Archive for communications

Two Congressmen drive to DC

A “Bromance” is Born on a 1,600-Mile Drive to DC

They’re fierce opponents on opposite sides of the aisle. But two Congressmen put politics aside and did their own version of Carpool Karaoke by sharing a 1,600 mile drive from Texas to Washington, DC to arrive in time for an important vote.

Reps. Beto O’Rourke (D) and Will Hurd (R) live-streamed their trip and people tuning in loved it. Can’t their budding bromance become a model for other opposing members of Congress? Can’t it influence how we collaborate with people we work with, doing what’s right for our company even if we personally don’t agree? Can’t we discuss our points of view with people without the conversation dissolving into a screaming match? Read More→

Communication of the People, by the People, and for the People

The upset by Scott Brown in winning the election in Massachusetts to fill Senator Edward Kennedy’s vacant seat was a real shocker.  A Republican in the most Blue state in the nation?  But maybe rather than an anomaly, it portends the future.

Communication is a two-way process and the politicians in Washington have proven themselves tone deaf.  They didn’t listen. The labels Democrat and Republican have lost their currency.

Voters in America are angry at the direction of the country.  Thanks to the Internet and Social Media, they have developed their own communities to exchange ideas and vent.  Why weren’t Washington and the politicos tuning in?

They are way behind the curve when it comes to understanding what their constituents are communicating to them:  We want you to keep your promises; we want over-the-top spending stopped; we want jobs more than we want health-care reform, or at least health care we can afford as a nation.

I predict that Congressmen and Senators up for re-election this year – regardless of party – are in for a shock.  Republicans may be gleeful that they got their 41st vote to prevent a super majority.  But they are in jeopardy just as much as Democrats who will be on the ballot, because people are disgusted with the governing class, who have not been listening to them.

My sister-in-law Susan Paladino, who lives in Massachusetts and followed the campaign closely, summed it up in a note she sent to friends.  Here are some highlights:

“Last night after the election was decided I listened to radio news programs and talk shows at several times throughout the late night, early morning and the next day.  The focus of EVERY report of the election results was: What went wrong?  The analysis centered on Martha Coakley’s abilities as a candidate (remember that AG is an elected position and she has run other campaigns), the inabilities of the Democratic machine (their designation, not mine), the timing of the election, and the weather.

“A British broadcaster asked her correspondent in the US if Martha Coakley had run a poor campaign.  The answer being yes, she then asked if Scott Brown had run a good campaign.  After a noticeable pause the reporter said that Brown had driven his truck all over the state talking to everyone who would listen to him – the inference being that this was a strange way to run a campaign.  Not one reporter said that Brown was an effective campaigner who listened to people.  Still no one asks: What went right?

“As the money poured in for Scott Brown from around the country a tipping point was reached, the tide turned, and more and more people joined the fiscally conservative side with the thought that they would be heard in Washington.

“If there was one salient point about this Massachusetts election it is that people realized that they had a voice and it could be heard. As that point began to come across the tide turned.  “Yes we can” reverberated around the commonwealth.”

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln:  we’ve entered an era when communication of the people, by the people, and for the people will determine the course of our country.

Thank You Notes Are Not Only a Courtesy, They Can Lead to New Business

Andrea Nierenberg

Andrea Nierenberg

One of the easiest and most effective ways to stay in touch is with the power of the personal note with a “thank you” to a business associate. In research I’ve conducted, I ask the question, “How many of you send out personal notes?” I also ask, “How many of you receive personal notes or cards from clients or business associates?” The response indicates that few people take this practice seriously. As a follow up, I ask, “Has anyone received notes of appreciation, and how does that make you feel?” I trust you know the answer to this last question.

Here are eight opportunities to send a “thank you,” and when and how to do it effectively:

1. When customers do business with you, every time. Write a short, personalized “thank you” on an interesting card, letterhead, or even a postcard that says, “I appreciate your business, thank you.” You can never say thank you to someone too many times. We all appreciate the fact that people go out of their way to make us feel important and recognized.

2. When they compliment you. When a client compliments you about something, it’s an opportunity to jot off a little note of thanks, saying, “Thank you for taking the time for making my day. I appreciate it.” Compliments are given so rarely, so take the lead to say thank you when you get one.

3. When clients offer comments or suggestions. It’s a wonderful gift when your clients give you a suggestion or comment on how you might do something better or different. They’re also giving you an incredible buying signal. They might really be saying, “If you make that change, your product or service will be more attractive to me.” Here’s how to start this type of note: “Thank you for your suggestion on how I can better serve you. I’m in business to do exactly that. And you make my job easier and so much more enjoyable when you provide input.”

4. When customers try something you recommended. When clients buy into something new, solely based on your suggestion, they’re going out of their “comfort zone”. They’re putting trust in you and your product. This calls for a special note that could read, “Thank you for your trust in me. I value your business.”

5. When customers recommend you. This is the best form of advertising you can ever get. It’s so easy to take the time and go back to our advocate, and say, “thank you for referring me to —–. I will keep you posted and informed on what develops. It means a great deal to me to know that you’re willing to recommend me. I appreciate it.” This type of “thank you” might include a small gift as well.

6. When customers are patient, or not so patient. Our clients help us when they give us time to learn how to best serve them. Often this requires their patience. On the other hand, they give us a “wake up call” when they ask us to hurry up. When this happens they might really be saying, “Hello, remember me? Keep me in mind, or I might get swept away by the competition.” In either case, pull out a note card again, and let them know how important they are to you. Perhaps say, “Thanks for keeping me on my toes. I appreciate how you help me keep your business.”

7. When clients say “no” to you. You’ve just pitched an account and you didn’t get their business, this time. It’s still the opportunity to write a short note. Thank them for their time, their consideration and their honesty. Keep the door opened by being friendly and courteous. Research I conducted in the last three years shows that almost 20% of my business comes from prospects that said no the first time. People remembered the notes I sent and it made a difference. Such a difference that I got referrals, even from contacts that were not able to use my services themselves.

8. When customers make you smile. I have one client who e-mails me jokes all the time. Another one will call up and just give me some good news. Whatever it is, it makes me smile, and I want clients to know that they’ve made me feel good. I’ll send them an interesting note or card. This technique always gets noticed and remembered.
So, if you’re not using personal thank-you notes, you should start now and watch how they help your business grow.

Andrea Nierenberg is president of The Nierenberg Group , an international business consulting firm specializing in customized training, workshops and keynote addresses that equip executives with the tools they need to “Find, Grow & Keep”® the clients that are key to their success and to be more effective business communicators.

Does Your Company Have a Social Media Director? Take The Poll

I’ve posted a simple 5-question poll on Linked-In: Does Your Company Have a Social Media Director to Manage the Company’s Social Media Strategy? Click on Social Media Poll if you would like to take the poll.

I’ll be posting the responses.  Also, please use the Comment section in this post if you would like to add your thoughts on the topic.  I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!