Be Heard! Here’s How!

What does it mean to be heard? Too often– especially this time of year with the presidential debates–the idea of “being heard” means being the loudest one out there or the most insistent.

Let’s be clear: being insistent is different than being persistent. Persistence is not giving up in the face of adversity and finding new ways to achieve your goal. Being insistent is stubbornly sticking to your own opinions, ideas, or plans without trying to adapt. An insistent person will shout and argue and talk over everyone else. A persistent person tries again and again to come out on top, but even if they don’t, they’ll consent to change.

Marketing is all about being heard. It’s communication in essence. Zingy slogans, eye-catching ads, enticing campaigns are all ways that companies use to be heard by consumers. And there are several ways that you can communicate with your target market. Since communication is a two-way street, you have to be willing to not only put your ideas out there, but to listen to the feedback. The most successful businesses out there are the ones who have a strong working relationship with their customers. They send emails, they have “Members” discounts, they put out surveys and offer perks and sales to those who provide that all-too important information.

Think of it as two people trying to communicate from opposite sides of a football field. The only way they have to communicate with each other is by writing notes on the same football and then throwing it to the other person. They have to keep passing the ball with new questions, answers, comments, and responses in order to come to any agreement. Neither can make the next move until the other has handed over communication. If one person holds onto the ball and refuses to pass it, the communication has broken down and nobody is being heard anymore.

The best way to get communication going between a company and the market is to make it fun for the people! Here are a few great interactive campaigns we’ve seen over the years.





Better Communication in 10 Steps!

This week, we’ve been covering the art of better communication in the professional sphere. Just a couple decades ago, people were speaking with eloquence and clarity that today is largely overlooked. Words are punctuated to clusters of letters or slang, and in the professional working world, you end up sounding like a child. Get out of the sandbox and learn how to communicate!

You’re Sabotaging Yourself at Work

Humility is the Achilles Heel of the business world. You can be professional and mature, but humility is the kiss of death. Business and success are for people who are not afraid to make compromises and at times be more assertive than the guy standing next to them.

There’s a line, a sort of balancing act you have to perform. When is being polite too much? At what point does your modesty turn detrimental? In some cultures, it’s common practice to brush off the compliments or praise from a client or fellow co-worker and say, “Oh, it’s nothing” or “No, no, really I’m just the low man on this totem pole.” But at a certain point, usually around the time you find yourself thinking “Wait, am I really that worthless?” you cross that line and give people a negative impression of you.

Think of it this way: the more you tell someone they are special or awesome or funny, they’re going to start believing it and will act accordingly. They’ll glow with that confidence you fill them with. So why would you deny yourself that validation? If you want to succeed, you need to sell yourself as successful!

Words to watch out for in everyday conversation include:

like (think Valley Girl, using ‘like’ between every other word.)

just (as in “I just wanted to say…”)

only (as in “I’m only a rep, I’m not really in a position to say.”)

sort of (as in “We’re sort of in the business of…”)

infancy (as in “Our company is still in its infancy.”)

Don’t diminish yourself or your company. If you want to succeed, you need to toot your own horn and make yourself look phenomenal!


Get That Green! Benefits of Eco-Friendly Businesses

Trends: they buzz, they tweet, they’re viral! Trends are living entities in the social media world, and savvy businesses know who to harness their power for the good of a company. One of the strongest trends in the Western world over recent years has been environmental awareness. Consumers are naturally drawn to companies that care about the environment…no pun intended!

Day in and day out, customers are surrounded by ads and campaigns. They’re sick of the slick and fast slogans and visuals. They’ve learned to tune out the commercials and most people just fast forward ads altogether to get back to their TV shows. It’s a gift and a curse in the business world, giving consumers the power to resist you.

The simple solution is to be too irresistible! Advertising yourself as an eco-friendly company benefits you in several ways. First, think like the consumer: they hate waste. They don’t want to waste their money and they won’t waste their time if they’re not going to feel like they are a significant individual among the landscape of customers your business works with daily. So how do you combat this? If they know that your business will donate a portion of proceeds to an environmental cause or will plant a tree for every ream of paper you sell, they will know that they are a part of the bigger picture. Then they’ll be motivated! They’ll want a piece of that organic pie!

Advertising your environmental impact also puts you a head above your competition. Would you rather work with someone who offers benefits or someone who doesn’t? Obviously, you want to work with the group that offers more! Making yourself look better in comparison makes you harder to ignore and a much more attractive prospect for customers. They’ll appreciate that you’re doing more than your competitors and that kind of customer loyalty is worth its weight in gold!

Being “green” also keeps your organization relevant. So many companies have fallen into the black abyss of failure simply because they weren’t staying up to date on the latest technology, weren’t utilizing social media or simply weren’t connecting with the locals well. Staying out front and in the social spotlight will keep the world looking at you!


We’re Not Sorry!

“Sorry, this might be a stupid question…”

“Sorry, can you repeat that?”

“Sorry, traffic was really bad this morning!”

STOP! What do all three of those sentences have in common?…Think about it…Give up? They’re all unnecessary apologies.

You might be thinking, “But saying ‘Sorry’ is just being polite…right?” Not when you’re overusing it. Saying “Sorry” may be polite when you bump someone’s arm on the street or when you send the wrong files to your supervisor. But over-apologizing has become a pervasive problem in many offices in America.

Studies have shown that women are more guilty of over-apologizing in the workplace, and there are a few reasons why this could be. First of all, women are much more tuned into their emotions and have a broader spectrum for what might be considered offensive. So women tend to believe that there is generally more to be responsible for and will take on those responsibilities, leading to unnecessary apologies. Women are also subject to gender roles that require them from a young age to be more “polite” or “feminine” and this usually leads to the worst thing you can be in a professional setting: submissive.

Being submissive sets low standards. If you’re trying to close a deal with a client and you keep apologizing, the client will wonder why you keep saying “Sorry.” Are you insecure about your company? Do you lack confidence in your product? Is the client coming off as domineering and oppressive? Where has the deal gone wrong? All of these red flags spell disaster for you and your company!

If you apologize for every little thing, you seem weak, vulnerable and even incompetent. Employees are passed over for promotions all the time because they leave a negative and weak impression on managers. You just “Sorried” yourself out of a raise! Sorry.

Undue apologizing could also be a symptom of low self-worth. Analyze why you’re saying “Sorry.”

Did you hurt someone or was someone hurt because of what you did? Did you do something offensive, illegal, or inappropriate? Are you directly at fault for a loss?


Don’t be sorry!

Many people tend to apologize for situations that are simply out of their control and perceive responsibility when there is none to be had. Recently, this snowstorm caused government offices to close, schools to cancel, and just a lousy mess on highways making employees all over the region late or absent from work. Did they conjure the snow? Did they barricade their cars behind snowdrifts? Things happen and there’s no reason to apologize for forces beyond your means.

More often than not, “Sorries” are just another way for us to say “Excuse me” or to express empathy. “Sorry” has become shorthand for what we are truly thinking or feeling. Consider this scenario:

You walk over to your co-workers while they’re discussing their weekends and you hear one person’s car was damaged by a hit and run driver. Instinctively, you blurt, “Sorry!”

Everyone will look at you and think simultaneously: “Was that a confession?!”

Instead, you could say “I’m sorry to hear that!” What a difference! You sound empathetic, caring, and invested in what’s going on in your co-workers’ lives!

By elaborating on your feelings or thoughts or simply substituting “Excuse me” for “Sorry,” you sound stronger and yet still polite. Making statements instead of apologies is the key.

“I’m sorry” becomes “I’m sorry about that.”

“I’m sorry” really means “I haven’t been ignoring your calls: things here are just busy.”

“I’m sorry” is replaced by “I have some ideas about the merger. When can we schedule some time for a meeting?”

Apologizing too much diminishes your power! Your power is the ability to impact others and affect change. Instead, embrace your existence and don’t apologize for it. You have something worthwhile to contribute and there’s no reason to be sorry for that. You are not a doormat to be walked all over: you’re an individual with ideas, feelings, and confidence. Once you embrace your self-worth and stop apologizing for things you cannot control, you stop trivializing your existence and start contributing. Leader2

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