Tell Your Customers A Story

Tell Your Customers A Story

Communication, Featured

LearningWhen it comes to persuading others, rhetoric has its limits — it can sound didactic and boring. Stories are a much more effective way to convince others of your point of view. Here are three tips, courtesy of the Harvard Business Review, for shaping and telling a story that influences:

  • Know your message. Underneath every good story, there must be a point. Remember your message and weave your narrative around it.
  • Use the right example. Your story should center around a character that your audience likes and relates to.
  • Support with facts. Your story is only effective if it is based on and supported by facts and figures. At the beginning or end, share relevant data to convince your audience that your point of view matters.

To see how The Modern Observer Group can help you grow your business, contact us here.

Are You Missing The Networking In Social Networks?

Are You Missing The Networking In Social Networks?

Communication, Featured

social mediaImagine yourself at a networking event. You’ve been there talking to people you know well when a stranger walks up to you, introduces themselves, and says “I’ve heard about you and would like to talk.” Would you ignore them or ask them to go away?  Of course not. You would say hello and talk to them, at least briefly to find out more. Yet I constantly hear people say “I don’t connect to anyone I don’t know” when talking about social media.

When using social networks, you need to be open to meeting new people. If you’re not then why are you on? You could keep in touch with people you already know by phone and e-mail. Being on social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook is like going to a popular club. If all you want to do is hang out with friends, you can do that at home at a local bar. The point to going out to a popular club is to be seen. That’s the point of connecting via social media.

Particularly if you are a businessperson, you want people to find you and ask about what you do and how you can help them. Then why would you turn them away once they get to you?

I am not advocating connecting with everyone and anyone. If you don’t know the person who is asking to connect to you, send them a message. Ask about them and why they want to connect to you. Start a conversation. If you want, you can accept any invitation. If it doesn’t work out, you can delete them from your contacts.

Social networks exist to make connections. If all you do is connect to people you know well, all you’re doing is making the network into an online address book.

To see how The Modern Observer Group can help you grow your business, contact us here.

Keep Your Presentation From Being Forgettable

Keep Your Presentation From Being Forgettable

Communication, Featured

presentationsAdvice on giving good presentations tends to focus on structure and style, but there’s something even more important to consider: getting your audience to remember your talk. Here’s how to make sure they remember what you say:

  • Follow the right sequence. Audiences remember the beginning and end of a talk most easily; they have more trouble remembering the middle. Get your most important point out right away and reinforce it at the end.
  • Draw connections.Making connections among the key points in your talk helps your audience remember them. The more connections you draw, the more chunks of information people will be able to recall later.
  • Make the audience work. Audiences commit things to memory when they have to do a little work to understand them. Ask people questions, let them vote on something, and get them to summarize your points for themselves.

To find out how The Modern Observer Group can help you with your communications needs, contact us here.

The Key To Customer Service

The Key To Customer Service

Communication, Featured

listenI recently had to contact customer service from Audible, part of Amazon. After a few minutes I was convinced I was talking to Alexa. Every response was from a canned script. Despite explaining the problem repeatedly, customer service gave me solutions to problems I didn’t have. It was as though the customer service representative was only responding to certain keywords. While it seemed I was dealing with a chatbot, it was in fact a person. That person was not doing the one thing that ensures good customer service.

The person wasn’t listening.

To serve your customers, the fist key is listening to them. If your customer service consists of following scripts, you are not listening to what your customer is saying. Without listening, you can’t solve their problem and you can’t serve their needs. What you can do is aggravate and lose your customer. Listening is a simple skill. Not using can cost you business.

What Happens When A Company Reduces Its Marketing?

What Happens When A Company Reduces Its Marketing?

Communication, Featured

If you haven’t heard of Blue Apron, it is a food delivery service that ships recipes and the needed ingredients to its customers packed in dry ice. It also has a few problems. The biggest one is that there is no difference between it and its competitors, one of which is Amazon. Additionally, the market for the company and its competitors is more limited than it originally thought. Faced with increased competition and a shrinking market, Blue Apron made the decision that it had to cut costs, and the first thing it cut was its marketing budget.

What Blue Apron found out was that cutting its marketing also cut its sales. New customers dropped and when Blue Apron announced its earnings, so did its stock price. Blue Apron found that cutting its marketing was the biggest mistake it could make because it’s competitors didn’t. Since there was no differentiation between the companies, customers went to the one in front of them. They went to the company they saw in commercials and showed up on websites they looked at.

Marketing is not a luxury. Marketing is how customers learn about your company. Without marketing, your customers won’t find you. If they don’t find you, they don’t buy from you.

Keep Your Presentation from Being Forgettable

Keep Your Presentation from Being Forgettable

Communication, Featured

presentationsAdvice on giving good presentations tends to focus on structure and style, but there’s something even more important to consider: getting your audience to remember your talk. Here’s how to make sure they remember what you say:

  • Follow the right sequence. Audiences remember the beginning and end of a talk most easily; they have more trouble remembering the middle. Get your most important point out right away and reinforce it at the end.
  • Draw connections.Making connections among the key points in your talk helps your audience remember them. The more connections you draw, the more chunks of information people will be able to recall later.
  • Make the audience work. Audiences commit things to memory when they have to do a little work to understand them. Ask people questions, let them vote on something, and get them to summarize your points for themselves.
Balance Your Personal and Professional Selves on Facebook

Balance Your Personal and Professional Selves on Facebook

Communication, Featured

FacebookMore people use Facebook than any other social network, which means that you need a Facebook strategy for your business and career. This is especially true since we usually use our personal accounts when we’re on it. Here are some tips for managing your personal account in relation to your professional identity:

  • Use your lists. Creating different lists for different groups of people – coworkers, friends, and professional contacts, for example – helps you keep track of whom you’re sharing things with.
  • Target each post. Before you hit “Enter,” double-check who will be able to see it. Should the post be public? For a specific list? For only you?
  • “View as colleague.” Use Facebook’s “view as” feature to see what your profile looks like to other people. Make sure your colleagues, customers and potential customers see what you intend them to.
  • Change your defaults. If you use Facebook on your phone, set your default privacy settings to the narrowest possible audience. It’s better to share too narrowly than too widely.
Better Social Media Strategy: Show, Don’t Tell

Better Social Media Strategy: Show, Don’t Tell

Communication, Featured

social mediaMore and more social media is a visual medium. Facebook has even added features to make status updates more visual. To grab people’s attention here are tips to help you get started in creating great visual-based content.

Show off your stuff.

If you are a small business selling a product, this part is easy. Take some photos of your products, and post them on the social networks that most of your customers use. Go beyond a product catalog by sharing images of new products that you’re excited about and showing your enthusiasm. Service-based businesses can use lifestyle shots to connect their audience to the essence of what they do.

Get close.

Get up close to your subject. Make sure to fill the frame with the image. In many cases, images uploaded to social media sites will be viewed in a small, thumbnail-sized box first. So the subject of your photograph needs to be clearly visible, even at a small size.

Make your photos helpful to customers.

Sharing photographs of products, services, and staff can be helpful because when customers come visit your business, they will already know who to ask for, and what they’re looking for. You have created a connection with them and that makes their job as a consumer much easier.

Name your photos

Don’t give them generic names like, img928.jpg. Make names and descriptions key word rich.

Give Yourself A Marketing Makeover

Give Yourself A Marketing Makeover

Communication, Featured

Sales and MarketingPeriodically it’s important to look at the impression you create to make sure its the one you intend. It’s easy for a message to become outdated. To stay top of mind, freshen up your image by giving yourself a marketing makeover.

Social media: Take a look at your profile pictures and cover images on your profile pages. Social media changes, make sure you update your pages to take advantage of new features.

Website: Is your site up-to-date? Does it include all your current information? If you are not a business owner, do you have a personal page. Setting up your own website allows you to promote yourself to your customers and keep your audience if you move companies.

Networking Commercial: If you’re an avid networker, shake up your introduction periodically. Change your focus to grab attention and bring focus to new areas of your work.

Boost Your Credibility And Confidence When Speaking

Boost Your Credibility And Confidence When Speaking

Communication, Featured

SpeakingMost people experience nervousness or fright when speaking. Whether you are talking to people you don’t know, or presenting to existing clients or coworkers, here are some steps to take to help you come across as confident and knowledgeable.

  • Familiarize yourself with your subject: Go through your presentation repeatedly. Learn all you can about your subject so you can deliver your deep knowledge of it confidently. Your audience will sense that you know more about the subject than they do and you are keeping a considerable number of facts, ideas, and arguments in reserve.
  • Believe you will do well: Believing in yourself is critical since it shows in your body language. Your expectation of doing well is a language that your audience will respond to instantly and clearly.
  • Look at your audience directly: It might not be easy to do this from the beginning even if you are thoroughly prepared. Cast your glances almost randomly until you settle into your speech. When you’ve caught and held them, establish direct eye contact to judge their understanding of what you’re saying. This will help you change your delivery pace if need be.
  • Don’t read from a sheet: Notes, a quick reminder of your point, are better than reading from a sheet. Reading from a sheet dulls your presentation, makes it sound boring and suggests unpreparedness. Prepare a list of subject headings that you can fill out as you speak. It shows you know what you are talking about.
  • Speak clearly and don’t rush: It will help your audience assimilate your ideas easily and keep their attention on you. It will also make you appear confident. Regulating the level and tone of your voice keeps your audience interested. Project your voice and speak firmly without shouting. In the important passages, reduce your volume to get closer attention from your audience.