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Three Big Ideas


When planning out a piece of copy, most copywriters use the AIDA approach, which stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. This has been a proven method since the 1950s. While it can be effective, there is an even better structural approach, which is composed of three big ideas:

1. Using promises to engage emotions. Customers make purchasing decisions based on what companies are promising them. Rather than make readers search for a company’s promise, a copywriter should highlight that promise and define it explicitly. Promises register better than benefits because readers process promises emotionally. A well-written promise is specific and triggers at least two emotions, one of which should be curiosity.

2. Using secrets to unlock readers’ emotions. Secrets are tempting to readers for two reasons: They represent rarity and provide a sense of inclusion. Making readers feel as though they have been trusted with a secret will also make them feel more powerful.

3. Using stories to create connections. Stories and storytellers have been around as long as humans. Stories told in copywriting should be quick, suspenseful, and surprising, otherwise readers may lose interest.

Developing Customer Empathy

Successful copywriters exhibit insight and empathy, making each reader feel as though the writing is intended specifically for him or her. Writers must utilize personal copy, which demonstrates true understanding of readers, instead of personalized copy, which merely reflects that they have inserted data that was gathered about readers. It can help writers to think of their target readers as fictional characters, imagining their day-to-day lives and responding to them. Writers must also shift their perspectives from what interests them to what interests their readers.

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

Compliments can have a wonderful effect when delivered with sincerity. The key to flattery, or exaggerated praise, is to ensure that the core of the compliment is true so the reader will not mind the exaggeration.

The Ancient Greek Secret of Emotionally Engaging Copy

The ancient Greeks were among the first to use language to inspire action. They were more politically minded than today’s typical copywriters, but a lot can be learned by examining how the Greeks built their arguments.

Aristotle’s theory of persuasion rested on three main components:

1. Ethos, the character of the speaker and what gives him or her a credible voice.

2. Pathos, the emotional appeal of the argument, or how the reader becomes engaged.

3. Logos, the intellectual reasoning behind the argument.

Copywriting needs to use the same three components in some combination. Most copywriters are more comfortable with the logos aspect of their sales pitches, so starting with ethos is a good way to find new approaches.

Connecting on Social Media

Business writing for social media is rapidly becoming a necessity for every modern professional. There are three major factors writers must keep in mind when using social media:

  1. What to say.
  2. How to say it.
  3. How to protect their reputations.

In order to be effective, copywriters need to make their content original, fresh, and authentic. They can do this by using blogs, videos, and webinars. All of their content must follow the same rules as traditional copywriting: It should be engaging, clear, friendly, accessible, and trustworthy.

When writing for social media, writers must remember that brevity it important. Social media copy must be tailored to catch readers’ eyes as they scan through their newsfeeds. The beginning of the subject line is most important for sparking interest, and the entire line should be no more than 29 to 39 characters long. The writer’s job is to cut away as much as possible until the core of the message is all that remains.

Am I Manager?


The promotion to manager is one that many individual contributors look forward to with much anticipation, hope, and planning. They cannot wait to get the recognition for their hard work–to finally have authority and autonomy to get things done. But most are in for a rude awakening. So stark is the transition from individual contributor to manager, many new managers are surprised to discover just how much they have to learn. As one new manager put it, “I never knew a promotion could be so painful.”

In Becoming a Manager, 2nd Edition, Linda A. Hill offers readers an inside look at the stressful, often frustrating, realities of the managerial journey, chronicling the tribulations and triumphs faced by new managers in their first year on the job. When new managers speak for themselves, they learn that becoming a manager is more than a demanding intellectual exercise–that it actually requires profound personal transformation. Released 10 years after the original publication of Becoming a Manager, this revised edition also addresses the toughest challenges new managers face, and offers insights for those seeking to embark on a managerial journey of continual self-discovery and development.


Most new managers have a simplistic and incomplete picture of what it means to become a manager. Their expectations are often shaped by the rights and privileges they associate with formal authority, as opposed to the duties and obligations management entails. They often have limited appreciation for what it means to be managers of people as opposed to “doers,” to focus on getting things done through others as opposed to managing a task. Many struggle to reconcile these misconceptions with the realities of managerial life, and initially they feel overwhelmed by the myriad expectations of subordinates, bosses, and peers.

Subordinates’ Expectations

While new managers often see their direct reports as “very needy and demanding,” in fact it is subordinates who typically have a more accurate picture of managerial rights and responsibilities. They expect their managers to create environments that support individual and team success, both professional and financial. Subordinates are keenly aware of new managers’ tendency to cling to a “doer” role instead of appropriately delegating. Subordinates have legitimate concerns about the limited attention new managers proactively pay to managing peer and superior relationships in order to secure resources or solve conflicts that inevitably arise.

Superiors’ Expectations

Superiors expect new managers to assume full responsibility and accountability for the welfare of their unit. In addition, they make it clear that it is the manager’s responsibility to align the unit’s agenda with that of the organization. Many new managers describe these conversations with superiors as simultaneously “exhilarating and scary.” Although they crave the autonomy to make decisions, they often do not feel on top of their jobs. Most are also surprised by the variety–and seeming subjectivity–of the metrics by which they are evaluated. As one put it, “I am paid for making the [financial] numbers . . . but my boss devotes a disproportionate amount of attention to other issues. . . . 50 percent on people and 30 percent on administration and compliance.” Few understand that their role also requires managing relationships with peers outside the unit and other superiors in the organization.

Peer Expectations

Many new managers feel unprepared to manage the expectations of a diverse range of peers. Although new managers are expected to be ambassadors for their own unit, peers still expect them to appreciate and account for the particular interests and concerns of other units. Like superiors, peers see new managers as network builders, whose job is to ensure not only that the unit’s agenda is fulfilled, but also the organization’s mission.

Finding a Managerial Identity

It is by confronting these conflicting expectations, and working through them on a daily basis, that individuals learn what management really entails. Instead of gaining new authority and autonomy, new managers describe feeling constrained by interdependencies, enmeshed in a web of relationships with people both inside and outside the organization, over many of whom they lack formal authority. As their daily routines become pressured, hectic, and fragmented due to relentless competing demands, many new managers find themselves missing the relative freedom of being an individual contributor.

As new managers work to reconcile these competing demands they begin to redefine their responsibilities. They come to realize that their role is to set an agenda, make choices and manage tradeoffs, and to build the network of relationships necessary to fulfill that agenda. Addressing these new responsibilities takes considerable time and attention, but once new managers face making decisions–even some inevitably unpopular ones–most begin to find their own voice and point of view. Still, even as they begin to assume the dual role of “people manager” and “business person,” many focus their network building responsibilities on managing down, at times perilously neglecting superior and peer relationships.


Exercising authority can be challenging for new managers because it requires developing the interpersonal judgment needed to influence people. No longer individual contributors, they cannot rely on their stellar track records as doers and technical competencies as their primary sources of power. Learning how to build an engaged team and get things done through a significant number of people represent challenges that new managers must master through trial and error.

In their first year on the job, most new managers quickly discover the need to build and nurture relationships with their subordinates. They discover, the hard way, that relying on their formal authority and the financial incentives they control to exercise influence can have unintended negative consequences. Eventually, they come to appreciate the benefits of empowering others in order to establish commitment, not only control. Still, as they attempt to build emotional bridges and connections, many new managers find that they have much to learn about how to motivate or inspire subordinates to pursue mutually agreed-upon goals.

Managing individual subordinates’ performance presents another set of interpersonal challenges. When new managers discover the vast range of talents, motivations, styles, and temperaments that exist within one team, effectively managing that diversity is inevitably a puzzle. They realize tactics that work with one subordinate can fail dismally with another. Over time, new managers learn that to treat people fairly is to treat people differently. By accepting and discerning these key differences, they discover that each person needs and wants something different from a boss.

Even experienced managers find working with subordinates who are not performing to standard time-consuming and frustrating. It is not surprising, then, that new managers can find all their time and energy consumed by a problem subordinate and the related impact on their group. Diagnosing the root cause of poor performance, and figuring out how to give constructive feedback and coaching, is challenging for new managers, as is learning how to hold subordinates accountable while tolerating reasonable missteps. And firing a subordinate is often one of the most taxing events of a new manager’s experience.

Delegation and Control

It is an unfortunate fact that while many new managers recognize the value of delegating, few are particularly gifted at it. Many new managers have difficulty shedding their identify as doers and experts, not to mention letting go of the tasks they enjoy and already do well. Delegation involves a number of complex judgments–figuring out who can be trusted to do what, and when and how to constructively follow-up–and learning how to do it effectively, as one new manager described, is often a torturous “weaning process.”

As the months go by and new managers find it ever more difficult to keep their technical or functional skills on the cutting edge, most find themselves forced by circumstances to delegate more. But new managers still have much to learn about balancing delegation and managerial control. They have to practice giving the correct length of rope to different subordinates–too short and one will feel over-controlled, too long and another will feel supported and neglected.

Confronting the Personal Side of Management

New managers are often caught off guard by the personal transformation that is required of them during the transition from producer to manager. At first, most do not appreciate that in consenting to new job responsibilities they are also making a commitment to form a new professional identity. “Will I like management?” and “Will I be good at management?” are the questions they ask themselves early on. But very soon, as they confront the realities of their new role, they become plagued by a more unsettling question: “Who am I becoming?” Only through on-the-job experience do they learn the answer.

Many managers discover new sides of themselves during their first year in management, gaining insight into their motivations, abilities, and shortcomings. Although like most of us they find it difficult to admit shortcomings or recognize their own limitations, over time they are relieved to see that they are getting better at matching their intent with their impact. Most find it affirming to discover new capabilities and motivations–how satisfying it can be to develop others, for instance.

This transformation does not come about without psychological or physical symptoms. The first year of management can be a time of anxiety, isolation, and emotional upheaval. Some managers even begin to question their career choices. They realize it is far from easy being the person with ultimate authority and responsibility, the one with power over other people’s lives and careers. Some of these negatives emotions and stresses may never truly recede, but learning how to cope with them is one of the most important lessons new managers will learn.

By the end of their first year on the job, most managers begin to feel more capable in their role. Although on bad days many find it easy to regress to the familiar and comfortable role of doer, the stresses of management no longer seem so debilitating. At this stage, most new managers are pleased by their personal growth and adaptability, their resiliency and capacity to learn. However, most recognize that there is still much work to be done.


As companies come to understand that executives are shaped profoundly by their first management positions, many are beginning to offer new managers more training and access to developmental relationships. New managers are as desperate for training that addresses the intellectual and emotional challenges of becoming a manager, as they are for help in making sound business decisions. Since on-the-job experience counts so heavily in acquiring managerial knowledge and skills, they need to live it in order to learn it. Still, training opportunities, strong developmental relationships, and candid feedback from trusted superiors and peers can help to alert them to some of the common misconceptions and missteps to avoid.

All too often, rightly or wrongly, new managers are reluctant to ask for help lest they look like a “promotion mistake.” They believe there are few safe havens in which to admit their deepest fears and insecurities. It is no surprise that they often view the current boss as a threat, not an ally in their development. However, soon managers learn how difficult it is to navigate the transition to management without constructive feedback and social support. Over time, they learn how to rely on trustworthy peers and former bosses for coaching and mentoring.


After one year on the job, most new managers can begin to tell the myths from the realities of what it means to be a manager. Importantly, they realize their experience is not unique–overcoming doubt and insecurity is something all new managers must do before they can thrive. Nevertheless, many continue to struggle with some common challenges.

Exercising Influence without Formal Authority

When solo performers step into a management role, they lose the luxury of worrying mostly about their own concerns. Many new managers experience a rude shock when they discover that their expertise and track record no longer carry the same clout–that they must establish their credibility anew. And in order to reconcile the competing interests and interdependencies that exist in the organization, many times they must learn how to exercise influence without formal authority. In a sense, they must become “political”–to diagnose and understand the political dynamics at play in their organizations, and then develop and exercise the sources of power necessary to navigate them.

Managers should be neither naïve nor cynical about organizational politics, the reality being that all organizations are inherently political to some degree. When conflicts arise, new managers need to understand that their ambition is not to eliminate the conflict, but to determine the most effective way to manage it in the best interest of their organization.

For new managers, identifying interdependencies is one key to accomplishing an agenda and building credible, productive relationships with peers and superiors. And having no formal authority over these key players, new managers have to work at developing other personal and positional sources of power and influence.

Building an Effective Team

One of the most important managerial tasks is ensuring that the team’s collective work is greater than the sum of each individual member’s contribution. However, many new managers think of their group of direct reports as a “team” by name only. For much of their first year on the job, many new managers fail to recognize, much less address, their team-building responsibilities. Instead, they conceive of their role as building the most effective relationships they can with each individual subordinate, and erroneously equate managing the team with managing the individuals that comprise it.

To move from managing many individual subordinates to building a true team, new managers need to acquire a basic understanding of effective team dynamics and processes. They must learn how to manage the team’s context (make sure the team’s agenda is aligned with that of the organization and secure necessary resources) as well as manage the team itself (design, facilitate, and coach the team). Too often, new managers rely solely on one measure for assessing team effectiveness, team performance. They pay less attention to two other key criteria for sustained team success: whether team members are satisfied and whether the team has the capacity to adapt and learn together.

One thing new managers struggle to learn is how their style or preferred ways of behaving can impact team culture and effectiveness. The most effective managers are aware of their style and its impact. They are versatile and have the ability to adapt their behavior to the specific needs of the team at any given time, a skill that can only be acquired through experimentation, feedback, and reflection. Developing this capacity requires considerable empathy, practice, and commitment–in short, lots of hard self-work.

Learning for a Lifetime

Managers must be proactive and entrepreneurial in developing their talents over the course of their careers by seeking and creating developmental opportunities, experiences, and relationships from which they can learn. They must figure out which experiences will help them acquire critical new competencies. The unpleasant truth is that people often learn the most from stretch assignments, experiences involving some degree of adversity that require them to go beyond what is comfortable.

To conceive one’s career strictly as a ladder to be climbed is a mistake. Those who are best at managing their careers approach them strategically. They know where they are and where they want to go. They set goals, periodically reevaluating and revising them; they continually scan the environment to anticipate what their organizations will need and hence what knowledge and skills they should strive to develop. Instead of focusing primarily on achieving their personal ambitions, they are willing to take risks and seek assignments from which they can learn and thereby contribute to the organization’s objectives–opting for a lateral as opposed to vertical move to broaden their skill set, for instance.

Reaching out for help is never easy, but building a network of developmental relationships is essential for new managers. Instead of searching for one “perfect mentor,” those who are most effective at managing their careers cultivate multiple and diverse developmental relationships–a “personal board of directors” consisting of coaches, sponsors, protectors, role models, and counselors. They spend time on critical relationships according to the needs of their work and development, rather than on the basis of habit, convenience, or comfort. As social learners, people need feedback and coaching from others in order to learn most productively from on-the-job experiences.

Organizational and educational institutions play important roles in helping individuals learn how to manage and lead. But the bottom line is, those who aspire to move into ever more responsible managerial positions need to take charge of their own development. No one can teach another person how to manage and lead–it has to be learned through first-hand experience. Management is hard and getting harder. Even the most gifted managers must commit themselves to lifelong learning and self-development.



There are many parallels between running schools and running businesses. Like businesspeople, teachers must figure out how to effect change on a large scale. Leaders can inspire others by having high expectations of them, then holding themselves accountable for equipping their employees to meet those high expectations. In Move Your Bus, Ron Clark asks leaders to consider the parable of a bus that runs on a team’s energy. Every hypothetical bus has a driver and different riders. Leaders must steer their buses toward change and inspiration.


The bus represents organizational goals and accomplishments. It can only be propelled by other people; it cannot be propelled by itself.

Runners Need Support

Runners are particularly motivated, energetic, and excellent employees. They are motivated by success, not just external rewards, and they have can-do attitudes. Runners are not above doing basic tasks when the job calls for them. Focused and driven, they have the tools it takes to succeed. However, runners gain professional success at the expense of their personal lives.

Managers of runners should keep in mind that these employees are likely sacrificing to perform so highly. Since runners are motivated by their internal sense of excellence, managers must be careful not to break their spirits or deprive them of support or direction. When a runner is not given the tools to succeed or does not have his or her efforts directed into the proper channels, he or she can become a destructive force.

Joggers Want validation

Joggers are reliable and steady workers. They are unable to sustain the same high standards and output of runners over a long period of time, but they do contribute to the team’s overall success. Though joggers meet basic expectations, they do not generally exceed them. They can be pushed, but should not be expected to perform at a high level for a prolonged period of time.

Because of their meticulous work, joggers often feel that they are doing their best and feel they are, in fact, runners. However, they typically have different perceptions of work-life balance and their abilities than runners. One of the biggest areas in which they differ is in their need for validation–recognition and praise fuel their efforts. When upstaged by runners, joggers can become bitter and threatened, but they can still play a strong supporting role.

Walkers lack Motivation

Walkers do not contribute to the forward momentum of the bus. In order to deflect blame, they enjoy criticizing the organization and complaining. They do this because they are trying to slow others down to their speed and protect themselves. They often latch onto new hires to recruit them to their ways and prevent them from reaching their own (threatening) potential. Because of their self-centered worldviews, it can be easy for walkers to monopolize the attention and resources that should instead be given to motivated, effective, and deserving runners. Walkers will take over what they can, the slowing movement to a stop.

Riders Are Dead Weight

Riders contribute almost nothing to their organizations and can frustrate both runners and joggers. However, they can be hard to spot because they tend to blend in when organizations lack clear performance metrics. Riders are threatened by comparisons and attention to their minimal efforts.

Drivers Steer the Organization

Drivers are the leaders who set the directions of their organizations, support runners and work on either improving or eliminating joggers, walkers, and riders. In fact, there is little hope for improving riders. People without strong work ethics simply slow everyone else down, and when riders turn into walkers, they are still a drag on the organization.

Because runners require so little input and encouragement to do a good job, it can be tempting not to give them attention. Runners can also have a hard time accepting help. However, helping runners frees up their resources, which helps them become even more productive. It takes much less effort to help runners maintain their speed than to turn riders into walkers.

Pointing out runners’ mistakes is often counterproductive because it can break their spirits. Usually, mistakes happen because runners have been given so much to handle. Drivers should always say “yes” to runners so that they continue to push ahead.


In order to accelerate, workers need to model themselves after runners, whose habits help them propel the bus forward. Every worker within an organization should either be a runner, be working on becoming a runner, or support the people who actually push the bus forward. There are many tasks employees can do to help move their companies forward:

*Get there early. Runners arrive at work and at meetings early. Arriving early and ready to go increases a worker’s worth within an organization.

*Wear your good clothes. To be taken more seriously, workers should always show up in neat, professional attire. People who have a runner’s work ethic and a rider’s wardrobe habits run the risk of losing others’ respect.

*Say hello. There is power in a simple greeting. Saying hello can help workers begin to network and build strong relationships that benefit them and their organizations.

*Sit with the runners. Sitting with high-powered individuals can open up opportunities. Not only does it open the chance to have conversations, but it shows where a worker fits within an organization’s hierarchy.

*Ask for help. When people are afraid to ask for direction, they cut themselves off from the tools that can help them succeed. Asking for help often makes it clear that an individual cares enough to do the job right.

*Accept criticism. Constant improvement cannot come without the ability to accept and tolerate constructive feedback. They should let managers know they are receptive and competent.

*Clean the windshield. People who are not in control should try to clear roadblocks for runners who need to be able to do their jobs without distractions.

*Take the hint. Workers should always pick their battles and learn to read the people they interact with.

*Listen more than you talk. Successful organizations are filled with attentive people who do not feel the need to hog attention or shoot down other people’s ideas. People who are not runners or joggers should not feel entitled to have their opinions and input heard.

*Stay in your lane. People who focus too much on what other people are doing can get sidetracked. By keeping their eyes on the road, workers can do their best work.

*Change the conversation to change the culture. Workers should refrain from negative conversations. Positive conversations yield positive results.

*Allow the runners to reap the rewards. Runners contribute more and work harder; hence, they deserve rewards, promotions, and recognition. Instead of complaining, lagging workers should step up their game.

*Exude a sense of urgency. People should move quickly as if their jobs depended on it. Moving without delay communicates a strong work ethic and predicts good results.

*Find solutions. Solution-oriented individuals who take initiative despite limited resources are valued.

*Realize you are not entitled to this job. A sense of entitlement erodes performance and creates endless excuses and roadblocks within an organization. Gratitude is important.

*Be credible. When workers honor their commitments and refuse to make promises they cannot keep, they set up their organizations for success.

*Pay attention to details. Fine-tuning details can make or break a project. Subtle touches make products more appealing and impress customers.


Leadership is a skill that can be developed over time, and leaders can become more efficient drivers by rising to the occasion.

Allow Runners to Shine

Great leaders allow their runners to shine. Since joggers, walkers, and riders often consider runners to be a threat, workplaces can feel hostile to runners and break their spirits. To let runners shine without upsetting other workers, leaders should figure out how to best leverage their talents and communicate how well everyone is doing. Awards, empowerment, and public recognition motivate runners, and that benefits everyone in the organization.

Help Joggers Do Their Best

Joggers need to be coddled and validated, but also pushed. Leaders can do this by commenting on the things their joggers are doing right and building their confidence.

Show Walkers How to Improve

Walkers may not have good role models, so they may need to be shown how to improve. Drivers must make their expectations clear and demonstrate their values. People do not know what they do not know, so they need to have things articulated to them. Drivers must determine which walkers are worth investing in and which should be let go. Either way, leaders can best maximize their walkers by assigning them to supporting roles.

Equip People to Meet Expectations

Leaders can “teach to the top” by refusing to lower their expectations and inspiring their workers to raise the bar. However, they must also lift workers up and give them tools for success. Once these tools are in place, leaders must motivate employees so they get excited about meeting their goals. By uplifting people, leaders can help them shine.

Get to the Source of the Problem

Approaching people directly about problems is more respectful and effective than broadcasting complaints throughout an organization. By nipping issues in the bud, leaders can ensure that everyone keeps moving forward.

Show Appreciation

When people do not show appreciation for little things, they will likely not recognize large contributions, either. People should show appreciation in both small and big ways to keep their organizations running smoothly.

Enjoy the Ride

Leaders who want their employees to put in the maximum amount of effort and passion must enable them to enjoy their jobs. Improving a worker’s physical environment can go a long way, as can encouraging laughter and fun.


Workers can always find a way to contribute more and improve what they are doing. They should avoid complacency, ask for help, and support one another. Given the right tools, everyone can find his or her passion and purpose and help the bus move along.



Pleasure-Inducing Techniques

A common mistake made by young writers is getting caught up in the wordplay of their copy. Writers must not forget that the aim of copy is different from the aim of other forms of writing. While it can still be fun to read, it must also include:

  1. Rhythm
  2. Pace
  3. Musicality
  4. Imagery
  5. Surprise

Intelligent leverage of these components can turn copy into something that is both entertaining and effective.

Engage Your Imagination and Free Your Creativity

For many copywriters, their creativity can be stifled by their environments. Their daily routines of sitting and working at a desk can make it difficult for them to come up with new and interesting ideas. Some assignments require a little something extra, and in those situations writers can find great ideas in their own subconscious minds. The goal of any writer should be to take in information by reading as much as possible, and to put out quality products by being unafraid to try new things. There are three ways copywriters can become more creative:

  1. Changing locations to find new places to think creatively.
  2. Working at different times of the day.
  3. Changing materials, such as pens or paper, or even trying new technologies.

Playing word games, using free association, and trying other similar exercises can also help copywriters generate new ideas.

Finding Your Voice (and that of Others)

Content marketing allows writers to find new ways to use their voices to best sell products and services. To find their best voices, copywriters must first understand what they are writing. Speeches, marketing slogans, or advertising copy should never be written in a copywriter’s own voice; however, a strong personal voice is highly effective for blog posts, eBooks, social media posts, and articles.

Several factors can help determine a writer’s voice:

*The length of words and sentences he or she uses.

*The presence or lack of personal pronouns.

*The use of slang, jargon, or humor.

*The use of punctuation and references.

Not only should writers know how to write in their own voices, they should also know how to modify their tones to evoke emotional responses from their readers. The tone of a piece of writing needs to be decided upon before writing has begun. This is an important step in planning and should not be dictated by emotional reactions.



Generate Contagious Optimism

When people tell stories that others can relate to, a connection is created. A group’s culture is based on the stories members tell themselves. Positive stories about the challenges people have overcome promote a positive culture and positive behavior. The more a story spreads, the more people it influences. By going viral, a positive broadcaster can unlock his or her full potential. Those who want their messages to go viral should pay attention to the following six elements:

1. Activate the Hidden 31. In a survey of more than 600 professionals, more than 31 percent said they were positive but not expressive of it at work. Instead of working to change the minds of those who are negative, positive broadcasters should focus their energies on getting these “hidden broadcasters” to spread their messages.

2. Raise the broadcaster’s status. People naturally want to be “in the know.” Positive broadcasters should share smart, unique stories with others so that those individuals can share them with their circles and build social capital.

3. Communicate high emotion. Studies have shown that stories with high and positive emotion are more likely to go viral. Even if it is bad news, if the story is framed in a positive way, people are more inspired to share it or take action.

4. Make it practical. For a story to go viral and be effective, it must be practical. The story must be something that benefits the audience in some way. For example, a positive broadcaster might share an article on ways to avoid toddler tantrums with friends who have young children.

5. Lower the activation. When a story is easy to share, it is shared more often. This can be done through catchy headlines or infographics.

6. Operationalize the message. It is important to repeat the message, get others involved, and spur action.

Deliver Bad News Better


When it comes to delivering bad news, positive broadcasters follow the four Cs:

1. Create social capital. When a person builds a social network of people willing to support his or her actions, it is easier to face challenges. This can be done by engaging in positive network-building activities or by simply greeting someone with a friendly smile. Positive broadcasters build social capital through the following:

*Shared activity. The best and easiest way to build social capital is to meet for drinks, play a sport, volunteer with others, etc.

*Celebrate publicly often. Praising others for their contributions builds goodwill.

*Take five. People who want to become positive broadcasters should have 5-minute conversations with others in their networks each day.

*Call someone out. A great way to build trust is to recognize another person’s character strengths and compliment them.

2. Give context. When delivering bad news, a person should offer details that show he or she understands the situation from the other person’s point of view. It is also a good idea to offer a rationale for the situation and specifics on the ramifications. Finally, positive broadcasters should be careful to avoid framing the news in a narrow (by only offering some facts) or binary (by casting the situation as win/lose) way.

3. Express compassion. The most important thing a person can do when delivering bad news is acknowledge another’s stress, suffering, or misfortunes.

4. Stay committed. Positive broadcasters back up their words with actions. Negative news is easier to accept when it is accompanied by a plan and actions to make things better.



Listening is the greatest skill managers can possess; it is an integral part of all relationships. Listening proves that a manager cares, and it earns the trust of employees. In order to demonstrate attention, a manager should use open body language, make eye contact, and drop any busywork to openly face the employee. To further demonstrate they are listening, managers should ask for clarification and prove they want to understand effeccom1the employee better. This can be done by:

  • Restating comments using the speaker’s own words
  • Asking clarification questions
  • Paraphrasing what the speaker said

Requesting clarification makes it easier to deliver what people want. If a manager does not have time to listen, he or she should say so and make time for it in the future. A simple listening process for managers involves:

  • Focusing solely on the speaker
  • Eliminating the advice that they may want to offer at that moment
  • Using open body language
  • Clarifying what they think they heard

To be a first-rate manager, one must believe that communication is the most important tool in their arsenal, and he or she must actively put it into practice every day. Successful managers are engaging to their employees by being positive, open, and receptive to the needs of others. In doing so, managers are able to influence others and implement change throughout the organization, leading to outstanding collaboration and productivity.


Values represent what is important to people. They necessitate a shared understanding of how to behave. The idea of values in business is complex. While many businesses today are making an effort to be more values based, they is often a large gap between their self-prescribed values and actual business practices. R. Edward Freeman and Ellen R. Auster explore this “values gap” in their book Bridging the Values Gap, along with strategies for how companies can close the gap and regain the trust of their customers.
fullsizeoutput_259eTHE VALUES GAP IN BUSINESS
Public trust in business is at a low point. While many businesses have values statements, they often conflict with one another or with the actual values of employees, which causes a values gap. Many business scandals over the years, such as the Enron incident, have led the public to view businesses as occupying the ethical low ground in society. Even the thousands of businesses that have not been tainted by scandal are not trusted.
On the other hand, some feel that the media has been too critical of businesses. These people often believe that the pursuit of profits will generate a better society. If people leave competitive markets alone, everything will work out for the best in the long term. However, this point of view ignores the fact that there are businesses doing real harm in the world.
With the implementation of modern technology, companies now live in fishbowls, with everything they do being scrutinized by individuals and agencies all over the world. The rise of globalization also means that different cultures may interpret a company’s values differently. For example, while child labor is prohibited in the West, some other cultures still embrace it as a legitimate business practice.
Most people want to build businesses that are inspiring and beneficial to society, but humans are complicated. There are times when people in business are seriously conflicted about what to do or how to behave. People often have a difficult time applying their values to business situations. There are very few truths that work everywhere for everyone, but there is a growing trend to put values in the center of the way people think about business. This new narrative is integral to bridging the values gap.
Being authentic is more difficult than it appears. It is also difficult to truly define “values.” Many believe that values are expressed in a person’s behavior. If a person says that respect is something he or she values, but that person continually shouts at people and calls them names, it would appear to others that respect is not truly one of his or her values. However, this way of viewing values fails to acknowledge that values are not just likes and dislikes, but are also the things people find the most important. Values should require introspection and reflection. They are easy to say but not easy to do.
Values tend to change frequently as well. As people grow and develop, their feelings, hopes, and dreams evolve with them. New technology can also cause people to rethink their values, as can different stages of life. For example, the idea of respect usually means something very different to a senior citizen than it does to a teen. Values are always set in context; different situations may call for different behaviors.
Values also help define a person’s identity. In the West, values are very individualized. In other parts of the world, values are often imparted from culture and society. The self is often thought of as a vessel for a person’s individual values and implies that people are free to choose what they do, but this view can go too far. People are connected to other people and to society as well. Complete individual freedom can result in estrangement.
Leading an authentic life is not merely stating one’s values and sticking to them. As life goes on, preferences change and circumstances change. To lead an authentic life, one must struggle with change and an evolving self-identity.
It is very difficult for an organization to be truly authentic. Organizations can employ thousands of individuals, which leads to inevitable conflict. To be truly committed to living their values, those in an organization must engage in conversations about its purpose, aspirations, history, and connections to stakeholders.
For an organization to perform at a high level, thrive, and innovate, it should use values as an opportunity to engage in dialogue. However, many people feel that when executives listen to employees it is only with the aim of making money, and employees who are motivated to participate are doing it for some sort of reward. A company can overcome this line of thinking by constantly keeping the lines of communication open. Values cannot be just words on a website; they must live in the day-to-day processes of companies.
Executives often try to find employees who say they have the same values as those claimed by the organization. This does not always work out for the best. If an organization claims a value it does not actually act out, those employees will become disheartened and disengaged, and they may even undermine the company.
Values statements have little benefit if they are just posted on websites or printed on company documents with little to no conversation. They must be the result of discussions and behavior. These statements need to be grounded in both the reality of what a business is actually doing and in its aspiration to do better. Senior executives should not just announce a value statement. Executives can lead value-setting conversations, but the final decision should be made collaboratively.
Once a business model has been created in terms of purpose and values, and once employees have been asked to support those values, the business needs to get it right. It is very difficult to get a second chance. There are seven common mistakes businesses make:
1.They just walk the talk: Values always have a situational context as well as a human context. When a person is participating, the associated emotions and pressures can be overwhelming.
2.They police their values: Adding values to a performance appraisal process often leads to people paying too much attention to how they are perceived in terms of values, and may lead them to harshly judge others without taking into consideration conflicts and difficulties that often arise.
3.Top management sets the values: Without discussing the values beforehand with employees, management may miss the boat and make employees feel threatened or unappreciated.
4.Values are used as excuses: When someone uses values as an excuse not to do something, it usually masks a conflict between the employee’s personal values and what he or she perceives as company values.
5.Values are seen as soft and fluffy: Many people believe that values are not subject to the same conversations as other elements of the business, but this often leaves employees wondering if a business is truly serious about its values.
6.Values do not lead to healthy debates: Conflict can produce breakthroughs, but only when conversations occur. Brushing conflict under the rug solves nothing.
7.There is aseparation of business and values: Separating the business from its values is a main cause of underperformance. Values need to be connected to the business model because they:
*Empower and engage employees.
*Activate business strategy.
*Are the wellspring for business growth.
*Yield vision and purpose.
*Lead to discipline, efficiency, and innovation.
Most organizations spend time focused on current goals and issues, which leaves little time for reflection. By being preoccupied with the present and future, companies have little time to figure out how decisions, actions, and behaviors have narrowed or widened their values gaps. By focusing on introspection, a business can uncover blind spots and understand the consequences of decisions.
When values conversations do not include introspection, rash decisions are made and mistakes are often repeated. Creating space for reflection and introspection facilitates success. Deep introspection may even expose an organization’s common assumptions, routines, norms, and processes, and may answer why values were ever implemented. Introspection can also reveal the things that are working well. Introspection should be embedded into everyday processes. Values through conversation (VTC) may involve taking a hard look at customer feedback or engaging in in-depth consultations with customers. Afteraction reviews (AARs) can also help businesses determine what is working and what is not.
Many people ignore ugly truths and hope they go away on their own. They usually do not, and can often get worse. Truths should be viewed as great triggers for change. Acknowledging ugly truths enables companies to become more open to discussing them and doing something about them.
Every organization is the sum of all the choices and decisions employees make. These choices shape an organization’s identity. Companies need to remember that viewing the present through the lens of company history can be quite enlightening. At a minimum, conversations about the past enable companies to uncover the convergence of their history and where they are now. Understanding history helps companies respect and honor their legacies and helps ensure that they see the bridges between past choices and future actions.
Storytelling is a great way to engage stakeholders. Understanding and sharing an organization’s history is vital for inspiring employees and ensuring that the founding story stays alive. Other ways to share history include rituals, grand celebrations, photos, and onboarding.
History is critical, but sometimes things have to be let go. Moving into another geographic region, with cultural and language differences, is a good example of a way to honor legacy and adapt. For example, when Disney opened a theme park in Paris, it assumed the visitors would want French foods and toned-down merchandise. In reality, visitors wanted the American experience. Disney also banned alcohol in the park even though it resided in the world’s largest wine-consuming country. These mistakes resulted in a loss of $900 million over two years.
Connectedness refers to how people converse and interact to achieve a collective purpose. Focus is placed on relationships with one another and the sharing of ideas. Connectedness is often missing in organizations because its importance is not even on top management’s radar. When connectedness is missing at work, life at work feels empty–there is no community. Humans are social animals, and connecting with one another is essential in driving innovation and success.
The starting point for understanding connectedness is a strong sense of “we.” Connectedness values help leaders build organizations that respect and value what everyone brings to the table. Leaders in connected organizations actively solicit input and engagement from everyone, even customers and communities. In moments of crisis, values become transparent to others. A strong collective identity cultivates a sense of pride and an environment where everyone can be a hero.
Companies should spend time cultivating relationships internally. When team members actually like one another, a lot more work is accomplished. Engaging in community and social activities, offering company retreats, and planning fun activities in the workplace can all support strong working relationships. (contact author – anubhawalia@gmail.com for her #online training session)
When employees are inspired, they are able to set high aspirations. Aspirations represent an organization’s collective passion and purpose, painting a picture of the future it wants. People need aspirations to know what they are working toward. Aspirations help guide decisions, choices, actions, and behaviors as individuals work toward common goals. To feel intense dedication, a person’s work needs to matter and make a difference.
Research shows that companies that make a difference in the world perform better. Employees are often willing to take pay cuts if their companies are altruistic. These companies recognize how business can revolutionize the world for the better. They focus on making meaningful contributions. That is where aspiration and inspiration come together to foster passion and creativity. Meeting aspirational goals should be personally fulfilling for employees. By bridging personal and organizational growth, organizations enable employees to see what will personally benefit them.
Values are complicated. Organizations should pay more attention to how organizational values are implemented rather than to their actual content. If organizations’ values are to be meaningful to their members, there must be participation in bringing the values to life every day. In the event of a values violation, it is essential that the organization take action to address how the company will deal with the violation.

10 common Email mistakes


Mistake 1: Using the Wrong Tone

img_6954.jpgI was reading mind-tool article and thought to share with my readers.You might be tempted to send emails quickly when you’re in a rush, without thinking carefully about your audience, what you’re saying, or how your message might come across. So, it’s important to consider who you’re “talking” to and what action you want them to take, before you start writing.

For example, an email to a senior manager should be more formal than a quick update to a team member, and a message to a customer will likely be more enthusiastic and polite than an exchange with a close colleague.

Although your email’s subject matter may be clear to you, its recipient might not share your knowledge or understanding. So, avoid using abbreviations, jargon or “text speak,” and consider whether your message is appropriate before you hit the send button. Will your reader understand what you’re saying? And is your information clearly structured and presented?

A good rule to follow is to address people in an email as you would in person. For example, making a quick request or providing instructions without a “hello” or “thank you” will likely come across as rude, regardless of how busy you are. So, make sure that all of your emails are courteous and respectful, and avoid typing in capitals, which implies anger or aggression.

Mistake 2: Hitting “Reply All”

How often have you been copied into an email exchange that’s not relevant to you, and doesn’t require you to take any action? Chances are, it happens regularly, and you know how frustrating it can be.

“Reply all” is a useful tool for keeping multiple team members in the loop, or for documenting group decisions, but many people use it without considering who should actually receive their email.

Receiving numerous irrelevant emails throughout the day can be distracting and time consuming; and becoming known as the person who always hits “reply all” can potentially damage your reputation , as it can appear thoughtless, rushed and unprofessional. It might also suggest that you’re not confident making decisions without input from senior managers.

So, consider whether you should “reply all” or respond only to the email’s sender. And, think about whether using “cc” (carbon copy) or “bcc” (blind carbon copy) to include selected team members is more appropriate.

Mistake 3: Writing Too Much

Brief and succinct emails that contain only the important details are much more effective than long or wordy ones.

If you’re struggling to keep your message short, consider whether the subject matter is too complex. Would another way of communicating it be more effective? Would a face-to-face meeting or telephone call make it clearer? Should you put your information in a procedure document instead?

Mistake 4: Forgetting Something?

How many times have you sent an email without attaching the relevant document? Perhaps you included a link that didn’t work? Or even attached the wrong file?

These mistakes can often be fixed quickly with a follow-up email, but this adds to the large volume of messages that people receive, and it can appear unprofessional or forgetful. Consider attaching files as soon as your start drafting your message, and always check all of your links carefully.

Attaching the wrong document can be much more serious, particularly if it’s sensitive or restricted. Read our article on confidentiality in the workplace to identify what information is confidential in your organization, and to think about how to protect your data.

Mistake 5: Emailing the Wrong Person

Today, email providers increasingly use “auto-fill,” predictive text and “threads” (or “conversation view”), which can all increase the risk of you sending your message to the wrong person.

This can be embarrassing, but it also means that your email might not reach its intended recipient unless someone flags up your mistake. More seriously, you risk distributing sensitive information to the wrong people, and damaging your organization’s reputation. So, always pause to review your email before you send it.

When you reply to or forward an email within a thread, make sure that all the messages contained within it are appropriate for the recipient. Is there any sensitive information? Are there any personal comments or remarks?

Mistake 6: Being Too Emotional

One of the main benefits of email is that you don’t need to respond immediately. It’s particularly important to delay your response when you’re stressed, angry or upset – if you send a message in the heat of the moment, you can’t get it back (although some email clients do have a limited “undo” or “retrieve” option). These emails could damage your working relationships, or even be used as evidence against you.

So, avoid sending any messages when you feel this way. Wait until you’ve calmed down and can think clearly and rationally.

Mistake 7: Not Using “Delay Send”

It can be satisfying to send an email as soon as you finish writing it, so that it’s “off your desk.” However, many email clients now provide a “delay” or “scheduled send” function, which can be particularly useful.

Mistake 8: Using Vague Subject Lines

As we’ve said, email is most effective when your message is concise and to the point (but not abrupt). So, it’s important to start with a clear subject line, so that people know what to expect when they open it.

What is your email about? Is there an important deadline date? Do you want people to take action before a certain time? Is it urgent or non-urgent? Tailor your subject line accordingly, so your recipient can give the email the right level of priority and attention.

Mistake 9: Not Reviewing

Proofing your emails is one of the most important things you can do. It only takes a few minutes, and it helps you to pick up poor grammar, spelling mistakes and punctuation errors, which look unprofessional andsloppy . Our article on Writing Skills has more on how to check your work for mistakes.

It’s also important to ensure that you properly read and understand emails that are sent to you, including all messages in threads or conversations. Here, someone may have already dealt with your question or concern, and raising it again will likely result in duplication, frustration and confusion.

Finally, don’t add the recipient to your email until the last moment. This ensures that you can’t accidentally send your message before you’ve finished writing it, have added your attachment, checked the email, and spotted any errors.

Mistake 10: Sending Unnecessary Emails

Because email is so quick and convenient, it can easily become your default communication method with your team. However, it’s important to remember that email is also impersonal, and you risk losing touch with people if you rely on it too much. It’s certainly not a substitute for face-to-face or even phone communication.



Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 6.08.33 pm Presentation Skills is the most important competency for any employee. I have been conducting a session for various escorts, corporates at Senior level and Mid-level and I am sharing Roadmap which you can never forget. HR can contact us at 919818446562, training@prismphilosophy.com for development of their staff on this title.

Map It

The best way to start any presentation is with an outline. Outlines help leaders prioritize and organize their thoughts. This is especially important in situations in which there is a large amount of information to distil and disseminate. Although creating an outline takes more time to prepare, it saves the audience time. Mind maps have become a popular way of outlining; particularly helpful is a BRIEF map. Each of the letters, in BRIEF, stands for a function of a bubble in the map. The middle bubble contains the main idea of the presentation and is called the brief box. The rest of the map should be organized with bubbles that contain the following:

*Background or beginning.
*Reason or relevance.
*Information for inclusion.
*Ending or conclusion.
*Follow-up questions expected to be asked.

Tell It

The best way to persuade an audience is to tell a story. Good stories connect and stick with the audience. When considering the elements of a narrative, it is important to think like a journalist and keep in mind the following key elements:

*A strong headline.
*A compelling lead paragraph.
*A clear sense of conflict.
*Personal voice.
*A consistent narrative thread.
*A logical sequence of events.
*Character development.
*A powerful conclusion.

Stories should be short and simple. Leaders who need to synthesize a large amount of information into an outline should create a narrative map that includes the following:

*Focal point: the headline of the story.
*Setup or challenge: the issue the organization is facing.
*Opportunity: how the organization can resolve the issue.
*Approach: the how, where, or when of the story.
*Payoff: the conclusion.

Talk It

Being brief is not about eliminating or cutting off conversation — it is about meaningful, controlled conversations. In a controlled conversation, a leader asks thoughtful and intentional questions to determine what is interesting to the other person. By controlling the questions, leaders can choose to ask more questions or end the conversation based on the response. A great method for keeping any conversation brief and powerful is to use TALC Tracks:

*Talk: When someone starts talking, a leader should be prepared with a response that has a clear point.
*Actively listen: A leader must listen carefully to the other person to pick up keywords, names, dates, and other important details. A leader should be ready to ask open-ended questions with a focus on the elements that are interesting.
*Converse: A leader should jump in with a comment or question when there is a natural pause, be careful not to start an irrelevant conversation, and keep responses short.

Being brief requires an understanding of what is important to the audience. By focusing on the audience’s priorities, leaders show respect for them.

Show It

Multiple studies have shown that visual communications are much more powerful than those with words alone. In fact, screens and interactive media are causing a shift from a world of words to one of the images. People now expect their communications to be interactive. Incorporating visuals is a great way to be brief, and can be accomplished by:

*Googling images that relate to the presentation.
*Integrating drawings.
*Using short, online videos.
*Using a whiteboard to illustrate.
*Bringing in show-and-tell items.
*Creating a presentation through programs like prezi.com.
*Adding photography.
*Color-coding memos.
*Using icons instead of frequently used words.

When using visuals, leaders should assume people may not read the accompanying text. Therefore, the visuals should be able to stand on their own. When incorporating videos, leaders should be mindful of the time and quality — videos that are too long or too amateurish will lose the audience.

These guidelines help to make written communications more visually appealing:

*Communications should have a strong subject line or title.
*Readers should not have to scroll down beyond the opening window.
*Whitespace should balance the text.
*Key ideas should be called out.
*Bullets and numbers should feature a strong starting word.
*Unnecessary words should be trimmed.