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Action, Interaction and Reaction from the Ritz team

It takes more than an operator to really connect these days

Posted: March 21, 2013 - 10:00 PM ET - by Elisabeth

I’ve written about this before. It intrigues – and alarms – me. I love the revolutionary impact of technology on communications – from our instantaneous access to all kinds of information to our instantaneous access to each other … but the advances are also fraught with challenges.

We are …

“Alone,” but not in “solitude.”

“Connected,” but not “together.”

“Present,” but not “in the present.”

As Sherry Turkle expresses in a captivating TED Talk, constantly sharing through tweets, posts and updates hinders our capacity for solitude and self-reflection.

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Mastering meeting & greeting

Posted: April 5, 2012 - 6:30 PM ET - by Elisabeth

I’m excited to be headed to TEDMED next week. It will be four days of inspiring thinking and fascinating people. In between dozens of amazing speakers, there will be 1,000 attendees to meet.

I’ve talked with friends and colleagues, and it seems no one is completely confident about walking up to a stranger and striking up a conversation. However,  there are some things to remember that may help me – and you  – do just that with a little more confidence.

  • The woman standing alone in the corner or the man at the buffet table is as uncomfortable as you are; he or she will be relieved by your approach and introduction.
  • If you’re that woman or guy, make yourself approachable … put away your smartphone, smile and make eye contact with people around you.
  • TEDMED tries to make it easy to connect. They’ve asked each of us to name three inanimate objects that define us. They’ll put those on our name tags, giving us a thought-provoking reason to ask questions and get to know each other.  Literally and figuratively, it’s a great approach. Asking a question is an easy way to engage someone else – whether it’s what they do, how they enjoyed the last session or whether they’ve tried the chocolate chip cookies on the buffet table.
  • Listen to the response. Be sincerely interested. Relate something you’ve heard or read to their answer.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to share, briefly, information about yourself and your business.  In marketing terms, that’s an elevator pitch … and I read recently that the average elevator ride is 118 seconds.

    So, I guess I’m ready to approach the situation – and other people – with a smile and a question. Now I just need to pack!

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    Can you make lightning strike?

    Posted: October 20, 2011 - 9:26 PM ET - by Elisabeth

    My last couple of blog posts have considered the impact of connection – both emotional and technological – as an essential part of communications.

    There’s another critical element … in fact, the thing that drew me to communications: the words.

    I have this quote on a bulletin board next to my desk. I believe this quote. I admire the awesome power – and the huge inventory – of words we have to express the slightest variations in emotion, efficacy, everything.

    From my first journalism class in college to this blog post, I have always loved the challenge of choosing just the right word to convey my thoughts and feelings.

    For marketers, it is often the adjectives and verbs, more than the nouns, that have impact; where “new” and “improved” once generated customer interest in a product or service, breaking through the clutter requires more passion and purpose.

    How much thought are you giving to your words and their impact? In this day and age of instant messaging and texting shorthand, can you make lightning strike?

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    Making a connection

    Posted: September 22, 2011 - 4:01 PM ET - by Elisabeth

    I love working in communications … from the words and ideas to the tools and channels, there is a lot about this field that fascinates me. Communications has been completely revolutionized by technology, and yet as additional proof that “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” the heart of communications is, and has always been, connection.

    I was reminded of this in two recent conversations. Two different people, neither one a client, asked for advice on how to talk about something important that had happened in their lives. These life events were significant and emotional (and theirs to tell, so I can’t be more specific). However, I was reminded of the fundamental requirement and goal of communications: connection.

    How do we connect? I’m not talking about social media, email, or even conversation … those are all important tools and channels … but how do we really connect with each other?  Brene Brown, research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, talks about it in one of the very best TED talks I have ever heard.

    brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

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    A picture is worth one thousand words

    Posted: January 20, 2011 - 1:35 PM ET - by Elisabeth

    A short time after I posted my last blog I shared the link and a new picture of myself as a status update with my Facebook friends. I thought it was a fun shot … me in my favorite winter hat just pulled off the closet shelf to venture out into the cold, snowy Chicago streets. My post on social media got a thumbs up, and the picture … well the picture got all kinds of fun comments and “likes.”

    It was a great reminder of an age old communications adage: A picture is worth one thousand words. In an age of 140 character updates and text messaging, it seems more true than ever that what can be conveyed quickly and with impact will breakthrough the mass of information that we receive each day.

    Consider the number of emails and phone calls you receive each day … and the number of texts, tweets and updates you read.  Which ones really capture your attention? Elicit a response? Motivate you to action?

    How do you use that knowledge to tailor your own communications? A picture isn’t always appropriate, but you should consider the message you’re delivering and the channel through which you’re delivering it.

    … because that’s an ocelot of noise to breakthrough!

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