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It's weird human nature that we can get a ton of praise for something, yet will pick out and remember forever and verbatim the one piece of criticism. I do that, but try not to.

But dark nail polish? That's so ... catty. Is it okay to say catty? Is that sexist? Anyway, how weird and disappointing that someone would focus on something so utterly trivial. 

2 days ago on Adult Bullying is a Problem

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This is great. I would also add, "lay the groundwork." If you're communicating with your people regularly, they'll have a pretty clear picture of the organization's performance. Layoffs shouldn't come completely out of the blue. 

You don't want to terrify people, but messages such as, "we missed our targets," "performance needs to improve," "we need to make these cutbacks now so that more drastic cutbacks aren't necessary later," "if things don't turn around we may need to look at job cuts, but we'll do everything possible to avoid that," etc.

3 days ago on How to Make Layoffs Suck Less

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@ginidietrich Yes! And let's not identify this hypothetical worker. Let's just call her ... Ms. B ...

3 days, 23 hours ago on Structured Meetings Make for Better Internal Communications

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The great thing about having regularly scheduled opportunities to communicate is that performance issues can get discussed as they happen. And it's less ominous and momentous when you schedule a meeting to talk about it.

I've heard the argument that annual or quarterly reviews are less important than providing regular feedback, which is true. However, I've found many of the people who make this point a) use it as an excuse to delay those reviews or make them perfunctory; b) they don't give regular feedback either; c) if they do give feedback, it's not constructive. "Why did you screw that up??" is not helpful feedback.

4 days ago on Structured Meetings Make for Better Internal Communications

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I do! I've seen it. With a little structure, guidance and discipline, anyone can tell a decent story. It's not, as they say, rocket surgery. They may never be masters of the craft, but that's okay.

4 days, 11 hours ago on The Five Parts to Brand Storytelling Nearly Everyone Misses

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@creativeoncall True, though I don't think a brand has to focus solely on their customers' stories. Employee stories can be effective, too -- as long as, of course, it's still relevant to the customers' concerns.

4 days, 23 hours ago on The Five Parts to Brand Storytelling Nearly Everyone Misses

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One of my peeves is the way people and organizations these days play fast and loose with the definition of story. Everything's a story — a quote from Steve Jobs, a customer testimonial, a picture of a puppy in the rain.

But you're right, a real story has to have certain fundamental elements. People may disagree on how to structure it — a friend of mine was researching a book and counted 82 different definitions of story — but things like conflict and a relatable character are essential. 

5 days ago on The Five Parts to Brand Storytelling Nearly Everyone Misses

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I know this person! (Sort of.) Hi, Susan, and happy Friday! 

1 week, 1 day ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Susan Cellura

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I would say yes, but I've found that communicating with employees is still an afterthought in a lot of companies. The last two big crises I was brought into, they said the same thing: they'd been working on the external strategy for months but it only recently occurred to them that they needed an internal strategy, too. So folding it in with PR, either in name or function, could mean it just gets lost.

1 week, 2 days ago on Should We Take the “Internal” Out of Internal Communications?

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I worked with a company going through a crisis over an earnings restatement. Trying to wrest the content (and tone) from the lawyers was a trough task. Before we got there, management issued a memo to employees saying, in part, "Ignore rumors. Remember, if you didn't hear it from us, it's not true." Delusion!

1 week, 3 days ago on Voice and Tone in Internal Communications

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@ginidietrich Well, they're not bad words. But it just occurred to me that maybe it's not right to post pictures of people on their blog, so I will take it down if you want!

2 weeks, 1 day ago on How Do I Determine the ROI of PR?

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@ginidietrich Why would you not feel good about this photo? It's a great photo! Okay, maybe not technically. Or is it because you have words on your face?

2 weeks, 1 day ago on How Do I Determine the ROI of PR?

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Late to this, but here's one more criterion: aesthetics. A marketing/design friend of mine was so turned off by the type font they use that she refused to have anything more to do with it.

2 weeks, 1 day ago on Hello Ello: Is the Latest Social Network for You?

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It's all about the PESO, baby.

2 weeks, 1 day ago on How Do I Determine the ROI of PR?

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Um, you left out the best part. Duh!

2 weeks, 4 days ago on PRSA International Conference (#PRSAICON) Takeaways

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@biggreenpen That's great, Paula! For a while I toyed with the idea of making the book's sins align with the original 7 — sloth, envy, etc. — but I couldn't find a way to make it work for what I wanted to say. Good luck, though. Sounds like fun! Ostrich with its head in the sand would be great. As would a sloth, of course!

2 weeks, 5 days ago on How to Deliver a Successful Ignite Talk in 10 Steps

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That sounds fun. How do I get on this private Facebook page?

4 weeks, 1 day ago on Social Media for Internal Communications

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Happy Friday, Jess!

4 weeks, 1 day ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Jess Ostroff

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Are you being facetious? (Or, as some incorrectly say, sarcastic?)

1 month ago on Internal Communications on Spin Sucks in October

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I never learned that rhyme to keep track of the days in a month. We did the "knuckle" method: clench your favorite hand in a fist, knuckles up. Start at the first knuckle (the one where you index finger starts) and work you way to the pinky. The first knuckle is January (31 days), then you tap the depression between the first and second knuckle. That's February. It's between knuckles so does not have 31 days. Then follow the rest of the firt for March, April, May, June, July. All the knuckles are 31 and the depressions aren't. July is on the pinky knuckle (31 days). Now go back to the index finger knuckle. That's August —remarkably, another 31-day month! Then continue toward the pinky for the rest of the year.

You are WELCOME.

1 month ago on Internal Communications on Spin Sucks in October

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Internal communications was my niche back at the PR firm and I've always believed it's as, if not more, important than external. SO important. And so neglected. Looking forward to this. I saw Shel speak a couple of years ago at a PRSA event and it was really engaging and informative.

But I'd also like to see a point/counterpoint between you two on all these areas of disagreement you speak of ...

1 month ago on Learn Internal Communications from the Best

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@annelizhannan @belllindsay True. Or, as I like to say, Endora's Box (/Seinfeld).

1 month ago on The Squishy Grey Line of Ethics

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@belllindsay Yes, I was agreeing with you in the beginning of my comment and then I thought more about it ... and it's tricky. I don't have an answer!

1 month, 1 week ago on The Squishy Grey Line of Ethics

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@belllindsay Yeah, why couldn't the look at his track record and see how that measures up in terms of ethics. (Or maybe they did?) Imposing some other type of penalty, like a pay reduction while he completes his degree online or something.

On the other hand, I know someone who fired a worker because she stole some coffee filters. Stealing is stealing. And once you start making exceptions for some people or some unethical acts, how do you maintain a standard?

1 month, 1 week ago on The Squishy Grey Line of Ethics

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Erika, I've enjoyed following your progress here. I had similar experience with improv. I found that while I'm probably better than 90% of the population, I was in the bottom 20% at Second City. Tried out and didn't get into conservatory twice (though, from what I've observed, that's an odd process in itself).

From there I tried standup for a short while, did sketch writing and performing, which I really enjoyed, then went into theater and commercial work — commercial is where I've enjoyed the best success. So it's definitely a journey. You have a talent or an urge and it's about finding just the right outlet for it.

And the acting experience has really come around and led my career — my business career — into directions I never would have anticipated 12 years ago when I first stepped foot into Second City. Congratulations on Black Box. I've heard great things from lots of people!

1 month, 1 week ago on Why Dreams Aren’t Bullshit (a “welcome back” post from Erika)

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@Tapeleg True. I would think Annoyance Theater would be right up Erika's alley.

1 month, 1 week ago on Why Dreams Aren’t Bullshit (a “welcome back” post from Erika)

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Thank you, Unmana! I've been cutting back on my Feedly lately (pretty much over every blog with the word Content in it!), but I always check out Spin Sucks, even if I don't comment. Great post!

1 month, 1 week ago on Why Spin Sucks is the Best Blog for Guest Posts

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@belllindsay @ImMarkBernhardt The off-center thing is a great point! Never thought of that. I'm totally a symmetry guy, so it'll be tough adjustment ...


1 month, 1 week ago on DIY Video: How You Look Matters

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@belllindsay @SusynEliseDuris I recently invested in a good mike when I was told (a couple of times) that the sound from my MacBook on webcasts and webinars was tinny. Made a huge difference, and definitely worth the $75-$100 or so. From here I'm going to look at a separate webcam ...


1 month, 1 week ago on DIY Video: How You Look Matters

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@belllindsay This is great! And you definitely have a better webcam than I do ...


1 month, 1 week ago on DIY Video: How You Look Matters

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Yes! Lighting and shooting from above are key!

It seems I can't ever get enough lighting — I bring every lamp in the house into the room, plus use sunlight — and am wondering if my built-in webcam (MacBook Air) just isn't good enough?

I would also make an appeal for proper "set dressing." That is, get rid of the clutter in the background — it's distracting. On the other hand, have SOMETHING there. Nothing screams "hostage video" like a bare wall.

1 month, 1 week ago on DIY Video: How You Look Matters

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Doing video on the cheap often costs you more, in time and aggravation. If you hire someone who's merely a "videographer" he might not have the judgment to save you from your worst instincts -- including the storytelling savvy Tony speaks of. He also may not have good business sense -- meeting deadlines, showing up on time, getting things right without a ton of hand holding.

I've done it both ways, and if you can spring for professional work, it's worth it. And I'm not just Tony's friend ... I'm a client! 

1 month, 1 week ago on Video Production: The Benefits of Going Pro

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@ginidietrich Oh, that's totally different then!

1 month, 2 weeks ago on The NFL is Missing the Cardinal Rule of Crisis Management

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@LauraPetrolino @Howie Goldfarb Yeah, and the settlement they threw at them was peanuts.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on The NFL is Missing the Cardinal Rule of Crisis Management

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@LauraPetrolino I know! And if you're into college ball, too, that's the whole weekend! (Though I will say one of the greatest inventions of the modern age is the outdoor patio with TVs.)

1 month, 2 weeks ago on The NFL is Missing the Cardinal Rule of Crisis Management

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The "Cardinal" rule? I thought you were a Bears fan! (Ba-dum-BUMP).

For me the NFL's reputation was really degraded over the brain injury issues they've only half-heartedly addressed. This is more of the same.

I'd like to say I took a principled stand and walked away from the TV for these reasons, but really it began years ago when I realized the best days of the year are in September and I wasn't going to spend them inside on a couch anymore.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on The NFL is Missing the Cardinal Rule of Crisis Management

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@LauraPetrolino Thank you, Laura. I've written a lot about my Dad the past few years. As Paula said, it's a process.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on The Things He Carried: My Dad and the War in Vietnam

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Strangely, Livefyre emailed me your other two replies even though they don't show up here. Weirdzies.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Do Selfies Sell?

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Ha! And I cropped out the beverage in my driving hand in that second photo!

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Do Selfies Sell?

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@biggreenpen Yes, Paula -- I also read Matterhorn, which was very good. (Not represented on the bookshelf since I shifted over to ebooks.) That sounds like a really cool project!

1 month, 3 weeks ago on The Things He Carried: My Dad and the War in Vietnam

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Amazingly, this monkey knows one thing that 7 out of 10 human selfie takers don't: you look at the LENS, not the SCREEN. 

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Visual Content, Confusion, and Copyright Laws

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Michigan, 1994.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Do Selfies Sell?

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Feh. Kids these days with their damn selfies. I was taking selfies back when you didn't have a screen to look at to frame the picture with. In fact, I was the master of the selfie while driving.

Florida Keys, 2000.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Do Selfies Sell?

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@Eleanor Pierce Thank you, Eleanor! I feel like I'll probably write something every year around this time. My thoughts sort of evolve with time and distance.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on The Things He Carried: My Dad and the War in Vietnam

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@jasonkonopinski @ClayMorgan Wow, I never got house downpayment money! I always wondered how agencies managed their photos. I imagine the system is only as good as the humans who create, maintain and update it. That is, flawed!

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Visual Content, Confusion, and Copyright Laws

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@belllindsay What I want to know, and I suppose I could read the article you linked to: do they think the monkey is actually smiling? Or could he see the screen and maybe he was examining his teeth? 


1 month, 3 weeks ago on Visual Content, Confusion, and Copyright Laws

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These are great! I would add "the pseudo visionary." (Maybe it's a combination of the Besserwisser and the Spiritual Guru.)

This happens with clients, but more often potential partners. Every couple of months they come out of the woodwork and spin these elaborate ideas and plans. So-called "Big Picture" thinking. But when it comes to actually DOING something? It never happens.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Five Types of Clients to Avoid

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So THAT's the story of the monkey selfie. I have a weird contrarian instinct to actually NOT click on things that seem to be flooding my social media feed. Thank you!

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Visual Content, Confusion, and Copyright Laws

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@ClayMorgan This is huge in the world of acting and modeling. Agencies and clients will sign detailed releases setting the terms for the use of images and video footage, such as "non-broadcast only, one year."

Then a million things happen: someone else in the organization sees the image and uses it, not knowing the terms. The marketing people who worked on the project leave the company and nobody looks at the paperwork or the agency is fired and the client gets the files.

This has happened numerous times to me. Just this spring I saw my picture up in a drug store in Florida. Apparently the store manager didn't know the campaign was limited to one summer several years ago. I got paid a few hundred dollars, but no doubt there are scores of other stores doing the exact same thing. 

Much of my acting revenue these days comes from clients caught violating the terms of their agreement. Some may be sneaky, but most are probably just negligent.

Information wants to be free (literally and figuratively) and controlling it is a tough, tough thing.


1 month, 3 weeks ago on Visual Content, Confusion, and Copyright Laws

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@NancyDavis I was thinking also about Keith Richards' book. Along with the great stories, what really struck me was the strength of his voice coming through. With every sentence you could practically hear him talking.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Read a Book Day is September 6

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