With the end of the year approaching, I asked several expert communicators to share an “aha” or insight from the past year and reflect on how it will impact their practice of communications in the year ahead.
Each has mastered the art of creating, communicating and cultivating ideas. I’m thrilled to have their participation and to share their insights with you, as well.
Marketing, branding and business strategy consultant Tim Tyrell-Smith of Fix, Build And Drive™ notes his “aha” is the growing importance of personal engagement on social media platforms and via email or text messaging.
In addition to his consulting work with established and emerging businesses, Tim is a popular blogger, author and career strategist.
As to the impact on his own business, Tim says, “This aha has me de-emphasizing my use of automation tools and re-emphasizing a focus on reaching fewer people in a more substantial way.”
Blogger and communications specialist Lynne Strang offers two insights from the past year, as well as two ideas for how they’ll affect her business in the year ahead. Lynne, who is working on a book about entrepreneurship, created the blog Late Blooming Entrepreneurs.
Lynne’s first “aha” comes from her interview of Bob Littell, principal of Atlanta, Georgia-based Littell Consulting Services, Inc.
“Bob has a concept he calls ‘NetWeaving,’ says Lynne. “It’s a ‘Golden Rule’ form of networking, where people focus on putting others’ needs first.”
What’s the biggest mistake people make in NetWeaving and traditional networking? Lynne learned that it’s failing to follow through after the initial connection.
“With a follow up, you become someone who means what they say and whose word can be trusted,” notes Lynne. “It’s a basic, yet important, point that I’ll keep in mind in as I work with both current and new connections in 2012.”
Another, somewhat related insight Lynne picked up this year – and plans to apply in 2012 — is the importance of using the same etiquette in social media as you would use in “the real world.”
“Just as you would welcome visitors to your home, welcome them to your website or blog,” counsels Lynne. “Listen and treat people with respect. Contribute to conversations in a thoughtful, meaningful way. Thank people for quality feedback. Like NetWeaving, the Golden Rule applies to interactions with your connections, regardless of whether they are virtual or in person.”
Entrepreneur Mike Rheaume’s “aha” reflects the continuing importance of integrated communications. Mike is co-founder of SnapKnot, the Web’s best wedding photographer directory. He also contributes to his company’s blog.
“Offline and online communications efforts can work together effectively if implemented properly,” says Mike.
“As co-founder of a bootstrapped startup, I often get caught up in the allure of low-to-no cost marketing and communications via social media. And while this has certainly been vital for our growth thus far, this year I have seen how well more traditional offline efforts – tradeshows, networking events, an informal meeting over coffee – can work alongside social media to facilitate everything from sales to customer service to developing new partnerships.”
How is he using this insight in his 2012 planning? Mike, who can also be found on Twitter at @mikerheaume, will focus on developing online and offline communications strategies that complement each other as much as possible.
Now it’s your turn to share a communications “aha” from 2011. How do you expect to apply it to your communications practice in the year ahead?
With special thanks to Paul (dex) for the great photo via Flickr.
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