Recent Posts


  • The Value of Visualization

    The Value of Visualization from Column Five on Vimeo . We've all heard that "a picture is worth a thousand words." We all like pictures better than words. But, why do we like visuals? The Motion Graphic above describes the value of visualization. See the attached, "A Business Guide to Visual Communications." How do you make knowledge powerful? What can you do to make your next presentation more visual?
  • Google+ Best Practices

    The infographic above presents Google+ best practices for business. But, Google+ can be used by managers to connect with employees. Circles could be used to to divide work teams into different groups. Links could be posted to the company's content. Hashtags, pictures, video, and text could be posted. How could a manager use Google+ to communicate and connect with work teams?
  • Delta and Southwest Reinterpret Safety Instructions

    Flying can be a tedious experience for many airline customers. The safety instruction speeches are especially boring. But, a flight attendant at Southwest Airlines added a lot of jokes into her safety speech, as seen below in the video. It has gone viral and received many views in just a couple of days. Delta Airlines, also, has made its safety speech funny. The video shown below goes back in time to the 1980s. Many companies, including airlines, have had problems using social media. But, Southwest Airlines exceeds at using social media. What makes Southwest's organizational culture so receptive to positive social media? What are Southwest and Delta doing to get positive attention? How can this be used by other companies?
  • Cookies: A Guide To Understanding Data-Driven Morsels

    Infographic by Vertical Measures Are you concerned with your online privacy? When are cookies ("little bits of morsel data stored on your computer from a website") good? When are cookies ("little bits of morsel data stored on your computer from a website") bad?
  • How Women and Men Use Social Media and Mobile

    The inforgraphic above gives us insight into gender differences in the use of social media and mobile. How has using your smartphone changed you? What do you differently now than you did before owning a smartphone? Could you give up your smartphone? Explain. How can knowledge of social media and mobile use give managers insights about customers and employees?
  • Blog More, Facebook Less

    Derek Muller, author the science video blog Veritasium, has 118,000 Facebook fans, but his posts go to a small fraction of them. His video below, called The Problem with Facebook , has gotten more than 9,000 comments, many from angry Facebook users. Many small business managers think that they only need a Facebook page. But, Mr. Muller does not agree. Another blogger, Ryan Hanley writes , "You don't own the media unless you own the property. It's that simple. Everything else you create everywhere else can be taken away from you." Does every business need a Website to communicate with customers? If not, how will they share their story, answer questions, and be a resource for customers, potential customers, clients, and employees? If you go to work for a small business and it only has a Facebook page, what would you recommend?
  • Lufthansa CEO Dr. Christoph Franz Apologizes for Strike

    Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz offered an apology to customers affected by a strike called by the airline's pilots. “You’re Lufthansa customers – you rely on the excellent, safe, customer-oriented service of Lufthansa every day, 365 days a year. The next three days unfortunately, Lufthansa will not be able to provide you the service you are used to because our pilots will be on strike,” said Mr. Franz. Chase Gummer of The Wall Street Journal reported, “This is the first time that the CEO of a big German corporate has gone before the cameras himself,” said social media consultant Thomas Knüwer. “It’s certainly a sign that German industry is beginning to understand the Internet.” If you were a frustrated customer of Lufthansa, would the video help Lufthansa's relationship with you? If you were a manager, would you post an apology to customers? Is this the right way to communicate with customers? Explain.
  • How Millennials and Their Managers Compare in Communicating

    Sometimes the job skills gap refers to soft skills: communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. Queens University of Charlotte has compiled the infographic below comparing what managers and Millennials expect and deliver in today’s workforce. Millennials now comprise 36 percent of the workforce. What is the conflict between the soft skills managers expect and what the new generation brings to the organization?
  • Handling Hostile Questions

    At some point, managers will face hostile questions. The questions might be confrontational, angry, or skeptical. In his book, In the Line of Fire, Jerry Weissman recommends the following three steps, whether you're facing investors, customers, the public, or a boss: Paraphrase the question, minus the rancor. Without this step, you run the risk of seeming defensive, combative, or evasive. The paraphrase shows you listened and it defuses the questioner's negative energy. Answer the question. Include relevant supporting evidence. Conclude with a strong statement that expresses the benefit of viewing things your way. Whenever possible, use a more interactive communication medium, like the telephone, instead of email. You have a greater chance to address what's really on the other person's mind. Attached is the first chapter of the book. When someone screams at you, it is normal to want to scream back! But, managers know that when you start screaming, you've lost control. When confronted by an angry person, with a question, how might you keep your cool?
  • Keep Your Communications Simple

    Communication establishes relationships and makes the management function of organizing possible. Every message has a purpose or objective. The manager as sender intends -- whether consciously or unconsciously -- to accomplish something by communicating. In organizational contexts, messages typically have a definite objective: such as to motivate, to inform, to teach, to persuade, to entertain, or to inspire. This definite purpose is, in fact, one of the principal differences between casual conversation and managerial communication. Effective communication in the organization centers on well-defined objectives that support the organization's mission and goals. Managers strive to achieve understanding among the parties to their communications. In the video above, we are reminded to "Know your audience" and "Get to the point." Where have you seen the communication process break down—at work? At school? At home? What could the sender have done to improve understanding?
  • No More Talking Head When Making a Presentation

    Franklin Walton, Ph.D., Principal, Franklin Walton LLC ; Deputy Chair, Media and Communication Arts Department, City College of New York ; Member, Measurement Commission, Institute for Public Relations says that President Obama's 2014 State of the Union " speech is still likely to go down in the history of professional communications as a new milestone in professional communicators’ responsiveness to new consumer media-consumption realities." He lists the standards for the future for a “best practice” speech: 1) The speech is live-streamed (the talking head part) 2) The setting for the live-streaming has been stage-designed to include all those supportive people and tableaus (the entrepreneurs, the military veterans, the beneficiaries of government programs, etc.) 3) The split-screen format provides graphics, images, etc. which illustrate and provide visual cues and emphasis beyond what the video recording of the live event can provide. 4) The smart use of presentation graphics must exemplify the most current and tested methods for PowerPoint-category software and other presentation methodologies. When the most important points are being made by the speaker, there are no graphics: focus only on the face and voice of the speaker (making the emotional connection). The graphics never repeat exactly (but complement) the speaker. And the speaker never, never, never reads the “slides.” 5) If your audience processes information better in “bits” and “tweets” – you can provide it with a live-stream of tweets echoing the live/videoed event. How can managers incorporate the above best practices into their presentations?
  • Graphic Management

    Lean Production uses the 5S system to create a visual workplace. Michel Greif defines the visual management triangle in his book, The Visual Factory . The visual management triangle comprises (1) seeing, as a group (what is the production status, what are inventory levels, and what is machine availability?) ; (2) acting as a group ( concensus on rules and objectives, involvement in improvement activities ), and (3) knowing as a group (delivery commitments, goals and schedules, management rules). Over the years, visual controls, such as wall schedules, have been eliminated. Today, most jobs consist of sitting at a computer. Employees don't meet around the wall schedule to discuss it. But what about offices? What do they produce? How could managers use infographics (discussed below) to expand visibility? What Makes Great Infographics from SlideShare
  • Target CEO Apologizes for Breach

    Target's chief executive, Gregg Steinhafel, released a statement (see attached) Friday night apologizing for the credit and debit card data stolen from more than 40 million shoppers who shopped at Target stores between November 27 and December 15, 2013. Furthermore, he acknowledged that consumers calling or visiting Target's website were having trouble connecting and getting more information. Customers made their dissatisfaction known on Target's Facebook page, as well as other social media sites. Many discussed their frustration with local news media - television and newspapers. The CEO stated, "We understand it’s been difficult for some guests to reach us via our website and call center. We apologize and want you to understand that we are experiencing unprecedented call volume. Our Target teams are working continuously to build capacity and meet our guests’ needs." Then, the CEO offered a 10 percent discount on in-store purchases Saturday and Sunday. "We take this crime seriously. It was a crime against Target, our team members, and most importantly, our guests. We’re in this together, and in that spirit, we are extending a 10% discount – the same amount our team members receive – to guests who shop in U.S. stores on Dec. 21 and 22. Again, we recognize this issue has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season. We want to emphasize that the issue has been addressed and let guests know they can shop with confidence at their local Target stores." In the video below, the CEO discusses how corporate responsibility fits into Target's strategy, the role he plays, and his expectations. Do you think a 10 percent markdown will be enough to get customers back in Target stores? If so, why? If not, what percent markdown should Target have offered? Why?
  • McDonald's Social Media Platforms

    Molly McKenna Jandrain, Director of Public Relations of McDonald's USA, talks about how McDonald’s builds its brand identity across social media platforms In the video, Ms. Jandrain talks about getting the C-suite (Chief or Top Managers) to support the use of social media. How did she and her employees get the top managers to listen and understand the importance of unified and consistent brand identity across their social media platforms? How does McDonald's use social media for customer service? What could managers at other companies learn from McDonald's use of social media platforms?
  • Smartphones to Dominate Market

    Erik Qualman shares this Mobile Stats Video Infographic. Sweden's Ericsson AB, the world's largest maker of telecommunications networks, reports that smartphone traffic is expected to grow tenfold in the next six years, with mobile subscriptions predicted to reach 9.3 billion by 2019. Ericsson Mobility Report June 2013 from Ericsson Mobile is the preferred connection mechanism, whether at home or away. Are managers and employees always connected? How does this affect work life and private life? What does this mean for managers and employees? How do smartphones change the way managers and employees communicate?