Tag Archives: Communication

How to Communicate More Effectively

Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the sheer mass of communication apps and networks, phone numbers and text messages constantly flowing around you? Have you ever carried on a conversation that spanned across multiple communication channels? What starts out as a text message can quickly become a series of tweets and a mountain of email. This is where Meshin comes in.

Meshin, first available on Outlook initially launching for mobile on the Android platform, is an all-in-one solution for keeping in touch. Instead of having an email sent to your phone and then having to respond via a text message, you’ll just centralize your communication with Meshin. Likewise, it can consolidate your communications from Facebook and Twitter.

Why are you wasting so much time using fifteen different platforms and applications to keep in touch? You’re expending time and energy that you simply don’t need to. Meshin’s mission (I bet you can’t say that three times quickly!) is to help you get rid of all of the clutter and confusion. We don’t have enough time in the day as it is and are always looking for ways to save time. What better way could there be than to trim unnecessary lines of communication?

Currently, the application has the ability to understand the information inside of your communications, and is being funded by Xerox. Being able to integrate your phone, email address, text messages, Facebook messages and Tweets into ONE place is simply a beautiful thing.

How do you communicate with others? How many applications and devices do you use each day to talk to people? Let us hear your horror stories in the comments section. When was the last time you had a conversation that spanned more than one means of communication?

This video was filmed during a live broadcast from the BlogWorld & New Media EXPO 2011 in New York.

How Does Social Media Apply to You?

I dare you to take five minutes and scan the headlines on Alltop’s Social page. You’re going to see a heck of a lot of articles with words in them that probably don’t make sense to you. Unless you’re in a league with the likes of a Scoble or an Arrington, do you really need to know what your ROI is? Does it matter if you haven’t collected a million followers yet? Who really cares if what you’re doing is “viral” or not? The fact of the matter is that only a small percentage of users need to care about these things. The rest of you out there use social media simply to be social.

Hat tip to C.O.O.K.S Social Media B2B RealTalk for this excellent picture!

Yes, it’s important for companies to have a social media presence. They need to understand the terms floating around and how those words might apply to them. Bloggers have to build communities on Facebook and Twitter in order to continue growing their presence. Even though there are millions of those types of people on social sites, they still account for a fairly small percentage of overall users.

So how does social apply to you? I pray you don’t simply Tweet about your dinner, your cat’s hairball or your ingrown toenail. Even if you happen to be some random individual, social networking sites can still be a substantial part of your life. There are so many ways you can be using these types of communication in order to make your day easier, keep in touch with your family and even to make new friends.

Facebook’s Events feature is a great tool. Use it to plan cookouts, birthday parties or graduation celebrations. You can keep track of the invites and RSVPs, details such as addresses and other important information and even figure out who should bring the potato salad. Events works well for small Tweetups, too, should you ever decide to reach out to those in your community you only know through Twitter.

Having a million ways to share photos online is a HUGE bonus of having a Facebook or Twitter profile. Let’s say you’re on vacation. It’s the kids’ first time meeting Mickey Mouse, but Grandma couldn’t be there. Grab a phone, snap a picture or twelve and immediately post it to your favorite image service. Granny and Aunt Linda and Uncle Harry and cousin Ron can all see what you’re up to instantly. There’s no more developing film and making copies of prints. Gone are the days of having to scan or email snapshots so that the family can share your life. It’s all done literally in real-time these days… thanks to social sites.

How many extended family members are you connected to on Facebook? Think a moment about how often you communicate with them on the site. I’m willing to bet it’s a lot more often than it used to be when you relied on snail mail, telephones or even email. We are actually talking to our family members far away on a much more regular basis due to the ease of connection on these wonderful social pages.

You can use Twitter or LinkedIn to find your dream job. Facebook can be leveraged to maximize the amount of time you spend talking to your friends and family when you’re busy as heck. Each of these types of sites can bring something very crucial to your life, my friends: communication and connections.

How to Communicate With Others

When was the last time you actually made a phone call for no other reason than to simply talk to someone? How long ago was it that you sat down and wrote a letter to send through the postal service? These forms of communication were the way we connected with others for many MANY years, and they are apparently a dying art form these days. I admit that I haven’t done either of these things in far longer than I can really remember. There are just too many other ways for me to get ahold of someone, do business with them or reach out to make a connection.

Why would we send a hand-written missive and pay money for a stamp, only to have it arrive several days later – if at all? We can sign into our email program of choice, type out our thoughts and have the completed message show up in the other party’s inbox within seconds… for “free” (not counting the cost you already shell out for your Internet connection).

Even though most of us have cell plans which include unlimited calling (or at least during nights and weekends), it’s still easier to use other means of speaking with others. I’m sitting at my computer working most of the day, so it’s just simpler to click that button on Skype when I need to hear another person’s voice. Heck, I’ll admit it: I don’t much like having to voice chat anyway. If there is business communication to be done, I prefer handling it via email. This allows me to keep track of the prior portions of a conversation for future reference. It also lets me be in control of when I reply.

Using voice communication can actually be a burden. As I just mentioned, you have the burden of being “on” during every moment of a conversation. Your attention shouldn’t wander… you need to focus right then and there. If you’re buried in a project, having to stop and take calls can be a huge downer. With an email, you can put off your response until you have the time to dedicate to the person trying to get your attention.

How do you talk to others? I have a feeling that social networks will actually be near the top of the list for many of you out there, along with email and VOiP services.

How Important is Social Networking?

If you were to take time completely away from the Internet, would you really miss out on anything? The mere thought of not keeping a constant eye on your Twitter stream or Facebook wall may give you the shakes, but what exactly is it that might go unnoticed? The world isn’t going to end if you aren’t checking in every moment of the day, my friends. You may even be shocked to know that you’re not going to miss a damn thing, because nothing ever really changes.

Author and speaker CC Chapman recently had some emergency surgery. Upon his return home, he noted that he didn’t really miss much of anything during the week he had been offline. I read the Tweet right after it was sent out, and it’s been in the back of mind since then. His words kept poking at me, gnawing at some part of my brain with the simple honesty behind them.

The people you are following today will still be there a week from now – even if you happen to be offline. Sure, they may say something profound or inspiring. Someone will release a book while another person is hired for a great position at a hot new startup. You’ll find out that a small group is putting together a fundraiser and that a bunch of your friends ate something at some point every day. Are these the things you’re terrified not to read the moment they happen?

Step back and think about what’s truly essential for you to know at the end of the day. The things said within your social communities have some level of importance, yes. The people you are connecting with are definitely worthy of your attention. But if you are building your life or – even worse – your business around what is being said and done on Twitter and Facebook then something needs to change.

While these platforms can be crucial to your brand, they aren’t the be-all and end-all of success. With so many “experts” and “gurus” out there telling you that you have to carry a presence on these sites, it can end up being confusing. Yes, you need to be there. No, your business will not go bankrupt if you are not there every moment of your day. You need to find a balance and remember that you aren’t going to be left in the dust if you happen to take a day – or a week – off.

How to Help Your Company be Social

Companies everywhere are finally realizing that they need to be social to survive in today’s marketplace. They are scrambling to figure out how to use Twitter and Facebook in order to be where their customers are. Some of them are grasping the advantages of Foursquare. The problem is that many of these brands aren’t doing social the right way. Yes my friends – there is a right – and wrong – way to “do” social media. Big corporations hiring a person or outside company to talk AT consumers are doing it absolutely wrong. Those establishments who talk WITH their community are the ones who are owning the social space.

There are businesses all over my Twitter stream who just can’t seem to figure out the difference between talking at someone and talking with them. Sending out messages about your latest “deal” or sale isn’t enough. Shooting a link or two their way with the hope they will click and buy doesn’t cut it. I don’t care how good your product or service is these days. If you aren’t opening a real dialogue with your patrons, you’re missing the entire point.

It’s great to see corporations such as Comcast and TechSmith really connecting with people. They don’t take the conversation out of the public eye just to shut someone up… they honestly do it to HELP people. However, I feel there is still so much more they could be doing. Creating actual back-and-forth conversations – even on Twitter – is something that each and every one of you needs to be doing.

Ask questions. When you receive answers, don’t just ignore them and congratulate yourself for getting a reply. TALK WITH THEM. Don’t tell people what you’re going to give them or do for them – ask them what they want. Find out how you can make your service better. Discover what the consumers think would make your product stand out from the competitors. Figure out your customer’s lives… what will make things easier for them? What is it you can do to help make their day better? All of this can be done right on social networks, y’all.

Stop counting your numbers and measuring your damn metrics. Quit worrying about that stuff, because it honestly doesn’t matter nearly as much as you think it does. What matters is those people sitting behind their screen attempting to connect with you. Once you’ve established that, the metrics will fall into place all on their own.

Avoid Communication Overload

I am convinced that there are too many ways for us to communicate with each other. We have social media sites, text messaging, cell phones, land lines, snail mail and email – and likely a handful of ways I didn’t even remember to list. It can actually be annoying and time consuming trying to keep up with so many options. I actually had someone email me recently to ask for my phone number. I replied and received the phone call, only to find that the person was wanting my snail mail address. Seriously, people? You couldn’t have asked that in the original email? Having multiple ways of contacting others has its drawbacks, as well as being a good thing.

Step back a moment and think about all of the communication tools in your arsenal. I’m willing to bet you can name a person that you could contact at least ten different ways: and there are likely many people you could do this with. Is this the best use of your time, though? You have to decide which way to get ahold of them, hope they reply or answer and move on to a different way if the first doesn’t work. Tracking someone down isn’t always in your best interest. You should be asking each contact their preferred method of communication and stick with that unless an emergency arises.

Let’s say you need to contact me. I will tell you that email is your best bet. I have that open pretty much every moment I’m awake. I don’t like talking on the phone or Skype and I prefer to not use instant messaging clients. Those are fine for quick questions, but email provides a “paper trail” of sorts that we can refer back to if need be. Yes, there are times when we may need to connect on a call or in person, and that’s fine. But my first preference is always going to be my Inbox.

Instead of trying to send me an IM on every account I have, leaving me a voice mail I may not listen to for a few days or even trying to Skype me, why not just shoot me an email? You’re bound to get a much faster – and more detailed – response.

Now, everyone is different. There are people who may prefer a quick phone call, and that’s fine. My point is to ask people you regularly talk to which method they prefer. Keep other lines of communication as a backup. Heck, you can even break down your daily communications and organize them by type. Respond to and send emails first. Grab people you need to on IM after that and then perhaps schedule phone calls for the afternoon. Separate your correspondences this way so that you avoid overload.

Jumping back and forth between types all day long is going to drain you, frustrate you and maybe even confuse you at some point.

Shut Up and Socialize

Douglas Karr wrote a post today that had me clapping in my desk chair. I’ve stated over and over that there is entirely too much “noise” on the web. Douglas happens to agree strongly with me. In fact, he wants Twitter to come with a Pause function to help cut down on that awful racket.

As he points out in his article, “The noise out there is getting louder and louder folks. Unless you’re saying something of substance, your voice becomes a numbing buzz in the background that everyone stops listening to. Social doesn’t mean that you have to always be talking; in fact, social is probably more about listening than anything else. Give your voice a rest and see what happens.” He himself has been very quiet online lately due to a large amount of work. As a result, he’s noticed that his number of followers has increased, thus giving birth to his thoughts in the blog post.

Take a moment to read what he wrote again. Go ahead, I’ll wait a moment…

Social doesn’t mean that you have to be always talking; in fact, social is probably more about listening than anything else.

How genius is that statement? How often lately have we forgotten to just shut our traps and listen to what others are saying? When we are constantly pushing out update after update of our own, do we have the time to really absorb what’s going on around us?

We learn early on in life that the key to communication of any kind is to be an excellent listener. When a company or person is slamming out 100+ tweets per day, how the hell are they being a listener at all? They’re so consumed with adding to the noise that we have to filter through that they have forgotten that all-important golden rule.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’m going to shut up more often.

Can Online Discussions Always Be Positive?

I noticed a thread today on Geeks that is talking about how discussions always end up turning negative in some way. This got me to thinking about conversations I have all over the web – on Geeks, over at Lockergnome, here in my blog, and even on sites like Twitter. It seems no matter what you’re trying to talk about, someone is going to be negative in some way. The people in this particular thread are right – it truly is annoying.

I’m not talking about differing opinions. Those are great, and I welcome them. Hopefully, you like hearing them as well. Having different viewpoints on things allows us to stretch our minds in directions they may not have otherwise gone. It can make us look at things in a whole new way, from a completely different perspective.

The negativity I’m referring to is exactly as it sounds – negativity, for no reason other than to be rude/demeaning. You’ll be having a conversation that’s going along nicely, and some person pops their nose in and starts going off on a tangent about something that may or may not relate to your discussion. They may even be completely rude about it, or directly “attack” someone involved in the thread/post. I really hate that. What’s the point of it? Why must Internet trolls even exist? Can’t we just like shoot them out of a cannon or something?

Seriously, though, why does it seem so difficult these days to have a completely intelligent conversation with others without the fear of someone taking it down a road it should never go? What are your thoughts? Are you seeing more and more of this lately, and how do you get past it to continue your discussion? What else are you reading and/or participating in online that has your mind stretching?

We have several excellent new Apps and Programs available today in our downloads center for Windows Mobile operating systems, as well as for OS X!

[awsbullet:conversation starter]

Social Networking in Hawaii

Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

My experience in Hawaii this time, as compared to last, is night and day in how I came away from it. This time, I went there with an open mind, ready to jump into the social culture, wanting to make connections and meet new friends. I was overwhelmed, to say the least. The people I met were awesome, very conscious of the impact that social networking has on the World. Many of them, like Ryan (@Hawaii on Twitter and just about everywhere else!), immerse themselves in social media on a daily basis.

Years ago, Ryan used to run a Mac-based dial-up bulletin board. He calls himself a “middle-aged Dad who loves Web 2.0”. He absolutely GETS social networking. He makes good use of all the services we know and love, such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and Delicious!

Back when I made the video a few years ago about reasons I wouldn’t move to Hawaii, Ryan took me to task. He wanted to make this experience different, so he made sure it rained! I felt so much more at home.

I was really impressed at how many people showed up to our little Tweetup. We had about 60 people in all. Ryan says that he has had ones with well over 100 people at times. People don’t realize how social of a culture Hawaiians are. They always have been, but the convergence of Web 2.0 and social media have made it even easier for them to connect.

Ryan says that all these years, he has felt that technology wouldn’t just sell you things… it would connect people and build communities, which is what he loves seeing hapen. He’s born and raised in Hawaii.

I asked Ryan what the general feel of social media is in Hawaii. It’s not confined to just us Geeks. You’ll see businsses there, as well as your everyday “joe”. People are learning, and the concept is quickly growing.

Hawaii definitely has personal interaction wrapped up. They have always been a sociable community. Now, by making use of places such as Twitter, they are showing the World exactly what impact social networking has had on Hawaii.

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

Stretch Yourself

It’s time to stand up and stretch. Get out of those chairs. Come on – you can do it. Stand up, and reach your arms above your head as high as they will go. Now bend over, and attempt to touch the ground (don’t worry, I can’t quite do that, either). Hold your arms out to your sides and stretch them wide. Heck, why not even twist a little to each side, much like a tree swaying in the breeze.

You have now successfully stretched out your body… but have you stretched your mind? I just stumped some of you, didn’t I? You thought for a second “what the heck, there are no exercises for that!”.

Ah, but that is where you would be wrong, my friends. Every time you read something, you stretch your mind. Every time you think a decision through, you stretch your mind. Every time you look at something through someone else’s eyes, you stretch your mind. Every tiny spec of information you absorb… you get the picture.

Many times, we don’t even realize that we have stretched our minds. We are so rushed through our day that much of what we have seen and done hasn’t even sunk in or made an impression by the time we pass out at night. It’s often much later, when a situation arises that forces us to recall certain pieces of information, when we realize “oh. wow. I knew that/learned that/remember that”. We forget to take the time to stop and marvel at everything that is out there, waiting for us to feast our brain on.

Spread your wings, little birds. Fly beyond your own nests and find those juicy little morsels that will feed and stretch your mind and soul.