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Are You Doing Enough To Grow Your Audience?

By Amy Graver | Elements, Principal & Creative Director | SMPS CT Member

 

To gain the full potential of the new media landscape, you must actively engage in all three media types: earned, rented and owned.

— Amy Graver

We are in the age of micromedia. This means it doesn’t take us more than a split second to decide to either engage or to change channels, keep scrolling, swipe left or close a tab. Having so many choices means
we expect more from those select few we seek out and choose to follow. But, it only takes one too many self-promotional posts, off-targeted tweets, or “all about me” messages to lose our attention forever.
The challenge isn’t getting our attention—it’s keeping it.

Here are the three types of media you need to be actively engaged with:

  1. Earned Media

Earned media is when you receive exposure on someone else’s platform—earning your way to be in front
of their audience. It is extremely difficult to gain earned media because you are at the mercy of the gatekeepers (the people who own the platform and decide who gets in and who doesn’t) and they are
not easy to get past.

Examples of earned media are speaking engagements, television appearances, events, press release mentions, an opinion post that is picked up by media sources, something you post goes viral, a great
review on something you did (art exhibit, book you wrote, etc.) or any other media exposure in general.

  1. Rented Media

Rented media, such as LinkedIn or Facebook, allows us to have a presence on their platform, but make
no mistake, we do not own our Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google, Pinterest or other rented media platforms; we are borrowing space on that company’s platform. At any moment, any social media
platform can change the rules or algorithm and limit your exposure or shut you down completely.

Think of rented media as a way to reach a much larger audience than we could reach on our own and a means to interact and engage with them—the goal being to keep their attention on you and to discover creative ways to lead them to your own stage. Examples of rented media are any social media channels
or advertising spaces.

  1. Owned Media

Owned media is the space you own on the internet that is completely yours and in your control, such as your website, blog or vlog, email list or podcast. Growing this audience is the key to mastering your online efforts because it is your stage to get out your messages that will benefit your audience—and you—directly.

Each type of media (earned, rented and owned) builds upon one another. To have a fully integrated, effective online strategy, it is critical for you to use all three.

All three types of media complement one another and, when used skillfully together, are greater than
the sum of their parts. Keep in mind that as a general rule, your goal is to lead people from earned and rented media to your owned media.

 

Building Your Audience

The strategy you should adapt is one where you are creating a compelling call-to-action (CTA) that will continuously move people from earned and rented media to your owned space—your website, blog, vlog, podcast, etc. 

These days, we are all short on time and attention spans, so you need to give something of real value to
your audience, such as sharing your expertise, insider industry knowledge, entertainment or share something helpful they could put to use.

The first step is to create a solid researched strategy and decide how your time is best spent. You should
get clear on what your goals are or you will be spending wasted time in areas that will not provide the best return on your investment. Next, answer the question of which social media channels are be the best place to reach your audience to gain and keep their attention.

Once you have your strategy, time investment and platforms nailed down, you need to work on content. Write, research, take pictures, share information and create posts that will give people a reason to engage and return again and again.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when creating compelling content to lead your audience to your owned media:

  • Does it clearly convey the value you are offering?
  • What is your prospective client gaining that is valuable? Have a clear CTA that leads them to your website to obtain a free value item. Some ideas are a video, free assessment, quiz, access to a photo gallery, a download, discount or other industry information of value to them;
  • If you are able to create emotionally engaging content, fans will share it, post about it, comment on it and thereby start engaging and paying attention to you;
  • Have an opinion;
  • Never lead with a sales pitch; creating value and generously giving away expertise will create a connection with your audience, however, selling to people over and over will drive them away, possibly for good. Focus instead on informing, entertaining, inspiring and being authentic;
  • Post consistent content;
  • Give yourself some time when you first start becoming active for people to seek you out and discover you. Monitor over time to ensure that your audience is growing. If it isn’t, it could be the platform you’re on or the content you are providing—take a hard look at each and adjust accordingly;
  • Make your headline memorable.

 

 Final Words of Advice

Don’t allow the fast-paced world of micromedia push you into rushing your written, spoken, visual or the design of your communications in a way that presents you as is anything less than professional, accurate and engaging. Taking a little extra time to ensure your message looks great and communicates perfectly is time well spent.

To summarize:

  1. Start with a researched strategic social media plan;
  2. Decide your time investment upfront and your dedication to each channel that you feel is best
    for reaching your audience;
  3. Put together a weekly / monthly / quarterly content schedule;
  4. Create engaging content;
  5. Monitor for responses and results over time;
  6. Engage daily and reply immediately with your audience;
  7. Adjust strategy, platforms, time commitment or content / topics as needed.

We look forward reading, watching, learning and being inspired by your content!

— Amy Graver | Elements, Principal & Creative Director

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Stop Being a Bad Manager

By: Gilda Bonnano

Being a manager is not easy. It requires you to mobilize your team to achieve results while helping each employee maximize his or her potential. Management communications expert and professional speaker Gilda Bonanno explains how to avoid the common pitfalls and mistakes of the bad manager.

© Gilda Bonanno

Gilda Bonanno helps you transform your communication, presentation and leadership skills so you can have more confidence, influence and success. She has worked with leading organizations, including GE, Travelers, Praxair, Assa Abloy, Wells Fargo and Yale University, on four continents from Chicago to Shanghai and Rio to Rome.

Since 2006, Gilda has delivered thousands of in-person programs, her YouTube channel has received over 1 million views and her digital newsletter has reached subscribers in over 45 countries since 2008.

Gilda has a proven track record of partnering for results with people in a variety of industries and at all organizational levels, from C-level executives to sales teams to frontline managers.  She collaborates with them to help them lead more effectively, communicate more clearly and create and deliver more powerful and engaging presentations so they get results.

Sign up at www.gildabonanno to receive her twice-monthly newsletter for practical tips you can use to improve your communication, networking and presentation skills.

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Giving a Virtual Presentation? Don't "Wing It" 

by Gilda Bonanno

Whether your virtual presentation is a teleconference or webinar, it’s important that you prepare and practice it so that you can be successful.  Just showing up and “winging it” – delivering a presentation without preparation - will not work. 

One of the factors that makes a virtual presentation more challenging than an in-person presentation is that the audience can’t see you (unless you are doing a live streaming video) so you lose all the elements of body language which normally would help them understand your presentation.  All you have is your voice.

Also, you can’t see the audience to determine if they understand you or if they have any questions (or even if they are paying attention).

And technology glitches, such as a poor internet connection or static on the phone line, often occur and interfere with your ability to communicate to the audience. 

Here are 6 strategies for ensuring that your virtual presentation will be effective:

1.    Shorten your presentation.  If it normally takes you 1 hour to deliver it in person, condense your content down to 45 minutes because it is more difficult for people to pay attention virtually when they have so many other distractions.  And don’t assume it will take you 45 minutes; actually practice and time it.

2.    Have a laser-like focus on your audience and your message.  Since you can’t see the audience’s reaction, you need to be unambiguous about your purpose and state it clearly and directly in your opening.

3.    Add more variety to your voice.  A monotone voice can be deadly in a virtual presentation.  Speak louder, more slowly than usual (without speaking too slowly) and with more enunciation.  Record yourself during practice and the live presentation itself and also get feedback after the presentation.

4.    Energize your presentation.  Even if there is no one in the room where you are presenting, standing up and smiling will give your voice more dynamism and help to keep the audience’s attention.

5.    If you want audience engagement, prepare for it.  Let people know that you will call on them by name.  Or if your software has a polling or Q&A feature, learn to use it. If several people are gathered at a remote site, ask them to discuss something as a group and then have a spokesperson share the results.

6.    Be prepared for what can go wrong with the technology of a virtual presentation.  Know what you will do to handle any situation, from the call getting disconnected to the webinar software crashing.  

The next time you have to deliver a virtual presentation, use these 6 strategies to ensure that the virtual medium doesn’t interfere with your ability to communicate your message to the audience. 

© Gilda Bonanno

Gilda Bonanno helps you transform your communication, presentation and leadership skills so you can have more confidence, influence and success. She has worked with leading organizations, including GE, Travelers, Praxair, Assa Abloy, Wells Fargo and Yale University, on four continents from Chicago to Shanghai and Rio to Rome.

Since 2006, Gilda has delivered thousands of in-person programs, her YouTube channel has received over 1 million views and her digital newsletter has reached subscribers in over 45 countries since 2008.

Gilda has a proven track record of partnering for results with people in a variety of industries and at all organizational levels, from C-level executives to sales teams to frontline managers.  She collaborates with them to help them lead more effectively, communicate more clearly and create and deliver more powerful and engaging presentations so they get results.

Sign up at www.gildabonanno to receive her twice-monthly newsletter for practical tips you can use to improve your communication, networking and presentation skills.

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Body Language When Presenting - Gestures and Movement 

by Gilda Bonanno

 When communicating, your body language (facial expressions, gestures, movement, eye contact and voice) should match your message. If there is a disconnect between what you say and your non-verbal communications, your audience will believe your non-verbals.

Movement and gestures are key components of body language.  Mark Brown, past World Champion of Public Speaking, once coached me: "Gilda, stand and deliver." Rather than pacing aimlessly on stage, I should stand and deliver my message -- and move with purpose. 

Try this out yourself.  Before you start to speak in front of a group, no matter how small or big, walk to where you'll be standing with even, purposeful steps. Stand your ground and when you move – to the flipchart, to the other side of the room, into the audience – make it deliberate. 

Here are other tips to help you use gestures and movement effectively:

How to Stand

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees relaxed.  Your weight should be evenly distributed on both feet.  Avoid nervous pacing or shifting from one foot to the other.
  • Stand up straight - you do not need to stand like a soldier at attention, but your shoulders should be back and your head held high so you can make eye contact.  This posture conveys confidence and helps you breathe more fully.
  • Don't “hide” behind a desk, podium or flip chart.

 

What to Do With Your Hands

  • Begin with your hands in the "neutral position," hanging loosely at your sides, so they will be available for natural gestures
  • Avoid hands in pockets since it can lead to a sloppier posture and slouching.  You also may start jingling the change in your pocket without realizing it (yes, I've seen – and heard – it happen!).
  • Empty your hands.  If you must hold something (your notes or the PowerPoint remote), be aware of what you are doing.  I've seen speakers unconsciously fold their notes into little squares - how's that for distracting?  
  • Be aware of what your empty hands are doing – "washing" the other hand, grasping the other hand tightly, playing with your watch, etc.
  • Don't point at the audience.  Yes, your mother was right – it's not polite to point.  Try an open-handed gesture instead.

 

How to Use Gestures

  • Whether they come naturally to you or you have to work at them, gestures can help communicate your ideas and a little goes a long way.
  • Use a variety of smooth, deliberate and natural gestures that support and visually illustrate your message. 
  • Use the "fisherman gesture."  Remember the fisherman telling the story "I caught a fish THIS big" with his arms open wide? That gesture is a visual clue to what his words are telling you. 
  • Use the "on the one hand… , on the other hand" gesture to show both sides of the issue.

 

Gestures and movement provide the visuals that accompany your words.  Learning to use them effectively will help you convey your message with confidence and your audience will see your message instead of just hearing it.

© Gilda Bonanno

Gilda Bonanno helps you transform your communication, presentation and leadership skills so you can have more confidence, influence and success. She has worked with leading organizations, including GE, Travelers, Praxair, Assa Abloy, Wells Fargo and Yale University, on four continents from Chicago to Shanghai and Rio to Rome.

Since 2006, Gilda has delivered thousands of in-person programs, her YouTube channel has received over 1 million views and her digital newsletter has reached subscribers in over 45 countries since 2008.

Gilda has a proven track record of partnering for results with people in a variety of industries and at all organizational levels, from C-level executives to sales teams to frontline managers.  She collaborates with them to help them lead more effectively, communicate more clearly and create and deliver more powerful and engaging presentations so they get results.

Sign up at www.gildabonanno to receive her twice-monthly newsletter for practical tips you can use to improve your communication, networking and presentation skills.  

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Management by Walking Around (MBWA), or Please Don't "Prowl, Growl and Scowl" 

by Gilda Bonanno

Management by walking around (MBWA) is a common management practice that can be very helpful in managing and engaging employees, setting a good example, and staying in touch with what's really happening with employees. 

It means that the manager leaves his or her office to go out "onto the floor" of the office, plant, lab, etc. and see what people are doing.  The purpose is two-fold: both to learn what is going on and get a sense of morale, and also to demonstrate that you're interested and present.

However, MBWA can be misused or done in a way that has the opposite effect of what's intended.  Done incorrectly, MBWA can turn into what I call "prowl, growl and scowl," a phrase inspired by a client who was describing the behavior of a senior executive at her previous company.  When the executive returned from a trip, he always made a point to use MBWA to catch up with what was happening in the office. 

In this case, MBWA consisted of him prowling around the office, sneaking up behind someone and growling, "what are you doing?"  There was no smile – just a serious look as he stared down at them.  It got so bad that employees would call each other to warn when he was out "on his rounds" so they could pretend to be on a phone call or hide in the conference room or bathrooms. 

Here are 8 tips that will help you and your employees benefit from MBWA without it turning into "prowl, growl and scowl."

1.    Make it part of a regular routine. 

If you only come out of your office when things are bad or you're on a witch hunt, looking for a scapegoat, then people will associate your MBWA with that.  Don't wait for a special occasion to walk the halls and check in with employees. 

2.    Don't use it to discipline or find fault. 

Unless you observe a serious safety or ethical violation that needs to be addressed immediately, don't use your MBWA to correct employees publicly.  This is not the time to remind employees of the "two plants per cubicle" rule (it's okay to make a mental note of what you observed and address it later).

3.    Mind your non-verbals.

Non-verbals, or body language, include facial expression, voice, gestures, posture, movement and eye contact, and they can undermine your words if you're not aware of them.  Smile, speak calmly and in a relaxed manner. Don't put your hands on your hips or lean against the desk to glare down at the employee.  And no finger pointing.

4.    Have a calm, confident (not cocky) demeanor. 

Not only will it convey that you are in control and there is nothing to worry about, but a calm and confident demeanor also can help employees feel confident enough to speak to you. 

5.    Prepare open-ended questions.

Open-ended questions such as "what are you working on?" or "how are things going?" require more than a yes/no answer and allow the employees to speak.  Listen and show interest in the answer.  Realize that some employees are uncomfortable or unused to having a conversation with a senior manager and are trying to relax and be polite, while others will take the opportunity to complain or "kiss up." Be prepared for all of these responses. 

At one company I worked with, a senior executive would on rare occasions eat lunch in the cafeteria at a table with his employees instead of in his office or in the executive dining room.  Everyone was tongue-tied and he was shy, which made for stiff and uncomfortable conversation. 

He would have been more effective had he eaten in the cafeteria on a regular basis or prepared some small-talk questions and comments to get the conversation going.  

6.    Listen.

Demonstrate your respect for your employees by actively listening to them rather than checking your Blackberry or interrupting.  Make eye contact and paraphrase what they've said to make sure you've understood. 

7.    Respect employees' privacy.

Be careful with the personal questions that you ask, avoiding questions that could be considered intrusive or inappropriate and keeping in mind that you still are the boss, rather than a buddy.   

8.    Be sincere. 

Be sincerely interested in your employees' well being, what they're working on and how they're doing.  You can't fake sincerity - they will recognize and resent any perceived insincerity or hypocrisy.

Sometimes the very fact that you're using MBWA will "encourage" people to stay on task - that's fine. However, you want to avoid using the "prowl, growl and scowl" version of MBWA where everyone gets the phone call and looks busy or hides while you're on the prowl and then goes back to surfing the web or gossiping once you go back to your office.

Used appropriately, MBWA can be an effective tool for you to demonstrate support and interest and learn how things are really going.

© Gilda Bonanno

Gilda Bonanno helps you transform your communication, presentation and leadership skills so you can have more confidence, influence and success. She has worked with leading organizations, including GE, Travelers, Praxair, Assa Abloy, Wells Fargo and Yale University, on four continents from Chicago to Shanghai and Rio to Rome.

Since 2006, Gilda has delivered thousands of in-person programs, her YouTube channel has received over 1 million views and her digital newsletter has reached subscribers in over 45 countries since 2008.

Gilda has a proven track record of partnering for results with people in a variety of industries and at all organizational levels, from C-level executives to sales teams to frontline managers.  She collaborates with them to help them lead more effectively, communicate more clearly and create and deliver more powerful and engaging presentations so they get results.

Sign up at www.gildabonanno to receive her twice-monthly newsletter for practical tips you can use to improve your communication, networking and presentation skills.  

 

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How to Introduce Yourself Quickly

By Gilda Bonanno

 

 

© Gilda Bonanno

Gilda Bonanno helps you transform your communication, presentation and leadership skills so you can have more confidence, influence and success. She has worked with leading organizations, including GE, Travelers, Praxair, Assa Abloy, Wells Fargo and Yale University, on four continents from Chicago to Shanghai and Rio to Rome.

Since 2006, Gilda has delivered thousands of in-person programs, her YouTube channel has received over 1 million views and her digital newsletter has reached subscribers in over 45 countries since 2008.

Gilda has a proven track record of partnering for results with people in a variety of industries and at all organizational levels, from C-level executives to sales teams to frontline managers.  She collaborates with them to help them lead more effectively, communicate more clearly and create and deliver more powerful and engaging presentations so they get results.

Sign up at www.gildabonanno to receive her twice-monthly newsletter for practical tips you can use to improve your communication, networking and presentation skills  

Read More