Why You Need To Focus Your Knowledge

Yesterday I went to a medical billing program that I put together. The presenter is someone very knowledgeable on her subject, so I figured this was going to work out great.


by Ariel Cruz via Imagekind

Things started out well enough but quickly fell apart. It wasn’t that her knowledge was all that much in question, however. It’s that her presentation wasn’t really focused and sharp.

The problem was that she knew exactly what it was she wanted to get across, but she kept crossing information that was totally confusing me. And because I’m the type of guy who will ask questions when confused, I kept stopping her and making her clarify what she was saying. I was really confused for the first hour, and I’ve been doing this type of thing for almost 30 years.

At the break I had the opportunity to talk to a few people. I mentioned how confused I was and that maybe I was taking everything she was saying literally. Each person responded that they also had been confused and that maybe she should have broken up what she had to say so that each facet had its own time instead of trying to mix messages on the same slides. I had to agree, and felt it was a shame that others were confused as well.

After her part of the presentation her co-worker came to do his presentation. His was a bit more focused, when suddenly his terminology changed. Well, that’s not quite accurate; what he did was start using a word in a much different way than I’ve always heard it used. Me being me, I called him on it, and he wasn’t able to give me a proper answer. I let it go until the lunch break, when I went up to him and explained myself, and then he agreed and said he saw it in a slightly different way depending on the topic. The problem of course is that everyone else in the room saw it the same way I did, so he’d kind of lost his audience for awhile as well.

One of the reasons I always start with an outline whenever I’m asked to give a presentation is because I want to make sure that I get my points covered in the order I want to do them. This was point one on my post last week about giving live presentations. Sharing knowledge with others doesn’t really work when you’re all over the place. And trust me, the people in that room were pretty smart already, yet most of us ended up in a fog.

That’s why whenever I’m doing a tutorial of some kind on this blog I give the step by step processes of what I did. Or whenever I put together a list post I make sure to address each particular point before moving on to the next one, and if it’s a procedural list I make sure it’s in order.

Sometimes when we know stuff it’s hard to contain ourselves when we want to share it with others. We all need to learn how to direct our information so that we inform rather than confuse. At least I got handouts. 🙂
 

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My Thoughts On Joe Frazier

I hated Joe Frazier.

It was 1971, and I knew that Muhammad Ali was going to be fighting Joe Frazier. Ali was one of my idols; he’s still one of my idols. I was 11 years old, had just moved to a new place 3 months earlier and was struggling to get used to it, and one of my heroes was going to prove that he’d been wronged by so many people years earlier. I didn’t know as much about that, but I did know that Ali was my guy; he was my dad’s guy as well.

Back then I had a couple of transistor radios, and I listened to the play-by-play of the fight from New York City. What would happen is that you’d listen to a lot of talk, then after the round was over someone would tell you what happened and give you his opinion on who won the round. Early on it was all Ali, and I was ecstatic. Then things seemed to have changed, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Then I heard the news – Frazier knocks Ali down in the 15th and wins the decision.

I was bitter. A year later they put the fight on ABC and I thought Ali had won, I hated Frazier that much. But it was what it was, and I knew Ali would get him back.

However, there was this little matter of Frazier – Foreman, and as I saw that fith I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Foreman actually looked like he lifted Frazier off the ground; it was frightening. That day I felt sorry for Frazier, scared for Ali because I knew he’d be getting his shot against Foreman, and I was confused.

Then Ali and Frazier fought again, and it was a tough battle that saw Ali win. Then Ali goes and beats Foreman and it was time for the Thrilla in Manila. My support for Ali couldn’t be questioned; the “Gorilla”, as Ali had named Frazier, had to go down. I was lucky to have HBO in 1976 and we got to watch the fight live. What an epic battle, ranked as one of the top fights in history, and Ali won in 14 after Frazier’s corner refused to let him come out for the last round.

At the end of that fight I was elated for Ali but had a new appreciation for Joe Frazier. This man, who never weighed more than 208 pounds for any of his fights, had shown a lot of dignity, even in his 4 losses, two to Ali and two to Foreman. He wasn’t a bad man; not at all. Back then, there were all these social issues that always surrounded Ali, and Frazier got caught up in them. I saw him as a decent man, and couldn’t hate him anymore.

Over the years after he finally retired I saw a guy fighting to find some dignity because of the taunting that Ali had put him through. I learned of all the help Frazier gave Ali and how he always felt betrayed by Ali. He never could figure out that without Ali their fights might not have gotten as much interest and money as they did. I felt bad for that but I also recognized how hurtful it had to be for a black man to have another black man relate him to a gorilla; I wouldn’t have liked that either.

Joe Frazier passed away a couple of days ago of liver cancer. Like the dignified guy he always had been, word didn’t get out until he was in hospice, and he wasn’t there long. People said they’d give him their liver, but of course it doesn’t work that way. Just like that Frazier was gone at age 67. Muhammad Ali said this: “The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration. My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones.”

Joe Frazier earned a lot more respect in retirement than he did during his boxing career, and in retrospect that’s a shame. But that’s what the 70’s were like. And now we’re dealing with the 2010’s. And we’ve lost a good guy; best to you Joe.
 

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Social Media Marketing Is Just Marketing

Last night I was at the top grocery store in my area and ran into someone that was at the conference I got to present at last week. We talked a little bit about some of the programs that were put on, and then we talked about his general opinion of the event.


by Tiffa Day via Flickr

He mentioned that there was so much going on that he knew he’d be skipping some things here and there, like my presentation, because he wanted to take in as much as possible about things he didn’t know much about. He said that he talked to a lot of people who seemed confused at the end of the day, which I knew would happen because if you don’t know a lot about something going in and get inundated with lots of information there’s no way you can retain it all.

What he also said was that as he listened to a lot of the presentations he came to this conclusion; social media marketing shouldn’t be all that much different than traditional marketing, as it’s only a new platform and not a new way of marketing. His point was that the idea of marketing is to attract someone’s interest, get them to at least look at everything you have to offer, and then hopefully buy something before leaving. This takes research to figure out just what you have to offer a potential buyer and then figuring out how to make your message stand out to encourage that buyer to become a customer.

I couldn’t disagree with his general premise, yet I felt he was possibly missing the bigger picture. The reality is that social media marketing gives one the opportunity to branch out beyond their local area and reach a much larger audience in a lot shorter time. With the proper connections, I can talk about my latest project (which, by the way, is my editing a book of early newsletters from my primary business at the moment) and if I get the right audience to notice it the message can be seen by thousands is less than a day. Other than buying a commercial to show during a prime time TV event how many other ways are there to reach that many people? And the costs… forget about it!

Social media marketing also doesn’t have to be that direct to work. In the past I’ve mentioned that any major business not following their name or industry on Twitter is doing themselves a disservice because it’s not giving them the opportunity to either thank people that say nice things about them or correct something that a customer has complained about. These days it’s incumbent to address issues sooner than later because, though one can recover from bad press, it can be harder to do so. Just the other day I had someone comment on an old post of mine complaining about a particular affiliate that didn’t pay me; even when someone might think an issue is gone, online it’s never gone, especially if the company didn’t fix the issue (weasels; still never paid me).

Overall he’s correct; social media marketing is just marketing. But it’s also so much more, and anyone that doesn’t believe this will eventually run into the wall. On that day I hope they call me or someone else to help them get out of it, and then hope it’s not too late.
 

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5 Ways You’re Messing Up On LinkedIn

Back in April I wrote my first true introductory post about LinkedIn, giving tips on how to use it effectively. Well, it seems that there’s still a lot of folks out there that are using it incorrectly. How do I know? If it’s irking other people then you’re messing it up in my opinion.


by Mattias via Flickr

Frankly, when it comes to your business the last thing you really want to be doing is getting on people’s nerves. Most of these things are minor, but why get irritate people to begin with I always say. So, here are 5 things one should either stop or start doing.

1. Stop going with the default message when reaching out to new people. Goodness, this was my #1 gripe in the last post and it’s at the top again. How hard is it to write something different, even if it’s just “I think we might be able to do some work together so I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn”, or “I figure this is a good time to connect with each other here on LinkedIn”?

2. When reaching out to people you want to connect with, don’t lie about how you know them. I cringe when I get a connection message that says “so and so says you’re friends” when I have absolutely no idea who they are.

3. Why don’t you have a picture? Unless I personally know someone I refuse to connect with anyone that doesn’t have an image on LinkedIn. My thought is that you’re either trying to hide something or you don’t have enough knowledge to know how to upload a photograph. The idea of LinkedIn is business networking; why the heck wouldn’t you put up an image?

4. Say something in a group every once in awhile. I don’t belong to a bunch of groups but every group I belong to I participate in every once in awhile, sometimes even more then once in awhile. Sure, it’s free, but what’s the point in being in something you’re never going to do anything in? I called people out in one group that has around 1,600 members yet only 10 people ever talk; that’s just a shame.

5. Make your profile more dramatic than a straight up resume. You’re not auditing for a job, you’re hoping to get some kind of business out of it. If there’s a service or product you’d like to highlight, then do it there. It’s a great opportunity to do something a little different that you might not want to do on your website.
 

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5 Things I Learned About Being A Presenter At A Large Function

On Tuesday I was one of the speakers/presenters at a local social media conference, a big deal around here. Somewhere between 300 and 400 people showed up, and overall it was a great day.


That’s not me;
forgot to get pictures

I have to admit that I went into the thing with some preconceived notions, some of which came true, some of which didn’t. The ones that didn’t were actually pretty cool, the ones that did… well, c’est la vie.

Overall this was a first for me. Every other presentation I’ve ever done, I was an exclusive in that time period. This time I was on at the same time as, I believe, 8 other people. Even with 300 people, and it seems that number went down in the afternoon since that’s when I was on, I was given a relatively small room, which indicated that the people who put it together probably felt I wouldn’t be that big a draw. And I wondered about it myself when I saw all the other topics for the day.

Anyway, I don’t want to tell much more because I might give away one or more of the 5 things I learned about Tuesday’s presentation overall. And I’m not only talking about my presentation, but those I sat in on as well. Without further ado here we go:

1. There is a major importance in outlining a presentation. Basically yesterday I sat through 5 presentations, not counting the one I gave. Four of the five were well scripted and had a nice flow. One of them didn’t, and even though overall the guy wasn’t a bad presenter, anyone who didn’t understand anything about social media going in wouldn’t have understood a single thing when it was over, and it ran long. Outlines make sure what when you’re talking about something you’ll talk about all aspects of it before moving on to the next thing. If you don’t do that you’ll lose your audience. Lucky for me I not only knew something about the topic, but I had candy. lol

2. Even if you were never a Boy Scout, remember the golden rule; Always Be Prepared. I had emailed my presentation ahead of time so I wouldn’t have to take my new laptop with me and have to drag it around all day. About 25 minutes before I started my presentation (I actually messed up and started 10 minutes early), I went to the room I was going to be in and went searching for my presentation; it wasn’t on that laptop. I asked the guy that was handling all the presentations about it and he went to get the flash drive my presentation was on. Well, at least was supposed to be on; it wasn’t there. Luckily, something told me to bring it along with me on my own flash drive, just in case. I’d also printed out the entire presentation, just in case the power went out. Thank goodness!

20141011_185147
This one is me

3. Don’t follow the crowd because it’s the crowd. The third presentation I went to only started with 5 people. The guy giving it was a lawyer, and it was on legal issues of social media. It was fabulous; the guy may not have been a great presenter but he was a lawyer, which means he knew how to get in front of people and talk. I actually learned that if you say bad things about someone online that are true, but your intention is to harm them personally rather than complain specifically about a service they’ve done, that might be considered illegal and they can sue you, especially if they haven’t personally harmed you.

The correlation that was used was the Courtney Love case from either last year or two years ago when she went on Twitter and defamed a women, telling all her past business, just because the woman, a designer, had asked her, in private, to pay for some of the items she’d been modeling. To me that was very valuable information, something more people should have been there to hear, instead of going to some things I knew were popular, but I figured many people should have already known about. Yeah, maybe a few people didn’t know about much of it, but I knew a lot of people that came and they should have known already.

4. Never underestimate the power of your topic. I ended up being scheduled for an afternoon presentation after someone else had been moved into my morning spot because he had to catch an afternoon flight. The time I got moved to had 4 presentation I’d have loved to go to myself, with some very popular local people giving them. I talked about business blogging as a social media platform, and two other people had talked about blogging in the morning, so that and the fact that I was in a very small room at the end of a side hallway made me think I’d be lucky to get at least 5 people in the room.

Six minutes before I started the presentation (remember, I started 10 minutes early; oops), there were only 2 people in the room, and I knew one of those people. When I started the room was half full, and I felt better about things. By the time the presentation was actually supposed to start, the room was almost full, and 30 minutes in, from what I was told, there were people pulling up seats from another room and sitting outside where I was giving my presentation listening. That looked and felt great; idiot that I am, I didn’t get any pictures of it. My assumption had been that the popular people would draw all the traffic and I’d only get the hardcore learners. Since I only ended up with two people who knew who I was when I began, the topic must have been stronger than I thought, and the other people must not have been as popular as I thought they were; well, they were popular to me. And I finished right on time!

5. It’s not your friend’s fault if they don’t show up for your presentation. You know, I wondered how many people I knew as friends would even think about coming to my presentation. Only one friend showed up, but by that time I didn’t mind at all, even though I wasn’t expecting too many people to show up at the time. I realized early on that I knew people giving presentations who I wasn’t going to go see, friends or not, because they were on at the same time I wanted to learn about something else. I only got to see one person I knew beforehand give a presentation, and I think he got the luck of the draw for the day, the big room and having it filled. It was also the first presentation of the day after the keynote presentation, and as far as social media goes in this area, he’s definitely well known. You always have to be ready to follow your own path, and if you’re going to do that then you have to allow others to do it as well. Based on how it turned out, I was a pretty happy guy; I even had quotes tweeted!

As I said, I had a blast during the entire day. Of course I didn’t eat much or well, which tells me once again that I need to make sure I eat my own food before trusting others to make the proper food choices. I hope I get to do something again next year, if they do it next year. By the way, on my SEOX Blog, I’ll be breaking down my talk over a few posts starting Friday if you’re interested in what I had to say on the subject.
 

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