Posts Tagged ‘Executive Management’

Become Part of the Statistics: Integrate Social into Your Business

Courtesy of NYTimesAre you over 55 and an active computer user? Then welcome to the fastest-growing-demographic club on Facebook!

Take a deep breath, here are the latest stats of U.S. visits to Facebook reported by Hitwise:

  • Facebook has a year-to-year growth of 194% from its U.S. visits in September.
  • Its market share among all social networking sites has also grown from 55.2% –> 58.6%
  • Monthly active users reached 88.3 million in September.
  • 45% of users are now 26 and older.
  • Fastest growing demographic: 55 years old and over

Hands down, Facebook is by far the most cross-generational, cross-functional and cross-everything social networking site that has ever existed in human history, though the history of Facebook merely began five years ago.

According to comScore, 16.5 million adults over the age of 55 engage in social media. And in just one year since AARP unveiled its social networking platform, about 350,000 users created 1,700 groups.

So are you evolving your business forward like the rest of the marketplace is? Or are you giving yourself the excuse that you’re not part of the Internet age and simply can’t see the bigger picture of how social networking sites can help advance your business? (Don’t want to get too philosophical here, but are you focusing on the trees and missing the jungle? Trees can be your current customers, the jungle is the industry trends, business climate and your potential customers. )

For those who embrace the greatest and latest with social media, are you jumping into Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and becoming active, connecting and building relationships? Are you establishing thought leadership through LinkedIn groups, Twitter follows and Facebook fan clubs? Are you ready to conduct business, communicate and handle transactions on social networking sites with your customers?

“Are you serious about transacting on Facebook?” you might ask. Dead serious (see 1-800-Flowers’ recent e-commerce launch on Facebook). Many brands and companies are already doing so on social networking sites. And if you do have a presence on these sites, make sure you dedicate time and resources to keep them current and reflective of your latest business offers. Take advantage of your fan base and followers to create excitement about a new business launch or incentive program. And top off these efforts by measuring activities and results across your social networking sites and your website or blog. Don’t expect these tools to work for you without your first putting them to work to your advantage and measuring what they can or have produced for you. 

Here are things that Fortune 500 companies and big brands are undertaking at the moment, but let’s make sure we as business owners and managers are not too far behind:

  1. Create brand messaging for your business product/service online.
  2. Measure visits, dialogues and transactions online.
  3. Analyze results over time, identify seasonal activities and user peaks.
  4. Reach out and connect with industry experts and interact with them.
  5. Share your insights and ideas with peers and associates in your field.
  6. Dig into new tools and constantly retool and refine your presentation and messaging across media.
  7. Stay current and experiment new concepts and methodologies in bringing your business up a notch!

Webinars are IN, but keep common faux pas OUT

Webinars are IN these days, in case you haven’t noticed. And Twitter and Facebook names are becoming popular leave-behinds from presenters to continue their dialogues with the participants post-webinar. Preparing for a highly-engaging and interactive webinar is not much different from preparing to present like Steve Jobs. How do you keep your webinars informative, relevant and engaging? How do you make sure your audience doesn’t tune you out 5 minutes into the presentation? Here are a few webinar faux pas we can try avoid:

  • Starting your webinar late – like 5 to 10 minutes late – making attendees wait or drop off.
  • A moderator who has very little knowledge of the presentation content and offers no insight on the value and background of the presentation and fumbles through the transition from one presenter to another.
  • Presenters are not cued properly to begin their presentation, causing awkward silences on the line. (Need a better moderator!)
  • Loud or monotone presenters 
  • Webinar application doesn’t allow you adjust the volume of the presenters from the listening end.
  • Unsynchronized audio and visual presentations – shouldn’t they be tested prior to going live?
  • A presentation with non-working audio and requires you to dial in via phone to hear the presenter. (Why bother with a webinar?)
  • Questions or raised hands that aren’t responded to or addressed. 
  • The webinar goes on forever, say more than 40 minutes.

Some must-have and considerations:

  • A knowledgeable, communicative and assertive moderator.
  • Presenters who can present effortlessly with high energy and the right tone (and volume).
  • Iron out all the technical kinks prior to the webinar.
  • Rehearse, test and dry run your webinar at least once before you go live.
  • Keep your presentation under 30 minutes – most people’s attention span is much shorter than that.
  • Provide audio AND visual in one application. (This is 2009, not 1999.)
  • Engage your audience and be interactive! Answer questions as they come in (or acknowledge incoming questions and hold them until the end of the presentation).
  • Poll your audience to gauge their business needs, interests and inclinations.
  • Summarize lessons-learned and calls-to-action.
  • Make your presentation memorable, buzz-worthy and viral.

Learning from Steve Jobs: Executive Presentations Made Perfect

The other day, a girl friend of mine came to visit and she was cooking up a storm in my kitchen. Before she placed the dishes out on the dining table, she was feverishly decorating the dishes with garnishes, wiping off the edge of the dishes, looking up matching colors of plates and napkins for the table, and even grabbed one of my crystal vases from next to the TV and put it on the table like a centerpiece (sans flowers). “People eat with their eyes,” she said to me with a big smile, expert-like. “Presentation is everything!”

Is presentation everything? Yesterday I came across this link on Twitter about this new book called The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs written by Carmine Gallo. Apparently, Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ presentation has harnessed enough attention that some experts are analyzing and advising executives to present like Steve. So what is it about Steve’s presentations that warrant our emulation?

Here are the FIVE key takeaways:

  • Introduce the antagonist
  • Create Twitter-friendly headlines
  • Sell dreams, not products or services
  • Keep your presentation sophisticatedly SIMPLE
  • Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse

1)      Just like any story, there’s always an antagonist. If your company, product or service is the hero, how would you open up the presentation? You would set the stage and give your audience the lay of the land, that your company can make things better and restore equilibrium to the situation. Essentially, here’s where you explain why you’re doing what you’re doing, and why you’re introducing your product/service to the world the way it is. 

2)      How people write their Twitter updates (140 characters only) is what you want to strive for in describing your product or service. Keep the description short, sweet and significant. “Our cleaning products can clean up any mess at home”, “Our restaurant offers you the best Italian experience outside of Italy,” or “Our service revolutionizes the way medical billing is done.” Weighty claims, short statements.

3)      Change is in the air. After all, what you’re selling is going to set off changes in the way people do business, conduct their lives and deliver better outcome. Tell the story about your product or service in the same way – what positive changes or experience people should expect from using your product or service.

4)      Simplicity is the way to go, or in Steve’s words, the “Zen” way. What’s so Zen about Steve’s presentations is they’re all simple, clean and professional-looking. Though dramatic in his delivery, Steve made his slides easy to follow, attention-grabbing and focused with key, memorable messages. He believes simplicity demonstrates sophistication – love this concept!

5)      Since we were kids, our parents would constantly remind us how “practice makes perfect.” Presentations are no exceptions. Steve Jobs is maniacal with his practice and rehearsals, sometimes spending over 100 hours on one presentation. I’m not talking about putting the slides together, but rehearsing the actual delivery of the presentation. No wonder he speaks so effortlessly and elegantly on stage. What admirable diligence!

Watch Steve Jobs’ keynotes and presentations here:

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs – How to be insanely great in front of any audience

For other discussion on Steve Jobs’ presentations:;