Archive for Problem Solving
As the end of the year approaches you may be among the many who are struggling over their 2013 business plans. How can I increase revenue and profitability, build a more successful career, increase my presence on social media and (fill in the blank).
To all of you I say, relax and don’t sweat it.
Stop Planning and Start Acting
I attended a seminar a number of years ago to hear a career coach talk about how to build your career. She said something that stopped me in my tracks and I’m reminded of it every time I start a planning cycle. Read More→
CEOs are challenging their marketing and communications teams to help chart the future of their organizations. It is their skills as conceptual thinkers that enable these communicators to envision the possibilities for supporting the organization’s goals.
If this is the case, then why do so many chief executives resist the recommendations of the very people they have selected to help drive change throughout the organization?
There can be many reasons, of course, from ill-conceived ideas to lack of budget, to the indifference of line managers. But the real culprit may be something very different. While communicators may be conceptual thinkers, their CEOs are more likely ruled by logic and hard facts. They tend to approach problem solving in a linear fashion.
Sound recommendations may fail because they aren’t organized the way CEOs think. That is why it’s so important to structure recommendations for marketing and communications programs that immediately demonstrate how they will benefit the organization because that’s the chief executive’s bottom line, especially during a tough economy.
Here are some tips for delivering a winning presentation to get approval for important recommendations:
- Opening: outline the broad subject of the presentation
- Presentation objective: this is the overall statement of how your ideas will benefit the organization. This is where a lot of presentations go wrong because the presenter leads with what he or she wants. Rather, the statement should answer top management’s question: why should I listen to this presentation; what’s in it for the company?
- Key message points: think of your message as newspaper headlines supporting the benefits outlined in your presentation objective. How will the recommendations increase sales, save money, build a brand?
- Supporting evidence: use facts, sales projections, statistics, etc., to back up your key messages.
- Recommendations: summarize your key points and then propose a course of action for approval. Know the decision you want in advance.
- Discussion: This is the most important part of your presentation. As you lead the discussion, you will build commitment for your recommendations, address any objections, and refine your proposal based on the discussion so that you get a favorable decision.
- Summary: summarize the agreed-upon desired action. Even if all your recommendations aren’t accepted, don’t leave the meeting without a commitment to some sort of action. For example, if you can’t get your entire program approved, try to come away with a pilot project.
Remember, your overall goal is to link your programs to the company’s goals. Do that and you will win more than you lose. You’ll also gain the CEO’s respect for thinking like he does.
Have you ever thought about something scary and started sweating or panting?
That’s because our bodies and minds don’t discern the difference between what we tell ourselves and what actually happens. Conjure a mental image vividly and persistently and your body and mind will interpret it as reality.
In the case of writer’s block, tell yourself that you can’t write and your mind and body will believe you. That’s what I did.
Amy Dean is President of Dean Public Relations, offering multi-channel communications strategies and execution to raise the visibility of businesses. She provides strategic communications consulting, media relations outreach and social media writing and counseling. Photos by Paul Goyette.
Once upon a time I suffered through a prolonged period of writer’s block. I tried taking the advice of writing coaches to escape its clutches.
Read other writers for inspiration. Conduct more research. Write anything. Go to a coffee shop. Get some fresh air. Take a shower. Drink a beer. Sound familiar?
None of them worked for me. My body and mind were far more enthralled with the story that I was telling myself: I had lost my ability to write.
Clearly, I lived to write another day or you wouldn’t be reading this blog post. So, how did I finally wriggle loose? I took the path of personal insight or what I like to call a Zen approach to waking up from the illusion of writer’s block.
First, I started paying close attention to what I was telling myself about my writing and my life. Some people refer to this as mindfulness, which is an aspect of Zen, a spiritual “way of liberation,” as the great philosopher Alan Watts defined it. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to your thoughts and actions on purpose, without judgment. Read More→