#32b How to Not Look Like a Tool in Business Communications Part Deux

Business communications are not really taught anymore. Were they ever? With social media and an air of informality, things are on the slide. Thus, the below are points I drive home to my business students each semester at the George Washington University. See the first post on this topic.

Lesson #4. Don’t default to, “Can we have a meeting/call?”

In my Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership class, mentors are assigned to students. These are busy, busy, busy women. So, I tell the students, “You want to meet with someone, get to know them. DON’T be lazy and default to the email where you say, ‘Can we have a meeting?’ This is a credibility sinker.” Why, they ask?  “Because it makes you look junior varsity,” I tell them. “You have just let them know that you either a) Have no idea what it is to be maniacally busy or b) Don’t care.”

Lesson #5.  Assume your audience has the attention span of a gnat

With complicated communications, I get creative. I will start my emails with “In this email” and bullets of what is below. I will even, by each bullet, say what is an “FYI” versus a “requires action.” Of course of course of course you MUST use the subject line of an email very strategically. I will often say their name, action required, and the topic in the subject. There CAN BE NO AMOUNT of communication spoonfeeding that is too much.

Lesson #6.  Don’t be a user

What can YOU do for the person of which you’re asking something. I like to end meetings with, “How can I support you and your major initiatives? ”  As you move up the chain and seek counsel of higher-ups, the assumption is THEY will be helping YOU. How refreshing to turn the tables and ask how you can help them? Whether it’s keeping an eye out for an intern or giving a mini Twitter lesson, you’re never to young to offer help.

Lesson #7. Honor the middleman/middlewoman

Did someone “broker” the deal and get you in touch? Well follow up with them. I tend to keep an email folder called “introductions” so I can circle back with these connectors (who make the world go round, by the way) and tell them what happened as a result of their generous effort.

Lesson #8. Start with the formal

I fly in between academic and business communities.  When I worked in the aging area, there were a lot of doctors. You need to know the rules of the industry and – within that – the preference of the person with whom you’re communicating.

You never want to be this person:

When what you need to be is this person:

How, and an example: If it’s a formal industry, or you’re not sure, just ask. Say, “How do you prefer to be addressed?” I ask this all the time of deans and  doctors. I got yelled at (via email) by a researcher in the aging area for not addressing her with “Dr.” I had been introduced to her by a fellow  member on the Alzheimer’s Association board on which I served, and defaulted to the informal (her first name). Well, this was COMPLETELY unacceptable and she let me know it. So, I always default to the formal until you know you can be informal.

Example 2: English is a dominant business language. Yet, anyone who speaks a foreign romance language knows there is a formal tense and, you always start with that. The person then tells you it’s okay to use the familiar (2nd person). We don’t have this in the U.S. Without going for the full-on Emily Post, I suggest we take some notes from more established cultures before we go too far in to the land of “c u ltr” and “ROTFL.”

PARTING THOUGHT: Is it “rude” or “getting things done”?

We capitalists love storming the castle and shaking things up.  So, before I seem too prissy with my communication advice, I should say: Don’t be so constrained by rules that you don’t get anything done. What you’re trying to do is BUILD a RELATIONSHIP.  Remember, it’s about the OTHER person and their preferences in building the RELATIONSHIP versus the arbitrary enforcing of rules.

Related Links

Your Image is You – Project a Professional Image in Writing

Back to basics? Here is a great grammar bootcamp (as you can see from the title, I believe infinitives can be split)

Find me on Twitter www.Twitter.com/ChiefHotMomma

Find me on Facebook www.Facebook.com/KathyKormanFrey

See the blog for my class at GW www.WomensLeadershipClass.wordpress.com and my upcoming private workshop for cultural exchange students www.WBL2010.wordpress.com

###

What is the Hot Mommas Project?

The Hot Mommas Project is an award-winning venture housed at the George Washington University School of Business.  We make women’s stories teachable using our “case wizard” at www.HotMommasProject.org . The Hot Mommas Project library is the first of its kind, providing scalable, global access to role models and virtual mentors that can be used by educators, trainers, and parents. We’ve been featured in Prentice Hall textbooks, the Washington Post Magazine, NPR and are the winner of a national Coleman Foundation case award.

How you can get involved: Write your story, or nominate a dynamic woman 18 or older.

Our call for 2011 nominations has begun. While the contest runs through January 31, 2011 – Start now! There will be prizes this spring and fall for early bird publishers.

How it works: Nominated women come online, write their story using our “case wizard,” and click “publish” to be permanently archived in our case library.  Winners will be published in a leading Prentice Hall textbook in addition to other honors and prizes. To participate, nominate a dynamic woman 18 or older (yourself included) here or find us on Twitter. No, you do not need to be a mom.


#32a How to Not Look Like a Tool in Your Business Communications

On Brazen Careerist the other day, Ed Barrientos introduced a topic about verbal pet peeves. You know…words, etc. that drive you nuts. As a hater of the word “moist” I jumped right on this. This post takes communication preferences one step further.

People of the world:  There are many atrocious behaviors going on out there.

Lesson #1: You look like a tool if you are not thoughtful

I have foregone my office at the George Washington University School of Business and am here in my pink fuzzy slippers, listening to Metallica, tallying the winners of the 2010 Hot Mommas Project Case Study Competition.  What a sight. Here is the communications metaphor: Don’t let a casual appearance, feeling, or vibe inappropriately impact your communications or…as the title states…you will look like a tool.  (Note, this is not to be confused with the BAND “Tool” which my three year-old daughter calls “Toodle.”) This point will be made over and over again over during these posts. The social media and work-at-home revolution has created a Darwinian dividing line. My hypothesis:  Individuals who have ALWAYS had a good understanding of people EXCEL in these ambiguous or contradictory social/business communication situations. They can handle it, because they get people. This is something you can practice and grow into, but – you have to want to.

Lesson #2: Students – you can get away with murder. Normal people – not so much.

Here is an actual email I sent to a student yesterday after he – shall we say – threw me under the bus with a contact I gave him.  The rules were “introduce yourself and say you’re a fan.”  Instead, he sent my contact a “can we talk and can you look at my resume and here is the attachment” email. Aaack! This kind of stuff makes me cringe. Don’t get me wrong, this kid is great. He owned up right away and I bear no ill will. But, here is what I told him:

Email (names are disguised, of course)

From: “Student name”
Sent: Monday, March 15, 2010 5:38 PM
To: Kathy Korman Frey
Subject: Re: FW: Kathy Korman Frey Follow-up / “Famous Person” Book Title

Student Name.

When we originally spoke, hitting “Famous Person” up for internship ideas or a call was not part of it. It was about making contact and letting her know the impact of her book. Hitting someone up for advice, looking at your resume, etc – in my world view – are things that come later, once an acknowledgement of your email is established. Also, assuming someone of her stature will look at an attachment and set up a call with you makes you look naïve. (I am saying this in a nice “I-want-you-to-come-off-looking-sophisticated” way vs a super critical way).

[….Other stuff, other stuff, other stuff…..]

Prof Frey

Lesson #3. EARN your way into a relationship.

There is no finger-snapping, just-add-water relationship building. Even getting to know folks via Twitter or Facebook is a process and investment. Later in my email, I told the student,

“Don’t be the naïve undergrad who fails to recognize how RIDICULOUSLY busy a person  like ‘Famous Person’ is. You need to EARN your way into relationships.”

These are my rules of thumb for communicating with busy / famous people:

  • 30 seconds – First, you earn 30 seconds – MAYBE – via a glance at an email (less if it’s a Tweet).
  • Follow up – You earn NO additional time if they don’t respond to you. Instead, you earn an additional follow-up via phone (novel concept) where you leave a message saying you sent an email, and the bottom line of that email. And/ or, you forward the email and say in a non passive-aggressive way a la “I just wanted to be sure this came through. You made a big impact on me.”
  • Off the grid – The BEST next thing you can do is try to attend something they are attending and meet them face to face. If that is not possible, approach them on Twitter or Facebook or Linked in and remind them of who you are (that person who knows such and such who emailed you). If there is some advice you want, mention that, and how quick it will be.
  • Five to fifteen – When you approach for the advice, plan on getting from the person a five  minute email – minimum – up to  a 15 minute phone call – max.
  • Bonus Round – Anything else is a miracle and you should be thanking your lucky stars.

Wrap up: Treat a busy person’s time as they do (VALUABLE)

You’ll be an immediate stand-out in their minds versus the scads of other folks constantly asking them for things.

PARTING THOUGHTS: Has basic communication gone by the wayside? Perhaps I am old-fashioned in my advice.  However, I strongly suspect that being courteous and thoughtful will never be out of style.

Stay tuned for my next post including advice like, “Don’t be a user” and other strong opinions on communication.

Related Links

Your Image is You – Project a Professional Image in Writing

Back to basics? Here is a great grammar bootcamp (as you can see from the title, I believe infinitives can be split)

Find me on Twitter www.Twitter.com/ChiefHotMomma

Find me on Facebook www.Facebook.com/KathyKormanFrey

See the blog for my class at GW www.WomensLeadershipClass.wordpress.com

###

What is the Hot Mommas Project?

The Hot Mommas Project is an award-winning venture housed at the George Washington University School of Business.  We make women’s stories teachable using our “case wizard” at www.HotMommasProject.org . The Hot Mommas Project library is the first of its kind, providing scalable, global access to role models and virtual mentors that can be used by educators, trainers, and parents. We’ve been featured in Prentice Hall textbooks, the Washington Post Magazine, NPR and are the winner of a national Coleman Foundation case award.

How you can get involved: Write your story, or nominate a dynamic woman 18 or older.

Our call for 2011 nominations has begun. While the contest runs through January 31, 2011 – Start now! There will be prizes this spring and fall for early bird publishers.

How it works: Nominated women come online, write their story using our “case wizard,” and click “publish” to be permanently archived in our case library.  Winners will be published in a leading Prentice Hall textbook in addition to other honors and prizes. To participate, nominate a dynamic woman 18 or older (yourself included) here or find us on Twitter. No, you do not need to be a mom.

#31 Are Entrepreneurs Really Crazy? Escaping: The Vortex.

Enter: THE VORTEX. (click here) Prior to the semi-calm and orderly exchange pasted below, I entered what I called “the vortex.” This means I was nuts.  The Hot Mommas Project process is based on nominating dynamic women over the age of 18 to act as role models through writing their stories. Thus, I nominated women, re-nominated women, sent reminder emails, got the team to send reminder emails…the list goes on. This was all because of my passion for my project (combined with an inability to accept failure and a kind of control-freakishness). It was a gravitational pull.

The VORTEX IS REAL. It turns out, that many entrepreneurs literally do suffer from a kind  “Hypomania.” Only, because it makes people money, we celebrate it and call it “drive” and “persistence.”

Below, I deconstruct the VORTEX and explain how I escaped it. This was yesterday, however.

1. The situation (no, not my abs) If this pop culture reference escapes you – click here. Last night at midnight the second annual Hot Mommas Project Case Study Competition came to an end. Today, we are playing clean up on some technical errors on the site.

What I want/deserve/should be doing: Watching Lady Gaga and Elton John’s Grammy performance as a reward for hitting nearly 200 case studies and – officially – being the world’s largest women’s case study database!

What I doing instead: Sending nerdy emails – like the following- because I am an obsessed entrepreneur. It’s a problem. Below, I not only address the current issue at hand, I start speculating about the future, the team that will get together, and roles. I’m thinking, “Can’t I just CHILL for ONE DAY?”

****

Cast of Characters: “Dave” – Dave Juth, our developer at FMS Inc. , “Achin”Achin Jain our Learning Community Manager (in India), “Luke” Luke Chung – owner of FMS Inc.

Dave,

THE WOMEN HAVE ROCKED IT OUT!!! Our second annual case study competition ended last night. We are almost up to 200 cases now and officially the world’s largest women’s case study library. I was wondering about using FMS’s site, again, for judging. Thoughts?  Here is what Achin says:

“It would be nice to see whether Dave would let us use FMS server again for judging. Tell him that I will send him the database file whenever we are done fixing the technical errors and ready to move to the judging phase. He will just have to do a copy and paste job.”

Tell me if I need to ask Luke about this. Overdue, anyway, to talk to him (see PS)

Kathy

P.s. For LATER, planting seeds:

I also now have a list of things we need to fix, update, etc. and need to have a conversation with Luke.

Looking ahead, I was wondering – also – about including in our meeting some social media guys as experts to say “this will work, this won’t, this will be better for SEO and communities and mobile apps” and yada yada. I need to figure out what is possible for Achin to do, and what FMS needs to do, as we move forward.

****

3. So, Are We REALLY CRAZY? Well in looking over this, I skipped #2, and am too lazy to go back and fix it. So, that’s not a great sign. A book by John Gartner on the topic of nutty entrepreneurs has the following quote:

Hypomania–a mild form of mania–drove many of America’s most famous leaders and entrepreneurs to succeed.

4. UH, OKAY, MAYBE THE VORTEX JUST = CRANKINESS. I read VCMike’s blog, I realize I bear almost NONE of the traits of hypomania. Here they are:

  • pressured speech; rapid talking
  • inflated self-esteem or grandiosity;
  • decreased need for sleep;
  • flight of ideas or the subjective experience that thoughts are racing;
  • easy distractibility and attention-deficit (superficially similar to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder);
  • increase in psychomotor agitation; and
  • involvement in pleasurable activities that may have a high potential for negative psycho-social or physical consequences (e.g., the person engages in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments)

I do tend to have a racing mind. But, that’s about it. So, basically my nuttiness was not leading to a grandiose entrepreneurial success. It’ s just nuttiness.  Time to ESCAPE THE VORTEX.

5. ESCAPE THE VORTEX – To escape the racing thoughts and panic, I first tried to do what earth-beings call “Letting Go.” I envisioned everything turning out okay, and that my worrying was pointless. It didn’t work.

6. ESCAPE THE VORTEX – PART DEUX – So I was onto Part Deux. One realization is that I had failed to set up “shifts” between the team members in advance of the last week of the contest. It made me feel better to recognize this blunder, and plan more effectively for next year instead of fashioning voo-doo dolls and putting them on a shrine in the corner of my room and lighting three candles and…KIDDING!

7. ESCAPE THE VORTEX – PART THREE. Sealing the deal of “Escaping the Vortex” was MOVING ON. I mentally moved on from this year’s case study competition, and started thinking about next year’s. Who would be nominated? Would we do year-round training on case writing? What about early-bird submission prizes? Thinking about SOLUTIONS and moving on is what helped me fully exit the vortex…until this morning.

8. THIS IS YOUR LIFE. THIS IS YOUR LIFE ON CRAZY ENTREPRENEURSHIP. My kids did not in any way, shape or form agree to this last sentence. Yet, somehow I feel very frustrated when I am on my Blackberry needing to respond to case-writers about technical issues, and the munchkins claiming they are mine are relentless about wanting to play in the snow and watch Spongebob. Aha! In addition to having shifts for my staff and myself in next year’s case study competition, I definitely need to set up shifts for my FAMILY! For instance:

  • Example 1: If I had a staff member on a shift this morning, I handle the kids stress-free.  It would not be “battle of the Crackberry.”
  • Example 2: During the 11th hour of the competition, my husband was out of town and we had no sitter. And it snowed.  So, now I am getting my husband’s travel schedule for the ENTIRE YEAR so I can plan better next time.
  • I’m sure I’ll have some other brilliant realizations, but, now I am just tired from the Vortex’s G-Force.

9. DELEGATION & EXECUTIVE-LEVEL TOOLKIT BUILDING. This is really the key.

  • Lesson 1. Learning to manage and delegate – not just lead – is what I am growing here in my executive-level toolkit. My workplace is virtual and flexible. It requires a few more check-ins than a traditional office environment.
  • Lesson 2. Furthermore, when we entrepreneurs try to do it all ourselves, and then enter the VORTEX, that is when we feel bad, overwhelmed, unsuccessful.
  • Lesson 3. And, let’s be honest. Those close to us feel it right along with us. Escaping the VORTEX is not just a “nice to have,” it’s a “need to have.”

Conclusion: So, my belated New Year’s Resolution is to think and plan ahead as I never have before.

The goal: STAY OUT OF THE VORTEX.

10. FINAL ACT – TAMING THE VORTEX. In the final taming-of-the-vortex act, I WILL watch Lady Gaga’s Grammy performance. Heck! I may even watch Pink too!  And Beyonce! I am going to walk the Hot Mommas Project talk and realize that smart Hot Mommas know when they are using their powers for good, or using them for evil. And, the Vortex is EVIL! Time to exit, and focus on Grammy playbacks, reading over fabulous and inspiring cases that never cease to amaze me, and a night at home with my little munchkins while daddy is at a Wizards game.

What are your tools for escaping the “Entrepreneurial Vortex?”

***

What is the Hot Mommas Project?

The Hot Mommas Project is an award-winning venture housed at the George Washington University School of Business.  We make women’s stories teachable using our “case wizard” at www.HotMommasProject.org . The Hot Mommas Project library is the first of its kind, providing scalable, global access to role models and virtual mentors that can be used by educators, trainers, and parents. We’ve been featured in Prentice Hall textbooks, the Washington Post Magazine, NPR and are the winner of a national Coleman Foundation case award.

How you can get involved: Write your story, or nominate a dynamic woman 18 or older.

Our call for 2011 nominations has begun. While the contest runs through January 31, 2011 – Start now! There will be prizes this spring and fall for early bird publishers.

How it works: Nominated women come online, write their story using our “case wizard,” and click “publish” to be permanently archived in our case library.  Winners will be published in a leading Prentice Hall textbook in addition to other honors and prizes. To participate, nominate a dynamic woman 18 or older (yourself included) here or find us on Twitter. No, you do not need to be a mom.

#30 Would You Read This? My Book Outline for Women and The New Sisterhood of Success

It’s that time again. Time to stop messing around and throw down the gauntlet for myself, much as I did in the first post in March, 2008. At that time, I could not see what lay ahead. All I saw was fear, no money, and a bunch of to-do lists and ideas that never seemed to get done. Piece by piece – and while being incredibly cheap aka “resourceful” – I recruited help, enlisted partners, built the Hot Mommas Project story-telling software, and then…the clincher: THE WOMEN. Women came from everywhere…from Twitter…from HARO queries…from mail blasts…from blog posts….from media appearances…from the George Washington University School of Business newsletter! They showed up, ready to fight. They said:

“We are here to fight to make the next generation better, and more prepared, and self-confident. I am here to share what I have learned, good and bad, so that we may have options in life, instead of being told what our options are.”

They told their stories, and the ripple effect never stopped. Stay-at-home moms inspired corporate execs. Victims of abuse inspired start-up entrepreneurs.  Entrepreneurs who lost, and then found, their way inspired students. Cancer survivors inspired everyone. I didn’t grow up with sisters, but, I got over 100 sisters last year. These incredible women who told their stories to help the next generation, and each other, are my Everyday Revolutionaries.

But, I STILL remember that feeling…sitting there in my office, writing my first blog post, and not seeing ANY of that. It’s sort of how I feel now. I should be writing a book, I should be getting more nominations for the Hot Mommas Project 2010 case competition, I should, I should, I should. So, once again, I humbly turn to my invisible…yet not so invisble…audience. Here is my idea for my book. I have lots of people ready to run with this and help me when I finish my outline, which I never seem to be able to do. (Who is helping me? Aside from friends’ connections to book agents, I have to give MASSIVE shout outs to pitch and media experts Sam Horn, and Marc Silverstein).

Book concept/Title:

How to be a Hot Momma

The New Sisterhood of Success

Enduring message: Here is HOW to do it based on how Hot Mommas do it (life, career, etc.). Hear it straight from the mouths of your sisters, friends, mothers, and aunts…because we care. Oh, yeah, and we also want you to rule the world.

Why you should listen: This will be the Belly Laughs mixed with Four Hour Work Week of business/life books. Not only will this be immensely fun to read, and possibly contain some profanity depending on the author’s coffee levels and general level of crankiness, but – also – there are actual FACTS and HOW TOs based on:

  • The largest library of teachable role models in the world (they taught, we listened, and now we bring those lessons to you).
  • Cutting-edge, inside-look research detailing the practices of hundreds of driven AND happy women.
  • Highlights from the award-winning Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership class at the George Washington University School of Business.

[This part makes me cringe, but, I’ve been told by my husband and others I need to go ahead and pimp myself out]

Author: It is I, your humble So-You-Think-You-Can-Dance-watching, kid-chasing, husband-raising, coffee-drinking author who also happens to have a Harvard MBA, teach college students, and have an illustrious career (entrepreneur and former corporate wheeler and dealer and nonprofit executive in the aging sector). In the “for what it’s worth” category I am a DC Twitter Elite, write for Maria Shriver Women’s Conference site, and have been dubbed “one of the nation’s top business bloggers” by HSM’s World Business Forum.  Bio link.

If you choose to believe the above, please read on … we’re almost to the good part.

The following has been said about “How to Be a Hot Momma” author, Kathy Korman Frey:

“You have something in your teeth.”

Oh, wait, wrong quote …this is it:

“Kathy is like a modern day guardian angel, without a God complex.  She navigates us through stories and helps women apply them to their own lives.”

Mysterious and Powerful Entertainment Industry Corporate Communications Executive

Now that I’ve paid the nice lady five, crisp, $100 dollar bills…here’s the outline:

Chapters:

Foreward…Hopefully by one of the Hot Mommas extremely impressive judges from 2009 or 2010.

Intro: Who is a Hot Momma? Hot Mommas think being perfect is boring.  Hot Mommas are entrepreneurs of life: Making their own rules, and finding their own way, and having the self-confidence to do that. And the number one trait of a Hot Momma that distinguishes her from all others? A Hot Momma helps her sisters. She learns, and doesn’t stop there; she pays it forward so that others may learn.

Major steps in becoming a Hot Momma (in the book, I plan to use Sam Horn’s IDEA framework: I = Idea, D = Detail, E = Example, A = Application).

1. Self confidence – First, a Hot Momma must believe she can do it. Tips for building life-long self-confidence are discussed in this section.

  • “Grey boxes” (fun stats) will include research showing the self-confidence differential between women and girls, and our male counterparts.
  • Resources: Examples of Hot Mommas who have been through the self-confidence building process, how they did it, and links to templates and tools.

2. Idea generation – A Hot Momma’s GPS is constantly on the lookout for the intersection of “Passion Ln.” and “Idea Ave.” When those two meet, BINGO. But, the Hot Momma also knows that the journey is part of the trip.

  • Grey boxes: Stats on idea creation, and neurological information on women.
  • Resources: Examples of Hot Mommas who have been through the idea generation process and how they did it. Mind Mapping, Opportunity Recognition, and Passion Inventory exercises used in GWSB’s award-winning Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership class are included.

3. Okay, that was too many ideas – Focus, implementation – Sometimes, the brain of a Hot Momma is in overdrive. There can be ideas, then too many ideas. There can be to-dos, but then too many to dos. This chapter focuses on how to reign in the brain of the Hot Momma, and use its power for good…using…”The F Word” (FOCUS).

  • Grey Boxes: Stats from Hot Mommas Project mentor survey on traits for success, including focus.
  • Resources: Examples of “master focuser “(is that a word?) Hot Mommas, their tips and tricks, and a daily action-plan template.

4. Stocking the toolkit – Key tips for women only, communication, negotiation, and more. Did you know that women engage in certain behaviors (by accident) in communicating and negotiating with people, bosses, roommates, etc? This chapter deals with the most important things Hot Mommas try to improve on to get out there and take on the world.

  • Grey Boxes: Statistics on communication, negotiation, resulting salary differentials, and other key facts.
  • Resources: We draw from outside the Hot Mommas Project data pool for this section as most women don’t even KNOW they are engaging in these behaviors which impact their success.

5. Be a game changer – Hot Mommas are entrepreneurs because they have to be, they are miserable where they are, or they hear the distant call of “Passion Ln.” and “Idea Ave.” However they became entrepreneurial, Hot Mommas just ARE. At home, at work, in their communities. They take the pieces of the puzzle and don’t just put them together WELL, they put them together DIFFERENTLY.

  • Grey Boxes: The Hot Mommas Project literally created the data set on women as game changers. We reveal our previously unpublished data, and compare it to existing “traditional” data which shove women into traditional categories (part-time, full-time, etc.).
  • Resources: Case studies on game changers from the Hot Mommas Project survey and case library will be highlighted. Tools and templates on “how to be a game changer” will be included.

6. Balance – This is high on the radar screen of women and families everywhere.  We take on the concept of balance with three critical topics: Perspective, Organization, and Delegation.  Many women treat balance as if it is an end in and of itself.  The evolved Hot Momma treats balance as a MEANS to an end. Something to achieve, and move on, so that they can get onto number 7, back to number 3, or go rogue with some other activity like bathing. The topic of managing expectations (self, and others) is also addressed.

  • Grey Boxes: Former Harvard Business School Professor and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Dennis Hightower states: “A good manager can make decisions with between 40 and 70 percent information.”  We apply this statistic to balance, encouraging women make sure that achieving balance is a hurdle, not a brick wall. We validate womens’ concerns about balance by revealing data on dual income couples, and common responses and attitudes about balance from our Hot Mommas Project survey and previously unpublished “Balance Snapshot” database.
  • Resources: Tips from Hot Mommas Project “Master Balancers” – the top 10 percent of our survey-takers who are highly driven, and highly balanced both personally and professionally. If they can do it, we can do it.

7. Mentoring and support systems. Hot Mommas not only HAVE mentors, they ARE mentors. Hot Mommas have an internal call to action that leads them to pass on their learnings to others both formally (through the Hot Mommas Project and other outlets) and informally. They mentor, because they have been mentored. Hot Mommas have a large support network, and are more successful because of it.

  • Grey Boxes: Hot Mommas Project research on the hierarchy and scale of support networks will be shared.
  • Resources: A Five Minute Mentor template will be shared that can be used with mentees, mentors, and at work or at home. Did you know your whole family could serve as a mentor? Learn how in this chapter.

Thank you for reading. The last step is to fill out this poll (I’ll use it in my book proposal!). Thank you, again.

Want to get involved with the project? Go to www.HotMommasProject.org and NOMINATE a dynamic woman you know to share her story, and help the next generation. Winners of our annual case study competition will be published in a major Prentice Hall Textbook.  Here is our 2010 press release.

#29 Free Online Business Tools for Which I am Thankful – Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time

If you’re like me, then the holidays are the only time you have to dig out the neurons covered in dust that have been on sabbatical while you:

–         Herd cats

–         Deal with other mammals in your life

–         Follow your own grandiose visions

So, I am using this post to share some of my favorite “get your act together” tools I use for “dealing” on a daily basis. Keep in mind, I am a busy, quasi-stressed out mom, entrepreneur, and colossal nerd.

THINGS I USE TO DEAL ON A DAILY BASIS

  1. www.Mint.com – A free finance tool
  2. www.Doodle.com – Easy group scheduling tool (see “cat herding” above)
  3. www.GoogleDocs.com – I use an excel sheet in Google Docs to manage my team, some of whom are virtual. Love it.
  4. www.PollDaddy.com – Polls are a great. I really like them. The fact that they are free makes them even better. You can use Google Forms as well.
  5. www.EventBrite.com – This was introduced to me by the guys at iStrategyLabs. Use it for your real life events or virtual seminars. You will see why.
  6. 1888PressRelease.com – Good stuff. I always like things that give you reach you don’t deserve because you have no money. But, we can’t let that stop us!
  7. www.TwitterAnalyzer.com – Gives me good stats I can share with the guys in my department and let them know I’m not TOTALLY wasting time.
  8. www.SlimTimer.com – It’s like you’re back in high school with your mom telling you to get your homework done. Love it.
  9. Six O’Clock Scramble – Healthy meals in 30 minutes. I’m sure I would use this if I cooked. Okay, also, this is not business. But, you gotta cook, right? And if you spend 30 less minutes on cooking, then that’s 30 more minutes for your business.
  10. www.FitDay.com – While we’re on the health topic, my favorite free health tool. Most entrepreneurs I know in EO (Entrepreneurs Oranization where you’re under 40 and have sales of $1 million or more) have some major hobby, including working out, etc.

What tools are you thankful for (more like the above, and less like – uh – a jack hammer). Or, as my aunt and dad and other erudite folks might correct me, “For what tools are you thankful?”

 

THINGS THAT ARE HIGHLY ANNOYING.

I have just read this blog, and am feeling quite snarky now. I am less thankful for the following:

  • Trump Network on Twitter– How did Trump let this happen to his name?
  • The “make cash at home” people
  • The “make money on Google” people
  • The “you can earn money on Twitter” people
  • When I am looking for a document on my computer and click through like six windows, and then do that every time I need to find a document, several times a day, for years.

IF YOU DON’T LAUGH, YOU’LL CRY

It is important to laugh, because if you don’t laugh you’ll cry. Here are some of my favorite sites right now. These are only for people with sick senses of humor. If you are “normal,” don’t bother.

  1. @darthvader – That’s right, you heard me.
  2. Does this Blog Make Us Look Fat?
  3. The Bloggess
  4. The Onion

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and don’t forget to nominate the dynamic women in your life (over 18) as a role model for the Hot Mommas Project 2010 case competition. We make everyday women’s stories teachable to help the next generation. Email us with your nomination including name, contact, and reason for nomination.

Related links:

Why Mentoring Matters for Girls and Women – and How to Be Part of the Solution

My Interview on Washington Business Tonight on “Hibernating for Business” (Windows Media Player Needed)

#28 – Free Black Friday Gifts: The Gift of Mentorship – Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time

Today I posted this attempt at inspiration on our main blog. As Kevin Roberts of Saatchi & Saatchi says, it’s not enough to just get attention. People want INSPIRATION.

So – how to get tactical about inspiration is the topic of this post. I will update this insider’s post throughout the week to let you know how it’s going. It’s starting with a news show.

All of this is being done to:

1.  Launch The Hot Mommas Project 2010 Case Study Competition

2. In preparation for my appearance on Washington Business Tonight with Rebecca Cooper (11.24)

Stay tuned for our Black Friday “Give the Gift of Mentorship” developments.

lg-share-en

*****************************************

What is this, where I am, who are you? If this is your first time here, this is the insider’s blog for The Hot Mommas Project. We are the world’s largest collection of teachable role models and virtual mentors for women and girls.  We are housed at the George Washington University School of Business (where I teach) and have an audacious goal of becoming a million dollar venture…while being led by a mom working part time. Click here to nominate someone.  See more on our about page.

*****************************************

11.23.09 – 12.28 pm UPDATE. FINALIZING MESSAGING, INITIAL DISTRIBUTION. This morning, before running off to my daughter’s Thanksgiving school thingy,  I began our promotion of the 2010 case study competition. It started with:

  • Slideshow. Two different versions of the Hot Mommas Project “Everyday Revolutionary” slideshow                 ( Slideshare and authorStream -which is animated). I am intrigued with this medium for getting across messages.
  • Blog posts. A must, of course, to cover your bases. Two blog posts (the insider’s blog post, which you are reading, and our main blog)
  • Twitter and Facebook. Sending links out on Twitter and Facebook with two different “taglines.” Here they are, verbatim:

1. “Everyday Revolutionaries-Women Making a Difference http://tinyurl.com/ykjdwup #wgbiz

2. “Mentors MATTER for women/girls.Be part of the solution with the gift of mentorship http://ad.vu/mxqz

The second one is getting re-tweeted a lot. So, I will use that title for a press release on 1888PressRelease.com, although I do like this press release from Girls With Dreams that goes right to their site. We just need to get our act together tech-wise and do that. We have prioritized content and surveying/data over tech and I think it’s beginning to show. Anywhoo, here is who retweeted so far:

Twitterati who care:

@alizasherman @Rieva@SalesBogcast@WomanWifeMomMe @Joannefunc@LydiaFernandes @AUJOEevents@BobBurg @TheMojoCoach@agoldfisher

Incredible folks. On Twitter, you start to learn who your friends are. But, they are like your over-achiever friends who push your message out there for you because they are excited about it. It’s quite incredible, actually.

Couple nuggets:

Twitter/FB sync tool. I have a program installed that allows Tweets to selectively show up on my Facebook profile when I add “#fb” at the end. While I’ve never really gotten any big business leverage out of Facebook, I know some have, and that it is always good to be at least somewhat familiar with certain social media avenues and be willing to test.

Slideshare/FB sync. On Slideshare, you can sync it with your Facebook page so the slideshow shows up in the left column of your profile. One bummer is that Slideshare does NOT currently support animation.

11.24.09 – 9:39 am UPDATESo far there have been no comments on the slideshow on Slideshare or authorStream. I am trying not to render judgement too quickly, however. I think starting early, getting the message out there, and keep pushing it forward is the way.

THE BATTLE OF PRIORITIES.

Content, Promotion, Funding are my main priorities right now. This does not include managing staff, emails and basic communication, and lots of other grey area. Here is the list of things I need to do. What will win? This is the daily battle.

  • Press release – drafted, if not submitted, to 1888PressRelease.com
  • Virtual interviews (typing responses to questions for folks who are promoting the case study competition for us).
  • Real inteviews – Interview prep for the show tonight. I need to learn how to use Skype for the interview.
  • Press packet (logos, blurbs, links) for partner organizations helping us get the word out
  • Site and blog stats analysis (have delegated this to Achin so I don’t get sucked into the vortex, but even Achin is behind busy with his promotion list).
  • Get focused back on content. I want the chapters of a book outlined by the end of this month. The slideshow, or “enduring message” as pitch expert Sam Horn says, was the first step. I am hoping the enduring message is resonating.
  • Sponsor brief. I should also be doing a brief for potential sponsors. A lot of folks are waiting for this one pager. Am I nuts? My instinct is to always focus on funding. However, I am having to really focus on my business instincts and what is the right thing to do at what time.

Off to a client call, and to tackle the above to do list. Stay tuned for feedback after Washington Business Tonight.

11.25.09 2.30pm UPDATE. I have done nothing. I tend to over-prepare for any kind of media. Thus, I spent pretty much the entirety of yesterday afternoon getting ready for the Washington Business Tonight interview.  Here it is (Windows Media Required). It was on hibernating from emails and the world in general.  I did manage to check my link stats on Adjix and am fascinated by the number of people who clicked on my reference to the move “Breakin.”

#27 Confessions and Reflections – Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time

Stop SignDo you ever just stop? Stop to think. Stop to reflect. Stop to realize how far you’ve come? Stop to think about where you want to go? I’m not much of a stopper. But, today, I stop. This post is like a table of contents of the past year, as well as some inside scoop as to what was REALLY going on when I wrote these posts. Just a few  months ago, the Hot Mommas Project was just an idea and a couple of stories.  Today we are the world’s largest collection of teachable role models for women and girls. Learn more at www.HotMommasProject.org.

 P.s. If you want to read last years’ summary posts, here they are: One and Two

lg-share-en

 

*****************************************

What is this, where I am, who are you? If this is your first time here, this is the insider’s blog for The Hot Mommas Project. We are a women’s leadership project housed at the George Washington University School of Business (where I teach) and have an audacious goal of becoming a million dollar venture…while being led by a mom working part time. Our big thing right now is the Hot Mommas Project Case Study competition. Click here to nominate someone.  Click here for about page.

*****************************************

 #15a: The Press Release Back-story In the Summer of 2008 I hired FMS Inc to built a first-of-its-kind “case wizard” software so that women from around the world can be walked through the process of telling their story, so that teachable lessons can be communicated to readers. Talk about women everywhere paying it forward! It also filled a gaping void in the world of women’s leadership. Girls and women need role models for many documented and common-sense reasons. We wanted to be part of the solution.  This post represented our coming-out party. It was the day we announced the judges for the first annual Hot Mommas Project case competition. I sat at my computer, at my house, having done my first online press release, having no idea whether anyone cared or whether this would be successful. I was experiencing Entrepreneur Mania:  Feeling very crazed and looking at every detail as if it would be the make or break for us.

 #15b: Announcing Our Judges Here are our 2009 Judges. I was not sure all of these judges would say “yes.” They are impressive people, and I continue to look back and gasp that they not only said “yes,” but are incredible supporters, advocates, and mentors. It really does impact my view of the world and give me faith that people at the top get it.

 #16: How to do a Mass/Blast Email Campaign – This was a last ditch attempt to get people to write their cases at www.HotMommasProject.org. I had some “issues” with blast emails. It may sound weird, but it’s true. I feared looking cheesy. I feared making people who were important to me seem unimportant by blasting an email. Behind the scenes, I suspected my weird “issues” were actually getting in the way of the business’s reach.

 #17 How to Bring Red Carpet Cache to Your Event  – What a fun event. I think I’d forgotten I could have fun. It also connected me with my deep appreciation of the arts. This was in stark contrast to my very business-focused life with all the creativity sucked out of it. I decided creativity must be a part of the Hot Mommas Project. I met celebrities and agents and creative people. Going up to this premiere was like a celebration. It had been a tough year, and this was just FUN! I also give the scoop about red carpet events.

 #18 Top 5 Tips for Getting Media Coverage – This was Entrepreneurial Mania wave two. We started getting lots of press coverage. I should have been happy, but, it uncovered more of my “issues.” I didn’t like being in front of a camera. I call this the Wedding Theory: At your wedding, do you LOVE being the center of attention or are you secretly cringing waiting for the spotlight to be off you? I am the latter. Most people think I am the former, but I’m not. I went to many people for pep talks, and – FINALLY – now realize that press is actually an incredibly efficient way for reaching mass quantities of people in a short period of time (critical for a busy mom), and it helps establish credibility (our cornerstone). I parlayed what I learned into this post.

 #19 How We Hired an Intern on Twitter (yes..Found, Interviewed, Hired) – This was a fun experiment. It was one of those “Hey, let’s see if this idea will work” moments. And, it did. The Twitter sisterhood really came through for us here.  

 #20 – Nine important questions for entrepreneurs trying to balance – Many people (press, interns on Twitter, fabulous women and the men who support them) liked the idea of the Hot Mommas Project. I started getting requests, lots of requests, to speak on panels and at various events. This is one to which I said “yes” – The Washington Working Women’s Forum. In advance of the panel the organizers had the panelists answer some questions which got me thinking. I asked others to think along with me in this post.

 #21 Get Happy, or Get Out – AKA “Making a Deal With Your Entrepreneurial Spouse” – This was a conversation 10-plus years in coming. No matter how successful my husband’s business became, he never seemed happy. I didn’t write about this but had just spent the entire summer meeting with mentors and listening to their ideas about the Hot Mommas Project. I felt very supported and focused, and wanted to pass that mojo along. Being content is an acquired skill. This post was about beginning the conversation. It’s a bit tangential to a blog about entrepreneurship –but at the same time, it’s not.

 #22 – Reclaiming Your Energy from Emotional Vampires – Moving up in the world comes with some downsides. One of those is lawyers (sorry Dad – who is a lawyer – you guys stress me out). So, I was stressed out about some legal wranglings having to do with the Hot Mommas Project. I was spending a lot of time worrying about it. I’m very, very good at worrying. I ran myself through an exercise basically saying, ‘Hmmmm….what could get me to stop worrying.” It semi-worked so I decided to share it. Our really talented and loyal attorney  Tenley Carp also taught me a good mantra: “Trust but verify.” Coping mechanisms are key in life and I guess in business too. P.s. Everything I was stressed about wound up working out beyond what I could have even imagined. So, all the time I spent worrying was completely worthless. A good lesson.

 #23 How to Build a Killer Network Without Going to Harvard Business SchoolThis was a continuation of my learning, listening and networking summer. I decided to write about this particular series of meetings because I was in San Francisco meeting with the amazing Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz and Women’s Funding Network. When a network actually results in not only insight and inspiration, but also with partnerships that make your business go vroom, it’s worth writing about. I’m convinced this is how we’re going to be successful. It’s not going to be alone. Just as the Hot Mommas Project gives you a room full of people as supporters and mentors because we know it will lead to women’s success, so too will we succeed with that philosophy.

CONTENT SERIES – All of the 24 and 25 posts continued my summer of learning. And as much as I complain about having to focus and write curriculum, this series showed me what a TON of content I can produce in a short period of time, so I should probably stop whining.

 #24a Techniques for Learning to Improve Your Business – The GrowSmartBiz Conference – This was the first post from the #GrowSmartBiz conference sponsored by Network Solutions. It was fun, and kind of a massive drinking from the firehose of learning – as I’d been doing all summer with mentors. One of the top traits of the most successful Hot Mommas from our survey is a true passion for learning. Also, I really like Network Solutions and wanted to see who they’re targeting and their business motivations with the goal of getting them more involved with The Hot Mommas Project. There are some good nuggets in here to help small businesses survive and thrive.

 #24b Techniques for Learning to Improve Your Business – “Mr. Anderson” Chris Anderson – The concept of “Freemium” is described here based on a talk by keynoter Chris Anderson of WIRED magazine. This was very eye-opening. All businesses need to understand this concept. I couldn’t stop thinking about “Mr. Anderson” from the Matrix during his presentation.

 #25 A Woman’s Business View – The World Business Forum #WBF09 – This was an interesting experience. I was invited up as “one of the nation’s leading business bloggers” to cover the HSM World Business Forum. I am actually NOT one of the nation’s leading business bloggers; at least, I don’t think I am. But, anywhoo – it continued my learning and listening tour. This is a women’s business fact sheet which I would use to translate/filter the conference learning points.

 #25a – Leading in a Time of Crisis by Bill George, The Women’s View – Bill George is THE MAN. He is a great person, a great leader, and great family guy, and a great way to open the conference. I felt inspired.

 #25b – Pat Lencioni Trust and Conflict Exercises for Teams, Women in Business – Pat is – pardon the language here – ADORABLE. Not something you typically think when you see the caliber of speakers here. But, he was such a breath of fresh air. Funny, authentic, real. These are the kinds of speakers I like.

 #25c – David Rubenstein’s Top 10 Chicken Soup for the Economy? Women in Business Get Your Game On – Interesting talk. David Rubenstein kind of barked out his points. I liked it. However, I begin to see by this time in the conference that women are NOT on the agenda. My women’s business fact sheet (#25) clearly shows that women SHOULD be on the agenda. I begin to feel like 1) I’m learning a lot 2) But that I am visiting an alien planet. I used to “roll” with this crowd. It was interesting to feel like they didn’t get it.

 #25d – Will Business Celebrate, or Tolerate, Our Daughters? – Bill Clinton is the ONLY speaker who mentioned women as a specific point that the business leaders in the room should take seriously. As said on a panel the other day, “It was like the world’s worst drinking game. The word ‘woman’ was only said ONCE the entire two days.” This post is a call to action. I plan for the Hot Mommas Project to be a part of the revolution. It’s not about “anti other-people,” it’s about “pro-us/women” which will wind up benefiting all. Research shows that women’s definition of success is largely community based. If our community is successful, we feel successful . So this generation of women – I’m convinced – will give back exponentially what it gets. And if we don’t, then someone should give us a good klonk on the head.

 #26 Top 5 on How to Package Content and Be an Expert  – If we are going to be part of the revolution, we better have our act together. Here I share some lessons learned about packaging content and being an expert.

*************************************************************************

Know a dynamic woman over the age of 18? Nominate her to be a role model and tell her story at www.HotMommasProject.org. Emailsupport@hotmommasproject.org with your nomination.

Want to let someone know you believe in them? Sponsor a case writer with your nomination. Every $25 allows a case to be permanently archived on our educational site. Mention your nominees name and email in the PayPal note.

#26 Top 5 on How to Package Content and Be an Expert – Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time

InfoLitHead
Your brain on “little bundles”

As part of my quest to get nominated for world’s worst professor, last month I actually coached a group of students through a procedure I call “Business Stalking.” This is where you have a target (someone you want to speak with/stalk), determine where they are going to be speaking,  and then you rush the stage afterwards.  Since this time I’ve received many emails, specifically referring to “business stalking” which was probably five  minutes of a two hour talk.  And I realized, really, really clearly: It’s about packaging.

Below I list my top 5 observations about effectively packaging content based on:

  • Doing it.
  • Years of consulting and teaching to people who are/can be very picky (big organizations, 18 year-olds).
  • My background as an award-winning curriculum developer…oh…wait…okay…they are telling me the scrawled crayon star from my kids does not constitute a real “award.” Dang.

Other sources of inspiration from this post are:  Writing for Maria Shriver’s site, advice from amazing mentors, the – The Four Hour Work Week, uber-talented designerDonald Bullach who recently – kid you not – did our high school reunion memory book in what is EASILY the coolest high school reunion memory book EVER.

*****************************************

What is this, where I am, who are you? If this is your first time here, this is the insider’s blog for The Hot Mommas Project. We are a women’s leadership project housed at the George Washington University School of Business in DC and have an audacious goal of becoming a million dollar venture/organization…while being led by a mom working part time. Our big thing right now is the Hot Mommas Project Case Study competition. Click here to nominate someone.  Click here for about page.

*****************************************

The Top 5 of Packaging Content

1. Credibility. And you are….and you’re with? The Law of Superlatives. Right out of the gate you’ve got to answer the question, “Why should someone listen to me?” Superlatives create credibility. In this new economy crowded with messages and free agents, it is critical to make sure you are REMEMBERED. And, no, it should not be for your criminal record. Here is an example: The Hot Mommas Project (aside from being named “The Hot Mommas Project”) is “The world’s largest library of teachable role models for women and girls.”  What’s the superlative one can associate with you?  In what area are you the best, fastest, biggest, etc.?   Another angle is to crunch some numbers for the wow factor.  How many clients have you successfully placed? How many thousands of dollars worth of media impressions have you generated for your client?  When I ran a consulting firm full of the original “Hot Mommas” consultants, I advertised our 94 perent success rate in helping clients plan their annual goals in one day. The bottom line is: If you’re not special, make a placeholder and go out and find something that makes you special. Yes, you can actually do that. Specific sections of Tim Ferriss’s Four Hour Work Week are very helpful on this topic.

For the ladies – special note: Superlatives may, at times, resemble bragging which can be a tricky one for women. There is a good deal of research indicating women  are not always strong self-marketers. (I teach about this in my class. Yes, it’s true and yes, it’s a big deal.)  So put on your big girl undies, move through the list below, and get pep talks from advisors and friends where you need them. Guys, you too (except the big girl undies part…not that there’s anything wrong with that).

2. Story –  “Here to There.” Make the superlative even more impressive by pairing it with your story. Robert Tuchman is a great example of this. His book agent contacts me, tells me about the $70 million dollar sports marketing company his client built, and wants to know will I review Robert’s new book Young Guns? It’s a “go” for me when I hear: 1) Robert was 25 when he started the company and 2) His first office was a one-bedroom apartment. The “here to there” quality is great on a story like Robert’s. His PR person clearly understands this. What is your “here to there” story? What constraints were you under when you built the company, product, etc.? It adds to the story, and people like stories. For instance, I built the Hot Mommas Project case library in seven months while working part-time. I am still not sure anyone actually cares about this fact, but, the idea of it is inherently appealing. America loves underdogs. America loves people who triumph in the face of adversity.

3. Organization – Make Little Bundles. We love little bundles. Not just because it is such a cute little word combo, we love it for two real reasons that will make your life easier:

a. If you have too much information – making little bundles helps you scale the informational K2 so to speak.

b. If you have very little information – making little bundles helps package what you DO have.

Examples: The Hot Mommas Project right now is SWIMMING in data. It’s too much. We have surveys, cases, more surveys. So what to do? I devise a three hour class on mentoring. I lay out the class plan, and what will be covered in each class. Next, I structure each class with intro, wrap up, lecture, and interactive exercises in each one hour module. Last, I run it by someone who gives me feedback, and helps me make it better. Then I get with a free conference call service and market it (see #4).

Note: Another good way to create little bundles is to Q&A with yourself. For instance, I might ask myself “Self, why is mentoring important?” Then, depending on how things are going, I might ask myself, “Why is mentoring particularly important for women?” Then, if I am feeling very bold, I might ask myself, ‘So, why should I care?” And so on and so forth. In general, this type of approach is helpful not just for media training, but for devising REAL PowerPoint presentations. I especially advise this approach to presentation creation if you’re a “Rambler.”

4. Market. You may be in charge of marketing. Even if you’re not, your CMO and Director of Marketing and their brother and sister and dog were probably just laid off, so it’s good to know how to market. I break this section into “Guerilla Marketing” and “Walking Upright.”

Guerilla Marketing. Here is an example of how I approached Guerilla Marketing Hot Mommas Project content this summer. Once you’ve got your little bundles, it’s time to market them. Boy, that sounds really bad.

*********

Guerilla Marketing Case study: Hot Mommas Project Summer Teleseminars

Courses tested: Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership I  and II, Virtual Mentoring, and “Getting to 5: How to Quantitatively Raise Your Work Life Balance Score.” Two of these generated the most interest…which do you think they were?

Guerilla Marketing Steps (post-content development): Here is the brain dump – Titling, title testing (on Twitter and site based on adjix.com clicks), post on site, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email it to the Hot Mommas Project database, print a schedule on the back of my business cards, and post a big decal on my car [Gotcha : -) I would never put a decal on my car, only my husband deserves that type of humiliation for leaving the seat up and other atrocities]. I also posted on Teleseminar Nation, but got nothing from that.

Did you know – the SEO bonus factor? EventBrite was recommended to me by digital media firm iStrategyLabs. EventBrite has a double benefit of good SEO, so The Hot Mommas Project will be using that for event registration going forward. Press releases on 1888PressRelease.com – of which I’ve spoken in previous posts – also provide traffic. It crashed our site last year, in fact.

This process worked. So, if I wanted to “rinse repeat” and do more of it, I could. In transitioning to “Walking Upright,” I have:

  • Plans to research Alex Mandossian who I’ve heard is the teleseminar guru.
  • Plans to partner with Information Experts, and possibly Learning Tree International, to pilot their web training platform.
  • Making the content pretty, relying on the brilliant  Donald Bullach, an uber-talented designer, and ideas from  ReBrand.com. Here are some other cool web designs.
  • Begun to seek out event planners to see “how it would work” for a larger Hot Mommas Project event which – to be honest – I have zero desire to plan but everyone seems to want one.
  • Made a list of all the Guerilla Steps so my virtual assistant in India (not kidding) can help me with it.

*********

Walking Upright. Critically important is to have an eye on the big prize. Who goes BIG with content? How did that happen? Do you have any connection to them or people who know that model? I know from personal experiences with major business speakers that even THEY don’t always know the best model and are continually figuring it out. I’ll hear one famous speaker say “I need to get on Twitter and Facebook more” and hear another one say, “The book company is not doing a great job of making sure critical masses are at my speaking engagements” or “My PR company is not getting me the coverage I need.” So, just realize that even Goliaths struggle with it too. I am looking at the three models below in developing my “walking upright” marketing strategy.

5. Economics. This is where the walking upright crowd has it. For the economics to work with content, you must seriously have your act together. I certainly did NOT when I first started writing Hot Mommas Project cases. When we started winning awards people said, “Are you going to sell the cases like at Harvard Business School?” I tried that approach for about – ummm – 6 weeks and “threw it on the ground!”

Currently, I see three realistic economic models for expert content:

A. Publishing and Entertainment. This is what my mentor Amy Millman calls the Martha Stewart “Omnimedia Model.” It’s the job of people in publishing and entertainment to know: a. What people want and b. To give it to them. They push content out there to as many people as possible, and then sell advertising around the promise of reaching that customer base. Martha Stewart started with a magazine and worked up and out from there to the huge company Omnimedia. Magazine, show, product. What started as content has become a movement.

B. Conferences. If you’ve ever seen a top-notch event planner in action, it’s quite a sight to behold.  Business events and conferences typically get sponsors to cover the costs, and sell tickets to make a profit. Of course, it could go up or down in either direction with the sponsorship and ticket fees, but this is a good rule of thumb. Event planner calendars typically go out three or more years in advance. You’ve got to get up early in the morning if you’re going to run your own event. My personal preference is to let someone else run the event, and come in as a speaker. Look up the conferences and events in your area, contact them about speaking or being on a panel. In SXSW you can propose your own panel! In the massively walking upright category of conferences is HSM’s World Business Forum at which I was a featured blogger this past year. I am doing due diligence, behind my computer, and expect to be out from behind that computer speaking and making people less scared of women and our brains (us included!).

Note: For you perfectionists – Remember that even the pros experiment and test. Think “pilot” on TV, think “test market.” Don’t let doing things perfectly dissuade you from making progress. Even the big boys dip their toe in the water first.

3. Screwing everything up is the “Freemium” Model – Read more about that here in a  previous post. My friend in content management says, “Something for free, the rest for a fee.” This is pretty much the Freemium model.

PARTING THOUGHTS:

What is the difference between a cheesy salesman and you? Credibility. Use your brain and know your stuff.Learn and practice. Bring others into it at every step. As Hot Mommas Project case author Yana Berlin says, “A leader is nothing without her followers.”  Are your points resonating?

Not quite there yet? If you don’t have your supreme-being content yet, you can still become familiar with these guerilla tools: Twitter, Facebook, and SEO. More on press and buzz here.

The focus factor. Oh, yeah, BTW – I’m supposed to be writing a book right now. Yes. So, here is another rule of content development: FOCUS PEOPLE! I’m hoping to produce a little mini bundle like this, taking inspiration from Rohit Bhargava.

Related links:  Must-reads. Word on the street is this will change your thinking about the relevance of your voice.

Groundswell (Blog) – Winning in a World Transformed By Social Technology

33 Million People in the Room – How to Create, Influence, and Run a Successful Business with Social Networking

*************************************************************************

Know a dynamic woman over the age of 18? Nominate her to be a role model and tell her story at www.HotMommasProject.org. Emailsupport@hotmommasproject.org with your nomination.

Want to let someone know you believe in them? Sponsor a case writer with your nomination. Every $25 allows a case to be permanently archived on our educational site. Mention your nominees name and email in the PayPal note.

#25d – Will Business Celebrate, or Tolerate, Our Daughters?

My intern, Amber, is at the World Business Forum with me today. I look at her, and wonder what type of workplace she’ll be stepping into after college. Of the 18 speakers, one is female. Women are not on the radar screen topically. Here are some repeated themes:

  • Energy
  • Values
  • Trust
  • Innovation

I am hoping we’re part of the “values” and “innovation” category, but can’t be sure. Women must be part of the conversation. Leading corporate strategy expert Gary Hamel is speaking RIGHT NOW at a conference. This guy gets it. He says, “No one is going to give you permission to be a revolutionary.”  Here are some facts to support your mission: Continue reading

#25c – David Rubenstein’s Top 10 Chicken Soup for the Economy? Women in Business Get Your Game On

David Rubenstein, Co-founder Carlyle Group

David Rubenstein, Co-founder Carlyle Group

  • The US unemployment rate is currently 9.8%. It’s the highest in 36 years.
  • Americans are unwilling to take risks or trust big companies. Young people are uncertain of  their career paths.
  • After World War II, the US constituted were 48 percent of the world’s GDP. Now we’re about 20 percent of the world’s GDP.

From the women’s perspective, here is a women’s factoid I tweeted the other day to add to the bad news:

@ChiefHotMomma: Economy &Women: 19% of senior exec women lost jobs vs 6% of men http://ad.vu/m7j8 [Huff Post Blog / Catalyst Rsch]

The bleak picture painted by David Rubenstein of the Carlyle Group has a silver lining. As Bill George said earlier: Is there an opportunity for you during this crisis? Women and their families are thinking more entrepreneurially during this slow economic time (see links below). Is this the time you’ll look back on as your most brilliant because – when forced – you rose to the occasion, sold the big deal, came up with the new idea, or took a risk you thought you never could? If this is, or could be you, David Rubenstein had some great, quick lessons learned: Continue reading