Twitter? As a Business Tool? You bet!

This post is for those of you who wonder:

  • Why do I need to use Twitter?
  • What is the point of so few words?
  • How can I find the time for one more tool?

I suggest taking a new approach. Think of Twitter as a tool for research, a public current list of information about any business or organization. You can access this list without logging into Twitter or having a Twitter account.

  1. Visit an interesting website, for example, OpenSesame.
  2. On the website find the Twitter symbol.
  3. Click the Twitter symbol.
Identifying the T symbol for Twitter

Locating the Twitter symbol.

The Twitter page for that business will open immediately. On the right side you can view tweets to and from the business.

The tweets are addressed using a Twitter handle, an account name noted with an @ symbol preceding the name, for example, @OpenSesame. You can see the Twitter handle at the top of the profile page.

Open Sesame's Twitter Profile Page with @OpenSesame Twitter Handle and Tweets to and from the business

Using a profile page to identify the Twitter handle; reading tweets to and from a business on their profile page.

 

Think of Tweets as quick headlines or bits of interesting news. Tweets are short and easy to scan with their 140 character limit. Most tweets contain hyperlinks to websites, videos or photos.

Check the age of the tweet to judge how current it is. The life of the average tweet is considered to be one hour.  Although tweets remain on Twitter long past one hour, the expectation is that most people will only read a few of the tweets. Some socially active businesses tweet several times per day; other businesses may tweet several times a week.

Example of tweet hyperlinks and how long since the tweet was posted.

Locating hyperlinks and age of a tweet.

Businesses like OpenSesame use Twitter to discuss current events, share new tools or thank other businesses publicly.

In this example we can see OpenSesame is advertising a new workshop, thanking others and advertising new products in their Tweets.

A Twitter profile page about products, events and good news to share.

Example of a business that shares information about products, events and community news on Twitter.

Wasn’t that easy?

Starting on an interesting website I used the Twitter symbol to view the Twitter profile page of recent headlines. If something catches my eye, I can follow hyperlinks presented on a tweet. I can learn what this business produces, what events they are attending and who they enjoy watching in their industry.

Have fun using Twitter as your business research tool!

P.S. When you are ready, check out the OpenSesame website for a free self-paced Twitter tutorial that will help you learn how to set up your own Twitter account.

A Recipe for Success: Add Variety to Your Training Program

Adult learning styles are as different as apples and oranges.One size of training does not fit all. Adult learning styles are as different as apples and oranges. Does your training program provide enough of the auditory, visual and hands-on elements needed to fit the learner’s individual style?

Think of how you, your friends and family learn. Do you love to watch videos to learn? Know anybody who likes to push the buttons on their new gadgets? Have you met people who love sharing what they learned? Do you know someone who shuts down when you verbally give them directions?

Training works best when adults can adjust how they learn. My favorite e-learning college course was General Accounting. Sounds thrilling, right? Yet the instructional designers made memorizing the accounting rules possible for everyone:

  • We could hear it through videos and audio recordings.
  • We could see it through the text, diagrams, charts and instructor notes.
  • We could try it in our graded homework spreadsheets, practice quizzes, matching exercises and flash cards.
  • We could discuss our personal experiences and mentor each other in weekly discussions.

When we develop training programs we need to consider:

  • Should subject matter experts verbally explain the topic or perform demonstrations in video?
  • Should we provide summaries or captions for those who may have difficulty with the audio, for example, those for whom English is their second language or who are hearing impaired?
  • Do we have enough graphics, pictures and diagrams to convey complex concepts?
  • Are we providing a virtual server, games or labs for hands-on practice?
  • Will the participants have an outlet to communicate about their experience?
  • Can we connect our participants to outside communities to support them?

By the time we become adults we have such varied, interesting perspectives. So why not fold that individuality into your training program? Next time you need to help others learn, think of adding a little variety to your fruit bowl so everyone can choose what works for them!

Variety allows individuals to choose how they learn.

Solid Relationship Advice

One of the most enjoyable articles I read this week was from Jacki Zehner:

Best Advice: Invest in Relationships in All Directions

Jacki Zehner makes some excellent points about how every contact we make in business counts, no matter how small it may seem at the moment.  I like how she states:

“As a professional, you need to care about every single contact point you have with every single person, both internal and external.”

Ms. Zehner not only points out the value of having a “360 degree perspective“, but she challenges us as readers to take stock of our own experiences in the workplace. Her personal story in the article makes this a compelling read.

Social Media Tip:  I found this inspiring story and person thanks to LinkedIn. From there I was able to read more about Jacki Zehner’s background and locate her personal website to read more articles and view her videos.

Leadership Sources of Power

Have you ever wondered why some managers seem like natural leaders? Or perhaps you are interested in what power you hold over others?

Power refers to the capacity to influence others. So where does it come from?

Legitimate Power

Legitimate power is the formal authority granted through the organization and job description. A project manager is placed in charge of a project team so they may delegate tasks. A supervisor is given legitimate power over their subordinates so they can ask for a range of behaviors from the new employee. One will find this power source useful as you begin leading any team, however it cannot be relied upon alone to make you an effective leader.
Reward Power

As leaders we may be granted both control over what others value and the ability to change negative aspects of the job giving us reward power. We see reward power used when a manager gives salary increases based on performance or when a supervisor replaces faulty equipment. Rewards can be as simple as allowing a person to work on a special project or attend training, granting favorable shifts or bringing in pizza. If employees are given feedback systems to evaluate their managers or co-workers, they also hold reward power. The risk in using only reward power is that you may have a limited supply or the rewards may become too commonplace, losing their power.

Coercive Power

Both team leaders and members may apply coercive power, the ability to punish with the goal of compliance. Punishment is an old-fashioned “carry a big stick” management style. Managers who use this power threaten to fire or layoff employees who fail to meet their standards. Team members apply coercive power through gossip or open demands of co-workers when they break the team norms. Coercive power often results in negative relationships since adults naturally resent being punished. With today’s intelligent workforce, using coercive power alone will result in a team who comply with orders only when the manager is watching.

Organizational Sources of PowerLegitimate, reward and coercive power are all associated with the organization. The company, your team and where your job sits in the corporate ladder will influence how these sources of power may be available to you.

Many leaders become successful due to their own personal power sources.

Expert PowerHave you ever noticed the respect we give to experts who help us solve problems? Expert power comes from specialized knowledge. A software engineer who arrives with a specialized skill set may have considerable influence on the team’s decisions and direction even if that person lacks any organizational power.

Referent PowerThe charismatic individual has referent power. We follow them because we admire their personality and wish to be like them. Who is your office celebrity, the person everyone wants to follow?

Those who hold expert and referent power may move their power from one group to another because they hold it personally. A charismatic politician may be elected to several different positions. An expert computer security guru may job hop from organization to organization.

When we look at all five sources of power it is the combinations that are most interesting:

  • A new supervisor may rely heavily on the use of legitimate and coercive power. Without reward, referent or expert power, the team will often comply outwardly with the supervisor, but will secretly work against the supervisor’s formal and oppressive style.
  • A manager who abandons their team, giving neither feedback or rewards for good performance is withholding their legitimate or reward power. Within abandoned teams employees may take on a leadership role by exercising their expert or referent power. Some employees may use a form of punishment, such as leaving others undesirable tasks, in order to force their co-workers to comply to their own standards.
  • A charming project manager may use legitimate and referent power to influence their team. Project managers often have a limited ability to reward or punish team members for failing to perform. The charismatic manager may recruit a technical person to co-lead the team, adding an expert power source.

Organizational and Personal Sources of PowerIn 1959, John French and Bertram H. Raven examined the five different sources that come from the organization and the individual.

Based on the five source model, what power combinations do you use to influence others in your daily activities? 

What combinations do you see others in your organization use?

Link to SlideShare

For more information on this topic, try these links:

http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_56.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_(social_and_political)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_and_Raven’s_five_bases_of_power

http://changingminds.org/explanations/power/french_and_raven.htm

Updating Your Linked In Profile Privately

Do you want all of your Linked In connections to know every time you make a small change to your profile?

Here is a quick video on why broadcasting everything could be irritating to your connections and how to prevent the problem.

Graphic for the software demonstration video.

A Research Paper for the Portfolio

Employers want proof. So you say you are a writer? What have you published?

Most of my professional writing cannot be published on my website. My work is often sold directly by my employers or restricted to inside publication.

If you have that problem too, take a closer look at opportunities to write elsewhere. For example, I write research papers often for college courses.

Today I posted this research paper on the ADDIE and Kirkpatrick training models for my portfolio:

A Training Models study

I wrote this paper for a short cram course entitled “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” based on the popular work of Dr. Stephen R. Covey. Yes, I will “Sharpen the Saw” often. I am a life-long learner.

What do you do to prove what you’ve done? How can you capture and show someone your greatest achievements?

Conquering the Fear of Social Media

What does it take to convince the “forget it” crowd that social media has value?
Do you use Twitter, Facebook or Linked In?
How do you keep your image professional?
How does social media serve you?
Link to Find your Advocate

Creating a Portfolio

Employers want proof. It is not all applications and interviews. When you finally have someone’s attention, job hunting is about what you have done.

Handing someone an entire book won’t work either. You have to scrub it, strip it down and make it digestible. Think short and sweet. A few minutes will be all the time you have to make your point.

Good news! Creating a portfolio does not mean spending a lot of money. I have created everything here with tools I already own or by using free evaluation software. YouTube, WordPress and SlideShare host my content for free. What you will spend is time. It’s worth it.

Today I’m celebrating as I post this portfolio piece. On to the next one!

A technical writing project describing online banking software through flow charts, test scripts and detailed instructions.

What do you do to prove what you’ve done? How can you capture and show someone your greatest achievements?

The Home Budget – Why Bother?

Are you trying to figure out how to start a household budget? Having trouble getting yourself or others in your family motivated to even start a budget? I understand the problem. I’d rather play with words than numbers any day.

Check out this short webinar and sample budget…

Picture for Motivation to Budget

Please enjoy and share with others! 

Happy Budgeting…

Save Time with Linked In Job Searches

I love using Linked In to look for jobs. My favorite feature on Linked In is the tool that allows me to save my job searches and set up e-mail alerts. Below is a quick demonstration:

Save Time with Linked In Job Searches

Now if I forget to check Linked In, no worries. I’ll receive a daily or weekly e-mail each time a job that meets my criteria is posted.

Avoiding Facebook Overload

How do I get in there?

Today Facebook is big news on the stock market thanks to the IPO. I’ll be honest. I have worked hard to make Facebook a manageable, fun experience.

For me Facebook is a personal, highly effective platform where I keep up with friends and family despite incredibly busy schedules filled with work and college. Check out the next page for tips on how to save time and preserve your ego.

Conquering the Fear of Social Media – Solve a Problem

Picture for solving problems with social mediaStart by asking what do you need out of social media?

Every social media platform exists to solve a problem. Just like computers are part of our modern world, these tools are the new wrench to turn on rivers of information.
Read more on the next page.

Conquering the Fear of Social Media – Position Your Mirror

Picture for positioning your mirror - fear of social mediaAs I became an advocate for social media tools like Linked In, Twitter, Facebook and blogging, it quickly became apparent most people offline suffer from fear of transparency.  What if someone finds out something about me?  What if they get to know all of me, who I am under the skin?

Some of you know this reaction well. When you mention a tool, the person’s reaction is to tell you all the horror stories they know to justify their fear of social media.

But hold on a moment.  Is spying and negative gossip the reason social media exists?  Or are these platforms simply neutral tools to be used for either positive or negative reasons?

Continued on page 2…

Conquering the Fear of Social Media – Find Your Advocate

Picture for finding your advocate - conquering the fear of social mediaAlert!  We have a social media gap!

Recently I attended a job hunting gathering in Hillsboro, Oregon at a local community college. Over sixty of us were gathered in a large lecture hall discussing Linked In.  One person asked if there were any new networking tools to use besides Linked In.  The leader had no suggestions.  I promptly suggested Facebook, Twitter and blogging.

The reaction was shockingly negative. As I turned to look around at the crowd, I saw frowns, shaking heads and grumbles.  At least 80% of the crowd was visibly upset and rejecting my suggestion.  The group leader quickly stated “Linked In is the only one that won’t get you in trouble.”

I consider this a very large social media gap since this meeting was being held in the middle of the Oregon Silicon Forest community.  Almost every open job for the job seeker involves making computer hardware or software.

So what do these terrified job seekers need to begin moving forward in social media?

The answer on page 2…