, in-depth information on how to negotiate with yourself (“Inner Yes Method”) and how this approach will lead to rewarding outcomes for yourself and the “other side.” Here’s an introduction, and there’s a detailed chapter on each in his book.

“1. Put Yourself in Your Shoes — From Self-Judgement to Self-Understanding.  “Understand your worthiest opponent, yourself.  Don’t prematurely judge yourself. Listen to and explore your underlying needs, which will influence your negotiation strategy.

“2. Develop Your Inner BATNA — From Blame to Self-Responsibility.  “Almost all of us find it difficult not to blame others with whom we come into conflict. The challenge is to do the opposite and to take responsibility for your life and relationships. More specifically, it is to develop your inner BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement), to make a commitment to yourself to take care of your needs independently of what the other does or does not do.”

“3. Reframe Your Picture — From Unfriendly to Friendly.  “The challenge is to change how you see your life, creating your own independent and sufficient source of contentment. It is to see life as being on your side even when it seems unfriendly.”

“4. Stay in the Zone — From Resistance to Acceptance.  “The challenge is to stay in the present moment, the only place where you have the power to experience true satisfaction as well as to change the situation for the better.”

“5. Respect Them Even If — From Exclusion to Inclusion.  “It is tempting to meet rejection with rejection, personal attack with personal attack, exclusion with exclusion. The challenge is to surprise others with respect and inclusion even if they are difficult.”

“6. Give and Receive — From Win-Lose to Win-Win-Win. It is all too easy, especially when resources seem scarce, to fall into the win-lose trap and to focus on meeting only your needs. The final challenge is to change the game to a win-win approach by giving first instead of taking.”

Ury also discusses The Three Wins: A Win Within, A Win With Others, and A Win for the Whole. “As I have personally experienced,” Ury says, “getting to yes with yourself is not just the most challenging, but the most rewarding negotiation of all.”

 

 

Public Libraries Help Communities Grow in New Ways through Community Engagement

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

 

While the Skokie Public Library has always been active in the community, the library formally established its Community Engagement department in January 2014. “Besides programs held at the library, we have been continually involved in a variety of outreach activities. However, as we researched our 2013-2016 strategic plan, we looked for a community engagement model that would help guide the new department’s work,” explains Susan Carlton, the library’s Community Engagement Manager.

They found it in Turn Outward, The Public Innovators Lab for Libraries, a 2 ½ day training class presented by The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation and the American Library Association. The Lab helps library directors and staff to more effectively interact with their communities, develop and implement new programs and work with library supporters. Seven libraries in the Chicago area have participated in this training session over the last three years.

“Harwood’s model for engaging the community helped us identify the residents and groups that are in need, how we can improve library programs and initiatives to better address community needs, and how we can partner with others to help the community solve problems.

“The results are mutually rewarding for the community – from individuals with ideas and questions to community organizations with their goals and unique needs. We all collaborate to see what’s possible,” says Carlton. The Community Engagement department now has nine full time and four part time staff members including Bookmobile staff.

Skokie and Community Engagement

Skokie is a unique community with a population that includes more than 65,000 diverse residents speaking more than 76 languages. As a result of facilitating a series of community conversations with Skokie residents Community Engagement staff identified three major themes that resonated with participants: the importance of a sense of safety; the wish for a vibrant downtown area; and the desire for a sense of belonging in this very diverse community. In an effort to find ways to address these themes the Community Engagement Department brought together a group of seven community stakeholders including school districts, village departments, social service organizations and the Niles Township English Language Learners Parent Center.

The group, SkokieCares, has been meeting to discuss how they can work together to help address some of the community’s needs. “As libraries rethink their roles in their communities, they understand that they are key, trusted entities and they bring numerous resources in addition to well established relationships and partnerships to the table. We want to partner with other organizations to address some of the community’s aspirations and challenges.” Carlton notes.

For example, the library sits on the Village Health Department’s Strategic Planning Committee contributing research skills and information resources as well as information about immigrant communities in Skokie. The goals of the Health Department’s strategic plan cover senior citizens, adults and youth with disabilities, school children, and others facing health challenges.

The Skokie Public Library’s Business and Career Center and the library’s business librarian are examples of how the Community Engagement Department works to identify and address the needs of business owners. Using information gleaned from conversations with small business owners throughout the community the business librarian designs trainings and conducts individual consultations targeting their information and technology needs. The library’s Business and Career Center was developed based on input from business owners and the local Chamber of Commerce to provide space for meetings, training sessions and appointments with clients.

Turn Outward

“We have an awesome staff that has enthusiastically helped us shepherd the Community Engagement’s new department and programming. It’s amazing what libraries can offer their communities.  Libraries need to help communities see the role they play and what they can do. It’s really exciting and the opportunities are endless,” Susan Carlton enthuses.

https://skokielibrary.info/

 

Want to Connect with the Media?  Time for a Pitch Letter!

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Are you a  public relations pro or citizen journalist who wants to share a newsworthy subject with an editor or producer, the “gatekeeper” to your targeted audience? Then you should know how to approach them because they want to hear from you.

The following pitch letter resources include pointers, samples and a quirky pitch letter.

How to Pitch the Media

Pitch letters target a specific publication or media outlet (local newspaper, radio or TV station), explains David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, latest  5th Edition.

In his book, Scott elaborates on these “How to Pitch the Media” bullets.

  • “Target one reporter at a time.
  • Use the tip line if the media outlet you are targeting has one.
  • Help the journalist understand the big picture.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Try newsjacking! (use current events as hooks)
  • Explain how customers use your product or work with your organization.
  • Don’t send email attachments unless asked.
  • Follow up promptly with potential contacts.
  • Don’t forget, it’s a two-way street – journalists need you to pitch them.”

Scott also quotes a newspaper editor: “The single most effective thing people do is watch and read my stories and send me personalized, smart pitches for stories that I am actually likely to cover.”  In other words, your pitch should reflect your familiarity with the medium and reporter.

Learn how to effectively connect with your target audience through pitch letters “social media, online video, mobile applications, blogs, news releases & viral marketing to reach buyers directly” in The New Rules of Marketing & PR.

Pitching Media – Samples

“Sample Magazine Query or Pitch Letter”  https://www.thebalance.com/sample-magazine-query-or-pitch-letter-1360426

“The Pitch Letter”  http://www.sandralamb.com/writing-grammar/the-pitch-letter

Quirky Pitch Letter http://www.sallychapralis.com/pr_letter4.htm See below.

Editor/Producer/Contact
Medium/Beat

Dear (name of editor),

The shoes you wear take you to work, to the ball game, to the mall, to school, on a hike, or stepping out for a special event. If the shoes you wear are perfect for the occasion – comfortable as well as stylish – they help you feel more confident anywhere you go.

Into Shoes knows about the shoes you wear. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the downtown Somerset shoe store has fitted scores of women and men with shoes that take them everywhere. As one of the relatively few independent retailers, Into Shoes serves the young and older, liberal and conservative and all those walking spirits who want comfort, quality and style.

As part of its celebration, Into Shoes will donate two percent of its anniversary month’s sales to the Somerset Child Care Center and the Somerset Social Services Agency.

When Into Shoes initially opened, it focused on a few brands of comfortable shoes. It now offers more than 50 brands of women and men’s shoes from many international designers, attracting local customers as well as those from miles away who appreciate the eclectic variety, comfort, quality and style.

We think (name of medium) your followers will be interested in a sole-searching feature on shoes. We, of course, will be delighted to step into it, offering our 50-year perspective.

We look forward to talking to and walking with you.

Sincerely,

Bob Grant
Owner

###

Visit Sally Chapralis & Associates, Business Communications & Public Relations, www.sallychapralis.com

“Conversation cleanup – The way you communicate at work may be hurting you.”

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

 

We may have some annoying communication habits “that are driving people crazy.” It’s probably time to address them. Author Kat Boogaard discusses “eight common faux pas” in her (Inc.) article, “Conversation cleanup.” Here’s a brief intro to each one, and you will find more information in the article itself at: http://digitaledition.chicagotribune.com/tribune/article_popover.aspx?guid=ac32ff11-f660-4dc2-bd29-c98aefaf117b

  •  “Constantly Interrupting. We all have one thing in common when talking. We want to be listened to. So if you’re one of those people who tend to jump in and interrupt or – even worse – try to complete people’ sentences for them, you need to…”
  • “Multitasking. Conversations deserve your full attention, not the halfhearted glances you’re willing to give them when you manage to rip your focus away from your iPhone screen. Multitasking is a habit we’re likely all guilty of, but…”
  • “Using Qualifiers. ‘Don’t take this personally, but…’; This might be a bad idea, but…’; I know what you’re thinking, but…if you tend to overuse them, you may be driving people up a wall. Why?”
  • “Equating Your Experiences. Someone is explaining a difficult problem he is currently facing. You immediately respond with ‘I know exactly how you feel,’ and then launch into your own long-winded tale … that’s not really relevant. It’s important to remember…”
  • “Floundering. We’ve all had to deal with those people who seem to just ramble on endlessly without a point and appear to be talking simply because they like the sound of their own voices. … When you decide to speak up, make sure…”
  • “Avoiding Direct Contact. …The never-ending assortment of communication tools available today has made us less willing to actually talk to one another. So before hitting send on a message, …”
  • “Waiting Instead of Listening. As my mom always loves to tell me, ‘There’s a big difference between hearing and listening!’ And when you’re having a conversation with someone, you should be actively listening. That means…”
  • “Using Filler Words. ‘Hey, Jason, Umm, I’m just checking in on that, uhhh, report to see if you think you’ll, like, have that done by, like the end of the day.’ This is perhaps the toughest bad verbal habit to break. … But…”

It’s time to tune in and address our conversational issues. For great advice before your next conversation head to:

http://digitaledition.chicagotribune.com/tribune/article_popover.aspx?guid=ac32ff11-f660-4dc2-bd29-c98aefaf117b

 

Want to start a website without using a designer? Consider WordPress

Monday, March 27th, 2017

 

If you want a website but don’t have the budget for a designer and don’t know how to create one yourself, then consider WordPress. “It is a common and popular web design solution, and most web-hosting companies offer it as an option,” notes Christopher Merrill, Christopher Merrill Web Design, www.christophermerrill.com

“I caution people to use WordPress through a web-hosting resource such as GoDaddy, Network Solutions or DreamHost. but not a free version. These web hosters usually provide a simple way to create a WordPress website offering many templates and design options. WordPress acts as a content management system that helps you create and manage digital content. So, with WordPress you can add text, images and links to your menus.”

Christopher also suggests that if you have questions about WordPress, you can also type that question into Google. For example: How do I create a website page in WordPress? Or, How do I add images in WordPress? Search engines are smart and understand the full question and your goals, leading you to answers.

“If you want to create a template yourself, then you must create a ‘child theme’ based on that template,” Christopher explains. “A ‘child theme’ is a universal theme in WordPress that you select, and it’s the only theme you will use.  And, once again, Google the question: How do I create a child theme in WordPress?; and up comes an  explanation. If you’re not comfortable doing it, then you may need professional assistance.

“On another note, you will need to learn how to upload files from your computer to your server, where your files are stored, using the file manager that comes with your account, or an ftp (file, transfer, protocol) program. You might need a professional’s help with this.

“If you’re the adventuresome type, you might want to know the difference between a widget and a plugin and other ‘fancy stuff.’ They may not be necessary, but WordPress offers the basic plugins you need. And, of course, you can Google: WordPress Plugins vs. Widgets: What’s the Difference?

“Finally, when WordPress asks you to update your website or your plugins, do it. This is important for keeping your WordPress site secure. This also reflects the importance of the “child theme.” Without it, you will lose updates. WordPress and your website can give you power and can be an exciting and rewarding adventure.”

 

 

 

How to Grow Your Network and Your Business in 100 Days

Friday, February 17th, 2017

“When growing a business, networking can be an effective part of our marketing and public relations strategy because it can expand our sphere of influence and extend our message to an ever widening group of individuals,” explains Reno Lovison, owner of Reno Lovison Marketing, who introduced the100 DAYS Challenge to Grow Your Network & Your Business:  http://renoweb.net/100DAYS

“I have a networking connection,” Reno says, “who I met several years ago when I first did this challenge. Over the years he has referred me to several companies who have used my video services. These included two very nice pieces of business this past year. This became my inspiration to repeat the challenge because I realized that the concerted effort I put in over four years ago was still paying dividends. So this time I invited a few people to do it with me. I thought I would be happy with ten participants but I ended up with19 including myself.”

The primary goal of the 100 DAY Challenge is for each of us to meet 100 new people in 100 days. This is accomplished through the regular course of business, referrals, as well as attending networking events and other business related functions.  As a group the 19 people involved gather at various business locations every 10 days to check in on each other’s progress, share ideas and strategize. “People need to be challenged in order to move out of their comfort zone.” Reno notes, “If you’re not a little uncomfortable during the process, you may not be as engaged as you should be. When meeting new people it is essential to share contact information, typically a business card. Then have a plan to follow in order to develop new relationships and explore potential opportunities.”

Reno Lovison Marketing provides marketing services including web video production for businesses, authors, and artists. Mr. Lovison is the author of “Turn Your Business Card Into Business” and offers a self-directed online course designed to improve your networking skills.

Isn’t it time to grow your network and see what you can do to grow your business over the next 100 days?

Resources:

Effective Face-to-Face Networking:  www.BusinessCardtoBusiness.com

Video for Authors & Book Lovers:  www.AuthorsBroadcast.com

Web Video Marketing: www.RenoWeb.net

Presentations and Interviews — Actor’s Advice: Memorize and Rehearse

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

If you are giving a presentation or getting ready for an interview, and want it to be a mutually rewarding experience, consider actor Jim McCance’s advice. “Actors have to memorize their parts and rehearse with other actors for a performance, which is also similar to public speaking and customer service.”

Jim’s more than 40 years as an actor and voice-over pro includes his current commitment as an understudy for the title role in King Charles III at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. “We have to memorize all of the lines. It’s challenging and engaging.”

Presentation

Your first step in a presentation is to make an outline of what you want to say and what the audience would appreciate. Discuss it with the program director. Does it respond to participant expectations?  Try to engage them with a story or experience.

“Even though you will have a written presentation that you can refer to, memorize it and, if possible, rehearse it with colleagues or friends to help you stay on track during the actual event…especially important if something unexpected should occur…as it can in a theater performance,” Jim McCance notes.

Interview for job

Whether your interview is for an internship, temporary or permanent position, do your research about the organization so you’re knowledgeable about its activities, customers and goals and can respond or ask questions during the interview.

Then, Jim adds, “memorize small portions of the interview, and prepare your points. If you and the interviewer get sidetracked, take the conversation back to the focus. Always be ready with a story that reflects your experience.” You might also rehearse an interview with a friend or relative who can act like a prospective employer.

An interview and an actor’s audition are similar. Be clear about what you want to accomplish, enjoy it, and learn from the experience.

Jim can be reached through the Stewart Talent Agency at 312-943-3131.

In a “Web World” News Releases Can Reach Consumers Directly

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

In The New Rules of Marketing & PR, Revised & Updated 5th Edition, author David Meerman Scott explains “How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Blogs, News Releases & Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly.”

While journalists, mainstream media and trade press “remain critically important…your audience is millions of people with Internet connections and access to search engines and RSS readers.”

However, of the online communication options, many people may not fully understand a news release’s  potential, and how to write them “direct-to-consumers.”

David Meerman Scott presents “The New Rules of News Releases.”

  • “Don’t send news releases just when big news is happening; find good reasons to send them all the time.”
  • “Instead of targeting a handful of journalists, create news releases that appeal directly to your buyers.”
  • “Write releases that are replete with the keyword-rich language used by your buyers.”
  • “Include offers that compel consumers to respond to your release in some way.”
  • “Place links in releases to deliver customers to landing pages on your website.”
  • “Link to related content on your site such as videos, blog posts, or e-books.”
  • “Optimize news release delivery for searching and browsing.”
  • “Point people to your news release from your social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.”
  • “Drive people into the sales process with news releases.”

For more complementary information in First Person Public Relations, read “Pitch Letters – Media Appreciates Targeted Information”: http://sallychapralis.com/blog/?p=902

 

Business Cards still great for marketing

Monday, July 25th, 2016

To help you present a positive first impression, Bea Lipski, manager of Minuteman Press in Morton Grove, IL,  explains the do’s and don’ts of memorable card creation. In fact, a recipient of your card may ask for more to share with other connections.

“The front side of your business card should clearly state the name of your business and services, as well as your name and job title. Contact information must be easy to read: phone numbers (direct and cell), website and email.”

If there’s room on the front side, you could include your logo and/or a photo. The photo may be a sample of your work and not your real picture, unless you want it there.

While the back side of your card can remain blank for notes, some people also insert a QR code.

Card design should be engaging. Your font size should be a 10 or 12 point, but not less than 7 to 8 points, so that it’s easily read. You might consider professional help from your printing service or a graphic designer. While design is critical, it should enhance the information and not overwhelm it. Before final printing, approve a sample.

As you consider price, remember that the business card is often your first impression, so avoid paper and printing that looks too thin, cards that have rough edges and do not present a professional appearance. They may be cheaper, but they often look that way.

Once your cards are ready for prime time, consider how you will carry them. You should always have some with you even if you’re not formally networking. One convenient option is a card-carrying case that fits into a purse or pocket.

Business or personal cards have not been replaced by digital, online or email exchanges that may be convenient but are impersonal. Yes, while these options offer lots of venues and opportunities, exchanging cards in person is great for marketing and building your brand. Business or personal cards are also great first impressions that continue to prove themselves in marketing and engage recipients – who can copy your information to their mobile devices.

For more information, contact Bea Lipski at Minuteman Press:    minutemanpressmg@sbcglobal.net.

“Conversation cleanup – The way you communicate at work may be hurting you.”

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

We may have some annoying communication habits “that are driving people crazy.” It’s probably time to address them. Author Kat Boogaard (Inc.) discusses “eight common faux pas” in her article, “Conversation cleanup.” Here’s a brief intro to each one, and you will find more information in the article itself at: http://digitaledition.chicagotribune.com/tribune/article_popover.aspx?guid=ac32ff11-f660-4dc2-bd29-c98aefaf117b

  • Constantly Interrupting. We all have one thing in common when talking. We want to be listened to. So if you’re one of those people who tend to jump in and interrupt or – even worse – try to complete people’s sentences for them, you need to…”
  • “Multitasking. Conversations deserve your full attention, not the halfhearted glances you’re willing to give them when you manage to rip your focus away from your iPhone screen. Multitasking is a habit we’re likely all guilty of, but…”
  • “Using Qualifiers. ‘Don’t take this personally, but…’; This might be a bad idea, but…’; I know what you’re thinking, but…if you tend to overuse them, you may be driving people up a wall. Why?”
  • “Equating your experiences. Someone is explaining a difficult problem he is currently facing. You immediately respond with ‘I know exactly how you feel,’ and then launch into your own long-winded tale … that’s not really relevant. It’s important to remember…”
  • “Floundering. We’ve all had to deal with those people who seem to just ramble on endlessly without a point and appear to be talking simply because they like the sound of their own voices. … When you decide to speak up, make sure…”
  • “Avoiding direct contact. …The never-ending assortment of communication tools available today has made us less willing to actually talk to one another. So before hitting send on a message, …”
  • “Waiting instead of listening. As my mom always loves to tell me, ‘There’s a big difference between hearing and listening!’ And when you’re having a conversation with someone, you should be actively listening. That means…”
  • “Using filler words. ‘Hey, Jason, Umm, I’m just checking in on that, uhhh, report to see if you think you’ll, like, have that done by, like the end of the day.’ This is perhaps the toughest bad verbal habit to break. … But…”

 

It’s time to tune in and address our conversational issues. For great advice before your next conversation head to:   http://digitaledition.chicagotribune.com/tribune/article_popover.aspx?guid=ac32ff11-f660-4dc2-bd29-c98aefaf117b