Archive for the ‘Storytelling’ Category

  • You and the Queen Have a Lot in Common!

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    Out on the road yesterday, with my car radio dial set as always to NPR, I happened to catch Diane Rehm interviewing Sally Bedell Smith, author of Elizabeth the Queen: The Life a Modern Monarch.

    I’m not much of a “Royals” devotée, but when I heard Diane Rehm announce, “Britain’s Queen Elizabeth will observe her diamond jubilee next month. It’s been sixty years since her father, George the Sixth, died. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary became head of the Commonwealth at age twenty-five. During her reign – the longest since Queen Victoria’s – she’s ushered the British monarchy into the modern age,” I was hooked and turned up the volume.

    I was particularly struck when they spoke of the value, as related to her 60 years of insights and information, of the Queen’s role today. “She is,” the author said, “a nonpolitical head of state who exists to unify the country. She’s had to handle crises within her family, her country, and the world. She’s very perceptive and knows every world leader – their strengths as well as their foibles. The Queen has traveled throughout the United Kingdom and based on her conversations with both ordinary and powerful people she has a great understanding of the human condition.”

    Sixty years of insights and information about the world and the human condition – isn’t that woven into the fabric of all of us 60-year-old’s? We may not have the same bling as the Queen but we do have the same time-tested experience to bring to the table. What a gift!

  • Resources, Resources, Resources… in the “Spirit of Giving”

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    Recently, I came across – actually, I think they started following us, @savvysrswork, on Twitter – Mojo40, a blog designed to help folks 40+ get their career mojo back. That’s all well and good the the 40 year-olds, but every tip and morsel of advice at Mojo40 applies equally to those 60+. Yes, we’ve all heard the new mantra that 60 is the new 40, but it’s time to take back those years. Sixty is the “New” Sixty!

    Mojo40’s modus operandi is, “getting you unstuck in your career, wherever you are in the process, and giving you practical advice that doesn’t assume you grew up with wi-fi in your bassinet. We know that a big chunk of what’s preventing you from moving forward is the four horsemen of fear, ‘compare and despair’, lack of support and information overload. We’re here to blast through all that with:

    • Practical and easy-to-understand advice on how to create your digital profile
    • Straight talk about your lagging technical skills and tips for getting current
    • Recommendations for getting noticed and standing out from the crowd in this age of crunched attention span and the 24/7 on-switch
    • Pointers to sectors that are growing, trends that will impact business success in the future, and ways you could fit in the mix, and
    • Words of encouragement to build your courage to continue.”

    Two posts not to be missed are

    Learn From The Bees How To Do Social Enterprise and Tech Tips: 10 Free Tools for Platinum Marketing and PR

    Regarding “How the Bees Do It,” Mojo40 describes their labyrinthine process that takes social collaboration to new heights. Mojo says, “There is a sea change happening [in the culture of business today]. It’s not just social media and social networks. It is social collaboration… and bees [unlike many of their human cohorts] are social in every aspect of their life cycle, from cooperative brood-care to the overlapping of generations and the reproductive division of labor. They’ve got social brain in their DNA.” We can learn a lot from these pragmatic, industrious creatures and the highly successful life within their hives.

    Mojo’s “10 Free Tools for Platinum Marketing and PR” are smart marketing resources to help you convey your brand, get people’s attention, keep track of your networking and discover who and what is being said about you on the web.

    If the bees can do it…

     

     

     

     

  • Seven Self-Marketing Tips

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    Courtesy babacita.com

    Fast Company Magazine published a terrific article in this week’s Co.Design section called “7 Steps for Creating New Retailing Experiences.”  True, its ideas and innovative examples are aimed at retailers, but what I found extraordinary is how these  “7 Steps”  are just as valuable for individuals keen on boosting their own self-marketing.

    The article begins, “To truly design a great experience that’s right for your company, we need to look beyond the field of design to sociology, economics, organizational behavior, and even theater. These seven principles will help you be strategic about the experiences you design and choose the right script for your company.”

    Take a look at their tips and see if you don’t think they might apply to your image experience as well as Starbucks:

    1. Experience design is not about luxury. Southwest Airlines, for example, applies a combination of heart, humor, and efficiency as a distinctly Southwest script for air travel that’s different from the norm.

    The “Premium” is what separates you from the rest of the pack – no matter if you’re a chincilla or a chipmunk. See our posting,  Creativity and the Power of Imagination – for CEOs as Well as Wizards!

    2. Start with empathy. Understanding and challenging social scripts requires stepping into your customers’ shoes.

    Remember Leonardo’s “Working Resume?”

    3. Do your own thing.…. People will value originality as long as you continue to serve their needs.

    Take a look back at our Your Originality: How to Capture and Market It 

    4. Utilize all elements of theater. Create an immersive world with consistent rules. To reinforce the script, think of the whole experience as a “play,” including the cast, costumes, set, and props.

    Details, details, details – or as we posted earlier: Rabbits, Privet Hedges and a Planters Peanut Bar: How John Updike Brought What Is Peculiar to the Moment to Glory

    5. Use different incentives to create different behaviors. Align your people, including their incentives and motivations, with the desired experience.

    Remember our contribution from Australia,  Color Your Way to Success: Learn What Colors Reveal About You and The Organization Where You Think You’d Like to Work

    6. The devil is in the trade-offs. The experience you offer should have a clear point of view.

    Focus, focus, focus –
    Thanks Be To Shakespeare: Those Telling Details in the Story Behind Your Resumé Really Do Matter

    7.  Evolve to stay relevant. Never stop prototyping and testing changes to make the experience better and to change in step with people’s needs.

    Reinventing yourself You Have to Step Out of the Batting Cage to Hit A Home Run!

  • Character Actors and The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

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    Gabby Hayes, Courtesy, www.things-and-other-stuff.com

    Reading Manohla Dargis and A. O. Scott’s tribute to character actors, The Name Might Escape, Not the Work, in the September 14, 2011, NY Times, I was struck by the parallels between these actors and those of us who wish to create a new and distinct role for ourselves in our seniorhood.

    Dargis and Scott write, “A star imports outsized individuality into every role, playing variations on a person we believe we know. A character actor, by contrast, transforms a well-known type into an individual.”

    “Screenwriters don’t always give much thought to the feelings and aspirations of the zany co-worker, the flaky best friend, the low-level expendable criminal, the assistant D.A. or the doting or disapproving mother. But if [played by a gifted character actor] our familiarity may grow into interest, our interest may blossom into sympathy and, without our necessarily knowing why, our emotional stake in the story may shift and deepen. An otherwise disposable character takes on the complexity of a real person.”

    “The complexity of a real person…”  Is that not the true crux of the matter? Are we not challenged to “transform a well-known type” (the senior stereotype) “into an individual?” And that gets to the second part of this post “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.” 

    Daniel Pink, author of  A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future has a new book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

    Publishers Weekly claims Pink writes with “visionary flare” and perhaps this is true for today’s techno, business savvy readers, but not so surprising for those of us who remember 40 years ago, when another visionary trolling about the streams of  humanistic psychology, Abraham Maslow, proposed a hierarchy of needs that represented various needs that motivate human behavior. The hierarchy is often displayed as a pyramid, the lowest tiers representing basic needs and more complex needs located near the top of the pyramid. The top of the pyramid being, “self-actualization.”  Here, Pink and Maslow converge as they describe what motivates us once our basic survival needs are met is the ability to grow and develop, to realize our fullest potential or as Dargis and Scott said, take on the “complexity of a real person.”

    Or, too, as the Bard said, “All the world’s a stage and everyman must play his [or her] part.”

     

     

  • Reinventing Salt and Ourselves

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    Courtesy Everydiet.org

    This blog post, Three Tips for Reinventing a Product, by Teri Evans in Entrepreneur.com is about salt. Yes, who would have thought a staple such as salt would need reinvention, but then how many of us 60+ year-olds gave much thought to “reinventing ourselves” 2 or 3 years ago?

    Teri says, “Many aspiring entrepreneurs have attempted to reinvent products, from cupcakes to pizza to coffee, which are considered commodities. Some have met with astonishing success — Starbucks being a notable example — while others have fallen flat. So what are the important ingredients in a successful reinvention?”

    Teri offers The Meadow, an artisanal salt shop with locations in Portland, Oregon and New York City, as a case in point.  Teri cites three ways in which the The Meadow’s owners Jennifer and Mark Bitterman, transformed salt into a gourmet entity, noting, “While their reinvention is specific to salt, the strategies they implemented to transform the perception of a commodity can work in just about any business.”

    I’d add an extra pinch of salt to their successful recipe. You, too, are a commodity and each of these 3 strategies is equally essential to the business of creating and marketing the sauce of your “reinvented” self.

    1. Tell the story behind your product. Mark Bitterman was enjoying a trip to France when he discovered artisan salts during a savory French meal — and it’s a delightful story he shares with customers time and time again. Creating an emotional one-on-one connection through a story, while weaving in the history of artisan salts, has kept foodies coming back. The Meadow also dishes salt stories and recipes on its website and blog, Salt News. Mark also has an award-winning book on the subject: Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral with Recipes.

    2. Create a shared experience around the product. Aside from recounting salt tales to customers, the Bittermans bring foodies together in a shared experience by hosting salt tastings at its shops. Previous events have ranged from unique sweet-and-savory pairings to events designed with the culinary professional in mind. The Bittermans have learned that if you bring customers together for a shared experience, you’re more likely to create an emotional attachment to your product, which can breed loyalty and boost sales.

    3. Introduce the product to industry influencers. The Meadow doesn’t advertise and instead relies on word-of-mouth marketing to build credibility among its foodie customers. One way it has done that is through winning over some top chefs of upscale restaurants, which have not only raved about The Meadow’s artisan salts, but also become product evangelists.

    Bon appetit!

  • What’s Wrong with This Picture?

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    Courtesy doclounge.net

    Is Justice truly blind and applies equally to all, or does it sometimes peek and tip the scales when it’s politically expedient?

    President Obama, the Compromise Czar, held our admiration for a time as he successfully navigated his way between Scylla and Charybdis, other wise know as the Democrats and Republicans in Congress, but his most recent compromise/concession regarding Elizabeth Warren and the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau not only tips Lady Justice’s scales, it knocks them right out of her mighty hand.

    This past Friday, July 15, I listened to a video posted in the NY Times in which Elizabeth Warren was talking in a very calm level-headed manner about her work to set up the bureau amid heavy opposition. The posting provoked many tweets such as this clearly unbiased one, “My politics don’t really align with Elizabeth Warren’s,” the tweeter said. “But I sensed that she had a legitimate interest in trying to, at a minimum, improve efficiencies.”

    I thought, “How reassuring to hear a Republican express support even though his ‘politics do not align’ with hers.”

    Then, just two days later on July 17th I read (also in the NY Times) Former Ohio Attorney General Picked to Lead Consumer Agency by Binyamin Appelbaum.  Appelbaum wrote that President Obama had announced that he would nominate Richard Cordray, the former attorney general of Ohio, to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “The decision to pass over [the 62-year-old] Ms. Warren — who conceived the bureau, championed its creation and orchestrated its establishment for the last year as a White House adviser — reflects political realities. Her candidacy was passionately supported by liberal members of Congress and consumer advocacy groups. But she never won the full support of the president or his senior advisers, particularly the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, in part because of her independent streak and her outspokenness, which at times put her at odds with the administration.”

    “Independent, outspoken, at times put her at odds”… Rather than a negative critique, it sounds like a breath of fresh air to me. Lady Justice, it’s time to secure that blindfold and maybe hold your nose because “today’s political realities” stink!

  • What Do Long Distance, Red Eye Flights Have in Common with Your Job Search?

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    Courtesy: www.izismile.com

    Check this brilliant, blow-by-blow, visual “Red Eye” diary from Christoph Niemann.

    From the fight for armrest supremacy, stacking peanuts to make the time pass more quickly, the flight progress monitor, seeking alternate positions, coveting your neighbor’s seat, discreet dental hygiene, swollen ankles and visions of grandeur in the clouds – it’s all here.

    Best of all, as painful as the process can be, we do finally land and with any luck it’s not our bag that ruptured during the flight, spreading our “wee personals” over the luggage claim belt.

    Bon Voyage!

  • Beware When Your Resumé Looks Like Your Passport: the Date Stamps Cover Where You’ve Been But Not Where You Want to Go or Why?

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    Courtesy of Mark Ashley at www.upgradetravelbetter.com

    Resumés do a great job telling people where you worked and what you have accomplished.  Like passports, they play a role as you venture forward. In some jobs where the HR department rules, they are required. But – and this is a big BUT – they are all about your past. One career consultant, Joshua Waldman, even calls them “obituaries!”

    As we’ve discussed before, traditional resumés need to be replaced by “working resumés.” You need to create a document that captures the value you bring to the future. How will you solve the organization’s problems in ways that are unique, innovative, practical and sustainable?

    Employers – just look at BP, for example – are not looking for a temporary fix. Equally important to how is the why you wish to solve the problem.  Perfection without passion is not going to get you very far. Again, using BP as an example, Tony Hayward, CEO at the time of rig explosion and subsequent horrific oil leak had stellar credentials. His past accomplishments looked great on paper but a critical component was missing: compassion.  Without a sense of empathy for the victims or the environment, all his skills came to naught. His replacement, Bob Dudley, is equally talented and has that extra dose of compassion that allows him to express not only how he is going to solve the problem but why and that makes him far more valuable to BP today than the former CEO.

    But passion is also a critical factor in non-Fortune 500 boardrooms. Last month, Alastair Macaulay published a dance review in the NY Times in which he  critiqued Canadian choreographer-dancer Paul-André Fortier ‘s 30-minute solo, “30 x 30,” performed at noon each day for 30 consecutive days in the open air at 1 New York Plaza.

    Macaulay writes,

    “His dancing is site-specific and multidirectional. He faces, by turns, up past the surrounding buildings to the sky, across to New York Harbor on the horizon, down to the ground, and out to the more immediate vicinity, which now and then includes members of the audience, with whom he makes brief eye contact.

    “There’s a constant contrast between the sleek lines of the shapes and lines he demonstrates and the gaunt, severe tension of his face and hands. His energy is always contained; he performs with the distanced air of a mime artist or a teacher; and there’s no particular pleasure to be had from his physical tone.

    “Coolly he shows us one movement idea after another. Most of them are fairly interesting or agreeable. …Frequently he implies some kind of mime content, so that I found myself labeling one section ‘Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses,’ which made the next passage, in which he seemed to hurl a few curses at the financial district, slightly more interesting. But the carefully measured tone of Mr. Fortier’s movements stopped any of this from having any force or from being absorbing. His quality of teacherly reserve places a curious distance between his solo and himself. It’s as if he were presenting something in which he didn’t quite believe but feels ought to impress us anyway.”

    That last line, “presenting something in which he didn’t quite believe but feels ought to impress us anyway,” is devastating!  According to this trusted dance critic, Fortier has the skill required but not the passion necessary to transport audiences to other realms – real and imaginary. Does this sound like your resumé? We hope not.

    Meshing our work and our passions is key to making our lives works of art.

    Courtesy of z_zozole

  • Song of Marconi: “You Live in Your Voice”

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    We have blogged many times about the importance of your voice – the sound, cadence, pauses and inflections – for all your non-visual communications, including the often dreaded telephone interview.

    Your voice not only conveys confidence, or lack thereof, but also character.  As Rob Rosenthal points out in his terrific PRX podcast, Song of Marconi, for the Salt Institute in Portland, Maine, you really do “live in your voice.”

    Rosenthal’s Saltcast features radio broadcaster Dennis Downey reading his essay on Guglielmo Marconi, inventor and early radio technology pioneer.

    Listen and learn about the inventor and, just as importantly, about the art of talking on the radio. At essence, it is the art of communicating who you are through the spoken word.

  • Frolicking Whales, A 76+ Year-Old Surfer (Body not Web) and Digital Storytelling: Soup to Nuts

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    I encountered a terrific – and comprehensive – Digital Storytelling resource when I was searching for help on how to best capture an extraordinary a day at the beach. This is not just any compilation of video snippets. What began as a peaceful interlude on a beautiful Maine surfers’ beach turned into a virtual bombardment of amazing images.

    Scanning the horizon for ships, sailboats or a rogue wave or two as we are wont to do when we know our wave pounding kins’ heads are all above water, the beach chair bunch (including me) spotted a whale a few hundred yards off shore. Cruising north, he or she and kept vaulting out of the water in beautiful arcs, daring us to try and capture the image. This behemoth had an uncanny way of taunting us.

    Second stunning sighting was of a different kind of leviathan – an ancient body surfer. I say ancient because she was an 76+ year-old woman, not too sylphlike, in a day-glo green, Pucci print swim suit. She had some difficulty walking through the surf, but when she spotted a big enough wave, she turned and threw herself into the curl with a grace that made the whale look like an out-of-control beach ball.

    Unlike the aforesaid whale, who cruised out of sight as soon as it had struck its tantalizing chord, the surfer rode the waves for hours. Her cap of white hair caught in the roiling foam rendered her invisible until her day-glo self glided up on the shore.

    All of this is my long-winded way of saying how valuable I found this Digital Storytelling resource. The lengthy tutorial consists of four parts:

    1. Finding your story
    2. Telling your story
    3. Creating the piece
    4. Sharing the work

    I am fortunate because my story found me but the “telling,” visual “creating,” and “sharing” were in drastic need of help.

    This is a resource you’ll want to turn to time and time again as you strive to capture your stories, your work and, indeed, your life.

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