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Communications

Without Structure, Strategy Goes Nowhere

By | Communications, Corporate Strategy | No Comments

Lucky me! Two organizations I work with are beginning strategic planning at the start of this new year. It gets a little confusing, bouncing back and forth, but what I learn in sessions from one, I’m able to apply to the other, so I figure that’s a win.

What has worried me in past strategy sessions is the possibility that the plan will sit on a shelf and not get put into action. I bet you’ve seen that in your work place or volunteer efforts. To combat that, we like to recommend a specific structure for follow up, either quarterly or every six months.

When it comes to strategic communications, the follow up and structure for implementation need to be waaaay tighter. Our clients benefit from a weekly structure, where those responsible for outreach and engagement truly have a DAILY checklist of tasks related to the strategic goals. Maybe that sounds like a lot, but when small steps are taken, great leaps can be made toward big goals.

We’re gearing up for an upcoming workshop for small businesses and nonprofits to help smaller teams or individual team members responsible for communications get a good structure set up so the rest of the year will run smoothly, and make real progress toward goals. More soon!

Want Better Networking? Skip the Networking Groups

By | Communications | One Comment

I visibly cringe when someone invites me to something called a networking group. I’ve been to these gatherings, where there’s one representative of each kind of industry, where you’re expected to share your “elevator speech” and share leads. It’s formulaic, and it might very well work for those who rely on cold calls to build business when all other efforts fail, but it’s really not my style.

What I find much more valuable, is attending events that interest me, and that attract like-minded people. The people I have met at nonprofit events, or through volunteering in my community, or at educational opportunities like lectures, films, and panel discussions are far more interesting and likely to result in real work relationships than those brought together in a manufactured networking environment.

I know it’s hard for those just starting out to dive into unknown groups and start introducing themselves. But if you’re there for a mission, or to listen and learn, with the opportunity to share ideas afterward, it’s a much more authentic relationship-building experience that results.

If you’re looking for a networking alternative, feel free to ask me what I’m attending next.

Rubbernecking in the Wake of the #MeToo Movement

By | Communications, Social Media | No Comments

I used to think a person finds out who their true friends are during a divorce. I was wrong. The real friends stick around after you’ve met someone new and start dating and are happy and in love again. I was surprised at the people who were more interested in the falling apart of my life than the building back up. I thought about the way we share our lives on social media, though, and became less surprised.

There’s a perception that people create these carefully crafted, happy looking lives with great vacations and beautiful families. Everything, as seen in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts looks just perfect. To me, that’s sharing only the shareable — not sharing what the user considers private. So yes, to some, that might look manufactured. And so, when a person’s life undeniably falls apart, we’re curious. Did we miss some clue in the photos on the Instagram account? Why were those last vacation photos all solo selfies?

We’re in the beginning of a movement that is going to have a lot of those online images crumbling. The #metoo movement, and today’s recognition of the Silence Breakers as the Person of the Year in Time Magazine is huge and will have an ongoing impact. It is only a matter of time before our colleagues, friends, friends’ husbands and partners lose their jobs or are called out publicly for sexual abuse or harassment.

I hope that we can refrain, as a culture, from social rubbernecking as peoples lives crumble around us. No, of course no one’s life is perfect, even if their social media would otherwise indicate. Victims will share what they wish and we should be respectful of that. Families of abusers are often collateral damage in these situations. Let’s let them be.

Let’s Talk About the Word Bitch

By | Communications | One Comment

When I was in sixth grade, Sister Edwardine, a tiny, ancient nun, got wind of some of the boys calling the girls “bitch.” Our teacher calmly gathered us and explained the origin of the word and why it was an insult when used, and why, exactly one should think twice before saying it. You could have heard a pin drop as this diminutive Dominican said, “if you call someone’s mother a bitch, you’re saying that woman is having sex with everyone in town.”

How we held it together, I’ll never know.

I don’t use the word bitch. I don’t swear much, but I’m not a prude, either. I just don’t use words that demean women. Funny how I just have a policy like that; odd little quirk of mine, being a woman and all. It was interesting to me, when only five years ago, in 2012 network television loosened the reigns and allowed “bitch” to slide. Suddenly, everyone from Betty White to Tina Fey was dropping the B-word.

Is normalizing a word the right approach? Do we “take it back” when we try to alter the meaning, and make it empowering? Does it make it hurt any less when someone uses it in a hurtful way, like when a man calls his wife a bitch in front of their children? I don’t think it does.

The sentiment is a bad one and in the upswing of women standing up to harassment, I think one small thing we can do is stop using words that demean women, even to be funny, even as a word of empowerment, even when it’s women using it with other women.

 

A major fail on Twitter this week began when user Nutella asked people to “name a bitch badder than Taylor Swift.” The backfire resulted in tweets like:

 

 

 

 

 

I think we need to use better words to describe the women we admire. Do you really want to call Malala a bad bitch? I certainly don’t.

When network television adopted the word, so did the workplace. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the word bitch in an office setting. NOT OK. It’s normalized so much that a middle school student casually used it in my presence to describe her own behavior. ALSO NOT OK.

You won’t hear the word “bitch” from me. I invite you to reconsider its use, yourself.