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Author: Danielle Michaels

Business Obesity – Edit Your Content, Social Media, and Conversations

A few nights ago, I had an MRI. And while I was enclosed in my tube listening to loud noises, they began to have a cadence, and that cadence lulled me into some deep thought as I began to construct this blog. One thing has bothered me for a long time, and I’d like to share it with you.

Business (and maybe even personal) binging rarely reaps positive results. It’s like mindless overeating…when you are doing it for the sake of doing it, but it doesn’t mean a damn thing except for weight gain. The result of business social media binging, if you’re the one receiving it instead of doing it, is annoying and in my opinion pointless.

You may be wondering if while locked into that tube I lost my mind. No, I didn’t, so I’m going to share what bugs me and I hope that you’ll also share your thoughts with me.

Every day I check in on all the various social media channels.  Videos and Instagram Stories/Moments seem to be today’s “thing.” OK. I get it, but they must have meaning or tell a story. For instance, I saw an IG moment/video from one DMC, and I read it. Interesting, sort of. I clicked to forward to the next one. Same DMC. Another topic, a bit interesting. Click. Same DMC. OVER TEN TIMES! By the third one, I had already lost interest. Overkill!

That happens multiple times from multiple companies as well as numerous individuals and what the poster (the person who posts) doesn’t realize is that after you see the same thing over and over again, you lose interest. Why not do one a day? Maybe two but spaced out. And each one impactful?

Moving on but continuing, on social media why do people post photos of themselves narcissistically smiling and flirting with the camera and talking about nothing, including things like “what do I do with this pimple?” (yes, for real) on what is also their business site?

Business obesity. Is what you are filming and saying contributing to you and your business being taking seriously or are you hoping that by posting multiple posts (even if they say nothing) that you’ll be winning new friends? Who aren’t really friends anyway, are they? In any case, do they enhance your image or are you in the end just perceived as annoying?

It takes thought to make your posts and messages brand reflective. Does your post support the core pillar of your company or culture (or you as an individual)? Does it add or detract from your credibility? Social media, after all, is supposed to be brand storytelling. If it doesn’t tell a positive story, then it’s just flabby extra cellulite. And remember, individuals, are brands too. Images are taken from an inch away from your face with you giggling of how shit faced you are getting may not be the message you want to send out to the world. Or maybe it is. In that case, keep on posting.

That took me to other forms of communication, like maybe proposals. Long and drawn out explanations lose the audience quickly. The same applies to RFP’s that contain tons of photos and examples in them which can cause the reader to quickly loses interest.  It is overkill. A good story is a good story, but once it’s made its point, it is over. I was listening to a political press conference this morning (no names), and I heard the same thing repeated over and over again. I realize that repetition is good (twice maybe to get the point across) but more than four times and said, in the same way, is ineffective.

So, what’s my locked-in-an-MRI tube revelation? Don’t business gorge (overeat) be more respectful of the recipient of your social media, your proposal, your speech, your conversation – your audience. In the end, it will show the world that you are more respectful of yourself.

 

Andrea Michaels is the founder/president of Extraordinary Events, a Los Angeles-based, multi-award-winning event agency. She is the author of Reflections of a Successful Wallflower – Lessons in Business; Lessons in Life and a contributor to numerous other business books. She may be reached via amichaels@extraordinaryevents.com.

Be as Easy as Ordering a Pizza

Shep’s simplicities and analogies always engage and educate me. Here, in the simplest of forms, we learn how pizza has changed through technology and how younger generations have impacted that. (I do have to wonder how the kids being born today are going to communicate…will they just think something and have it become a reality with no device necessary?). This of course made me ask myself (and you of course) how are we changing our businesses and our services to adapt? Would love your thoughts, so please read on.


Be as Easy as Ordering a Pizza

Back in my college days, I remember how easy it was at 11:00 at night, while studying for a test the next day, to order a pizza from Domino’s. I just picked up the phone and in less than thirty minutes, it was delivered. Today I do the same thing. I pick up the phone and order a pizza – but I don’t have to… pick up the phone.

Technology has taken us to a new level of pizza ordering. Picking up a phone to order a pizza is an option, but it’s so old school. You can order online or use an app on your smartphone or tablet. Or, you can just use a voice command and order with Alexa or Google Home. And, once you order your pizza, you can track the order. You know when your pizza is being prepped when it comes out of the oven and when it’s on its way. Domino’s has made it easy – as in convenient.

And, if you’ve been following my work, you know about my fascination with convenience. I wrote the book, The Convenience Revolution, and identified six “Principles of Convenience,” one of them being delivery. I included Domino’s as a case study in the book, but guess what? I didn’t include them in the chapter on delivery. I included them in the chapter on technology.

In 2008 Domino’s was struggling and their brilliant leadership turned the company around. They recognized their pizza wasn’t as good as it could be, and publicly stated it needed improvement. So, they improved. They also revolutionized their process and started building technology into the customer experience. The Domino’s ANYWARE concept allows their customers to not only order the pizza with the toppings they desire but to connect with their neighborhood Domino’s by more than ten ways, with more to come. They include:

Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Slack, Facebook Messenger, Zero Clicks, Text, Twitter, Ford Sync, Smart TV, Voice and Smart Watch. And, of course, you can still order using the traditional “land-line” phone.

Consider that while some people still use the phone, a younger generation experienced these new apps as they were being released and have decided they don’t want to use the phone anymore. And an even younger generation has never ordered a pizza with a phone, and they simply won’t.

The point is that even a pizza company recognizes the necessity to reinvent its processes to keep up with the times. Beyond being a better pizza, they wanted to make it easier on their customers, and that’s what every company must do. Study what Domino’s has done. What are they doing that you can do in your business? What can you do to be more convenient for your customers?

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

Andrea Michaels is the founder and president of Extraordinary Events, and the author of Reflections of a Successful Wallflower: Lessons in Business; Lessons in Life. She may be reached via amichaels@extraordinaryevents.com.

Sports And Business – How To Succeed At Both

My friend and mentor John Klymshyn shared with me this quote by legendary football coach Lou Holtz as he addressed his wide receivers and running backs (those most likely to get to the end zone and score)… “When you get to the end zone… act as though you’ve been there before.” The discussion was about pricing and how easily we give up naming the price we know we’re worth.

That made me think about coaches and athletes and what goes through their mind to psych themselves up to win a game. So I want to share some of these quotes with you and see if they inspire you in the same way they inspire me.

Let me start with the man who I think had the drive and determination you could see every time he played. Fearless is the word that comes to mind and that man is Michael Jordan who said, Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” Michael, with seconds to go in a game, with the score working against you, you made the shot and won. I saw you do it. And I never forgot that moment of composure and confidence and the willingness to risk.

Vince Lombardi said, Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all-time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” Coach Lombardi, thank you. We all need to embrace those words.

Bear Bryant… Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit.” 

And this one really resonates: Another quote from Vince Lombardi, Let me tell you what winning means… you’re willing to go longer, work harder, give more than anyone else.” Nothing in the world that I’ve ever encountered came easily. It took long hard hours, commitment and sacrifice.

Here’s one from the legendary Bobby Knight, The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”

I had a lot of fun looking these up, and there are hundreds more. I looked for what would resonate in a career driven person. How does coaching and “playing” relate to our day to day lives where we work as leaders, as followers, as team members? The next time you hear from me, I’ll be talking about coaches as leaders and what we specifically can learn from them. This time I hope I shared some food for thought that moved me personally. I invite you to share your thoughts, and even to share quotes that inspire you.

So thank you, John Klymshyn, for giving me this platform to think about my business life and how to improve it through the eyes of sports.

 

Andrea Michaels is the founder/president of Extraordinary Events, a Los Angeles-based, multi-award-winning event agency. She is the author of Reflections of a Successful Wallflower – Lessons in Business; Lessons in Life and a contributor to numerous other business books. She may be reached via amichaels@extraordinaryevents.com.

Risk Doing What You Can’t – A Lesson In Business And Life

“Do what you can’t”….somewhere on social media I saw this saying (or is it a slogan?) and it seemed to wrap up my career. Maybe yours as well? It also impacted my approach to life.

Jump off a building held only by a carabiner? Be the first to slide down a glass slide on the outside of a building hundreds of feet in the air? Yep. I thought I couldn’t, but I jumped and I slid, and other than getting a lot of messages about hammocks over canyons, and roller coasters that defy gravity, I have no bad repercussions. I told myself “you can’t” and then just did it all anyway.

So what does “do what you can’t” mean? Those of you familiar with my story know that when I entered the events industry many years ago (yes, MANY years ago) there was no industry as we know it now. And I heard a lot of “no, you can’t do THAT” when I would suggest things beyond a bud base and a piano player. It was in the day when “party planner” defined our industry and other than some bare corporate meetings (overhead slides and a house microphone) little else was required other than shrimp.

Well, as in my younger years, “no” wasn’t a word I accepted easily and so I tried to figure out how to create experiences out of those parties. “Experiences?” you might ask. Experiences have only been around for a few years, right? WRONG! Every element of a gathering, whether it be a meeting or a party or something in between, is an experience and if there is no experience, then there is no point in doing it.

Who knows where the event industry is going next. Some of it is indeed same old-same old. And some of it is high tech. LEDs. Projection mapping. VR, AR, saturation of imagery, sound, and even scent. By the time you read this there will be something even newer. So you know some people are taking real big chances on the events they conceptualize because each time it is a first you don’t really know if it will work. And as all of you in the events industry know well, we do opening night every time we produce an event. With no night two. If it doesn’t work the first time, there are no second chances. But then again there are no second chances to do something for the first time if you don’t do it. It remains only a “what if?”

Which brings me back to “do what you can’t”. Do not be limited to what you have done before. Try new things, dream new dreams and just take some leaps of faith that what you dream can become a reality. Life is nothing but one big event, made up of a series of smaller events and what’s the fun in just living the same day over and over again? Like “Groundhog Day” but with no change at the end. Yes, it’s safe. But at the end of the day, if you are always holding yourself back, all the things you wish for can never happen.

I’d love for you to share some of your “firsts” when you did what you thought you couldn’t. Tag, you’re “it”.

 

Andrea Michaels is the founder/president of Extraordinary Events, a Los Angeles-based, multi-award-winning event agency. She is the author of Reflections of a Successful Wallflower – Lessons in Business; Lessons in Life and a contributor to numerous other business books. She may be reached via amichaels@extraordinaryevents.com.