The Charisma Secrets: Presence, Power and Warmth

In this video, Olivia Fox Cabane, author of The Charisma Myth, discusses the powerful tool of charisma. She explains the components of charisma: presence, power and warmth.

Presence is the core of charisma. It’s how you demonstrate to others they are heard, appreciated, honored, significant, worthy, etc. and that you are fully present to them. How to get fully present when you’re not feeling it? Cabane discussed two strategies: 1. focus on your toes (the act of doing so will wake you up because you have to do a whole body scan to get to your toes) and 2. focus on the eye color of the other person. By looking deeply into their eyes, you’re indicating presence.

You can convey power by your appearance and body language. Dress well and take up more space, and people will think you have what it takes. On the flip side, you can also transmit a lack of power through your body language. Fiddle with your hear, touch your hair, face, ears, etc. and you’ll give off vibes of low self worth and weakness.

Warmth can’t be faked. It’s an indicator of how much someone likes us and we show it through our body language and behavior. If you’re feeling stressed, it shows on your face and the other person may think you’re upset by them, not your own internal pressure cooker. On the other hand, look at someone with a feeling of true affection and they can’t help but feel good about being around you.

The video is really worth watching. You’ll get a lot out of it.

Not only can you use charisma to make a good impression, you can also use charisma as a rhetorical strategy to ensure you are seen as a leader, rather than a follower; that your ideas are adopted; and your projects are effectively completed. More on this topic in my next blog.

Your thoughts?

Gaining Influence – Strategies that Work

In the Harvard Business Review article, “How Experts Gain Influence,” by Anette Mikes, Matthew Hall, and Yuval Millo, the authors provide an overview of their study of two risk management groups within two banks. They suggest that the four competencies that helped one of the groups excel can also help leaders in other industries gain influence throughout their own organizations.

4 Strategies to Gain Expert Influence

1. Trailblazing: finding new opportunities to use expertise

Trailblazing is not about just making a new path for yourself and/or others, but making an effort to acquire deep learning about your organization from your colleagues so you can better understand where the new opportunities lie and then determine how you can best make a difference in new areas.

2. Toolmaking: developing and deploying tools that embody and spread expertise

Whether it’s in the form of a document, spreadsheet, or presentation, creating tools that highlight issues, and help others understand the issues that need to be discussed is a key competency to demonstrate your expertise applied to business challenges.

3. Teamwork: using personal interaction to take in others’ expertise and convince people of the relevance of your own

Asking for feedback and incorporating that feedback into your tools is an important collaboration strategy. Collaborating with others is smart. Through collaboration, we can learn more and get more done.

4. Translation: personally helping decision makers understand complex content

The work we do is often highly technical or complex. When we can help others understand it more easily, we’re providing important value. What are some strategies to help understanding? Tell a story, use metaphors, or make it a fun game. Any of these approaches can help others learn and retain complex information.

The authors argue that putting any one of these strategies into practice will improve influence, but consistently employing all four is the key to gaining influence that can make a difference in your career and in the organization.

It’s about being open, looking for opportunities, being fully engaged, and helping others.

Your thoughts? Have you used one or more of these strategies successfully?

Making Time for Work That Matters

An article caught my eye in a past issue of Harvard Business Review in the Managing Yourself section, “Make Time for the Work that Matters: How smart knowledge workers delegate tasks—or eliminate them altogether,” by Julian Birkinshaw and Jordan Cohen. It’s an eye-catching title, as don’t most people want to find that time to do meaningful work, but I wondered how hard it was going to be to put into practice.

It’s not as hard as you might think to reclaim time.

The authors’ research and case study shows that knowledge workers can become more productive if they can “eliminate or delegate unimportant tasks and replace them with value-added ones” (115). While you could criticize this info as overly simplistic, even the skeptical benefit according to their interviews and findings with study participants.

The authors point out, we tend to hold on to things we like to do because they make us look good, or we get personal value from doing them, even if the tasks are not the high value work that matters.

They offer five suggestions for shifting to higher value work:

1. Identify low-value tasks

2. Decide whether to drop, delegate, or redesign

3. Off-load tasks

4. Allocate freed-up time

5. Commit to your plan

According to their research, we don’t have to “ban email on Fridays [although it would be nice]” or “forbid internal PowerPoint presentations [how would we get work done?];” rather we just have to be willing to implement the above five strategies. Their test group of 15 executives were each able to “cut desk work by an average of six hours a week and meeting time by an average of two hours a week” (115). That’s almost a day in the work week freed up to do high value work that matters. Even half that time would be worthwhile finding and putting to better use, right?

We have to want it. Bad enough to get off of Facebook or any other time sucking task. I know it would be better for my productivity if I went for a walk when I need a little diversion or a break from heavy duty thinking and writing. It’s a matter of becoming disciplined.

Your thoughts?

The Science of Marketing by Dan Zarella

The Science of MarketingIn his latest book, The Science of Marketing: When to Tweet, What to Post, How to Blog and Other Proven Strategies, Dan Zarrella, a social scientist at Hubspot, details the best known methods for using e-books, webinars, SEO, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, blogging, email marketing, lead generation, and analytics in marketing. He warns about ‘unicorns and rainbows’ advice that is prevalent and instead backs up his claims with solid data and analysis. If you’re looking for good advice, look here.

Want to learn more about using webinars in your business?
Zarrella holds the record for the most attendees to one of his webinars on The Science of Social Media. Over 30k people registered and over 10k people attended. He might know a thing or two about them.

Want to learn more about SEO?
According to Zarella, you likely already know enough about SEO. He writes, “you probably don’t need more SEO help. Most businesses would benefit much more from increasing content quantity and quality.” If you’ve been working in digital marketing for a business or brand for any time at all, you know It takes time and effort to keep content updated and relevant. But you can balance that expense by knowing that “not only are search engines the most used source of information for purchasing decisions, but they’re also consulted, by more than half of [Zarella’s] respondents, at least once a month”. If you’re going to cut corners, don’t skimp on your content budget. And once you create it, promote it in social media to generate inbound links.

The surprising news about Twitter…
You don’t have to be a brilliant conversationalist to attract followers and links. You just have to share good content. And, stop talking about yourself; start talking as a real person. Be positive. This chapter is quite beefy, but if you’re not already sharing a bunch of other people’s content, then Zarella suggests you start there.

Test what works best for your brand on Facebook.
I was surprised to read Zarella recommend restraint here. In general, he recommends posting once every other day, and trying out Saturday and Sunday to see what happens.
Like other channels, he recommends staying positive, unless you want to generate controversy and comments every once in a while.

Think like a producer of prime time and supermarket checkout content.
In other words, you’ll be smarter than a 5th grader if you write for that grade level (not an easy task). It will take more work to connect your content with content types that audiences enjoy:
“Movies, television shows, books music, and athletes take the lead. This is the type of content you’d find on the cover of magazines at the checkout counter at the supermarket, the type of stuff you’d hear about if you turned on your television at prime time or listened to people talk at a bar next to you. This is normal people content, not geeky, corporate, or boring”.

Become a visual storyteller on Pinterest
Zarella advises, “The textual content should be used to provide context, but the image should tell the story”. Many brands are using Pinterest to generate successful inbound traffic.

If you’re publishing a blog, share a unique point of view
You can’t just build it and expect people to come anymore. Your content has to be “unique and worthwhile” if you expect people to read regularly. Again, he advises. Don’t write all the time about yourself, but as yourself. While Zarella advises that how much you’re posting matters more than when you’re posting, he does offer all the details on timing.

Paid traffic converts higher than other forms of traffic.
I’m happy to hear this fact, but as he says, we’re paying for it so it follows that it would have the highest conversion.

In general, “people prefer content that will teach them to do something or tools that can make their lives easier or their work more successful”.

If you’re looking to fine tune your marketing and content publishing efforts, you’d do well to check out The Science of Marketing.

SEO Works and Content Marketing Amplifies Good Content

A colleague recently sent a Forbes blog post around for comment, The Death of SEO: The Rise of Social, PR, and Real Content. My reply turned into almost a blog post so I thought I’d post my thoughts here.

This headline may attract attention (great job!), but it’s similar to the headlines over the past few years proclaiming email is dead. Such headlines attract discussion, but email is not dead and SEO is not on its deathbed. Technologies and information processes are just refined over time. It happens. We, in turn, evolve our business practices.

The sub-title: “The Rise of Social, PR, and Real Content” is the real message where brands should focus. It calls for brands to uplevel social, sharing and PR in order to help make the “real, valuable, relevant content” more visible to audiences. How might that be accomplished, in addition to great SEO?

1. Get more inbound traffic with social sharing and content syndication. Not only can the brand’s main social channels reach people, but employees are largely an untapped market to increase social sharing. It’s easy for employees to get ‘heads down’ and think it’s not their job if they don’t have “social” in their job title. But, employees can do more to increase their own social visibility and sharing content that relates to the content their employers create and publish.

2. Uplevel sharing opportunities on domain. Did you notice on the Forbes article at how prominent the sharing buttons are in the article? They are stationary in the left margin no matter how much you’ve scrolled. Plus, there is a small horizontal row of sharing options under the post. Making sharing opportunities more visible instead of just an afterthought would help build visibility and traffic for good content.

3. Build more internal PR for content. How many brands have active internal programs to increase external social sharing by employees? Training interested employees and turning them into brand ambassadors, would also help create more visibility and traffic for good content.

In addition to the SEO work that we do when we publish blog posts or web content, we have to realize that our work is not done. Content marketing or content activation is the second half of the solution. Each of the above suggestions are other areas that can help brands grow traffic for great content that aligns with Google’s changing search algorithm.


Social Content Marketing With a Shelf Life: Style and Substance

Pink Breast Cancer RibbonRoger Warner has a good point in this post at TechCrunch, Social Media Gurus Push Conversations Over Kudos and Fail. He argues brands should do more meaningful posts that make customers look good, than just engage in simple banter on Facebook that doesn’t really amount to much or go to the brand’s mission.

Similarly, I have a problem with simply publishing pretty pictures in social expressly for the purpose of getting likes and pins. While pretty images can be “on brand” and engaging, and they can be used to good effect as a way to create visual interest by including an image with a blog post, it’s more valuable to the brand to have a larger story to share along with the image.

Take for example, the pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness. It adds visual interest to this post, and also reinforces my argument that we need both style and substance. If I was really on point, I would have been able to come up with an idea for an image that also connected with “shelf life” in my title.

Having both visual images and valuable content makes for a stronger social content marketing strategy. Let’s provide content that informs, inspires, or solves a problem for consumers, along with images that help make meaning memorable. Doing so can also generate search value over the long term. It’s also more valuable to our customers.

If we’re just going to publish images for the sake of “likes,” then let’s do so in a way that gives more recognition to the person who created the image or artwork.

Small talk may be social and it might be a good way to open a conversation, but it’s here today and forgotten tomorrow. Along with a little conversation, we need to do more social brand marketing that has a longer shelf life. Let’s mix it up a little. Offer social marketing and content with both style and substance.