Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Not Just For Dummies

I confess to being a life long information junkie. Before the online world imploded with sundry sources from which to gather information, I read two newspapers a day and a stack of magazines a month. Which is probably one of the many reasons I took to the social media landscape so easily. I suddenly had access to more information than I could ever dream. Easily. Plus I had a real fascination as to how all these tools had an impact on a brand.

The result is that I know enough about social media, digital marketing, and online branding to be considered an expert.  But in today's world where it seems as if every day someone is introducing a new technology deemed to be the next great thing, it can be hard, even for the experts, to keep up.

Which is one of the things I love about Online Reputation Management for Dummies. Even someone like myself, who knows her way around the virtual world, can learn something from the book.

If you've been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for all this online "stuff"  to go the way of the horse and buggy, the mere mention of managing your online reputation probably terrifies you. But if you're also smart and still interested in earning a living it is most likely starting to get it through your resistant head that it is time to get with the program.

The question is where to start? 

You can sign up for a Digital Profile Makeover with me. And you can get yourself a copy of Online Reputation Management for Dummies. My suggestion is a print edition although it is also available electronically. The reason I suggest print on this one is that it is the kind of book you are going to want to make lots of  notes in the margins. More importantly you will want to keep it readily accessible to your computer when you try out the author's easy to follow instructions on how to do things like set up your Google Alerts and use AdWords for keyword research.

Online Reputation Management for Dummies is comprehensive and informative. It is loaded with countless tips offered in user friendly language. You can buy the book on Amazon and other smart booksellers.

Lori Randall Stradtman is the author as well as Creative Director and Founder of Social Media Design. You can follow her on Twitter @Lori_Randall or Facebook @Social Media Design.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Practice of Gratitude

I believe in the practice of gratitude. I believe if you don't make time to acknowledge what you have, you're never going to make room for all that you would like. Which is pretty contradictory to the Greek superstition I grew up with where you were encouraged not to acknowledge your good fortune. The folklore invoked a fear that if you did, you'd put the curse of the evil eye on it, and you'd be left with nothing.

That gives you an idea of why it took me so long, not to mention a lot of work, to get through my thick Greek head the importance of taking time on a daily basis to be grateful. I'm talking about getting specific. Finding ten gratefuls in your life and writing them down. Better yet, sharing them with someone else.

Some days it's easier than others. But I've learned that it's when the challenges are the greatest, and we have to really dig within to find them, that we surprise ourselves with what we come up with. I've also learned that the more we practice it, the easier it is to find what in our lives we have to be grateful for.

May Your Thanksgiving Be Stuffed With Gratitude! 

Please note that you, my readers are listed in the list below.

My Gratefuls: Thanksgiving 2012

To create your own word cloud visit Wordle. It's really easy and a lot of fun!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

6 Tips To Remember When Negotiating

Any sales person worth their paycheck will tell you that negotiation is the most fun and exhilarating part of the sales process.

Two sides meet. We assume they want to reach a deal, one they can both feel good about. They go in knowing what they want, in order of importance. They'd like to get everything on their wish list, but they know that a good deal is going to involve compromise. So they come prepared knowing what they are willing to give up. Good negotiation is about building relationships, so if they're smart they leave their egos at the door and try to find something, even when it's hard, to like about the other side.

I've always been a big believer that if you know how to sell and you get really good at negotiation you can be successful in almost any  endeavor. Because really, all of life is about compromising and striking deals, whether it is how to not fall off a "fiscal cliff" or deciding with your significant other where to go for Thanksgiving Dinner.

With this "fiscal cliff" looming before us, not to mention lots of holiday events worthy of serious compromise on the horizon, I thought it appropriate to offer a quick refresher on the subject.

  1. Your job is get a deal done. It is a reflection of you. In the world of sales, if you don't know how to get a deal done you don't get to keep your job.
  2. Keep things simple. The more complicated things get the less people will be willing to concede, mostly because they don't fully understand or will worry you are trying to pull something over on them.
  3. Always think Win-Win. No need to get greedy. The best negotiations are when both sides feel good about the outcome.
  4. Negotiation is compromise.  A good negotiator will always ask for more than what they want. Expect that. Know your boundaries in advance. What's most important to you and what you are willing to concede on.
  5. Be reasonable. Don't bring your ego to the meeting. As hard as it might be, try to understand the other side's perspective. Part of good selling is building relationships
  6. Negotiation is a game.  Don't get so serious that you are have blinders on to possible solutions.  Bring a little levity into things. Laughter breaks up negative energy and is often just what is needed to break through a tough spot and get back to the business at hand.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why I Will Vote Tuesday And You Should Too

There is only one thing that makes me crazier than when I hear a woman claim she is a Romney/Ryan supporter. It’s when a woman says she may not vote. Actually it makes me crazy when anyone tells me they may not vote. Ask the Greek on the corner of Broadway and 62nd Street who owns the coffee cart where I buy my Christmas tree every year.

Friday morning when we were catching up on how we made it through Sandy, he interjected how he had a fight with his wife that morning. He told her he was so mad that there wasn’t enough aide getting to his neighbors, he wasn’t going to vote. She kept telling him he had to. I did the best I could, telling him she was right, reminding him that if Romney gets elected it wouldn’t be an issue to get angry about because there would be no aide to get there. Ever. There would be no FEMA. Romney would get rid of it.  By the time I left him I made him promise he would vote. He said yes, but refused to look me in the eye. So I’m not convinced he will. But I did start to worry about something other than Sandy and the destruction and upset she has left in her wake.

I started to worry about people voting. Which is unusual because as a rule, I am not a worrier. I prefer to trust and turn things over to a power greater than myself. But when I do worry, I write. And today it is about why you should vote.

I can’t profess to understand why any woman would cast a vote for a man who represents a party that does not support women’s rights, one who changes his opinion more often than he changes those expensive shirts he wears. A man who reminds me of that charmer with a nice smile we’ve all fallen prey to at sometime in our lives. The one who will tell you anything you want to hear. Until he gets what he wants and then he is back to his old ways.

In the case of Romney, we can’t be sure what those ways are, he changes his views so often. But his party doesn’t nor does his Vice Presidential running mate. They are clear that they do not support women’s issues. They think they, as policy makers, should determine what a woman should do with her body. Forcibly. They think we should all do what their God says is moral and right, even if ours might be saying something different. They claim to believe in less government intervention, except when it comes to a women’s body. They say they want job growth and a balanced budget yet they made their priority for the last four years that President Obama not be given a second term.  They are the party of hypocrisy.

But to not vote at all. To not exercise our right as free citizens in a democratic society.  That to me is the most immoral act of all.

So yes, I will vote on Tuesday.  And I will vote for President Barack Obama.
  • I will vote because I can.  In 1912 just one hundred years ago, women were not allowed to vote. Which meant my grandmothers did not have the option as young women. They would be angry with me not to.
  • I will vote because I’ve been given a voice. I will use it. We all complain when we are not heard. A vote is our chance to exercise that voice.
  • I will vote because my vote does count. And so does yours. And the next person and the next. Collectively we make a difference.
  • I will vote because apathy is not an attractive quality. Thinking my vote will not make a difference is a cop out. It does and it will.
  • I will vote for all of our daughters, nieces, sisters and every generation to come. As the Dalai Lama has said, it is Western Women who will heal the world. That can’t happen with people in power who want to set women back fifty years and suggest placing an aspirin between ones knees as an effective method of contraception.

If you are a woman or as Nicholas Kristof stated so well in The New York Times, one of  “the men who love them” you should be voting too.

If you live, like I do in the areas hit by Sandy, it may not be as easy to fit in your day.  But that is not another excuse not to vote. It’s another reason why it is so important.

Vote Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

Note: A version of this article also appears on The Huffington Post