Connected socially, but not really

My father is the perfect example of someone who has enormously benefitted from mobile and social media connections. He was not someone you would classify as an early adopter of technology, but when he was reluctantly coaxed into purchasing his first mobile phone, it was a life changing experience for him.

Having three children and seven grandchildren, with his mobile phone, my father now had a new way to communicate with people that was far different from the standard way of speaking with people on the phone as he had done so for years. He still enjoys speaking on the phone, but his mobile phone has opened up a whole new way for him to communicate.

Texting appears to be his newest favorite form of communicating, and based on the number of emoji’s he has, I personally think he must send emoji ideas to designers, or has them created for him. He also loves sending all of us unique photos which tie into our interests and hobbies, and I am also amazed at how he does this so well.

Although mobile communications and social media are powerful connecting methods, they are also only one to two-dimensional in terms of being able to connect people. Connecting with people face to face is still the most powerful way of communicating with others. However, given the choice, it seems that more people will opt to engage with people via social media versus seeing them in person. Obviously, there are some people who we cannot easily see in person due to distance or other extenuating circumstances, and this is an upside to social media interactions.

Since engaging with social media has a relatively low barrier for easily being able to interact with people, I have seen that more people will defer to this type of engagement rather than making the effort to see people in person. What they may not realize, is that the social media interactions they have do not have the same level of genuineness and impact level that in person interactions have. In person interactions take planning and time, and given the fact people are so busy, they will generally defer to interacting via social media versus in person connections.

Fewer in person interactions and increased social media interactions are what in my opinion have contributed to people being less apt to have strong face to face conversations, as well as making them feel less connected to others. There is a serious disconnect that occurs when we exclusively communicate via social media, or have this method of interacting with others at such a high percentage rate which causes an imbalance for us socially.

Humans have a strong need and desire to socially engage with others, and our social media interactions cannot be a complete substitution for this. However, when you are out in public, look around and just about half or more of the people you see will be heads down, with their phone commanding their full attention. I have often wondered if due to this phenomenon and new reality, if it has contributed to our levels of anxiety and depression. This could also be despite the fact people think they are fully socially engaging with others, but in reality, they really are not.

In person communications takes both patience and practice, and engaging in social media does not necessarily contribute to helping to enhance these skills. So, if you feel as if your anxiety levels are on the increase, consider utilizing your social media communications to set-up face to face interactions with people. Doing this will make you feel much more connected, and will help to develop your actual and real relationship with the people you are engaging with either personally or professionally.

Start queuing up your in-person meetings with your on-line people right now. Once you do this, you will then start enjoying the benefits of truly leveraging the full power of your on-line world of connections, especially when you have them cross over into your real world. What are you waiting for? I’ll be waiting to hear from you.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Is Communal Workspace a Trend?

During the last few years I have noticed more shared or communal workspaces popping up in a variety of cities around the US. At first I did not pay much attention to them, but recently I had a chance to visit two of these spaces in Boston and Portland, Maine. I was really impressed by what I saw. The spaces were well laid out, offered all of the resources a large corporation would offer its employees, and the office vibe was electric.

When I inquired about who tends to work in these spaces, I was pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of people it attracts. My first impression was that it would attract start-up companies or solopreneurs. However, it turns out, the variety of people who show up at these types of spaces each day is not only impressive, they include people who already have home offices or who when they can work from home, choose to go to a shared workspace instead.

The advantages to working in shared or communal workspaces are far greater than the disadvantages, and most of these spaces are also surprisingly affordable. Depending on your type of work style, and personality type, working in a shared workspace is a far better place to work than a coffee-style environment. Why? Because for one thing, you can easily strike up conversations with others in the communal workspace, and this is actually encouraged.

Having an opportunity to meet fascinating other people, many of whom are entrepreneurs, seasoned business people, or highly creative individuals is another perk to spending time in this type of workspace. If you are also looking to solve a challenge, there is generally someone you will meet who can either help you to talk through and solve your challenge, or who knows someone else you can talk to. The spirt of helping one another to be successful, regardless of the type of work you are doing is highly contagious, and helps to fuel why in my opinion these workspaces are so attractive to work and spend time in.

Based on skyrocketing real estate costs for businesses, they are being forced into having to downsize their real estate footprints. Although downsizing business space has advantages to a company’s bottom line, there is a negative side to this process. The negative aspect is not often talked about. However, one of the main downsides is loneliness and the feeling of potential isolation for those who are new to the concept of working from home. Hence the reason people who work from home often will spend part of their day at a coffee shop, or public space where they can work and be around other people.

Although coffee shops and public spaces provide a sense of socializing, they lack giving a person a sense of belonging and of having beyond anything in common other than being interested in coffee or tea with others. Conversely, the shared workspaces automatically give you a sense of community and of fitting in, regardless of whether you spend several hours or multiple days there during the week.

A few other unintended advantages to working in shared workspaces is that they can significantly expand your professional network, or prospects for a new job. I’m a huge fan of always working towards increasing one’s professional network, and these types of workspaces provide the perfect environment for fostering networking opportunities.  Additionally, I found the shared spaces I visited to be buzzing with new business services and product ideas, and I have always been inspired and more motivated when I am around people who have this type of mindset.

So, if you have not checked out a shared workspace, I encourage you to do so. You might be as pleasantly surprised by how collaborative and embracing these spaces and the people working in them are. For the record, and to be completely transparent, I do not have an affiliation with any shared workspaces, but I’m sure they will not mind me plugging their concept.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too bridges teams and provides organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, and have their teams become more unified regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Ms. Murphy is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too additionally works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

 

 

 

Reputation – Do you have one?

Building your professional reputation is literally something you have been doing one day at a time since you joined the workforce. You have also built your reputation one company at a time, one team at a time, and perhaps one project at a time, too. In other words, every company, every person with whom you work, and the projects to which you have contributed are all part of what combines to define your professional reputation.

How you handle yourself in each and every encounter is also a contributing factor that either adds to or subtracts from the value of your reputation. So, what happens if you have built a solid and positive reputation and you do or say something that has a negative impact? Is it possible to recover?

The answer is yes and no, and time, in many cases can work in your favor. Why?  Because most people are more focused on themselves than you, and not everyone will remember all of the details of the incident in question.

It’s probably easy to name several people who have fallen prey to being victims either by self-sabotage or because of another person or group who negatively impacted the perceptions of others.

This is one reason people or companies hire public relations or crisis management firms to help mitigate the damage done to a brand due to a negative incident. Tylenol, Perrier, Exxon and other companies all had major incidents which severely tarnished the brand.

Both time and redrafting their messaging helped restore the brand back to either neutral, or took them out of the harsh spotlight of scrutiny.

Now think about people who have seen their reputation tarnished. It is painful to watch, and even more traumatic to experience.  People find out who their true friends and supporters are in these instances.

The folks who faired best when their reputation took a turn downwards were the ones who had high degrees of emotional intelligence, but more importantly, surrounded themselves with a support network to help to rebuild their personal brand.

Of course, we are all responsible of our own reputations, but having a strong professional support group, can work miracles.

This is possible because the supporter essentially acts as a reputation buffer when the crash occurs. Having these human ‘airbags’ takes serious and quality time to build, but once they are in place, unless the incident was completely egregious, or ethically challenging, most people will be able to play a support role in restoring someone else’s professional reputation.

On the flip side of one’s reputation being damaged is what most people work to achieve. To have a stellar reputation.

As we all know, good reputations are earned, over time.

Since social media can build or break a career, reputations need to be simultaneously guarded, but also nurtured. The speed at which this communication channel moves makes it both positive and negative in terms of having an impact on the professional perception others have of you.

There are safeguards to control some of the negative aspects of social media, but more importantly, the positive attributes should be optimized.  It’s okay to toot your own horn once in a while – perhaps you won an award, earned a certification, or made a significant contribution to a business project, maybe you volunteered time to a worthy cause . . . take a bow, and build your reputation.

Although no one wants to have an incident impact their professional reputation, it can happen. Although the immediate aftermath feels devastating you can recover.  Do not to let it define who you are.

Most people are good by nature, and there are more who will forget what you did than remember what happened, or when. Keep your chin up, do the right thing when faced with tough choices, and most importantly, do what you can to preserve your reputation when you have an opportunity.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Announcement: I will be publishing my first business book next month. Information about how to pre-order my book will be posted on my WordPress site in the next few days. If you would like more details about my book, please send me an email at kathymurphy@me.com . Thank you. – Kathy

Women of Isenberg Conference: The organizers of this conference at the University of Massachusetts flagship campus in Amherst, MA, have invited me back for a second time to talk about my career in Marketing. If you are in Amherst, MA on Saturday, please let me know, as I would happy to say hello to you. This conference is ‘sold out’, so put this as a must attend conference on your calendar in February 2019.

 

Life at the Top – is the view worth the effort?

 

By Kathleen E.R. Murphy

Climbing the proverbial career ladder is not something in which everyone is interested. Although if you have even a one competitive bone in your body, the thought has certainly crossed your mind.

Plotting and planning how to escalate the ladder is not always a straight-forward process. Arguably, it is one of the most difficult paths to navigate. In many business disciplines or certain industries, there are not any particular methods that guarantee how to get there.

I am not a fan of politics, but realize there is a fair amount of politics with which one has to contend in order to scale the rungs. Essentially, politics is a popularity contest. You need to figure out how to either become acquainted with, or deal with the people who are in influential roles.  It’s likely they will have a say in whether you will be able to ascend.

Having political ‘supporters’ is critical to successfully navigate in a corporation heavily laden with politics. Unfortunately, a company does not need to be large to have politics influence its culture, and how its employees rise or become stagnant.

When I ask CEOs and other top-level executives if their journey was worth it, a large percentage tell me the sacrifices they made personally were not. Not all executives had to sacrifice so much personally to get to where they are, but the percentage is over half.

However, there are certainly advantages at the top, but as we all know, money cannot buy happiness. Some executives told me they would trade their position or do things differently if they could get back to a simpler life and be, or feel, happy again.

And while we are on the subject . . . happiness is not something you can simply just want to have. You have to work at being happy. The first step is to determine what makes you happy. Prepare a mental list, and you just might realize that you already have everything you need to be happy. In fact, when I talk to CEOs what makes them happy, they often realize there are a few things they could alter to get back to feeling happy again.

Climbing the professional ladder can take years. Most people will need new skills. Many will likely switch departments or employers’ two or more times.  Why?  Because typically, when someone moves into a different role, they will acquire new skills and valuable experiences not always available when they remain at a specific position for more than a few years.

People will automatically see things differently in a new environment, be exposed to new people and new approaches to how to do any number of different things.

Change is not something with which everyone feels comfortable, but those who embrace and become comfortable with change are typically the ones who climb the career ladder over their peers who do not.

Slow and steady is a great concept for the majority of people in an organization, and thankfully, many people are satisfied with this style of how to operate. If everyone wanted to rise to the top there would be serious management issues to address.

Luckily, this typically is not the case. There are layers of management built into the organization at larger companies, in part to control or even prevent this from happening.

The next time you think about whether you are ready to climb the corporate ladder, decide how high you’d like to go. Then plot out how you will get there. You can do this by talking to others who are in roles above you, especially at your own company, but also at other firms, as there are generally more ways than one to get to where you want to be.

Talking to people can mean actually having a conversation with them in person, via an email or Skype, if distance is a challenge. Ask if they had help planning how they got to where they are, or if the process happened in an organic way.  That is often the case if a company routinely promotes employees based on having a well-defined process.

Unfortunately, most companies do not have a systematic, fair, and non-political promotion plan. If your company does not, take comfort knowing that you are in the majority of people who have to figure out how to climb to the top, if this is really what you want to do, and if the top, or even the next rung, is worth the effort.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

 

 

Dress for Success, not the “club”.

By Kathleen E.R. Murphy

Yes, it may be a cliche that you should dress for success, or for the job you want to have, but I see on a daily basis that some people clearly never received this “memo”. Instead I see many people who show up at work looking like they are heading immediately to either the gym, back to bed, or perhaps a night club. With companies adopting a more “relaxed” dress code, people have taken it upon themselves to sometimes go beyond the line of what is actually an acceptable style of clothes to wear to work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about being comfortable with what I am wearing during work hours, but I also keep in mind I do not ever want to feel uncomfortable because the clothes I chose to wear are potentially too casual. 

I am not exaggerating when I tell you I have actually seen people come to work in what were literally their “sleeping clothes”, and I have also seen many people leaving the gym in the morning looking like they are working at a night club, but I’m almost positive they do not. So, if your company has a written work attire policy, my advice is to consider taking it up a notch in terms of what their dress code standards are. Why? Because as I mentioned earlier, it is far better to be perceived as being overdressed, and thought of as someone who knows how to dress at a level above the current role they may be in. Most people are visually oriented, so when they see someone who is dressed casually, they are assuming you might not have the credibility in your role based on the way you look. I understand this is a presumptive interpretation, but I have witnessed for years  how people are treated based on the way they are dressing in the office. 

Choosing the “right” professional clothing applies to both sexes, and to those who do not choose to identify with one sex or the other. An example I can share with you about how the perception people have of you based on your clothing can be best illustrated by a trade show my company was participating at. There were multiple people in our booth from our company, and all ages and both females and males were represented. Everyone in the booth except me was wearing a company shirt and jeans. Due to the fact I was meeting with the press and other business people, I chose to wear more “business oriented” clothing. When I was standing in the booth with my colleagues, people stopping by our booth automatically assumed I was the CEO of the company, and this absolutely had to do with what I was wearing. At the time, I was not actually the CEO, but the perception people had based on my clothes was that I was the head person at the company. 

After being witness to so many people seemingly not knowing what is appropriate “casual” office attire, I thought I would provide you with some quick tips to avoid making the mistake of dressing too casually.

  1. If you would wear the clothes to bed, then don’t wear them in the office.
  2. If you would wear the clothes to the gym, save them for your gym workouts. 
  3. There may in fact be clothes which can nicely transition to being worn at a night club, but if you have even the slightest hesitation about whether to wear the clothes you have selected, don’t wear them.
  4. You have a great sense of humor, or collect t-shirts which are representative of your political, cultural or religious viewpoints, but wear these on the weekend, and not to the office. 
  5. You love wearing form fitting clothing, but some of it rides the line of making others uncomfortable when you wear these type of clothes. This applies to both men and women, and ladies, let’s keep the showy cleavage tops at home. It makes both men and women uncomfortable when you expose too much cleavage, especially in a professional office setting. 

If you have not been graced with having good style sense, or are still perplexed by your office dress code when your office has one, ask one of your friends to help you out who you perceive to dress well. They will be flattered you asked them to help you. Additionally, you will also increase your chances of having others viewing you via a more positive professional perception when you “up-your-game”, and dress well in the office. Certainly it can be subjective in terms of what “dressing well” means, but doing so will surprise you from time to time with the positive comments others will make when they notice you are doing so. Give this a try, and let me know what happens. 

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.