Aug 27, 2009

Blue Angels and Email?

Every summer the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels fly in for Seattle’s Seafair celebration and do one of their fabulous air shows. I’m totally addicted to it all—the noise, the crowd, the water. The pilots are amazing; incredibly, they don’t wear G-suits (which ensures the pilot doesn’t pass out!) and they work in complete unison. They fly upside down, inches apart, and do the most intense aerial maneuvers I’ve ever seen.

So how does this relate to email? Their protocols of cooperation, trust, and uniformity create unity and precision that presents a remarkably professional image—or brand if you will—to the public. Same goes for email standards. If you can agree on a set of best email practices to follow within your team, department, organization, you’ll be bounds ahead of your competition by consistently presenting a powerful and compelling brand.

Aug 20, 2009

The Importance of a Persona

I'm part of a social media group, called Executive Peer Group. We get together once a month to talk about all things social media. The most important thing I've taken away from these meetings is the importance of creating a persona to connect with your readers. Your persona should exude your "real world" personality because no one wants to read blog posts that sound "salesy" or corporate.

Aug 17, 2009

Would You Like to Sell Me Your Underwear?

Recently, I had a great conversation with Teresa Romaneschi—one of our certified ESL writing coaches—about her experiences living in Taiwan while working for a Taiwanese manufacturing/exporting company. During her stay, she became conversant in Mandarin Chinese.

“This experience gave me an appreciation for the complexity of communicating across cultural and linguistic differences. I made plenty of Mandarin errors, like saying there were a lot of ducks in a room instead of mosquitoes or that I'd lost my eyes when I'd actually lost my glasses.”

She shared a funny story that I'd like to share with you. “One day while visiting China, a man approached my friend and tried to buy her underwear. I was certain I’d misunderstood—that he was really asking whether she wanted to buy lingerie (buy and sell are both pronounced "mai"). But he went to great pains to assure me that he wanted to buy her lingerie, not sell her any! When she declined, he asked my other friend the same thing. Well, by that point I was so offended that I politely asked him why he didn’t inquire about my underwear. Did I seem like someone who had unpresentable underwear?”

Her experience shows just how easy miscommunications come when communicating across cultural lines. Thankfully, Teresa is passionate about breaking down these barriers so communication is easier. She even created a webinar—Dismantling the Language Barrier: Navigating Workplace Communication Challenges—with great tips about how we can better reach out to our non-native English speaking colleagues.

Aug 5, 2009

Business Yenta

You know we have been getting a lot of calls—people looking for a writing coach to help them upgrade their writing skills. And since I love making connections, this really floats my boat.

For me, it’s a real thrill helping clients, friends, colleagues find the right person to solve their problem. Maybe it’s who’s the best hairdresser in town or do you know a great web site designer . . . I know just who you should call! ! I guess I’m a business yenta!

The same holds true for connecting the right writing coach with the right person. Daily, we get calls that go something like this: I won’t get promoted; I’ll lose my job; I won’t make partner/principal/senior VP—unless I improve my writing skills. So, my connecting spirit kicks into gear and I match the writer up with the correct writing coach.

More later.

Aug 4, 2009

Blogging, schmlogging!

Yes, yes, I know this is the direction the world of writing is going, BUT it’s such a hard shift for those of us used to the more formal approach of writing. Moving away from this is not easy. And I’m a writing expert for God’s sake!

For a long time, I have viewed blogging as a study in narcissism. (Don’t get me started on Twitter—more about that another time.) Hard to take back those words and join the ranks. But alas, here I am! My friends, Blaine and Clay, recommend developing a “persona.” The person behind the words. So I’m continuing my slogging into this world—waders on and hip deep in it.