Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Internal Communications: Beyond the Coffee Pot

Run Time: 1-3 hours based on customization

Description: Internal communications is a constant struggle. People often complain that they don’t know what is going on inside their organization, but then they don’t pay attention to the information you try to give them. In this session, you’ll learn how to evaluate your internal communications needs, develop a communications plan based on the information you gather, and how to execute the process for your employees. Although your plan probably won’t ever be perfect, your employees will appreciate your efforts, and your company culture will most likely improve in the process!

Recommended Readings:

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Patience, Poise & Panic: Managing Emotion in the Workplace


Run Time: 2.5 hours

Description: Emotions are a part of life, and they affect how we work and interact with others. This session will explore the range of emotions that impact our work and how we can manage ourselves and conflicts with professionalism and respect.

Recommended Readings:

Think Like a Writer


"Think Like a Writer" is one of my favorite session to present. I write. A lot. I write for the web, blogs, social media, I write news releases, newsletters, magazine articles, business letters, emails, proposals, fundraising solicitations, even a couple book chapters.

Luckily for me, I love writing. And, I consider myself a writer. That's probably why I notice how much all of us write: we write to communicate, we write to document, we write for ourselves, we write socially, and we write for work. Everyone who take this class is a writer. It's my hope that by the end of this session, even if you don’t think of yourself as a writer, you can at least, learn to think a bit, like a writer.


Run time: 2-4 hours based on customization

Description: A writing process trains us how to write, improves quality, and helps us avoid mistakes. In this session, participants will see an example writing process and learn techniques for dealing with blocks along the way. Then we will apply the process to improve different writing projects like reports, memos and emails. The application portion of the session can be customized to fit the group’s needs.

Recommended Resources:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

SxSW 2015: the sessions that got away

SxSW is always crammed pack with so much great stuff, I have a hard time deciding what to attend. Sometimes, the crowds decide for me. I was locked out of more than one session at the last festival.

I'm looking forward to sharing some the take-aways from the sessions I did attend, but for perspective on the scope of SxSW, here a list of the session I wanted to see, but didn't get to...

  • Simple Ways to Massively Increase Your Content #content123
  • Neuroplasticity and Tech: Why Brands Have to Change #neurobrand
  • New Media Ethics: Journalism in the Age of GIFs #newethics
  • The Art and Science of Shareability #shareable
  • Do You Know the ROI of WOM? Do You Want To? #ROIofWOM
  • The Emperor’s New Wearables #SXstyle
  • How to Rock SXSW in 4 Hours #sxsw #timferriss
  • NASA New Initiatives in Imagery for Public Use
  • Content Marketing vs Don Draper: The End Of Ads #MPost
  • Visual Storytelling: The Power of Design + Data #TDSXSW
  • UX and The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle #Heisenberg
  • Behind the Social at PBS' Largest Content Provider #WGBHSocial
  • How SciFi Drives Marketing In the Exponential Age #sxsw #innovate
  • Brand and Deliver: Creating Custom Branded Content #sxsw #branded
  • Beyond BFFs: Using Texting to Promote Empathy #T2C
  • Picturing Your Big Ideas
  • The Quantified Us
  • How the Google App Finds Answers Before You Search
  • Digital Disruption: Do or Die
  • Paid Editing of Wikipedia: Getting Past "Gotcha"
  • Storytelling For Dummies: Create a Lasting Brand
  • The Road to Character
  • Art and Experience: A Future for Creativity
  • Are You in a Social Media Experiment?
  • Mobile Beyond Marketing: The Era of UnAdvertising
  • Personalization for the People
  • Harvard Business Review On: How to Hire Superstars
  • I Made 180 Websites in 180 Days
  • Wearable Drones: High-Flying Fashion
  • This Is Your Brain On Visual Data
  • Identity In the Future Of Embeddables and Wearables
  • Think Outside the Font: How Typefaces Influence
  • How CNN and The New York Times Moderate Comments
  • Facebook, Twitter and The Future of Free Speech
  • Image Creation and Sharing: Practice vs Policy
  • The Medium Is the Deliverable
  • Princess Reema’s Mission to Empower Saudi Women
  • Are Brands Sabotaging Their Own Content?
  • Managing a Shit Storm and Restoring Your Brand
  • Beyond Marketing: How Curation Will Work for You

Friday, April 3, 2015

My First Uber

SxSW is all about new things and serendipity. Interesting conversations with complete strangers yield surprising new connections and discoveries. On the last day, I "discovered" Uber.

Of course, I'd heard of Uber, but I'd never had a reason or even the opportunity to try it. A random chat with the guys waiting for the shuttle found its way to the topic of Uber. Our fellow shuttler was a big fan and said he'd found himself regularly skipping the shuttle wait and just getting an Uber ride.

He was singing the praises of Uber, demoing the app, touting all its great features, and then suggested, "Hey, let's just take it. It's on me." What did we have to lose?

The app showed five Uber drivers near us. Our self-appointed Uber ambassador clicked a button and our ride was on the way. We saw the driver's name and car description along with an ETA. Three minutes later (no lie!) our ride was there.

The car was spotless and our driver seemed way safer than any cabbie I've ridden with. The final tab was $13.50. We hopped out, then rated the driver and paid through the app. No tipping and no card or cash needed. Bonus: similar cab rides were running folks $30.

My initial understanding of Uber basically being AirBnB for rides was spot on, and my first impression was very favorable. I'll definitely be downloading the app and looking for good opportunities to try it again, but only when I have my husband or another trusted rider in tow.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Why Reading is a Flawed Dying Technology with Ed Castillo

Presenter: Ed Castillo, CSO, NY, TBWA\Chiat\Day
Hashtags: #DodoMedium

The title of this talk was just too good to pass up. Castillo admitted right off, he named the talk purposefully to get people riled up. Folks are touchy about reading; it's a sacred cow. Before anyone could light a torch and grab a pitchfork, he clarified: Curling up with a book is an artistic experience. That's not what he is talking about. He's talking about reading as a form of communication.

First, is reading dying or is it simply flawed? Castillo asked, are you reading less? If the answer is yes, that is support for the idea that reading is dying. He argues that it is also flawed.

If the intention of writing, speaking and gesturing is to communicate, then writing just isn't as good as other visuals. Writing is an imperfect medium for communicating. It's a point that is hard to argue with. We know the best form of communication is typically face-to-face. Little of what we are communicating is in our words alone, so how can writing do our message justice.

Castillo said, "I’m not trying to burn down the libraries..." If that's a reference to the future of books versus other media, I say, "Don't worry about us, Ed, we're way ahead of you."

Libraries have been thinking about the evolution of communication and our role in the changing media landscape for decades. But often we cling to traditional styles in our own communications.

In libraries, we use writing as a default mechanism for relaying information. How and when could we find other ways to communicate? I think there are a number of obvious answers worth exploring, but I also think this question could lead to some interesting discussion about new opportunities to communicate with our users. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tweet Like a Roman with Tom Standage

Presenter: Tom Standage, Digital Editor, The Economist
Hashtag: #RomanTweet

This was one of the SxSW "Future 15" sessions, which I love as a presentation format. Normal sessions are one hour, but Future 15s pack four sessions into an hour session. It forces speakers to get to the best information quickly. If a session turns out to be less than stellar, you only have to wait for 15 minutes. If the session are great (and usually they are) you get four times the sessions in one sitting.

"Tweet Like a Roman" wasn't as professionally educational as some, but it was super fun and very interesting. Standage spent his 15 minutes explaining how early communication was actually social media. For example, Romans depended on social distribution of media. They used abbreviations to keep messages short. They used tablet-like devices to record messages. They also used social connections to get ahead.

Standage gave a TEDx talk very similar to his SxSW presentation. You can watch him pack an hour's worth of information into 16 minutes below.