Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What is Viral Marketing?

Viral marketing is a form of promotion based on the free circulation of ideas via a word of mouth process. When you like something, it feels second nature to share your discovery with someone you like. Be it friends, relatives or colleagues, you get a kick out of sharing with someone else something cool that you have discovered. And in turn, those people you share something with, will do the same with their network of friends. That is what "going viral" is all about. From a marketing standpoint, "going viral" is fascinating for a number of reasons: Distribution: Viral content spreads like virus, in an ever expanding loop which may never end. For an online marketer, spreading content endlessly from person to person represents a superior strategy to promote content at a fraction of the effort and costs required by traditional marketing techniques.
Reach: A successful viral marketing campaign may exponentially increase the reach of your communications by placing you in touch with thousands of prospects which, with your traditional communication approach, you might not have ever intercepted. Awareness: The more people will see your content, the more people will know who you are, what you do, what can you offer customers. Not only: by sharing content on a specific topic you will make yourself an authority in that field and people will start naturally coming to you asking for advice and recommendations. Cost: Viral marketing is relatively inexpensive as you do not have to plan a huge budget to promote your products or start campaigns that meet the needs of all your potential customers. Once your content starts to go viral, your fans become your best marketing agents.
To help you make sense of what are the key traits and components that create the conditions for a successful viral marketing campaign, this MasterNewMedia guide shares a highly curated selection of the best analysis, reports and published research on the web on the topic of viral marketing. This guide is organized in three sections:
What is viral marketing The key principles of viral marketing Viral marketing best strategies and tactics
To be Continued stolen from Contagious Group
video

Friday, March 26, 2010

Public Speaking



Today, you can make nothing less than ten thousand dollars per hour through public speaking if you are a celebrity. And making three thousand dollars per hour as a non celebrity is not uncommon. This of course does not include other expenses like hotel reservation and flight fare if you are to speak in another state or country. Those expenses will be taking care of too!

Now, why would I be killing myself trying to earn less than three thousand dollars in a month when I can make more for just talking about what I know or do? Ignorant is the right answer to that question.

Few people who had realized that public speaking is a money making vendor are diving into it. Why not you?

Oh, I understand. You can’t be a public speaker, so you think. Pastor Thomas Dexter Jakes was told he would never be on National TV because he sweats a lot, screams and makes funny gestures while preaching. But today, he’s on global TV, if there is anything like that.

Now, how can you make money from public speaking despite never done it before?

Very simple!

First, you have to be a good public speaker before you can learn the art of making money through it. To be a good public speaker, take to these tips:

Face the Crowd. Not everybody can face the crowd, no doubt about that. But everybody talks to someone. If you have ever spoken to someone before, then you can face the crowd! Your crowd could be one or two. You have to practice a lot in your secret place, then, start by facing your friends, families and so would your crowd increase and you will build your confidence.

Have a message. When the messiah walked this planet, He had a message—to unite God and humanity. When Martin Luther King Jr. turned an activist, he had a message—to stop segregation. Adolf Hitler had an unusual message—kill the Jews. So, you need to have a message. Not a negative, but a positive one. One thing you must know is that, any message you have for the people will sell in as much as it is solving their problems.

Specialize. Now, having a message is a good thing when it comes with specialization. I do not mean you need to get a doctorate to be an effective speaker. It could be a plus, but your specialization should be based on what you are doing for a living. Or what you enjoy doing. People want to hear how you have successfully managed yourself to become a success, so package your story for your audience. Donald Trumps is a successful real estate guru and would be and wannabes are paying thousands of dollars to hear him talk about his success in real estate. People want to hear your success story too.

Be your self. Now, some would-be-public speakers want to be great orators. So, they enrolled in communication or public speaking classes. Anyway, there’s nothing wrong about that if you have some money to throw away. You have to learn to be yourself. You have to learn to talk like yourself. Great orators like Abraham Lincoln never went to any of those schools; they only spoke from their heart. Learn to speak from your heart. Nobody can teach you how to tell your story, or how to captivate your audience. You have to teach yourself. And the only way to do that is by standing in front of the crowd. But if you believe you can get better through public speaking classes, good luck!

Know your personality. This is something nobody can teach you. You have to know your personality all by yourself. Public speakers are not those who fit into corporate dress like the penguins. Nope! Look yourself in the mirror. Do you feel good in tee shirt? Then wear it. Wear what you feel comfortable in. It’s your image.

Stride and gestures. If anyone is going to teach you any of these in a public speaking school, it will be a plus. Your strides and gestures are very important. You have to walk like you are just another Julius Caesar. Do you understand what I mean? You need a lot of confidence like you are about to conquer the world. While talking, your gesture matters a lot. Make use of your hands. Walk in-between the audience if you have to. Tap your feet if you need to. Wink at someone. Laugh, smile and jump if necessary. Create what makes your audience singles you out of the crowd of public speakers. I can tell a Zig Ziglar from a Brian Tracy by just looking at a gesturing silhouette. People should be able to tell yours too.

Avoid reading from your laptop or notepad. This is perhaps one of the great flaws of some speakers. If you really want to be taking serious, avoid reading from your laptop or notepad. Nobody wants to listen to your thesis. Rather, they want to be entertained and inspired. Instead of reading from your laptop or notepad, glance at it one in while. Talk from your heart like you know what you are talking about. Anybody can read from his or her laptop and you should not be caught.

Graphic pictures and stories. Principles are better explained graphically with pictures and stories. Your audience will forget the principles you are given to them. But they will never forget your graphic images and stories used to illustrate your principles. So, tell a lot of stories and use countless images in your presentation, but don’t over do it.

Smile, laugh and humor. Nobody wants to listen to you when you are not smiling or laughing out loud. Why do you think Ellen Degenere’s got more crowds these days? Because you can laugh and dance on Ellen’s Show. People want some smiling and laughing. And humor is just the key thing. Never stand in front of your crowd without some brilliant humor. People want to laugh their worries out and that is part of what they are paying you to do. Then, do it!

Interact with the audience. Whatever you do just don’t stay glued to the lectern. Move around. Interact with your audience. Laugh, tap shoulders, wink, and smile and make lots of eye contacts. It’s a plus for you anytime.

Use layman English. Except you want to be booed by the crowd, drop your grandiloquent words. Use layman English. Talk to the mechanics in the crowd and the professors will understand you. Don’t try to impress your crowd with vocabularies, you will only lose them. Be simple not complicated.

Create fluidity and transition. I am not saying talk like a parrot. But move from one point to another gracefully. Your transition is a very important part of your speech. And it conveys your message to your audience without complications.

Brand yourself. Now, if you have read through all these tips and learn from them, then you are a brand. You will be everything different from just the public speakers. You will be original and that is what makes you a brand.

Be approachable. Don’t be quick to disappear from the venue, let people have time to see you after your speech. Someone always have a question to be answered. Someone wants to give out his or her card or telephone number. You may never know where your next speaking engagement is coming from. Stick around for a while before you disappear into thin air.


Now you know what it takes to be a good public speaker, then you have to start making those grand pretty soon. Check back soon. I remain Alfred Ade-Ijimakinwa, Editor-in-Chief, Business101 magazine.

Business101 magazine…Think. Believe. Become.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Facilitation, Training, Consultation or Do it Yourself?





Facilitation, Training, Consultation or Do it Yourself?


A lot of confusion exists about the terms facilitation, training and consulting. As someone who does all three, I would like to help you understand how to keep them separate. I think the distinction is important and to understand what they are called is also important if for no other reason than that, as a manager, you know what you are buying.


I also think it is important to think of training, facilitation and consulting in two ways - what the professional intends with his or her intervention and what methods are used in the intervention. The key distinction is the intent, not the methods. The fact that similar methods are used with very different intents by trainers, consultants and facilitators is a strong point of confusion. Another way to look at this is what end product you are buying and what process is used to deliver that product.

Training

When do I send someone to training programs? When I want to have a competency, knowledge, skill or attitude that is not present or insufficiently present in the company. While there are many ways of gaining that competency or whatever, a relatively efficient way is through training. Training methodologies run from monologues (without questions and answers) to interactive, participative, learning teams and yet the goal remains the same, changes in behaviour.

Because people have different learning styles, creating a training program that meets all of these styles in some optimal way is difficult. Good training leans more and more toward providing the exact skills, etc. in the actual working situation of the client's specific location. For these reasons and others, training is becoming increasingly interactive and participative.

Consulting

When do I want to hire a consultant? When I want to use a competency, skill, knowledge, or attitude and I don't want to have it available internally in my company. When I hire a doctor or lawyer I am hiring a consultant. Again the consultant's methods run from contract, diagnosis, cure, and payment to very participative and interactive research, development and implementation processes. Frankly, I prefer the lawyer and doctor who solves the problem with minimal effort on my part, and the same might be true of a preferred consultant. Others might prefer both more participation in their own health care or in their own business solutions.

I believe the best consulting tends to be more participative using the client's knowledge about their local situation and the consultant's knowledge of methods and models in combination to create an implemented solution.

Facilitation

When do I want to hire a facilitator? When I want a group planning, model-building, team building, or decision-making process to be managed by someone outside the group. I want the facilitator to have skills in group processes and be neutral about the content of the discussion. The two reasons for hiring a facilitator are:

1. Complex or difficult group dynamics have made meetings dysfunctional.
2. A person without vested interest in the outcome needs to lead the meeting.

The methodologies used by facilitators are interactive and participatory, involving those attending the meeting in creating a solution to a problem or creating a plan. They assume that the participants have the authority and ability to deal with the problem or develop the plan.

Do it yourself (DIY)

As with converting the attic into a spare bedroom, you can hire a contractor or you can do it yourself. Three questions need to be answered "yes" for effective DIY. Do you have the skills necessary to do the job? Is it more cost effective for you to do it than to hire the job out? Do you have the time to do the job?

If you answer "no" to any of the above questions, then you might consider putting off the project or hiring a contractor, and the same holds true for hiring a trainer, a consultant or a facilitator.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why Should You Get A Coach/Mentor?

What's easier: Working toward your goals alone through trial and error, or seeking the guidance and direction of someone who's been there and done that?

The answer is obvious. When you seek the advice of someone who has been through it all before, you can then avoid the same mistakes and focus your time and energy on what truly works. That's the power of a life coach.

Imagine yourself with a set plan and just the right advice. Coaching may shave years off the time it would have taken you to reach your goals otherwise!

Here are the top 7 reasons why you need a life coach:

Builds confidence. You know you're under the guidance of someone successful and that your goals are attainable.

Guided plan. Sure, you can draft up a plan by yourself, but when you write out your plans with the help of a coach, you know you're getting a realistic plan that works! Your coach will know shortcuts and can help you stay accountable as well.

Conflicts. Coaches can help you cope with current conflicts and tensions in your life. They can also give you tips on how to avoid similar situations in the future.

Personal attention. Coaching allows you to get one on one attention so you can be personally guided along your chosen path. If you run into struggles, your coach will be there to provide much needed support and suggestions.

Dealing with challenges. Things will not always go according to plan. When you hit a snag, your coach can help you overcome the challenge and steer you back into the correct direction. You can feel comfortable knowing that you're receiving expert guidance.

Versatility. You can decide how you'd like to use your coach. Do you want help with short-term goals or long-term goals? Perhaps you'd like both.

Enthusiasm. Your coach likely has a great deal of enthusiasm for their work, which will naturally rub off on you. Sometimes it may be difficult to keep up your drive, but thankfully, inspiration is one of the main reasons why coaches exist.

Finding a Coach That's Right for You

There are a few tips you should keep in mind when searching for a coach that will mesh well with your personal style. The first concern is that your coach should have certain credentials and experience. It depends on the field you're in, but ensure you do your homework when it comes to checking up on your coach.

See if you can find testimonials and reviews about potential coaches. Ask around and try to talk to someone else who has been coached by this person. After all, a good referral is always more trusted!

Communicate with your potential coach and see what his or her communication style is like. Ask yourself whether or not you think you'd get along well with this person. Some people might think the coach is fabulous, but if you don't think you'll personally communicate well, then it may not be a good fit for you.

Make sure your coaching sessions will be conducted in a format that you find comfortable. Ask yourself whether you're the type of person that needs to meet face to face. Nowadays with technology we can communicate in many different ways. Coaching sessions can take place over the phone, email, video conferencing, or in-person.

In the end you should be proud of yourself for seeking expert help. Follow these strategies to find a great life coach for you and jumpstart your journey into the life you desire.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Coaching and facilitating – two faces of a coin

Originally By
Contagious Creativity


Coaching and facilitating – two faces of a coin

I’ve been doing facilitation for quite some time and have enjoyed the process so far. Lately I was asked to coach a group in problem solving over a number of visits. I became very interested in this concept even more as it allowed me to monitor the progress of the working group, rather than leave it to them at the end of the facilitation meeting.

Digging deeper into the subject, I read the “Coaching for Performance” by John Whitmore. According to him, “coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them”. In a way, isn’t that what facilitation is about? but rather than focus on the individual, it is a group process. facilitation also relies heavily on the group to find their own solutions, and the facilitator’s job is asking the right question, and providing a framework on how to move forward in the process. Using both compliments each other and it enriches the whole experience. A facilitator needs to start with an informational interview with the client prior to facilitation to understand the issue at hand, then the meeting happens, and a follow up could occur.

If the facilitator is an experienced coach (not necessarily certified), then the person can be even better at asking questions, provoking thoughts, bringing awareness to the client and ultimately, the client will be take on the action plan because he/she feels ownership of the solution they came up with as a group (rather than a consultant suggesting it from the outside). In a way, smart consultants can even capitalize on the benefits of using coaching skills in his/her practice.

I will use an example of a creativity model applied by some facilitators called Creative Problem Solving (CPS) and compare it the guidelines that Whitmore suggested for coaching for performance.

in the CPS, a facilitator goes through a number of steps to reach the ultimate goal of finding one or more solutions to the issue at hand. Puccio, Murdock and Mance offer one version of the model by connecting it with some of our thinking skills that we need to make it work. Following are the steps:

1. Assessing the situation (diagnostic thinking)

2. Exploring the vision (visionary thinking)

3. formulating challenges (strategic thinking)

4. exploring ideas (ideational thinking)

5. formulating solutions (evaluative thinking)

6. exploring acceptance (contextual thinking)

7. formulating a plan (tactical thinking)

whole coaching can follow the steps:

1. setting goal (ask questions to get to the ultimate goal the client has (the dream))

2. checking reality (assessing attentudes, tapping emotions, using more descriptive and detailed explanations)

3. exploring options (alternatives, assumptions, what else?, and finally prioritizing)

4. Intentions on making things work (what will you do?) – continue with questions to find the motivation behind each alternative or option and how likely it will happen.

5. conclusion (give action plan and follow up)

see? many already overlap with each other… and can easily be digested together. when I assess the situation as a facilitator, I ask questions, and when I explore the vision, I will ask “how would the situation look like if the issue was resolved?” or what’s your dream solution? this is ultimately setting goals for the client as a coachee and assuming ownership of the problem.

from the other side, it still stands still. when we are exploring options (alternatives and assumptions) we are using ideational thinking in finding all the ways that we can use. a facilitator of the CPS has an advantage here of being exposed to a number of creativity tools that will assist this stage. with many idea generation tools available, the important rule to the game is separating divergent from convergent thinking. so when we are looking for alternatives, we are not judging or even commenting on their fitness or not. we are simply generating ideas.

the conclusion in both is an actual plan and we are using our tactical thinking to find the best fit (now’s the best time for converging our options and choosing the best fit).

when we explore a challenge using, combining our individual and group coaching and facilitation skills, we create a package that will help tackle a problem from all areas, and build on the assets of the inidividual as well as the group who are dealing with it, creating awareness and responsibility for everyone.

I say it’s a winning formula.