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    7 Social Media Tips for Women Business Leaders from 7 Experts

    September 18th, 2012

    As I have become more involved in social media, both on a personal and a professional level, I often see the same tips and suggestions about social media in online blogs and articles. I thought this list of tips from social media experts was refreshing because it offers advice for women business leaders from real industry experts. Many of the tips are not what you would expect.

    I’ve condensed this list from an article by Amy Porterfield, author of  Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies.

    1. Offer live events on Facebook
      “To provide additional value and fresh ways for your fans to interact with you, periodically conduct live chat sessions or live webinars or teleseminars,” says Mari  Smith, co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day.
    2. Help others who aren’t necessarily famous
      “Don’t try to build your personal brand or company brand alone. Go out of your way to look for opportunities to help others and give others credit,” says Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business. “Easy ways to do this include recommendations on Twitter of others’ work, retweets and hot tips on the comment section of blogs,” Erik added.
    3. Don’t over-focus on marketing
      “All too often, businesses overlook the ‘social’ part of the phrase social media marketing and jump straight into the ‘marketing’ part… to their detriment,” explained Hollis Thomases, author of Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day.
    4. Research what your customers are saying
      “Stop reading the success stories and best practices to model your social media strategy. Use them for inspiration, but my best advice to you is to go figure out what your opportunity is first,” said Brian Solis, author of Engage: The Complete Guide to Building, Cultivating and Measuring Success in the Social Web.
    5. Meet people in real life
      “You can meet people online, but solidify these online relationships face to face,” says Steve Garfield, author of Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business. Steve founded a networking group that meets in person each month. “What’s very important is that the meeting is free, we never cancel and everyone is welcome,” explained Steve.
    6. Invest in social media after you do your research
      Corporations should gauge their own social business maturity and prioritize spending decisions based on the industry benchmarks, according to a study by the Altimeter Group. “Just as you would invest your personal finances based on your family size, age and market conditions, you should be spending in social business with the same industry knowledge,” Says Altimeter’s Jeremiah Owyang, partner of customer strategy.
    7. Share the knowledge of experts with your audience
      “Get experts involved with your content. Determine who the experts are in your industry. Then go to them and offer to interview them about their hottest new project,” said Mike Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner.

    As the owner of a strategic communications firm, I was surprised to find a social suggestion on this list I haven’t yet tried. Tell me what your best social media tips are, and if you try any of the tips above, let me know how they worked for you.


    Bouncing Back: Lessons for Women Business Leaders from Bikram Yoga

    September 12th, 2012


    photo credit: DennisSylvesterHurd via photo pin cc

    I recently celebrated my 10th month as a breast cancer survivor – and I have learned many lessons — but none so poignant as the lessons I learned when I took a Bikram Yoga class. I had taken many yoga classes prior to my diagnosis but thought that Bikram Yoga, with its rigorous postures combined with heat, was not an activity that I could easily participate in.

    Well, being an adventuresome woman with an openness to possibilities, I was drawn back to try a class. As I timidly entered the Bikram room I was overcome with heat and fear – what if my life had changed so dramatically that I could not do this? That was all I needed – an opportunity to overcome fear. As I struggled though adapting to the reality of not being able to do some of the exercises because I cannot lie on my chest, I started thinking of how I could extract lessons from this experience. I completed the class, have continued going back and want to share some of my observations with other women business leaders about how one “bounces back.”

    It’s not what you do but who you are, doing it
    As I accepted my limitations and did not measure myself against any one else – I was impressed with what I could do rather than what I couldn’t.

    Use fear as a motivator
    Feeling fearful for me is a signal that I am putting boundaries on myself. It is a good barometer for action – a signal to figure out barriers.

    Adopt a problem-solving mindset
    I had some issues to overcome – rather than use these limitations as excuses – I approached them as solvable problems. This allowed me to gain control of the situation rather than sink into the victim mode.

    Energy from the participants
    Drawing energy from the other students was extremely helpful. Pay attention to resources surrounding you.

    Stay open to possibilities
    If I would have approached the class expecting to perform as I did prior to surgery, I would have faced defeat without even trying.

    Embrace yourself with a smile
    This needs no explanation.

    I hope you are invigorated by challenges – I think they break the monotony!


    Guest Blog: A Man’s Viewpoint on Women Business Leaders and the “Them vs. Us” Syndrome

    August 28th, 2012

     

    Tom Peery reached out to me to discuss the concept presented in my blog “5 Pointers, How Women Business Leaders can Avoid the Them vs. Us Syndrome.” I was interested in his point of view and had not realized how pervasive this issue actually is. Feeling confident as a woman and not having had adverse reactions from men, Tom’s comments accompanied by his strong desire to change his upbringing and mindset was really enlightening.

    Here is the response that he shared with me:  ”I agree with Bridget Ayers’ response to Christopher Flett’s “What Men Don’t Tell Women About Business,” in that the competition is not between men and women, it is between one company and another.  Men who regard business like war have not experienced the horrors of combat, and may still be operating on the belief that “male” and stereotyped “masculinity” are the same thing.

    A more interesting approach is “What can women tell men about business?” Today’s gender roles are shifting as an expansion of societal definitions and needs, evolving from the formerly strict definitions of masculine stereotypes that once separated the sexes. I do not see that shift as a war between the sexes.

    Mr. Flett does not mention the many men today struggling to find their place in this shifting sand. I was born in 1944, and grew up stuffing emotions and viewing the role of “breadwinner” as my sole purpose in my marriage. Self-sufficiency was my ideal, competing against peers. I couldn’t nurture relationships. Believing that being rational and using reason were the only means of acquiring knowledge distanced me from my body’s intelligence, my emotions, meditation, dream work, intuition, and my sense as a spiritual being among other humans.

    In today’s workplace, corporate training emphasizes teamwork, communications and leadership skills. Professional training companies trumpet “soft” skills, aka skills previously defined as “feminine.”

    Female entrepreneurs are more familiar with the soft skills that young to middle-aged men are beginning to seek. For these explorers they can

    • provide a non-warlike competitive environment, a safe place to talk about fears, problems, hopes and desires.
    • assure men that an emotional life contributes to their personal growth–that because their anger is theirs, not caused by others, men can learn to soften their anger.
    • help men better communicate with themselves and others by being supportive rather than not.
    • reward inner company relationships, rather than pitting employee against employee”

    If you’d like to learn more about Tom and his philosophies on life, please visit his website at www.sodadwhatmakesaman.com.


    Lessons for Women Business Leaders on Delighting Your Customers and Creating Brand Advocates

    August 20th, 2012


    photo credit: jiazi via photo pin cc

    I am a recipient of under-delivery, and I hope to turn my disappointment into some sharable lessons about customer service. I love the concept of excellence and over-the-top delivery articulated in the Ritz Carlton brand. When I choose to stay at a Ritz hotel, I have a particular set of expectations.

    Last December, I stayed the night at The Ritz in White Plains, New York, celebrating my niece’s 14th birthday. While preparing to check out of our luxurious room, I broke my toe on a protruding bathroom ledge. I preferred to deal with the issue on my own, and the hotel management team was so excited to have a non-litigious guest — they radiated gratitude and relief as they watched me sign a release. In this celebratory moment, I was asked if I prefer wine, soup or fruit. Making my choice, I was told that whenever I stay at a Ritz, for the rest of my life, I would have fruit in my room.

    So, as I travelled to my next family reunion in New York, my hotel of choice was the Ritz Carlton in White Plains. My husband and I checked in after a stressful travel day. Although we were hungry and tired, I convinced my husband that we should wait to eat, as there would be a wonderful fruit basket waiting for us when we arrived. We were greeted with this message: “Welcome back. Thank you for choosing the Ritz Carlton.” Imagine our disappointment when we couldn’t find the fruit – was it perhaps hidden in the mini bar? No fruit to be found yet my toe continues to ache in cold weather.

    Given my experience, here is the advice I have to offer when it comes to customer service:

    Brand promise: Ensure that the brand promise is echoed through every activity. Make sure that the entire staff understands the nuances of what your company stands for and makes decisions based on this promise.

    Action rather than words: Rather than state that you are going to do something special – just do it and then you will have the opportunity to talk about it. Surprise your customer in a good way.

    Keep meticulous records: The more you know about your customer the more you are able to delight and super-serve. Beyond keeping records, develop a system to tap into the information that you are collecting without having anything fall through the cracks.

    While this isn’t an exhaustive list, I am sure that you all have many more lessons to share. I have written about the importance of customer service before, and you’ll find more tips in my blog, “3 Ways Women Business Leaders Can Create Brand Super Fans.”


    13 Steps Women Business Leaders Can Use to Mitigate a Crisis

    July 29th, 2012

    Women business leaders likely have an advantage over their male counterparts if ever confronted by a corporate crisis.

    Many readers will no doubt recall a moment in their lives when their very own mother had to face and solve a crisis. Women business leaders with families have probably already faced and solved myriad family crisis.

    Most important in any crisis situation is to short-circuit denial. It’s a human trait when disaster strikes to go straight into “this cannot possibly be happening to me.” Or “if it is happening, it cannot be that bad.” Or, “even if it IS that bad, no one will ever notice…” The faster you move beyond this denial, the faster you can put in the right fixes and that makes all the difference to how the crisis unfolds, and how you will be remembered.

    Here are 13 of Davia Temin’s the most important Crisis Management rules.

    1. Don’t hedge. Just because you may have gotten away with something before–or know of others who have–do not assume that you will do so now. Assume that–eventually–all will be known, and design your actions accordingly.
    2. Control yourself. Control your emotions. Just when your emotions will be going wild, you must conquer them and think strategically and smartly.
    3. Don’t retreat. Keep your eyes on the outside. You will be tempted to withdraw into your inner world, but keep focused on the exterior reaction. You’ll make better decisions and it could help privately as well.
    4. Move quickly. Move quickly to assess the situation and damage, and to not only publicly strike the right note, but to start doing the right things.
    5. Hone your message. Figure out what the right note–message, tone, words, delivery mechanism–is.
    6. DO NOT LIE. Never make a public denial when it’s a lie–there is no better way to be hated.
    7. Know your crisis. Each crisis is different–the particulars matter. So never just copy the responses of others, though you can learn from those who have done it well.
    8. Keep your humanity intact. Limit your liability–but not your humanity–in how you respond to a situation.
    9. Check your moral compass. Use the opportunity to reset your moral compass (i.e., listen to your lawyers, but not to the exclusion of your conscience).
    10. Do the right thing. If you must, take your medicine–apologize, make reparations–and then put in lasting, game-changing solutions.
    11. Don’t disappear. Become a visible and real part of the solution–no matter what it takes.
    12. Align with the good guys. Begin to be identified with best cases, so that your own “worst case” is forgotten over time.
    13. Don’t ever do it again. Never, ever, ever make the same mistake again.

    Summary

    When a crisis strikes, the reparation of your reputation begins with the steps you take at the outset of and throughout the resolution of the crisis. If you do the proper things, you will mitigate the tarnishing of your brand.

    First and foremost, do not succumb to the human frailty of self denial. Be intuitive, be forthcoming and transparent and above all DO NOT LIE.

    Read  Davia Temin’s complete article, Reputation Rehab.

    Davia is CEO and president of Temin and Co., a global reputation and crisis management, coaching and marketing strategy consultancy working with corporations and institutions on some of the largest and most headline-grabbing crises of the day. Her website is teminandco.com, and you can follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/DaviaTemin. Here she gives no-nonsense advice on handling crises large and small.

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    5 Pointers, How Women Business Leaders can Avoid the Us vs. Them Syndrome

    July 26th, 2012

    Women should measure their success against other successes not against what successful men have done.

    In her response to “What Men Don’t Tell Women About Business,” by Chris Flett, Bridget Ayers gives women business leaders 5 pointers on how to avoid being an us vs. them victim:

    1. Don’t approach business like it’s war

    How like a man to think business is war. I do not treat business like a war, war is turmoil and casualties, and I’m not looking for either. I don’t need to know what men think, I need to know what successful entrepreneurs think, and then I need to incorporate that into who I am and how I do things.

    2. Create your own company through your own inspiration, not someone else’s terms

    One woman said that she couldn’t “get into the board room so she left to form her own company.” Having and using knowledge that IS only available in the board room is essential, but some women are so furious about past experiences that they disregard it and refuse to even listen to what is being offered.

    Flett makes this sound like a bad thing! A woman who chooses to create her own successful company as opposed to trying to do it on someone else’s terms is inspirational not weak. Work on your weaknesses but play to your strengths, that is the winning strategy. Did Flett have this same opinion of Steve Jobs when he wasn’t being listened to in the Apple boardroom and went his own way in 1986? I doubt it!

    3. Knowledge is power

    I agree with Chris Flett on this point. Keep yourself educated, informed, and never be afraid to learn from others; be they men or women.

    4. Choose talent based on multiple attributes

    Choosing people to learn from and business acumen to incorporate into your business should be done based on your industry, business style and, ultimately, your goals. Flett seems to spread his naivety beyond the female gender and into the corporate domain by insinuating that all boardrooms are equal.

    All men/women are not created the same, Warren Buffet and Donald Trump are two very successful men but I would wager they are very different in the boardroom. Martha Stewart, Susie Orman, and Oprah are all very successful women and how much alike do you think they are in the boardroom?

    I know I could learn from all five individuals, but what I would choose to take from each would be dependent upon who I am and what I want.

    5. Learn from mentors, don’t try to be their clone

    Business isn’t about conformity. Mentors are important, but they’re meant to be learned from not cloned. So by all means go out there and learn from others, there is no reason to recreate the wheel, but don’t forget who you are in the process.

    Summary:
    Be yourself using all your strengths including your femininity. Don’t feel as if you have to measure your self against what men have done in business before you.

    Read Bridget’s complete article, “Women in Business vs. Men”

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    6 Ways Women Business Leaders Can Avoid Making Employees Miserable

    July 24th, 2012

    I pride myself in having  a heightened sense of “women’s intuition”.  Women business leaders can benefit not only from their intuition but by using their feminine sensitivity.

    Suzanne Lucas raises a great question in a recent article, “Are you trying to make your employees’ lives miserable?”

    From her article, here are 6 simple ways to use your feminine sensitivity to avoid it:

    1. Build consensus around your decisions.

    Instituting an unpleasant policy without explanation or input makes everyone unhappy.

    2. Don’t ignore your bad employees.

    Don’t  ignore the problems of a bad employee; this will make your good employees unhappy.

    3. Don’t make blanket changes rather than deal with the problem.

    Deal with the perpetrator of a problem – don’t subject the entire team to a lecture/action based on the behaviour of one bad employee.

    4.Don’t make employees suffer in bad times, but not profit in good times.

    Employees are willing to suffer in bad times to maintain their jobs and save the company.  But when things pick up and you’re still using the austerity program you set up last year, your employees will resent you.

    5. Don’t hold your good employees back.

    Make sure that you support the professional growth of employees. This will keep them happy and more likely encourage their loyalty to you and the company.

    6. Don’t think only of the customers and not the employees.

    Customers generally come first.  But not all customers are worth keeping and some will drive off your best employees.  Before you accept their unreasonable demands, think about how many good employees you are pushing out the door.

    In summary you have the feminine power of being sensitive to issues. You can avoid having unhappy employees but you also have the ability to improve the overall experience in the workplace.

    I would encourage you to read Suzanne Lucas’s entire article, Are You Trying to Make Your Employees’ Lives Miserable? | BNET.

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    5 Ways Women Business Leaders Can Embrace Their Femininity

    July 22nd, 2012

    Women who are running  businesses should detach from feminism and embrace their femininity.

    My daughter started her career in a high stress male dominated industry. We were reflecting on how a woman can succeed in this environment  without becoming masculinised. Women who are running  businesses should detach from feminism and embrace their femininity.

    The truth is that women have been liberated. We no longer need to spend our energies proving that we’re equal. We own our own companies, we assume leadership roles and we don’t have to wear ties to work.

    Here are 5 ways to create this balance while getting respect from both males and females:

    1. Don’t pretend that you’re one of the boys – you’re not. But at the same time don’t play the “us girls” game.  Work at your individuality as a person. Use your unique leadership strengths when dealing with an issue.
    2. You shouldn’t dress provocatively but you also don’t need to wear a burka.  You have a wonderful opportunity to express yourself  and your femininity.  Make sure that you are dignified and professional and let your gender work for you.
    3. It’s OK to talk about kids, make-up and hair but please consider your audience – these discussions may be boring to whomever is listening. Be yourself but remain sensitive to the situation.
    4. Respect both male and female employees. Disparaging remarks about men set a feminist tone and put a line in the sand when there may not have been an issue to begin with.
    5. Watch out for “womens only groups” why would you want to segregate ideas and talent. Position yourself as an entrepreneurial leader rather than a proponent of  “Women rule”

    You have a real advantage as a woman running a business – don’t blow it by  wearing workboots and snarling at men, rather walk around in your stilettos with strength and conviction.

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    5 Reasons Why Women Make Good Business Leaders

    July 19th, 2012

    Women Business Owners have inherent skills because of real life experiences.

    I had the pleasure of raising a family and view the intricate balance of my team as an extended family. I have found that the skill set that I developed running a household has shaped how I run my company.

    In a recent article, Bob Schmidt,  provides his top five reasons that women make good business owners:

    1.  Multi-tasking Pros…

    Women business leaders and managers are constantly pulled from one decision to the next.  Have to multi-task in similar manner to every mother who has raised a family. Most women are accustomed to constant interruption and distraction.

    2. People Skills…

    The people skills learned by women as they negotiate peace between siblings, and helping their children negotiate through the early years of life epitomizes skills needed to work with clients and customers.

    3. Attitude…

    Although attitudes vary a great deal from one person to another, it might be said that many women may have a greater desire to succeed than their male counterparts.

    After having been viewed as housewives and mothers, some women have great desire to feel respected for other accomplishments. Being marginalized by society is frustrating and may fuel tremendous dedication to business success.

    4. Consumer Preferences…

    The customer base of many types of businesses prefer to deal with women. Most men are not suited to deal with things near and dear to the female psyche. In addition, some women do not like to deal with men and prefer to work with women. From a customer viewpoint, it is likely that women have some advantage in many marketing areas.

    5. Diversity…

    Because of the history of the world of business being male dominated, women have added value due to past under representation in businesses excepting at lower levels. Professional female employees can be seen as an asset in ways that are difficult to quantify.

    Summary…

    Women offer skill sets that men cannot because of their gender, and the experiences that result from it. This is not to say that me do not have skills, but finding the balance of both genders in the workplace is probably “A woman’s job”.

    Read Bob’s entire article, Unique skills that women bring to management positions

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    Women Business Leaders Can Achieve Social Good through Social

    July 5th, 2012

    Photo by IvanWalsh.com

    I just returned from the inaugural Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR) Communities Network Conference where my firm was a presenter. As a woman business leader and owner of a strategic communications consultancy, this was not only a great opportunity to discuss the importance of social media for advancing a purpose … but also for something more purposeful … the greater good.

    We also attended the conference to learn and share, and I think all of us attending were moved by a staggering statistic that surprised me: 74 percent of students who fail to read proficiently at third grade falter at later grades and often drop out. This was something that stood out to me not only as a speaker, but also as a mom.

    My fellow attendees set out to learn about this campaign, which was conceived by Ralph Smith, senior vice president at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. With compelling data to back it up, the campaign focuses on closing the gap in third-grade literacy to improve education outcomes and social consequences. Data also shows minorities and low-income children are at the highest risk.

    This seems logical, but how does this impact us? How do we change these statistics?

    We presented a session on “Social Media: Fueling Modern Movements in the Digital Age.” As I sat listening to my colleagues Melissa and Sam educate a room full of conference attendees about movements, explaining the theory and methodology behind creating a groundswell, citing that passion is the primary ingredient to fuel a movement, I was struck with the passion and philanthropic mindset around this campaign.

    I heard the most inspirational speeches given by several mayors, including those leading the charge in Denver, Sacramento and Providence, who had made a leadership commitment to this campaign. I heard from cities, counties and districts committed to improving third-grade literacy rates in their areas. I heard a commitment to ALL children – a promise that the passion goes beyond caring for “my” child but to all children who are powerless and depend on the powerful to make the right decisions. I was nodding in agreement when most leaders put forth the need to collaborate, to bring the entire community together for the children.

    I was proud to attend the conference – heartened by the fact that 600 people got together to advocate for the greater good .

    I admit it. I am caught in the movement.

    What are your thoughts and what movements have you or your organization been involved in?