Do You Schedule Your Time and Work in a Way that is ‘Natural’ for YOU?

In business, and in life, in general, timing is everything. I came across this blog post this morning: A Resting Revolution: Insight from Martha. croppedsunriseWhile Martha Beck, a popular life coach, author and motivational speaker, wrote this post in 2012, I believe I discovered and read the blog post at just the right time for me.

Right now, I needed to be reminded that “we should follow our own impulses rather than adhering to rigid external rules…” I believe this advice applies to just about everything in life. But, in this instance, Martha is referring to our schedules: when we work, and when we rest and sleep. In the article, Martha also quotes “brain rules” developed by Dr. John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist who studies the human brain. His “brain rule #7” is “Sleep well. Think well.” (I know that when I’m tired, it takes me a lot longer to get my work done.)

Our schedules can get crazy these days, with so many distractions, plus the demands of outside influences in our business and personal lives (school schedules, meeting times, sports schedules, travel requirements, etc.) Martha brings up a good point: Our school and work schedules today are based on timing and concepts developed during different times – and the world has changed A LOT since the Industrial Revolution. She says, “There is no reason to continue scheduling our activities based on a model from the 19th century,” and I agree.

Whether you’re naturally a “night owl” or an “early bird,” you’re most effective when you time your work – and your rest – to match your own natural rhythm. Good luck – and let’s get some rest! :)

Business communication: Are your presentations ‘Zen-like’? They should be!

This week in my COM106 Writing for the Media class at Rider University, I’ll be introducing my students to Garr Reynold’s book, Presentation Zen. It’s a required text for our course.presentation zen book Sharing this book and the concepts Garr covers in the book with future business professionals is my attempt (in a very small way) to support Garr’s “mission” — and to hopefully help improve the quality of presentations in the business world in the years to come. ;)

If you’re not familiar with Presentation Zen, the book promotes the concepts of “restraint, simplicity and naturalness” in presentation preparation, design and delivery. Garr describes his book in the first chapter of Presentation Zen:

“This is not a book about Zen; this is a book about communication and about seeing presentations in a slightly different way, a way that is in tune with our times… Our professional activities – especially professional communications – can share the same ethos as Zen. That is, the essence or the spirit of many of the principles found in Zen concerning aesthetics, mindfulness, connectedness, and so on can be applied to our daily activities, including presentations.”

Follow Garr Reynolds on Twitter @PresentationZen and read the book to discover how you can make your business presentations more “Zen-like.” :)

 

Introducing a new feature on this blog: WriteOn!

Each week, I’ll be posting a “WriteOn!” mini-post here on my blog where you’ll find two or three links to blogs, articles and academic research paper posts that I’ve discovered online during the previous week. WriteOn3-carrotHonestly, I’m not sure what the specific topics will be – I’m open to learning about anything and everything that can help keep us positive, focused, motivated and moving forward in today’s sometimes-crazy, often-distracting world.

I’ll be looking for writing that somehow catches my attention. (For those of you who already follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn, you know my interests are wide-ranging and somewhat scattered: business, writing, teaching, learning, entrepreneurship, social media, communicating, etc.) In determining my picks for each week, I’ll be focused on sharing writing that’s somehow eye-opening, thought-provoking or just plain interesting – something that makes me (and hopefully you) think or react or take action.

Let’s face it: There’s so much good writing that’s going on right now, it’s impossible to read it all. Today, it seems we’re all writers – and we’re writing more than ever before: texting, emailing, blogging and expressing ourselves on social and online media… The reality is that humanity, as a whole, is communicating on a global scale and we’re linked together now more than we’ve ever been before.

This new blog feature – WriteOn! – will be my attempt to simplify and filter through all the writing and communicating that’s going on online today. I’m doing this for myself and for my like-minded friends and followers. Hope it helps us all! Look for my first WriteOn! post this Monday, January 5, 2015. Let me know what you think by commenting or tweeting to me. Thanks!

Six Pixels of Separation – A Study Guide – (Part 2)

This is the second part of the study guide I’ve pulled together to help you connect with the main concepts Mitch Joel writes about in his book, Six Pixels of Separation. (This study guide was created for my COM106 students at Rider University. In our class, we will be having a quiz on Chapters 7-10 of the book next week.)

Chapter 7:  You Are Media

Understand key concepts/terms/people from this chapter:  personal brand, digital footprint, Robert Scoble, Chris Brogan

“In a world of Six Pixels of Separation, it is not about how your business connects and communicates in online channels, it’s about how you (or your employees) as an individual build, nurture, and share personal brands. A company is no longer made up of anonymous people building one brand; rather, it is made up of many personal brands that are telling your one corporate-brand story in their own, personal, ways.” (p.126)

“Build a 3D Personal Brand:

  1. Give abundantly…
  2. Help others…
  3. Build relationships…” (pp.134-135)

Chapter 8: From Mass Media to Mass Content

Understand key concepts/terms from this chapter: content, word-of-mouth

“There are really only four types of content you can create:

  1.   Text…
  2.   Images…
  3.   Audio…
  4.   Video…”

“The tone, flow and vibe you give off in your content will reveal who the ‘real company’ is [or who you are]. This is, specifically, why blogs are so popular: they’re the human voice behind it all.” (p. 152)

“Great content = great word-of-mouth.” (p. 159)

– Know the “Six General Rules for a Healthy Blog” (p. 160)

Chapter 9: Digital Darwinism

“Building community has many more similarities to dating than you might imagine. So if your blog, podcast, or Twitter is getting no traction, more often than not it’s simply not what your customers [readers] are looking for and, to be blunt, they’re just not that into you.” (p. 164)

“How do you build trust once you begin receiving attention? By using the Web in a very human way. This falls into two major categories: 1. Be Helpful… 2. Be Sincere…” (pp. 167-168)

Chapter 10: From Mass Media to “Me” Media

Understand key concepts/terms/people from this chapter:  Garr Reynolds, Seth Godin, cloud, niche

“Always be experimenting… The win is not in creating something that appeals to the masses. Your personal win will be leveraging the power of a very specific and unique niche that you can serve, protect, and call your own. Your personal brand builds your business. You find your own ‘mass’ in your niches.” (p. 195)

Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel – A Study Guide (Part 1)

Over the next few weeks, we’re reading Mitch Joel‘s Six Pixels of Separation in my writing classes at Rider University. The following post is Part 1 of a two-part study guide I’ve pulled together for my students. Next week, I’ll be posting Part 2 here, as well. If you’re interested in learning more about digital/online communication and marketing, I think you’ll love this book as much as I do. :)

Here’s the study guide:

I’ve written this study guide to help you connect with the main concepts Mitch Joel writes about in his book, Six Pixels of Separation. I hope Mitch’s book and this guide help you gain:

  • a better understanding of the digital marketing/communications era we live in today
  • and an appreciation of just how much online communication has transformed our world, in general.

My goal in asking you to read this book (and one of Mitch’s goals in writing the book) is to help you to see the power offered by digital communications and the online world, a world where distance is not an issue, and a world where we are easily connected to each other asynchronously and in real time.

This study guide was created for my COM106 students. In our class, there will be two quizzes on Six Pixels of Separation:

  • QUIZ #1 on September 24th will cover the Introduction and Chapters 1-6. (Review Part 1 of this study guide to prepare for Quiz #1.)
  • QUIZ #2 on October 1st will cover Chapters 7-14. (Review Part 2 of this study guide to prepare for Quiz #2.)

The book’s Introduction:

Don’t skip reading the introduction because it gives us the opportunity to learn how this book came about, and to see how successful we can be as writers/bloggers today because of online communication channels (blogs, social media, etc.). Mitch writes, “All of my past and current personal successes in life, from the growth of Twist Image to the mass media attention to the publishing deal that put this book in your hands, has been because of these online channels…”(p. xi) According to Mitch (and I agree with him), the digital communication channels offer many opportunities to us. They’re not the “time suck” that many people accuse them of being…

Chapter 1: I Google You… Just Like You Google Me

Understand key concepts/terms from this chapter: transparency, personal branding, community, online community, networking, social media, blogging.

Being able to publish to the world for free is a big (huge) deal… what we’re really seeing is an entirely new marketing and communications channel emerge where brands are all treated equally (sometimes equally badly, sometimes equally well)… We’re seeing a new world where people are building huge networks of connections that foster community, conversation and commerce.”

Review the “Six Social Needs” (pp. 19-20). Among them: “Online social networks provide people with the ultimate tool for defining and redefining themselves, as evidenced in profile pages on Facebook…” – research findings originally from Center for Media Research e-newsletter (December 2007).

Chapter 2: The Trust Economy

Understand key concepts/terms from this chapter: trust economy, participatory culture, authenticity, channels, permission, content, blog, micro-blog, podcast, online social network, sharing sites, user-generated content, wiki, widgets, consistency

“When you engage in a conversation and treat your consumers with respect and as your peers, magical things will happen.” (p. 26)

“You are in the business of building your own trust economy as part of your core values and foundation.” (p. 27)

“The two pillars for building your business through the digital channels will be: Permission… Content…” (p. 27)

“Speak like a human being, not like a press release.” (pp. 42-43)

Chapter 3: Entrepreneurship

In this chapter, focus on pages 52-53 where Mitch lists the qualities of a great website.

Chapter 4: Faith-Based Initiatives, Viral Expansion Loops and the Long Road

Understand key concepts/terms from this chapter: online communities, engagement, participation

(This chapter contains a lot of conceptual information. Read it for your own benefit, but you won’t be quizzed on any details from this chapter.)

Chapter 5: Know Control

Understand key concepts/terms from this chapter: blogging, subject-matter experts, Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post

When blogging first made its debut (around 2000), most journalists and mass media people denounced it… Around 2004 more and more newspapers began quoting bloggers as subject-matter experts… Suddenly, the words of bloggers carried as much weight as (and sometimes more than) those of the mainstream media.” (p. 90)

“Your company’s newest challenge is speed – how fast do you move?… In a world of publishing platforms like YouTube and Twitter where the consumer is in (and sometimes out of) control of creating content, that’s getting harder and harder to do.” (p. 93)

“Get comfortable with being a little uncomfortable. The new business game is not about control. It’s about the volume of voices…” (p. 95)

“Resign your privacy. Yes, you’re naked on the Internet… The general rules of thumb are: Be smart, be very self-aware, and always think about the content your are creating and putting out there as a lasting record of yourself. (p. 98)

“It’s not just about the Internet: Think mobile too.” (p. 103)

Chapter 6: The Real World

(This chapter has a lot of interesting information about “unconferences” and meet-ups… I think the key message you should take away from this chapter (at this point in your lives) is that there will always be value in meeting face-to-face with other people. Communication in the online channels should never replace in-person communication.)

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Part 2 of this study guide will be published on this blog next week. If you have any questions or want to discuss some of the concepts Mitch Joel writes about in Six Pixels of Separation, please comment here. Thanks!

Additional resources:

Are Six Pixels of Separation All That Keeps Us Apart? by Bryan Eisenberg, published September 8th, 2009 – http://www.grokdotcom.com/2009/09/08/are-six-pixels-of-separation-all-that-keeps-us-apart/

A Summary of Six Pixels of Separation from PolarUnlimited.com -http://www.polarunlimited.com/2009/09/business-book-summary-18-six-pixels-of-separation-by-mitch-joel/

Six Pixels of Separation – The Blog by Mitch Joel: http://www.twistimage.com/blog/