“Communicating fiercely and passionately is well-trod ground for men, but not so much for women. Be brave and keep going, even if it takes you a while to get the hang of it.”
Trying to get in touch with decision-makers? The first words out of your mouth should to be, “I know you’re busy, and may I have three minutes of your time?”
If you start talking and don’t immediately request a specific amount of time, people are already impatient.
Here’s a conversation tip from #34 on our Most Creative People of the year list, comedian Marc Maron.
“I don’t make a list of questions. Ever. I think a lot of my interviews are driven by my need to feel connection. You listen and when you hear intonations, you hear feelings. It’s just feeling where there’s something more, getting them to a place that they’re not usually.”
Here’s more advice from some of 2013’s most creative people.
Fast Company writer Ellen McGirt has been communicating with Newark Mayor Cory Booker about his new site Waywire for a while now. But after chatting with the charismatic leader face-to-face, her biggest take-away is:
"An in-person pow-wow is almost always a more effective way for communicating a thought."
Jerry Seinfeld On The Perfection Of The Coffee Meeting
Seinfeld’s talks to us about his next act, the web series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, and why coffee is the perfect, er, vehicle for communication.
Coffee meetings are perfect, weird little things. Jerry Seinfeld, the Gandalf of little weird perfections, explains why five years ago they became a part of his working life:
"I got married and I had a family and my entire day was not free for social interaction," he tells NPR. “And eating is annoying and difficult to arrange, [and it’s] hard to choose places. And meeting someone for coffee suddenly seemed like a wonderful, compact, accessible and portable social interaction.”
As Seinfeld and NPR host Steve Inskeep discussed, coffee’s so great because it gives us something to with our hands: Seinfeld says that not having a cup to play with is like a comedian without a microphone—using a clip-on thing makes the audience feel uncomfortable. The coffee is a prop, giving you something to look at when you need to think, which is a key to communication, whether workplace or not.
"It also obviously gets people talking," Seinfeld says, "You have coffee and for some reason it makes you talk a lot."
The talking has an effect: As an MIT Media Lab study has found, teams that go on coffee breaks are more productive and have stronger social bonds, making it a stimulating—and low cost—management tool.
And whether you didn’t get enough sleep, you don’t know how to get through the afternoon, or you need a pause in conversation, Seinfeld observes that coffee’s that little help.
"Coffee solves all these problems in one delightful little cup," he says.
[Image: Flickr user Aurimas]
4 Ways Your Company Can Deal With Disaster In A Social, Mobile World
The recent plant explosion in West, Texas and the explosions aboard two fuel barges on the Mobile River in Alabama foreground the question of how well companies are conveying information to nearby neighborhoods and businesses.
Relying on local authorities and news media can’t be the only options anymore—not in a world where information is so easily communicated across multiple channels in rapid fashion. And especially not when danger could be eminent, such as additional explosions or air quality issues.
According to the Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2012 Report, between 30 and 50 percent of nearly every demographic uses mobile phones and tablets to read news including on Facebook and Twitter.
Responsible, cutting edge companies will be the ones that not only convey information in a timely statement to the media but also utilize their homepage as well as company social media accounts.
Crisis communication expert George Smalley of Bridge Builder Communications says, “A company’s reliance on local authorities to serve as spokespeople during an industrial accident only works up to a point. In cases of off-site impacts, neighbors and other stakeholders expect to get information directly from the company, and not just via the news media. If a company doesn’t communicate using social media during a crisis, it risks damaging its credibility and reputation.”
So what are some of the must-dos a company should add to their crisis communication plan?
•Keep a “dark” crisis page for your website. This is a page that is not live anywhere on your website but can be immediately turned on in the event of a crisis. It should include an information phone number for the company, local emergency numbers, and links to the company’s social media accounts for updates.
•Start Twitter and Facebook updates immediately. Include links to the previously “dark” web page you have turned on as well as any other pertinent information. The faster you can do this, the faster your neighbors will help you spread the word.
•Text as many employees as possible at once. Do this with updated information including the links above. They in turn will help spread important information to their friends and family.
•Get your official company statement out as soon as you can. Do it right away, even if the company only has a few details on the crisis. If anything, the company can assure nearby businesses and neighborhoods that safety precautions are underway, an investigation will start as soon as possible, and can include the above links and phone numbers. Link this statement to the above website and social media accounts.
[Image: Flickr user Luis Argerich]
How else can your company prepare for a disaster in this social/mobile age?