Visualizing Information

Part of an Infographic about handwriting (source: educatorstechnology.com)

Part of an Infographic about handwriting

Infographics. Do you remember them? Have you seen any lately?

In our internet, SEO-obsessed world, the question arises from time to time, should we bother with the graphics, especially something like an infographic?

Courtney Gordner  asked “are infographics dead?” at tweakyourbiz.com recently. Seems that many feel that graphically conveying the information is a dying art because SEO cannot really read text in a graphic. Well, my question to you is, are you looking for SEO points or are you looking to make your information useful to others? Courtney points to evidence that they are not, because of the rise of social media platforms such as Facebook or Pinterest. Courtney points out five reasons you ought to use them:

  1. Statistical data is more compelling and easier to understand when placed in charts and graphs
  2. Visual stimulation is the highest sensory detail we have, since 90% of our daily information intake is visual
  3. Most social networks are built on picture oriented platforms
  4. Pictures reach a wider demographic
  5. When someone uses your infographic, they link back to your page

Let’s face it, connecting with others takes work. Infographics take work to create. (If you want to read the one on this page, click the infographic or here to see the full-sized version. It is quite interesting.) But as John Maxwell says, connecting takes work and connectors are willing to do the hard work of creating connection.

If you are interested in infographics, there are plenty of places to learn more. I did a post a few months back on the subject.

Also, if you are really interested in learning to visually display information, you should consider getting one of Dr. Edward Tufte’s books, or even better, attend one of his marvelous seminars. I attended one some years back and, while I have always appreciated the power of the visual arts, Dr. Tufte helps you really understand how to make information live visually.

If you find a way to make information interesting and compelling, you will have no problem with SEO. Rather, you will have people flocking to your site to see more about your compelling information.

Using Infographics For Your Company by Courtney Gordner at tweakyourbiz.com

To Succeed, Ignore These People

“You can’t live a positive life around negative people.”

So begins Marc Chernoff’s post, 7 Negative People You Need to Ignore, at marcandangel.com. Marc and Angel regularly post great stuff that makes you think and can help you live a happier life. So, who are the 7 people Marc wants you to avoid? Here is the list:

  1. The hopelessly hostile drama queen. Our tendency is to confront those who are hostile toward us. Don’t react, respond if you must deal with them. Keep your cool and look for resolution, seek to be kind.
  2. The person you have failed to please a hundred times before. All of us have some people in our life whom we cannot please. Perhaps they don’t want to be pleased by anything you do… who knows? Don’t hate them, just ignore them.
  3. The naysayer who always dumps on your dreams. Why are we so eager to listen to others when they put us down? If you listen and accept what others say, you will become what they say. And that’s not what you want, so ignore them!
  4. The manipulator. These people are trying to force you into their plans. It isn’t wrong to take part in other people’s plans, but do so because it fits into your plans. Otherwise, stay away from them!
  5. The stubborn one who insist you should be someone else. Some people want to force you to change, others won’t let you change. Either way, you are living to someone else’s expectations, not your own. Grow because it is what you want to do. If you are changing to please someone else, you may become bitter with time if they change their mind about who you ought to be.
  6. The unforgiving friend who refuses to forgive you for your mistakes. Mistakes are part of life. Friends help one another grow past mistakes and become better for it. If people hold too tightly  the past and not forgive you your mistakes, they are making a grave one themselves.
  7. The inner critic. Yes, this is you. Sometimes you need to ignore yourself. We humans love to compare the best in others to the worst in ourselves. We also tend to take on the six roles above when dealing with ourselves. When you do, shut that person up and move on with your plans.

If you are to grow and become the person who will achieve the great big goals and visions you have for your life, you have to decide who you are now and who you are going to become. Avoiding people who do not want you to grow is crucial to your transformation.
Oh, and if you really want to make sure you avoid these people, find others who will support you and give you room to grow. The best way to avoid bad friends, like bad habits, is to replace them with good ones.
7 Negative People You Need to Ignore by Marc Chernoff at markandangel.com

Those Pesky Salespeople!

Bad salespeople may get sales, but they often do it at someone’s expense. In the short-term, that might be the customer, but in the long run poor salespeople hurt their own companies. In a recent post at the Inc.com blogs, John Treace makes this point, sharing the 5 Worst Mistakes That Salespeople Make:

  1. Blaming the company for mistakes. Sure, sometimes the company is to blame, but shouldn’t a sales professional be seeking a solution instead of blame?
  2. Failing to recommend a competitor. Your product isn’t the best for all customers all the time. Sales professionals are trusted advisors, so tell the truth when the competitor is better for a particular situation.
  3. Putting the sale first. When a sale becomes about what the salesperson wants and not the customer, it puts the relationship at risk. You might get that sale, but will you ever get another one with them?
  4. Not honoring commitments. Sales professionals keep their commitments because that builds trust. If customers cannot count on you, they will go elsewhere.
  5. Making “trap” presentations. Nobody wants to be goaded into a purchase they aren’t ready to make, so avoid “If I could show you X, would you buy today?” presentations.

As you can see, good sales professionals work to create relationships based on trust with clients. They take responsibility and put the customer first, always. Are you a sales professional? What do you do to create trust in your relationships with customers?

5 Worst Mistakes That Salespeople Make by John Treace at Inc.com

Its the Dog’s Life for Great Communication

Sam the happy British Lab and sage teacher.

Sam the happy British Lab and sage teacher.

Pet owners know that you can learn a lot from your animals. My wife and I have been “renting” Sam, a British Labrador Retriever — actually watching him for my sister-in-law since February who is selling her home and relocating near us. I recently wrote a blog about Sam and what I learned about communication and leadership. You will enjoy the full article, here, but let me summarize the points for you:

  • Make your needs known. Sam knows I cannot read his mind. When he wants something, he gets my attention and doesn’t stop until I acknowledge his need.
  • Tomorrow is another day. Hope springs eternal with dogs. If I don’t play fetch with him now, it doesn’t mean he won’t ask again later. No isn’t forever.
  • Make time for those you care about. Dogs (and kids) start acting up if you don’t make time for them. But give them time and you get enriched AND a well-mannered pet (kid).
  • Love one another. I don’t have to do anything but show up and Sam loves me (see his tail wagging in the picture?) His gratitude is infectious.  Gratitude is a form of love. Who are you grateful for? Do you show them love?

Sam will be moving out soon, but his lessons will stay with me. I hope that we can continue to have a great relationship here on Leaderclip. I hope these posts are useful and enjoyable, and that you get as much from them as I do. I would love to had a dialog with you, so please feel free to share your thoughts on this or any other post. I’ll reply…

What Man’s Best Friend Can Teach Us About Communication and Leadership by Dwayne Baptist at dbaptist.com

Amazing Public Speaking Tips when the Subject is You!

From time to time we all find ourselves in situations where we have to express ourselves and our ideas to others. The way to make these engagements more successful is to transform them from an interrogation into a conversation, according to Holly Murchison, a public speaking coach, in a recent post at Mashable. Holly offers five tips from the world of public speaking for job hunters, but I thought that the spirit of these tips was relevant to nearly any type interview:

  1. Know Yourself. A common ice breaker question is “Tell me about yourself” or variations on that theme. In any interview, you want to not simply tell the other party a stream of consciousness about your life. Rather, think about why you are there and relate who you are back to the point of the interview. If that is a job interview talk about the part of you that is relevant to the position posting. If you are selling, how you got involved with your product. By opening up this way, you give people a reason to connect with you while also staying on topic.
  2. Bridge the Gap Between Confidence and Enthusiasm (Then Marry the Two). You need to be both, but with balance. If you are missing one or another, people will wonder if you are right for the opportunity. Before the meeting, list for yourself the reasons you are both confident you can deliver and why you are enthusiastic to do so.
  3. Use Your LinkedIn Profile to Practice. OK, this one is the most job-interview directly related point, but the spirit of the point is valuable. Holly wants you to think about your experience more like someone writes a LinkedIn expression of their jobs, not the bullet point approach most people use for resumes. More broadly, you might use lists and bullet points to think and written communication, but human conversation is held in a real language (usually English here in the U.S.) where people use complete sentences and grammar. If you talk like your resume or how you text, you will not impress others with your communication style.
  4. Know When to Wrap Up. Don’t overstay your welcome. People are busy, respect their time. If you don’t respect it when you don’t know them very well, are you going to be even worse when you are even more familiar?
  5. Be a Team Player. Anything challenging and worthwhile requires a team to accomplish. If you are interviewing for a job, it is likely to be on some sort of team. If you are selling, you will likely have a team helping with fulfillment. Remember to be inclusive when you talk. If you are job hunting, people will want to know you are a team player. Prospective customers want to know you are with them even after the sale.

5 Public Speaking Tips That’ll Prepare You for Any Interview by Holly Murchison at Mashable.com

The Three Stooges Communicate!

I was reading on my iPad using Zite, a news aggregation application you can tailor to get information that interests you (I find many of my Leaderclip post subjects via Zite), and came across today’s article. What caught my attention wasn’t the title so much as the graphic — Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk! (Which you see here…)

If you want to talk about three rules of anything, one great way to attention (at least of middle-aged white guys) is to show the Three Stooges. Fortunately, Mike Figliuolo of ThoughtLeaders LLC wasn’t offering silly ideas when presenting Three Rules for Successful Communications. Here they are:

  1. Its always three things. As Mike suggests, even if you have 47 things to share, break things down into three major points. Some people can keep track of a bunch of things, but keeping organized so that there are only three things keeps you (and your audience) focused.
  2. They have to hear things three times. Why do you think your high school or college speech teacher told you when planning a speech, “Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Then tell them what you told them.”? People need some repetition to understand and process your message.
  3. After three emails, go have a conversation. If you have to keep going back and forth, there is probably something that can be handled much more deftly if you talked to one another than continue to waste a bunch of time typing emails. Relying solely on email just slows things down and invites misunderstanding.

Yes, Mike really kept it to three things. You can be a stooge, or you can adopt these simple rules to help you improve your communication with others.

Three Rules for Successful Communications by Mike Figliuolo at ThoughtLeadersLLC.com

How to Ruin a Business (or Any other) Relationship

Woman-profile-trashOver at the Inc.com blogs, Chester Elton and Adrian Gostick recently posted a great piece about how to mess up business relationships. They share two great ways to screw up a business relationship: inattention, and not being 100% present.

To illustrate their first point, they share a story about a friend, “Sam,” a great guy but he doesn’t get around to responding to responding to emails or phone calls with any rhyme or reason. This can threaten relationships if people begin to believe you don’t really care about them. They then point to a survey their company did with 10’s of thousands of employees for client companies and found that one of the biggest problems affecting employee satisfaction was perceived disrespect from their bosses. When you are too busy to make time for people, they perceive that you don’t value them. Don’t be careless with your relationships, like Sam. Decide what is important to you and work on those things. Don’t let the urgent get in the way of doing what is important.

Which brings us to the other thought, being 100% present. There are tons of things that scream for our attention during the day, especially with 24/7 access to information, it is easy to let the urgent chirp or vibration of a text or email distract us from meetings or other work we may be doing. But is it wise to sneak that peek or tap that quick reply. When you do, you are telling those around you that they are really not as important as that other message. Once again, you are showing disrespect, however unintentional it may be.

John Maxwell says that connecting with people is hard work. If you value a relationship, give it the attention it deserves, and show respect for your connection. This is true whether a colleague, customer, or significant other.

…I guess I need to catch up with some people this next week! How about you?

How to Ruin Business Relationships by Chester Elton and Adrian Gostick at Inc.com

Connecting as a Solo-preneur

Are you a “solo-preneur” – someone who is charging off on that grand adventure of entrepreneurship all by yourself? You have probably realized that you cannot do it all by yourself, but need a supportive team if you are going to realize your vision and make your dreams come true. Antonio Neves, blogging at entrepreneur.com has some advice for you — ways to create community so that you don’t have to figure it all out by yourself:

  • Meet with like-minded masterminds: there are groups all over the country that offer opportunities to “mastermind” with like-minded people to get fresh perspectives on your problems and possible solutions. Some are open-ended, others focus on books or systems. I have run both types, and they have helped clients move businesses in directions they never realized were possible.
  • Seek out formal training and support: Neves points out that you probably need to learn skills as an entrepreneur. All across the country there are opportunities popping up to help nascent entrepreneurs, including incubators, accelerators, and formal schooling like MBA programs. Besides getting knowledge to help you will have an opportunity to expand your network.
  • Problem-solve with people who aren’t exactly like you: Our tendency is to surround ourselves with people just like us. Why not seek others in allied professions and get their reaction? You can probably help each other expand your thinking and insight.
  • Network with people you wouldn’t normally meet:  Neves mentions an event called Wok+Wine which brings people together who are interested in good food, wine, and conversation and allowing the magic to happen because you are now having to explain your concept to people who aren’t necessarily like you. Seek out ways to interact with people who aren’t just like you and see if you can’t get a fresh perspective on what you do, and maybe even some support, too.

What are you doing to create a community to help you succeed? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

Where to Find a Community If You’re a Solopreneur by Antonio Neves at entrepreneur.com

 

How to succeed in networking without really trying (too hard)

The title got my attention: The Lazy Way to Build Relationships. A mentor years ago made the point that he was “ambitiously lazy” — he always sought the way to be most effective in everything he did so be wouldn’t have to work any harder than he had to. The first thoughts were that the author, Jun Loayza, would rather do a lot of things and not network, yet he still is able to expand his network weekly. Jun’s secret? He doesn’t really seek to network, but create relationships. How? Here are his key steps:

  • Find your why. Leaders know why they are doing things and can explain that to others. Give people a reason to connect with you.
  • Ask Friends for introductions. When you know and can share your why, your friends will know people who could be mutually beneficial to know. Ask them. Also, check your connections’ LinkedIn accounts. If you see people who can help you, ask your connections for the introduction.
  • Use tools like Skype to be personal yet effective. We are busy people. Breaking up the day for out od office meetings is not always the most effective use of your time. Skype, FaceTime, or other tools, while not as good as live meetings, are a great way to balance the need for face theme with the need to be productive at the office. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t have lunch or coffee with others, but make sure Thet payoff is worth the interruption.
  • Make yourself available. If people can’t get hold of you, you cannot build relationships. You will need to balance access and interruption, but being available and accessible is allows you to strengthen connections into real relationships.

The Lazy Way to Build Relationships at The Personal Branding Blog

Empowerment is Influence

MP900341425Susan Mazza, a fellow leadership coach, on her blog at Random Acts of Leadership shared a powerful and touching story about empowerment, taking risks, and the influence it gives a leader… and as my mentor John Maxwell says, “The true measure of Leadership is Influence–nothing more, nothing less.”

Susan’s father, Jim, was faced with a dilemma. Walt was a valuable employee. Walt  was also unhappy. Jim visited him in Walt’s office. After reassuring Walt that he was not going to fire him, Jim offered the junior man two recruiter contacts and suggested that he explore what were his options. “Personally, I hope you stay, but I know a bright guy like you has options,” Jim said. “It is important for you to know what is out there. Please keep me posted. My door is always open.”

Why do this? Walt’s unhappiness was becoming clear to all. Jim realized that creating awareness of the problem and helping Walt figure out what he was going to do would be much more helpful to everyone than Walt continuing to stew and affect the team. Addressing the problem made it safe to discuss openly and constructively.

In the end, Walt stayed. He and Jim became close, lifelong friends, and continued the mentor relationship throughout their careers.  Choose to empower those around you. When your people know that you value them and you help them do their best, you will be able to accomplish so much more than you ever did before. As Steve Jobs said, “Managing is getting people to do something they don’t want to do. Leadership is helping people discover they can do much more than they thought they could.”

The Ultimate Source of Empowerment at Random Acts of Leadership

Related Posts

Leading People: A Guide to Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws (Part 1) at Leading in the 21st Century