Has the Mobile Phone Killed the Art of Conversation?

Has technology hurt the art of conversation?

 

What do you think? Just look around you in any direction. What do you see? Strangers opening up a friendly dialogue with one another? Or do you see nothing but “zombies” literally hypnotized by that little device  in their hands called a cell phone? But what is wrong with this picture?

A Personal Observation

No one can argue how the invention of the iPhone, the Android, the Blackberry, or the Smartphone, has made life a little easier in recent times. But this is my observation: Just recently I was talking to a workmate who was having a disagreement with a close personal friend of hers. I asked her did she tell her how she felt? She said I did in a text. I said you need to talk to her face-to-face. The problem was, she never did confront her. The art of conversation-where has it gone? Because of the mobile phone, not only are people not conversing but not even willing to talk face-to-face as in this case!
On another occasion at a public location a woman told a gentleman sitting next to her how she liked his  mobile phone-a simple gesture that should have triggered at the least some dialogue. The gentleman glued to his iPhone 5, didn’t even looked up or said a simple “thank you.” Not that it really mattered that much to me, but perhaps you have experienced something similar yourself.  Which leads to the  question:  Are mobile phones killing the art of conversation? Are people slowly losing the natural way of speaking to one another, giving at least the appearance of people being rude or ill-mannered in the process?

The Declining Art of Conversation

There was a time when carrying a conversation was truly an art. It was something people looked forward to and most people knew how to start and engage someone in a friendly conversation. It was interesting to find out simple things like where are you from?  What are your likes or dislikes?  And what do you do? People took a genuine interest in other people. But that was then and this is now! According to the PEW Research Center, 13% of cell owners [have] pretended to be using their phone in order to avoid interacting with the people around them. It’s true that no one can argue the tremendous benefits that we receive from cell phones usage-but does it come at some cost?

The Emergence of Social Media 

Just as mobile phones has capture the world, at the same time so has social media. With the emergence of social media on the internet, and the fact that organizations are learning how to use it to reach people, we are forced to go back to reinstate this simple and valuable art- the art of engagement and conversation. Yes, social media in some ways is taking us back to “school.”

Now as for the individual on the outset of this article-did she ever engage in a real conversation with the person she was having the disagreement with? She had a difficult time doing so. She still wanted to communicate only by texting. So don’t be like this workmate- don’t be a zombie glued to a device in your hand ConversationDrop the text messaging and talk to one another-just talk! Remember it’s people that makes the world go around not technology! So make good use of your mobile device, but don’t let it kill the one of the greatest gift we have as humans-the art of conversation!

I hoped liked this post on mobile phone use and the art of conversation. What do you think? What is your observation? Please leave your comments below.

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How to Craft a Killer “Elevator Pitch” For Your Business

This article will explain the elements of a powerful elevator pitch and then walk you through how to craft your own.

What is an Elevator Pitch?

This is the 30-60 second business description of what you do and why someone should work with you. It’s called an “Elevator Pitch” because it describes the challenge: “How would you explain your business and make a sale if fate placed you in an elevator with your dream prospect and you only had the time it takes to get from the top of the building to the bottom?”

Why Is Having an Elevator Pitch So Important?
You only have 30-60 seconds to make a powerful first impression. The attention span of the average person is just 30 seconds before their mind starts wandering. The other reason is people have less time today. You need to grab them quickly or lose them forever.

Essential Elements of a Powerful Elevator Pitch
1. Concise. Your pitch should take no longer than 30-60 seconds.

2. Clear. Use language that everyone understands. Don’t use fancy words thinking it will make you sound smarter. Your listener won’t understand you and you’ll have lost your opportunity to hook them.

3. Powerful. Use words that are powerful and strong. Deliver the “Sis-Boom-Bang” to grab their attention!

4. Visual. Use words that create a visual image in your listeners mind. This will make your message memorable.

5. Tell a Story. A short story, that is. A good story is essentially this: someone with a problem either finds a solution or faces tragedy. Either type of story can be used to illuminate what you do.

6. Targeted. A good elevator pitch is aimed for a specific audience. If you have target audiences that are vastly different, you might want to have a unique pitch for each.

7. Goal Oriented. A great elevator pitch is designed with a specific outcome in mind. What is your desired outcome? You may have different pitches depending on different objectives. For instance do you want to: make a sale , gain a prospect, enlist support for an idea, or earn a referral.

8. Has a Hook. This is the element that literally snags your listener’s interest and makes them want to know more. This is the phrase or words that strike a chord in your listener.
How to Craft Your Killer Elevator Pitch

  • Write down what you do. Write it several different ways. Try writing it at least 10-20 different ways. Don’t edit yourself at all. You will edit later. This first step is for generating ideas. Don’t hold back. Ideas can be goofy, serious, wild, funny, or conservative. It doesn’t matter. The goal is to get at many ideas as possible down on paper.
  • Write a very short story that illustrates what you do for people. If necessary, the story can be long. You will boil it down later. Paint a picture with words.
  • Write down your objective or goal. Do you want to make a sale, gain a prospect, enlist support for an idea, earn a referral, or something else?
  • Write 10-20 action statements. This is a statement or question designed to spur the action associated with your goal.
  • Record yourself. You can use Dragon Dictation if you don’t have a recording device. Dragon Dictation is a free phone based service that translates your messages into text as well as providing an online link to the original audio.
  • Let it sit. Come back to what you’ve written with fresh eyes and ears the next day or later on in the same day.
  • Highlight the good stuff. Listen and read through what you’ve recorded and written. Then either highlight or circle the phrases that hook you with clear, powerful, and visual words. Obviously not all the words will fall into these categories. You still need connector words, but you want them to be as few as possible.
  • Put the best pieces together. Again you’ll want to write down several versions of this much tighter pitch. Tell us what you do and why people should want to do business with you. Include elements from your story if you can fit it in.
  • Do a final edit cutting as many unnecessary words as possible. Rearrange words and phrases until it sounds just right. Again, the goal is 30-60 seconds maximum.
  • Dress Rehearsal. Run it by as many people as you can get to listen to you. Get feedback from colleagues, clients you trust, friends and family.
  • Done for now. Take your final elevator pitch and write it down. Memorize and practice it until it just slides off your tongue naturally.
  • Continue to improve. Over time, always be on the listen for phrases that you think could make your elevator pitch more clear and impactful. And then test it out. Every once in a while you will probably benefit by starting from scratch because things always change: you, your business , your goals, and your clients’ needs.

By K Stone of Life Learning Today

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10 Efficient Tips to Keep Your Personal Life and Still Be a Social Media Rockstar

I think we can all feel confident when saying “social media is here and here to stay.” What we probably are not so comfortable with is juggling our social media endeavors with our personal life. I’m sure social media doesn’t take away all of your personal life, but it can impose on it greatly if you aren’t careful. There are probably people who haven’t even begun to dabble in the social media
world for fear of not having time or it taking up too much time. Great point! However, at this point in the world, you really can’t afford not to be a part of social media. In either case, listed below are 10 tips to avoid losing out on life and how to manage your social media time.

1. Just Skim: When beginning a promotion, most of the first phase is conducting research and reading. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, blogs or websites, to cut down on time spent, just skim it. By doing this, you can pull what you feel is worth spending your time reading and not have to worry about the rest.

2. Use your RSS Feed: Be selective when subscribing to different RSS feeds, but definitely use it. Any information you want to catch up on will be listed there. These same rules apply to who you follow on Twitter and newsletters you subscribe to. Choose wisely and be sure whatever it is adding value.

3. Consider a Timer: If you’d really like to manage your online time, set an allotted amount of time dedicated for this. It may help to set a timer and when it goes off, you’ll know it’s time to move on to something else.

4. Automate whenever possible: Automating can be the key to your online happiness. When you have autoresponders or auto content generators in place they can save you scads of time. An easy and quick way to implement this might be your newsletter sign-ups. There are a variety of systems that will allow you to easily automate sign-ups. Even if you have a giveaway for signing up, the system can handle this too

5. Consolidate, Don’t Reiterate: If you are trying to keep up with everything, your Twitter, Facebook, Squidoo and a blog, there are ways to minimize updating them all. You can do so by doing it all at once. “How?” you ask. All of these programs can be linked together so when you update one, it will go out to all social media accounts. Many of these sites can be linked together and to a main site. This main site can be your blog, if you wish. Twitterfeed is a great place where you can update your Twitter, every time you update your blog. Your Twitter can be linked to Facebook and Squidoo.

6. Develop a Routine: Dedicate a specific time for social media on a regular basis and stick with it. It should be long enough to update your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

7. Stick to Essentials: The internet can be considered a great influence on “lost time.” One second you’re looking at a TV listing, and then something about how to make money online, and then possibly an ad for shoes we just have to have. Four hours later and you’ve found new interests in paranormal studies, cherry tomatoes and how to move to Alaska. Stick to what you were planning to do and then leave. Also, over time you will learn where to spend your time the best and it will get easier to stay on track.

8. Don’t be a Follower: Many people may give you their advice on which sites are the best for what. The thing to do is to decide which social media tool will benefit your needs the best. You don’t have to use them all, and if one isn’t working for you, go try a different one.

9. Plan: To make sure you’re spending this social media time wisely and to its full advantage, it may be good to make a simple plan. With your “dedicated social media time,” knowing to stick with the essentials and a routine put into place, developing a list of “to-dos” and goals around these should help you to stay focused. If you’re focused and determined, you’re bound not to waste any time.

10. Hire a Social Media Virtual Assistant: Ultimately, if you don’t feel you have time to even start a social media quest, or if you’ve tried and it’s just not for you but you still want to take advantage of all the awesomeness that it can bring, hiring a social media virtual assistant is another option and a fantastic idea. For example, https://regjackonline.com can help you quickly, effectively, and it’s affordable. Reggie at RTJ Online, can help create, manage and update all of your social media needs, which can be WAY more rewarding than doing it yourself if you feel like you’re in a crunch. So don’t miss that dinner date! Cruise on over to his website and see how many things he can do to help guide your social media presence, while keeping it updated and running efficiently.
By Dawn Pigoni of http://besocialworldwide.com

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What Your Body Language Say About You-Professionally

Whether it’s a business or personal interaction, multiple studies show that as much as 50-90% of the communication is nonverbal. That means that people who are addicted to text messaging and e-mail may be sending only half the message, and receivers often misinterpret even that half.

Yet the use of text messaging for business purposes continues to grow, in concert with more of Gen-Y entering the workplace, and a continuing increase in the global rate of texting by everyone. This total rate now exceeds seven billion texts sent per day, according to a new mobile marketing website (more than one per day for every person on earth).

But are these text messages an efficient and appropriate business tool? Where body language is part of the message, it definitely is not.

Sure, there are many cases where a 10-word text message, or 140 character social media tweet, will communicate a simple message more efficiently than a face-to-face discussion. But most business processes, like negotiating a contract, closing a sale, customer support, or managing employees, are much more complicated than just words.

Eye Contact

The eyes are the most powerful part of our body language, and can express everything from happiness, annoyance, interest, to pain. Frequent eye contact is interpreted as honesty and forthrightness. Staring is interpreted as too aggressive. These are obvious in person, but lost in a text message.

Posture

If you are trying to appear dominant or authoritative, stand erect with shoulders back. A slumped position usually indicates insecurity, guilt, or weakness. A dominant sounding text message, on the other hand, generates anger rather than acceptance.

Mirroring

 

Most people feel more comfortable and open with people in a similar position to themselves. An example would be sitting down to meet with a key vendor, rather than standing to deliver demands. Good managers practice this one for personnel issues.

Handshake

This, of course, comes into play to signal openness or goodwill at the beginning of an interaction, and agreement at the end. Remember, a nice firm palm-to-palm handshake is important for sincerity. This cultural icon is totally missing from text messages and e-mails.

Hand-to-face

Even when the words sound good, hand-to-face movements such as holding the chin or scratching the face shows concern or lack of conviction. If a person is covering his mouth while telling you something, he may be lying.

Facial Expression

A critical message delivered with a smiling face will have a totally different impact than one delivered with an angry face. “Smiley face emoticons” were invented to simulate this in text messages, but they don’t always work, because the sincerity is lost.

Arms and legs position

Folded arms or crossed legs, perhaps turning away slightly, indicates a lack of interest and detachment. Later uncrossed arms and legs may be a sign of acceptance of your position or terms.(Top image)  An extrovert will have toes pointed out, introvert will keep them pointed in. None of these come through in texting.

Space occupied

Some people stand up and move around to be more dominant, maybe even threatening. Even sitting, you can stretch your legs to occupy more space. Standing while talking on the phone will make your voice sound more urgent. Maybe all CAPS will satisfy this one.

Overall, the most successful people in business learn to use the right tool for the right job. I’m supportive of using text messaging for agreeing on a time and place for a customer visit, but when I read that text messages are the new pink slips for layoffs, that’s just wrong!

By Martin Zwilling of http://businessinsider.com.

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5 Reasons You Need A Social Media Manager

Virtual AssistantBusiness owners around the globe are asking themselves whether or not they need a social media manager. However, more and more of them are noticing the popularity of social media, but don’t know how, where, when, or why they should jump on the bandwagon themselves. They notice their colleagues, peers, friends, children, and family have jumped on board, on a more personal level. But, what so many of them fail to see, is that their present and future customers have jumped on for a ride too!

Right now, as you read this, your customers are flying down the road going mach 5 with no end in sight. They’re enjoying themselves too while reading/writing reviews, articles, comments & opinions on your business. They’re chatting amongst themselves (and to the rest of the internet world) about their latest visit, what their experience was, and even how it bugs them that Sally the cashier always seems “nice”, but never says thank you when they are leaving.

Wouldn’t you love the opportunity to be in that cart flying down the road too? Do you want to know what your customers are saying about you? Do you want to be able to effectively converse back with them? Wouldn’t you love to hear, first hand, about their experiences? Wouldn’t it be great to know how they felt about Sally so you could enforce stronger cashier policies?

There is no excuse for you not being in that bandwagon yourself. If you want to continually grow your business every year with the goal of higher profits and better ROI’s, then you need to be in that cart. Most importantly, you need to be sitting in the cart as strategically as possible so your customers don’t mistake you for luggage!

If the last four paragraphs didn’t provide you with enough reasons as to why you need a social media manager…don’t fret! Here are five more:

1. Contrary to popular belief, just because your 14 year old niece has a Facebook account, that doesn’t mean she could (or should) create your own businesses fan page. Hire a professional. Your goal should be to have a better social presence than all your competitors. Better website, Facebook, Twitter etc. Hiring someone who has extensive knowledge on the platforms best suited for your business will benefit you enormously. Social media is so constantly evolving, that you want a professional handling yours that you know is up to speed with the latest tools, platforms, & strategies.

2. You must have a well thought out social media strategy if you want to succeed. You must have a plan. One that will provide a road map for you so you don’t get lost. You need to be consistent with your content and most importantly, you need to make sure your content is *valuable*.

3. Just because you already have social media platforms in place, that doesn’t mean you are using them correctly. If you have a Facebook business fan page or Twitter account that gets updated once “every now and then” (when you find the time) … you’re in trouble. It actually looks worse for your business to have inactive pages than not having any at all. Also, you want them all integrated together so they are working for you, and not the other way around.

4. You need someone to remind you -not- to be a broadcaster! It is extremely easy for someone to “hide” you on Facebook and “unfollow” you on Twitter. So easy, it can be done with one click of the mouse! You need someone helping you develop content strategies that are focused on providing engaging valuable content that people enjoy reading and make them feel comfortable enough to join in on the conversation. One of the most successful companies at doing social media is Zappos.com. Check out their Facebook site to see what I mean about engaging content.

5. Having a social media manager saves you, the business owner, time (our most valuable asset). Even though an effective social media campaign requires an “all hands on deck” approach to be effective, having a social media manager undoubtedly saves you time. They can provide you with a road map and content strategy that should make it easy for you to distinguish what is considered good and bad content. They also could take away the burden of having to log onto your computer and manage comments and updating content regularly on all platforms. They do all that for you leaving you more time to concentrate on your livelihood … your business!
By Krysty Petrucci facebook.com/TribalMedia

Now it’s your turn. Have you jumped on the social media bandwagon yet? What has been your experience thus far? What have you had difficulty with? What seemed surprisingly easy? If you haven’t jumped on yet- what’s stopping you?  What are you waiting for?

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Avoid Bad Conversations

One of the most interesting and fun parts of having a social media site is being able to jump into any conversation you feel you can share an idea or opinion about with people from all different parts of the world. Working as a social media virtual assistant, where marketing is one of your main goals, the conversation pieces you hold are necessary. However, the quality and legitimacy of those conversations really do matter.

As much as building relationships, human-to-human, is important, the quality of those relationships is also important. You may recognize that when meeting someone in person, you want to be approachable, sophisticated, and proper. Conversations that take place on social media sites should also fit within these guidelines. Conducting yourself in a professional manner shouldn’t end until you’re not working.

It’s normal to have bad conversations and good conversations. Bad ones may consist of mono voices, endless sentences, and quirky ways of expression. Good ones could also include quirkiness, but will also include meaning, depth, and less face value.
The point here is are you paying enough attention to yourself and the way you conduct your conversations? As a social media marketer or manager, most of your clients hired you because of your ambition, goals and the way you spoke to them. They don’t have much more to go off of other than how you speak and your past track record.

When you’re alone, start thinking and ask yourself some questions. How would I sound to a complete stranger? What would I say? What would I say about myself? When you’re out and about, think about the conversation you just had with the cashier or waitress. Also think about how you speak when you are at work. Being self-aware can give you more of an intelligent and professional outlook, which is very important as a social marketing assistant.

Great conversations start with positive behavior including, thoughtfulness, sharing yourself, empathy for others, and conveying insights or ideas in a positive manner. However, even when you are starting out positive it can end up in a bad place. Here are 4 ways to avoid a bad conversation:

1. Don’t be overly blunt when asking questions.

When asking questions to another person, don’t turn into a Combat Captain. Let the questions spawn organically, not brutally. Let the conversation unfold and ask questions so it can do so, but don’t pry and pry and come off too stern. That’s scary.

2. Difference of Opinion? It’s ok, embrace it!

Instead of just trying to get your point across and only giving a basic acknowledgement of the other person’s idea or opinion, even if you hate it, say more that “yea-yea.” You want to engage the person and the conversation, whether to move them towards what you think is right or not, we’re all humans and we’re entitled to our opinions. You’ll have a much better chance of swaying them your way if you just talk about it rather than shrugging it off.

3. Don’t go overboard when talking about yourself.

The last thing a person wants to hear is a two hour conversation, where the one person speaks the entire time and it’s all about them and their life. It’s boring, wasteful, and just rude. Try to avoid this at all costs. However, in my experience, to get someone on your good side and make them feel welcome, do remember to ask questions about them. It creates a more comfortable atmosphere and portrays that you care.

4. Short, Cryptic, One Way Statements = Bad

I love being witty, wise or a smarty-pants, whatever you want to call it, but there is a time and place for things like this, such as at home or once you know a person well and they know your personality. If you continue on this way, you may come off as a bit cold or mean. I know you probably don’t intend it to be that way, but not all people are like you so it’s better to just be personable rather than disengaged and short.

Great conversations are fluid, have depth, and are stimulating. They allow for connections to be made and can inspire. As a social media assistant and marketer, language is our art and we should provide the best. Working on the art of conversation can help you personally and professionally and overall, enrich your daily life.

By Dawn Pigoni of http://besocialworldwide.com

 

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