Saturday, 7 December 2013

The #Gratitude200K Event Summary

The summary of the #Gratitude200K event which took place on the 30th November 2013.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The #Gratitude200K Event

You're invited to the #Gratitude200K Event - oh and I made a video for those who don't like reading ... See you there!!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Videos from #Tweet4SA

I have just uploaded the videos from the #Tweet4SA training session in Johannesburg.

I have divided the videos into 5 parts, which hopefully make sense.

Please feel free to ask any questions and I will attempt to address them either via the blog or by actually doing a video reply. So the challenge is to ask difficult questions that will challenge me and ultimately help the people who may have similar challenges to you.

Part One - Whats your Intention?

Part Two - The Basics and YOU

Part Three - Content, Followers and Interactions.

Part Four - Are One Night Stands part of your Strategy?

Part Five - Keep Calm and Realize Advertising has Changed

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Our learnings from #Tweet4SA

Earlier this week and at the beginning of last week I presented a Tweet 4 SA event in Johannesburg and Cape Town respectively. I have decided to make a summary of the Tweets so that you can get an insight and a glimpse into the learning that took place.

If you have any questions or would like clarification around any of these tweets, I will be more than glad to answer any questions.

Whatever we do, must have relevance with people. 
It's relevant when it's meaningful, leaving people better than we found them.

Rule 1:  Social Media is a conversation. Rule 2: Never forget rule 1. 

Don't look for ideas that will confirm your thinking, rather look for trends that will disrupt your thoughts.

The secret of success in Social Media is be consistent and add a few surprises, they'll miss the surprises if you not consistent.

Your bio should cover more than just your qualifications & job... share your interests, makes you more relatable and interesting.

If you have even 1 follower you are a leader, make sure you behave like one!

"There is too much talking in Social Media and not enough listening and learning." -- Brian Solis

There are pipes running between us all, we need ensure that we have good, clean content flowing between us all.

If you have any followers at all you are a leader! tweet and live that way! Be responsible!

“Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas” – Donatella Versace

Did you know that You Tube videos get 40x the results Websites do, if you don't have online videos you miss opportunities.

Be relevant! Feedback from your communities is authentic and better than from the 'experts'.

Don't compare your results to someone else's. 
You can never be another person, 
you can only be a better version of yourself.

Social Media is about creating forums and having conversations.

The speed at which you respond on social media has a direct correlation to how much you care for your clients.

You have a responsibility to people following you... They expect you to be consistent.

#ChangeMakers why are you waiting? 
"We need not wait to see what others do." - Mahatma Gandhi

I have included a image of the #Tweet4SA report, the full report is available at by entering the search #Tweet4SA (TweetBinder does not archive reports so after some time these stats will no longer be relevant)

Thursday, 31 October 2013

My Top 10 Inspirational Sayings

I speak and often write, over the years I have found that some of the quotes have been used more often than others, here are ten quotes that I find myself using regularly.
  1. Do you realise the power of just simply giving someone a hug? Try it! … Remember you need 5 hugs just to be normal!
  2. Just be you, and if people don’t like it, well, that’s their problem not yours!
  3. If you never let go of who you were, you will never reach the possibility of who you could be.
  4. Let go of friends and relationships that are negative, let go of anything that does not add to your life and you will have life!
  5. Sometimes you gotta shut up, swallow your pride and accept that you’re wrong. It’s not giving up, it’s called growing up.
  6. Gratitude turns what we have into enough.
  7. Listen and listen properly, sometimes the answers we have are not the answers they want to hear.
  8. Realize we are not individuals, but unique creations with very specific gifts and strengths needing each other to live a fulfilled life.
  9. True forgiveness is when you learn to forgive yourself, letting go of all bitterness.
  10. If you aren’t making time to think about how you can simplify your life, you are simply wasting time.
Everyone talks about Influence and this I believe is what Influence is really about … It’s not about what interests you, it’s about what others find interesting about you.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Is Social Media a Cost or an Investment?

Recently I was asked this very interesting question … Is Social Media a Cost or an Investment?
What an interesting question,  firstly if we view it as a cost it is usually associated with discomfort and can be likened to the question whether tires on a car are a necessity (a grudge purchase) or a luxury (enhancing the performance, comfort and safety). When we Social Media as a cost, either as a financial cost or a cost of our most valuable resource time we will always begrudgingly expect an immediate return for our money or effort. Social Media we know is difficult to measure and analyse but when we expect instant results we will normally come to a conclusion that it is simply not worth it. Mainly due to the fact that we viewed Social Media as a cost.
Seeing Social Media as an investment on the other hand is totally different. A clever investor will always tell you that you cannot expect good returns in the short term, that the long term benefits of your investment is the return that you are seeking. These long term benefits are known as influence. So how then can we make sound investments into our approach to Social Media?
Here are 10 Points to help you make a better investment into your Social Media Influence:
  1. Remember to follow your interests and in so doing attract the people who are interested in the same things that you are.
  2. Never pretend to be something you are not. E.G. if you don’t know about birds don’t pretend to know but you can connect to experts in the birding field so that you can recommend those people to your followers, and more than likely will reciprocate by recommending you.
  3. When interacting try as much as possible to add links to the material you referring to.
  4. Remember a photo is worth a thousand words, if you say it is raining, post a photo. If you say it is a lovely day, illustrate the fact with a photo as to why you think it is a lovely day.
  5. Try and post at least once a day,  and try to share or retweet at least three things that you find interesting with your followers.
  6. Of course you may share much more but the most important thing is to BE CONSISTENT, if you decide for example to Tweet once a day, Tweet once a day.
  7. Follow people back, like their pages and do the things that will be more social.
  8. Be a social person that is professional at all times, not a professional person who is never sure when it is appropriate to be social.
  9. Remember that you are a publisher, don’t say anything that you would not say if you were live on television, print in a newspaper or say on the radio.
  10. Most importantly your effort will give great returns on investment if you see each connection as a valuable relationship that will connect you to the correct people, due to the investment you have made into these relationships.
Please share your comments and let me have your feedback, I would love to interact with you further.
Image courtesy of rajcreationzs at

Monday, 28 October 2013

My Top 12 Social Media Quotes

Social Media is not for the select few, everyone is expected to be proficient in communicating via the various Social Media platforms, but it is vital to remember to be authentic and play to your strengths.
  1. #SocialMedia is not just about the content (that is the media) but about conversations and relationships (that is the social).
  2. What other people say about you is their business … Authentically only you can damage your brand, You are the real risk to yourself!
  3. Exposing your brand is about interacting or networking with the brands you want to connect with. What are you giving before you can get?
  4. The speed at which you respond on #SocialMedia has a direct correlation to how much you care for your clients.
  5. Always think before you Tweet or Retweet – if you would not say it on TV or in a newspaper, simply don’t tweet it! 
  6. Following back on #SocialMedia is explained as: If I extend my hand in greeting will you shake? If you don’t shake are you arrogant or rude?
  7. Many individuals and companies don’t understand and complicate #SocialMedia, because they fail to see the simplicity.
  8. ‘Word of Mouth’ works best when you are able to confront and deal with issues, so that those recommending you might never be embarrassed.
  9. Your creative expression can only be effective when it communicates to someone and someone appreciates it, but not everyone.
  10. Remember you don’t need to call the call centre and wait, just Tweet and the company will respond.
  11. #Influence … It’s not about what interests you, it’s about what others find interesting about you.
  12. Remember that if you can’t say it in 140 characters or less, you cannot say it on Twitter. 
And more importantly it is all about “Keep calm and play nicely”

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Is social media something you have explored? Do you know what you want? Do you know what you need? Do you know how to get there?
Social Media can be simplified and when understood it can be successfully implemented in any organisation.
This workshop deals with the following areas of communication:
·         Explore how to become more effective in your online communication and build better relationships
·         Learn how to identify and reach your target audience
·         Learn how to harness the ripple effect of your social interventions
·      Give you the understanding of how to build capacity to effectively implement sustainable          social media solutions and strategies for both corporates and individuals alike.
Social Media can be defined as social interventions that become the media for the consumption of our observers, the people we influence.
Richard Simmonds, who has recently been acknowledged as one of the Top 10 Corporate Social Influencers in Africa assists his clients in developing influence and reputation online. People are looking for you and the services you have to offer; they discover this through the information you share. Allow social media to seamlessly effect your life and your business.
Within a year Richard built his following on Twitter to over 30,000 and currently boasts in excess of 185,000 followers. Although he is active on all platforms of social media, he sees Twitter as the information network and the key to unlocking the influence of other platforms.
Allow Richard to become an integral part of your social media communication strategy taking to your business to the next level.
Event details:
Dates:Monday, 4th November – Johannesburg
 Monday, 11th November – Cape Town
Time:08h30 – 13h00 (Registration at 08h00)
Investment:Delegates from for-profit organisations @ R975.00Delegates from not-for-profit organisations @ R425.00
Principals & Educators @ R300.00
(VAT inclusive)
Venues:Johannesburg: WorldsView House, 150 Kelvin Drive, Woodmead
 Cape Town: Atlantic Imbizo Conference Centre, Clocktower Building, V&A Waterfront
To book your place, please contact Melissa:  / Tel: 021 913 3507 / Fax: 021 913 3187
All proceeds raised from this event will be used to fund our work in Education.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Active Citizenship in South Africa

How to get involved

Are you a principal that wants to get involved in the PfP programme? Are you a community or business leader called to become a Partner for Possibility? Are you interested in supporting the project in another way?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, please contact Symphonia for South Africa on or call 021 913 3507

Blogger vs Wordpress, which is better?

After spending 5 months exclusively with my Wordpress Blog I have decided that the exposure was insufficient. So now I have decided to co publish on both my blogs to see if this strategy is better.

I have an idea that Google prefers it's own platforms and therefore I will use that to my advantage, after all it is free marketing, so why not use it.

I have alot of content to share and the more exposure you get the more reason there is to share. I look forward to connecting with the readers of my Blogs in the next few months.

Thank you for your continued support it is more than appreciated.

Image courtesy of

Monday, 13 May 2013

Are we listening to our Customers Online?

Statistics are great, they tell us about the past, but we have no statistics about the future and we never will.

Unfortunately when we are not involved in an area we have no statistics either, we could use business intelligence to find out what our competitors are doing and where they are failing.

When we don't play in a specific area, we not only need to use business intelligence to find out what our competitors are doing, but we need to ask ourselves the following question 'What is our business plan for not being involved?'

Yes you have to have a business plan if you are not involved, you cannot simply make emotional I don't care reactions or plead ignorance and use the excuse that you did not feel it would work - NO again I tell you, you need a business plan for not being involved in any specific area.

So what are the specific areas where you could be involved and could have been avoiding these in your general business.

The areas are as follows: Human Resources, Talent Management, Public Relations, Communications, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and even Sales & Marketing. Some of these are obvious and some like sales and marketing are not so obvious. You probably saying surely all companies have a sales and marketing department - no not necessarily often municipalities and smaller cities and related service companies have no sales and marketing departments.

The latest statistics out of the United States is that 56% of customer tweets to companies are being ignored. Remember that Twitter is always a good indication of what is happening on the rest of the social platforms. If the US ignores 56% of it's customers tweets, I would like to guess that South Africa would be higher than that.

Again what is the business case for not responding to our customers tweets? 
Is it because we don't consider that online feedback is valuable? 
Do we not think that our customers are online?

Just because your company is not online that in no way relates to if your customers are online or not. because they definitely are online. They just have not found your channel to engage with you because it is not there or you have not put enough effort into the promotion and management of your digital channels.

So lets improve our communications and interactions with our customers, they are wanting to communicate, compliment and interact with us, get your business plan together, get onto the social platforms and lets make South Africa more social. #MoreSocialZA

Image courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon at

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Improving Internal Communications and Collaboration

Have you been looking for ways to improve your internal communications? Perhaps you had a look at expensive enterprise options and you are not sure if you can justify the expense.

Well have you ever considered using the Social Media platforms that are freely available and most of your employees are using everyday?

Lets have a look at how we can possibly use the different platforms:

LinkedIn Forums
Forums are the best way to get communication going, be it with your internal people or the greater public, forums are generally closed and only those invited can see the posts by other members and participate. Keeping the topics to a minimum also encourages participation, when there are too many topics people are not sure what to engage with, so be strategic in the topics you create and ensure that the focus remains there until you have the results you expected.

Some of the late adopters are getting into FaceBook now, so don't knock it while most of us are wondering why we are still playing on this platform. FaceBook has secret groups which very few people know about and works well as a collaboration platform, but I would be cautious in relying on FaceBook as they often change their algorithms and soon you may find that half of your group cannot see what the rest of the group posts.

Although Blogs are normally just published by one person, having many authors that are hand chosen from the thought leadership within an organisation can create an effective communication and collaboration channel  Leaders need to be open to discussions and would need a high level of emotional intelligence when ideas are challenged and sometimes criticized  Blogs platforms generally fail when the authors are too precious about their ideas and get on the defensive - collaboration works well between highly emotional intelligent people who have learnt to let go of their ego's.

We should never forget that people are visual, sharing graphics, pictures and diagrams often spark new ideas in others. Create a secret board in Pinterest and think of it as a notice board in the virtual office. The opportunities are endless, creative and this can be a catalyst for innovation.

The BBM (Blackberry Messenger) group on a professional level is almost a thing of the past, as most professionals would prefer  other smartphones. So forcing people to use the BBM group would be limiting their creative thinking. 

Twitter offers quick and easy communication. Now you thinking ... what has Twitter got to do with internal communication, as Twitter is a public platform?

Indeed it is a public platform, but Twitter has a functionality of protecting your Tweets and effectively closing your account, so your form your own closed group and it is not device dependent as with your BBM group. You simply create new accounts for each member, follow each other and lock all the accounts and you have just created your own closed communication group. Simple and effective and just be sure that everybody follows the simple rules.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Social Media, Listening and Open Networking

A recent report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in London stated that the biggest barriers to companies embracing social media as:

  • a lack of understanding of how social media works
  • a lack of awareness of the data it can generate
  • a fear of a more open approach
Jonny Gifford, research adviser at the CIPD, said “employers should also be thinking hard about the opportunity social media gives them to simultaneously collect opinions and facilitate discussion about genuine opinions and ideas, and to analyse the data in rich and meaningful ways.”

So let us look at these three barriers as questions, I will try to answer them as simply as possible and perhaps we can all gain a little more understanding:

How does Social Media work?
Social media is just a form of communication and we use various platforms (some people see this as technology) to communicate e.g. Facebook, Blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter and various others. 

What we should understand is that these platforms have not forced or made us communicate, but it is actually what we needed so that we could connect with like minded individuals all over the world. The different social media platforms unable us to share our interests so that people can relate to us and we can have conversations about the things we like and the things we do.

Importantly social media is about being social and it is about about building real relationships, relationships that will develop and which will lead us to new connections, new customers and ultimately increased sales and more revenue streams.

What data can be generated from Social Media?
The simple answer is every bit of data and information you could possibly imagine, how you use this data is more important, as it is literally everywhere, just ask the right questions and every answer you ever wanted is answered in no time.

Even if you don't ask the specific questions, social listening enables us to track trends, get feedback on products and even find out what people are saying about us and the companies we work for.

Why are companies and individuals not adopting a more open approach?
Being open or being authentically social is who we actually like to be, no I am not saying be an extrovert. In fact you will be exactly as you are on the social media platforms as you are in life: Introverts remain introverts and extroverts, well they never change.

Being more open is about realising you that actually have something valuable to say and that someone is actually wanting to listen, social media has enabled normal people to find their voice. Knowing that someone out there is actually listening and will actually respond to what you have to say is wonderful recognition.

Open is about sharing, selfish is the easy way and it takes courage to share, but in the brave new world it is the approach we need to take, never take the safe option, it will prove to be extremely risky in the very near future.

In short if you not out there interacting on the platforms, listening and having the conversations you will never know what is being said, but your competitors may just be doing what you are thinking of doing and that will give them the competitive edge. 

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at

Do you agree with these barriers to Social Media adoption? Do you have other areas that you feel need discussion?
How could your business use it as a way of improving internal communications?

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Meetings and Respect - A Social Media Definition

Last week I made a statement ... If you attend a meeting or a conference and they ask you to switch off your cellphone, it's simple you are either in the wrong meeting and you are definitely in the wrong decade.

I had a few comments and I would like to respond on them:

Comment One
It is out of respect that we need to switch our phones off!

Yes indeed it is out of respect that you switch your phone off, but that is entirely your choice whether you would like to pay that much respect or not.

Let me put this into context for you, if I was meeting someone important and I choose to switch off my phone so that I can give my full attention to that person, that is indeed respect.

But when I attend a meeting, I often put my phone on silent and I will not be rude enough to take a call during the meeting, that is why we have voicemail after all.

When you ask me to switch off my phone because you think you are important that is simply just rude and you have no idea of the connected world around you, I will probably Tweet the things that I find relevant and important to the rest of the world, thus amplifying the interesting things said to my followers and that allows the message to reach the world. Powerful leverage in my eyes and by no means rude.

Comment Two
What if I am in a meeting on a plane in the air?

This was a knee jerk reaction of note ... And made by a follower who clearly thought he was very important. 

I am not saying be ridiculous, but if you need to leave the plane don't forget safety first - please use a parachute!

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at

Are Businesses in SA as social as they could be? (Video)

Businesses in South Africa may have adopted Social Media relatively late. However that is no excuse not to be social, as late adopters we need to realise the urgency in becoming social so that we are not left behind by the rest of the world.

My Top 10 Instagram Photos

Initially when I first started out in photography it was with a 35mm Film SLR and although I still like my Nikon I must say it lives a lot more at home these days.

10 Years ago I would never have believed that we could have achieved the effects that an iPhone and Instagram have afforded us as photographers.

Today I am sharing my Top 10 Instagram images with you. 

If you would like to follow me on Instagram my Instagram name is RICHSIMMONDSZA.

I do hope you enjoy my photos.

This was my first ever Instagram photo, inspired by my good friend Jodene Sher (@JodeneCoZA) just after we left a Miss Earth SA function one saturday morning.

Then Jodene and myself needed to get our coffee fix and celebrate the fact that I had published my first Instagram photo.

Instagram allows these nostalgic effects in an instant - this photo was taken at a Pretoria Boys High Rugby Day.

Lovely black & white effect of a feather on the Langebaan beach.

Said to be the most photographed boat in South Africa "JAN" on Langebaan beach.

Instagram has the ability to make anything look exciting, this mural from a Wimpy wall.

This lovely saying was originally on a white fridge, Instagram will transform it to art in seconds.

On my many trips down the @N3Route I encountered this unusual Teddy Bear 'Big Ears' at the Little Church coffee shop at Van Reenen's.

My son Rory (@RorySimmondsZA) art, he has talent!

Instagram takes the interesting and makes it more interesting!

Thanks for taking the time to allow me to share these images with you.

Have a wonderful day.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

10 Tips for making more effective Videos

Here are 10 tips to making more effective online videos.
  1. Think about your story and the message you wish to convey before starting to film.
  2. Script your story, either by using live commentary as you film or by means of a VoiceOver in post production.
  3. Capture footage that is clear and has enough variation and angles to effectively illustrate your story.
  4. Remember you need a lot of short clips that will hold the attention of your viewer. Clips in general are never more than 5 - 10 seconds.
  5. Don't make your videos long, the YouTube average is 58 seconds, remember an advert on TV is generally 20 seconds long.
  6. As clips are 5-10 seconds long your commentary or VoiceOver must make a point and the clip should clearly illustrate the point.
  7. Don't be boring and make your videos as professional as you can.
  8. Keep all commentary and VoiceOvers conversational.
  9. Think about your viewer and what they would like to know, what can you tell them and what information can you share with them.
  10. Remember news is only newsworthy if it reaches the audience quickly, post production time must not have a negative impact on the message reaching the world.
Don't forget to have fun in the process and share this fun with your viewers. 
I look forward to seeing your videos.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Making videos for YouTube

Over the past few years we have seen video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo grow significantly, with YouTube having a following only second to Facebook and becoming the second biggest search engine in the world.

Yes in South Africa and Africa video has not yet taken off, but I will emphasize that I use the word yet very cautiously, as the bandwidth issue in South Africa will more than likely change within the next 6 months and if South Africa does not see a 4 times increase in speed some of the developing countries in Africa certainly will.

Let us look at the communication medium of video and how we can utilise this and communicate more effectively.

The common error with video is that most people believe the old saying that a picture tells a thousand words and therefore a moving picture will tell you everything.

Unfortunately this is not entirely true because we have grown up with television where we are spoonfed and actually brainwashed in a way, so that we listen and see. Instead of observing and understanding through a series of questions we should be asking, even if those questions are simply asking ourselves how do we interpret this, even better if we discuss this with others.

However this is not how it works; the way it works in reality is you look, you are told what to look at and what you should be thinking whilst watching the moving images.

I am not talking about propaganda here, I am simply stating the way the programming is done so that you may better understand the way in which to communicate so that you may effectively reach your target audience.

Image courtesy of winnond at

Here are 10 Tips for making more effective Videos

1. Think about your story and the message you wish to convey before starting to film.
2. Script your story, either by using live commentary as you film or by means of a VoiceOver in post production.
3. Capture footage that is clear and has enough variation and angles to effectively illustrate your story.
4. Remember you need a lot of short clips that will hold the attention of your viewer. Clips in general are never more than 5 - 10 seconds.
5. Don't make your videos long, the YouTube average is 58 seconds, remember an advert on TV is generally 20 seconds long.
6. As clips are 5-10 seconds long your commentary or VoiceOver must make a point and the clip should clearly illustrate the point.
7. Don't be boring and make your videos as professional as you can.
8. Keep all commentary and VoiceOvers conversational.
9. Think about your viewer and what they would like to know, what can you tell them and what information can you share with them.
10. Remember news is only newsworthy if it reaches the audience quickly, post production time must not have a negative impact on the message reaching the world.

Effective videos are about thinking on your feet, clear concise stories and giving people information they need.

Don't forget to have fun in the process and share this fun with your viewers. 
I look forward to seeing your videos.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Importance - A Social Media Definition

You are not as important as you actually think you are ... If you were that important you would not have to worry about everyone knowing your business because of social media - they would actually know it already.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Thursday, 25 April 2013

When you look for Richard Simmonds but forget to spell Simmonds with a D you get!

15 Things You Didn't Know About Richard Simmons

Source :

Monday, 22 April 2013

The business risk of Social Media - Why should you (not) be on social media.

I realize that most people can't understand why they need to be on Social Media and I come to this realisation as I flew to Cape Town this morning on a flight that had been delayed by an hour and a half.

During my wait I looked to see if there was any communication about this delay, only to find that there is no communication only reaction to complaints, but nothing positive and no proactive communication whatsoever, not today or anytime in the recent past.

I have to wonder what the business case is that motivates this non communication. All I can think is that the attitude must be, they need to fly with us and what difference pro-active communication make to our bottom line anyway?

Initially I may have to agree, if you are flying with them and your flight is full then it must be working or is it? Perhaps we expect nothing and the carrier knows this and they give us nothing. Perhaps the carrier thinks that if you want social media you should pay for it just like you pay for the food and drink on board some of the flights.

But we are in a world of customer experience not just customer service! This experience is everything from parking your car, to the cleanliness of the terminal buildings and its restrooms to your flight and the conditions at your destination. All of this adds to the experience so why not add pro-active communication into this experience?

The other argument is that no one is doing it ... But that is not true because the competition are doing it better, but they are just pro-active and have not learnt to be truly interactive as yet.

Many businesses can't see the need to be social and if that is you, the question must be asked does no one need to know about your product? Do you not have thought leaders in your company whose opinions would be valuable in industry? Do you have all the resource skills you need and is everyone lining up to work for you?

If you answered yes to these questions then your brand has proceeded itself and you need not communicate with anyone.

But social is about constant communication - think about it as a relationship, all relationships need effective communication to be effective. Without this communication nothing will be sustainable.

Think about your brand, your business, your product or your organisation is there a good reason why it should not be social and communicating in an interactive way with the world?

mage courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon at

Social Media - I don't want everyone to know my business!

Why what are you hiding?

Why would you tell people things you did not wan't them to know?

How do they find out about you if you don't tell them?

If your friends are telling others about you is that because they are jealous of you? 
Then why do you have friends like these?

Surely you would like to tell people the truth before others tell untruths about you?

Life is about information and normally on a need to know basis. Remember that if you don't tell them, they may need to know.

Get your thoughts right and create the intention for yourself that will leave others with the right perception - the image and message you want them to know about you.

Remember the more information that you give the better the perception will be. As they will have less thinking of their own to do and their perception will be more accurate due to you giving them more information.

Oh and no one talks about you unless you have made an impression or upset them in the first place - so the action you take is yours to chose.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Crisis Communication using Social Media

Image courtesy of sheelamohan at

The more effectively we communicate the better results we will get, be that in our personal lives and in business. Most crisis' arise from a lack of communication. With this is mind how can we be proactive instead of always being reactive?

The next question we need to ask is ... Have we actually changed the way we communicate or is it just better enabled with new tools offered via social media?

Well it certainly has become more interactive and this interaction has been enabled by social media.

Do we enable interaction in the way we communicate or even expect it, or are we simply saying what we think people want to hear? Which of course raises another question and that is; what are our peers saying and how did we formulate our opinion in the first place. Certainly if we were listening, and we use up to date relevant information our opinions become worthwhile for others.  

With Social Media our peers are having conversations all around us, and these are conversations that we can listen to and be part of if we feel we have something valid to say. In most cases we observe what is happening and gather information.

So what happens when something is said that directly effects you or the company you work for? Most people get on the defensive first and without understanding the full context start reacting, usually over reacting without careful thought. 

Over reacting in any form of communication can be dangerous, but Social Media will only amplify these reactions and the chance to apologize or fix what has been said is minimized. With this in mind most people chose rather not to participate and play it safe. However playing it safe is extremely risky in the new world we live in, people will easily perceive you as hiding something rather than perceive you as playing it safe.

So what is the solution and how do we communicate in this challenging and unforgiving world of the informed and enabled? The real key is to develop a high EQ (emotional intelligence) by focusing on some of the following aspects:

  • Don't take offense
  • Give up the need to always be right
  • Forgive and forget
These three basics of Emotional Intelligence is what causes most of the hurts and misunderstandings within people and organisations. Once we understand that the world is not governed by laws but that self-regulation and peer-regulation has become so prevalent and effective we will realize that we are no longer on our own and that if we spent enough time building relationships - that these relationships would form our best defense against the attacks that might come our way in the form of criticism and slander.

What to do when the attack comes?

Realize that most attacks come from disgruntled people and that invariably the attack is not actually of a personal nature, but rather that the disgruntled person only wants a vent for their anger, and it may or may not have been caused by anything you or your specific organization may have done.

  • Respond with empathy without being weak, answer the question and not the emotion.
  • Never say the word 'Sorry', if necessary apologize for the way they feel.
  • Seek continued conversation rather than giving a once off solution, remember you main objective is to build relationship and not show you are right.
  • Use words that would allow them to see that you have authority and that you are trying to assist them and understand as much as possible.
  • Asking simple questions shows that you are fully wanting to understand.
  • Never respond to any personal attacks or acknowledge anything that is said to you of a personal nature. 
  • Keep all conversations professional, no matter what the circumstance you are always building a  professional relationship of respect first.
  • Never use political excuses and blame someone else for the situation, take full responsibility and allow the conversation to arrive at the solutions.
Take note of other parties that may be involved in your conversation, never assume that an answer given to one person will be the answer that everyone accepts, rather address each person separately and answer their specifics even if it may seem like you repeating yourself.

Remember that during this crisis period that you need to stop other communication that may give a conflicting message to your followers. 

Also remember that  should something have happened in the News that may be tragic - allow people a time for mourning - so don't try and sell to them, show some respect and allow people time to mourn.

What else would you add to this posting?