Monthly Archives: June 2009

The 140 Character Communicator

frustrationAfter years of creating key messages, proof points–even articulations–I’m finding myself beginning to adopt a new style of writing. Twitter is to blame.

You see my writing has been getting shorter and shorter.  Some might say this is a good thing.  In fact, I’ve been told if your entire email message can’t be seen in the screen of a blackberry, it’s too long.  My emails, my headlines, my day-to-day correspondence has been getting shorter and shorter.  I think it’s because my writing is getting tighter, but I think it’s because the Twitter limit has taken its effect.

If you’ve ever tried to effectively communicate on Twitter, you’ll agree with me that traditional messages just don’t fit. If the message don’t Tweet, You must delete.  The best ideas don’t always fit and so you have to be creative and find different ways to say what you want.

The results. Getting down to the heart of your message.  Speaking like a human. And speaking clearly.

The 140 character communicator is not a proud soul.  It’s a troubled one, but hopefully an effective one.

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Engaging in Conversation – A New Frontier for Me…profesionally speaking

icecreamscooperIf you know me, you know I talk…a lot.  You know I like to talk a lot about social media, too. Recently, I’ve been having some amazing conversations with the social community about a variety of topics.

First, the mommy bloggers. We invited two of Tennessee’s most awesome mom’s to Memphis before Mother’s Day to see how FedEx delivers and connects families. They rock.  It was my first offical blogger relations gig and they made it super fun.  Check them out at:  BlondeMomBlog and Milk Breath and Margaritas.

Second, I invited bloggers and social media intellectuals to join the FedEx volunteer team in Boston for the Scooper Bowl.  An amazing all-you-can-eat ice cream social that benefits the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund.  Bostonian and mega-brain Rachel Happe and MomCentral came out and we had great conversations and built some relationships that will continue to grow.

And recently, I’ve been engaged in conversation about an important issue effecting my employer, FedEx.  I’m sure you’ve seen http://www.brownbailout.com.  I’ve been talking to folks on Twitter and blog posts about the company’s stance on the issue.

What’s cool about all of these conversations is I’m starting to talk to people outside my norm, my comfort zone.  I’m a tech PR guy at heart. Speeds and feeds, spec sheets and SLAs were my game for 7 years.  Now the dialogue I’m engaged in is allowing me to meet new people. Have new conversations. And, I’m talking about my company in a non-talking point, non-key messages kind of way.

Kind of cool that this is what social media is all about.  Being social. Finding dialogue. Engaging in discussion.

Check them out.

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Letterman Learns Two Rules in Communication

lettermanLast week David Letterman took two shots at two of his favorite subjects: A-Rod and Sarah Palin.  He told a joke about how A-Rod knocked up Palin’s daughter during a recent game.  The problem was it wasn’t Bristol, Palin’s 18 year-old daughter. It was Willow. Her 14 year-old daughter.

The Palin camp expressed it’s outrage, rightly so and that had Letterman back tracking.  It didn’t help when advertisers started to bail on the show.  Letterman is right in the middle of signing a two-year extension with the network and facing a younger rival who reminds me of Dave in his earlier days, Conan O’Brien.

All of that being said the focus here is on Letterman. In his apology Letterman states, “Oh, boy, now I’m beginning to understand what the problem is here. It’s the perception rather than the intent.’ It doesn’t make any difference what my intent was, it’s the perception.”

There are some key takeaways in his admission that apply in communications.

The first takeaway is the fact that it doesn’t matter what you want to say, it’s what your audience hears is what matters most.  As communicators we talk about controlling the message.  To the non-communicator, controlling the message may sound like we’re holding back information or not being completely forthcoming. However, when we control the message, we’re crafting not what we want to say, rather what we want the public to takeaway. Knowing what your desired outcome of you message is so important.  Remember, as Letterman has come to understand, it’s about perception not your intent.

The second takeaway is a basic communication strategy: knowing when to say something, is just as important as what you say.  Letterman didn’t have all the facts on who was at the game. In fact, he was probably reading a joke someone on his staff wrote.  He didn’t have the facts, but that doesn’t matter now.  It would also probably help if he laid off Alex Rodriguez and Palin.  I think he’s the only one keeping them in public view.

One thing is for sure no one is laughing now.  It’ll be interesting to see if the spotlight remains on him for awhile.  He’s used to being the satirist, not the one people are laughing at.

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Cha, cha, cha, changes…

jonasThere have been a lot of changes going on in my world, so I apologize for neglecting the displaced texan for awhile.

I wanted to reflect on what change means to people.  Not to analyze it, but rather put some brain foder out there  and see what you think.  Hopefully, you’ll let me know what you think.

Why the Jonas brother dancing?  Why not. Thought I’d change it up.

The key to change… is to let go of fear.” — Rosanne Cash

There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction” – Winston Churchill

If you don’t create change, change will create you” – unknown

When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” – Ben Franklin

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Two of My Favorite Things

If you can’t find me tonight, it’s because I’m watching Dave Matthews Band debut their new album on Hulu.  Lots of Hulu news in the air, but I’ve been on vacation and been a bit unplugged lately.  Tonight it’s just me and the DMB.  Missing Leroy Moore’s sweet sax, but glad the guys put this tribute together for him.

DMBonHulu

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