Creating personal presence: how to look, talk, think and act like a leader/ dianna booher

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2011 publication.

Reads like a blog. Anecdotal mostly (not saying this was good or bad; just was). Chapter on “think like Hollywood”, on telling a story as part of putting points across, was quite a nice section, and the “think on your feet” on dealing with tough questions.

4 parts:
– look (body language, handshake, movement, dress, surroundings)
– talk (choice of words, physical voice qualities,
– thinking
– act.

Logic, emotions, character.

Work desk. Does it say a competent person works here, or that the person is overwhelmed and disorganized?

Use of space.

(aside: I like this quote cited in the book. Sir Ken Robinson, on the state of British Education system: “… Picasso once said this. He said that all children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up. I believe this passionately, that we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out of it.”)

Chapter 15: Think on you feet.
Pause rather than utter um, ahs.
Respond rather than react to the question.
never repeat a faulty premise that was in a loaded question.
Summary statement, elaborate (with facts or concise points), give one example, conclude/ re-state.

Dining etiquette. What are your utensils.
BMW – left to right: bread, meal, water.


Strategic thinking: a nine step approach to strategy for marketeers and managers / Simon Wootten & Terry Horne

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Suggests that one can think strategically if one can think through these 9 steps (involving a combination of thinking, communication, and planning skills):
1. Gather strategic intelligence
2. Make strategic assessment
3. Create strategic knowledge
4. Make strategic predictions
5. Develop strategic vision
6. Create strategic options
7. Take the strategic decisions
8. Create and communicate the market-led strategy
9. Plan and manage projects to implement the changes

Steps 1-3 are to “escape from the past/ create usable knowledge”. Steps 4-6 are to “focus on the present/ Direct present action”. Steps 7-9 are to “invent the future/ improve future performance”.

Cites Charan: strategic thinking involves thinking for yourself as yourself, and as another. Involves thinking clearly and expressing clearly what you think.

That strategic leaders need not necessarily be found at the top of the organization. Leaders have to be prepared to listen.

“Questioning and thinking will feed your thinking… Once you understand, you will need to communicate your understanding.”

Key to comms: 20 minutes max (attention span), 3 things (images, stories, facts etc to reinforce those 3 points).

Comms is one thing; getting ppl to be motivated to move in the same direction is key.

Motivation comes from belief. Belief is based on 2 components: a thought plus a feeling. Left & right brain (I.e. idea with an optimistic emotional image that listener can identify).

Direction of the comms is from the past (story or an experience), via the present (idea or opinion), towards the future (plan or action). Quantify the risk of being wrong; there is always a chance of being wrong. Thinking of the future also requires an imagination of what the future might be; supported by critical thinking to decide if the idea is desirable or feasible.

Five basic thinking skills: memory (use aids; take notes), imagination, empathy and emotion (feeling), numeracy, verbalise (talk it out, think aloud).

That prediction can be aided by talking to experts/ older people, younger/ would-be consumers, broad general knowledge (“luck favours the prepared mind”).

Ethical thinking, use morality as a guide. Quotes Abraham Lincoln: “when I do good things, I feel good. When I do bad things, I feel bad. That is my religion.”

(List of questions that critical thinkers ask)

16 stages for thinking about complex & turbulent situations (see
Horne & Doherty, 2003)


1. Strategic Intelligence – What’s changing out there: TEMPLES

2. Strategic Assessment – Considerations for a self-assessment:
money, management, mental muscle
Morales, mores, market reputation
Materials, movement, machines

3. Strategic knowledge = strategic intelligence + strategic assessment

Strategic Predictions: scenario planning; change nothing (assess impact of this on customers, competition, finance etc); worse case scenario.

4. Strategic Vision. Consider CATSWORLD in developing a strategic vision:
customers, actors, transformation, sub systems, “way we do things here”, owners, resources, limitations/ legal, decisions (how they are made).
Create a optimistic view of the future; determine a hopeful strategic direction; set motivating markers, milestones, review points.
Keywords: optimism, positive future, possibilities.

5. Strategic Options:
identify obstacles, worse fears, worse case scenarios, also best hope. Then identify how those may be removed/ reduced; or how obstacles may be removed to get to “best hope” case.

6. Apply creativity in identifying options (this is where ethics come into play). Suggests speaking to individuals in addition to brainstorming.

7. Strategic decisions. Talks about checklist of areas to consider, aided by intuition.

8. Create & comms the market-led strategy:
A sample of the executive summary provided (which is based on the earlier steps). Talks about how to present.

9. Plan & manage projects to implement the changes.
Managing resistance (suggest at least 70% will resist to some extent). Considerations: has anyone else done this? What is the picture at the end? Who will keep selling the benefits of change? Whose decisions will be crucial? Who owns the change? Who are the main stakeholders of the change?

Resistance to change; sometimes disguised as supportive suggestions., e.g, form working committees.

On project management.

A chart showing a flow diagram. Assessing staff. Delegate to those with high abilities & high motivation. Encourage/ sell/ praise those with high abilities but low motivation. Tell/ direct those with low ability but high motivation. Train those who are low in abilities and motivation.

List of reading references relating to strategic thinking and leadership.

Buy me: new ways to get customers to choose your products and ignore the rest/ Marshall Cohen


2010 publication. US-focused.

More descriptive; not quite focused for some chapters, I felt. Some read like opinion pieces.

Context is about consumer purchasing behaviour in a time of thrift and credit consciousness in the wake of the global financial crisis and downturn. Consumers who “think twice about very single purchase”. Also consumers who rely on reviews online, posted by people they don’t know; buying based on need more than wants.

Author calls this the Great Compression (economic squeeze) Vs Great Depression.

The age of thrift.
Analyzing some root causes of the crisis. “false wealth” and “liar loans”; inflated home loans beyond the value of the home and the ability of the borrower to repay; housing bubble.

Price is critical but more so value.

His view was that consumers now expect deep discounts as a given. One problem being that retailers are starting discount periods earlier and earlier before actual holiday seasons. That retailers need to give consumers a dose of “Discount Detox” before consumers feel comfortable about making full-priced purchases again. He provided a few case studies on how some retailers have protected their brand image and still offer discounts or encourage year-long purchase (e.g. anticipate their need for seasonal goods, before the start of each season; maintaining a discount policy for goods that are ready to be “retired”; creating artificial scarcity for products to create perception of high value/ demand & customer satisfaction).

New retail rules
maxims: Stick to product core focus. Size of business does not mean better run. Multi-tier product offerings (different classes of the same product type). Service is a key differentiator. Exceed expectations. Product can “sing solo”. Multiple marketing messages. Offer distinctive products.

Chpt 5 – suggests it’s always better to take a calculated step and deal with the consequences, than to do nothing at all. Note: real estate tends to be the last to be sow signs of recession and also last to show signs of a pickup.

Chpt 6 – the new consumer.
How they are locked into long term payments; some sales tactics tricked consumers with freebies that has them inadvertently agree to paying long term commitment to regular top ups. Or automatically replenishing/ topping up the purchase when consumer’s stocks are low. “make it a given that consumers will be using your products for an extended period of time.” (is that ethical, I wonder)

Chpt 7 – global consumers; case study of Crocs.

Small message, big impact: how to put the power of the elevator speech effect to work for you/ Terri L. Sjodin

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Communications; Sales; marketing message

Monroe’s Motivation Sequence:

  • Attention – be noticed in a favourable way
  • Need – the psychological core of the sequence; use solid evidence to stir minds and feelings
  • Satisfaction – provide the audience a solution to the need
  • Visualisation – project the audience to a future where they can see themselves enjoying the benefits from adopting the plan
  • Action – tell the audience what you want from them; what they have to do to make it all happen

It’s not about scoring each time, but advancing the ball with each “elevator pitch”.

Structure, sound reasoning, a sense of progression (for the listener, in terms of where the speech is going).

Introduction (the hook; attention step)
the body (three main points; the need, the satisfaction, visualisation)
the conclusion (summary; complete the visualisation step, transit to the close)
the close (action step in Monroe’s sequence; call for action)

Different type of talking points for different audiences:
– 3 questions approach: why choose you/ your pdt; why your company; why act now?
– past-future-present method: discuss where your listener was in the past; what I happening to them now; how their future can be improved/ where can you take them?

Three benchmarks:
– compelling case/ evidence in the message
– creativity (in content)
– authentic delivery

How to make the case more persuasive than informative: presenting the need.
The “so what” test. Six typical cases:
– time
– money
– sanity
– fun
– ease of use
– security

Always conclude; always have a close.

Being creative: using analogies, definitions, statistics, testimonials, hypothesis, alliteration, metaphors, personification. But use them not for their own sake but to fit the message.

“polish comes from practice, charisma comes from certainty”

Prepare a variety of views on the same pitch.

Summary: 10 basic steps to crafting an elevator pitch
1. Define your intention
2. Examine scenario (who are your audience; profiles; needs)
3. Draft core outline
4. Build case (most compelling arguments)
5. Don’t forget to close
6. Be creative
7. Speak in your own voice
8. Write it out
9. Practice
10. Use it

Presents examples of an outline/ preparatory notes. Sample of an evaluation form.

appendix has forms, templates, diagrams referred in the book.

Return on engagement: content, strategy, and design techniques for digital marketing/ Tim Frick

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Published 2010.
Useful. Sets a series of questions along the way for reader to determine their own answers. Practical yet not overly prescriptive. Case studies to reinforce online/ social media marketing & web development concepts.

Suggests the key on online engagement includes these 3 aspects: Have to be real, Have to offer something, Have to be interesting.

Covers RSS, blogs & microblogging, content management systems, metrics/ analytics, social media, web video, mobile.

Formatting content to suit the display platform.

Use tools to listen in to social media conversations (giga alerts, Keyword search on twitter, technorati search, google trends, search in relevant social media sites, subscribe to experts or relevant ppl)

Being practical; don’t spam others with info just because they are on your list. They can unsubscribe anytime.

Developing a web strategy:

  • Strategy (statement, description)
  • Strategy elements (required parts to make it whole)
  • Goals/ targets Approach (how to do it)
  • Analysing the competition
  • Content (what type of content to provide/ what sort of community do we want)
  • Email marketing (is it needed, how frequent)
  • Resources/ staffing (do we want continuity in our social media platform, who edits, Editorial calendar Etc)
  • Budget (author’s opinion is there is a cost to social media, e.g. Staffing, time)
  • Technology (which I interpret as considering maintenance costs, re-development/ enhancement costs; mobile & multiple platform costs)
  • Considering analytics (technical ways o measure web use)
  • Deadlines
  • Documentation (suggests using a wiki as means to document)
  • User generated content (ask: ownership, privacy, profanity, Illegal use, moderator transparency)
  • The returns (suggests Trust and Community are two big ones)
  • Emphasizes regular content updates drives traffic (SEO partly?)

Social Media plan: use the list of questions from chpts 2 & 3 (relationships, online presence, digital footprints through content, onsite & offsite techniques) as starting points, experimenting, assign tasks & resources, documenting, reviewing.

Chpt 2 – onsite strategy.
List of questions about:

  • system specs,
  • user profile,
  • Figure 2.3 info architecture,
  • Content strategy (how much content over time, how many users, how many authors How to approach user-generated content, what do we want from site visitors, SEO needs)
  • Usability strategy (suggests it’s not about customer segmentation or personalization but giving the same awesome experience to visitors; being able to accurately answer what users want from landing on the site, and what we want from users. See “web design for ROI”, loveday & neihaus,; presenting too many options is a problem)
  • Mobile platforms
  • Web Standards
  • SEO (black & white SEO; question: can we create metadata that helps search engines crawl better?)
  • Syndication strategy (RSS)
  • Flash, pros & cons (2008 Adobe and Google announcing Flash SEO initiative; google analytics for flash tracking)
  • Managing user generated content
  • Analytics

Chpt 3 – offsite
“those who find success in online community building is there to help, not to sell”.
On being truthful & transparent. Questions: who do we want to align with? Who can benefit from what we have to offer? How can we help ppl in ways they cannot? What value does our expertise provide? How can we provide helpful context over time?

Safko & brake.Social media bible, 2009. Suggests 5 types of social media participants. Lurkers, novices, insiders (consistently add to community), leaders/ experts, elders (those who have moved on).

Reasons for ppl abandoning their blog: lack of traffic. Two main reasons for lack of traffic – not providing the content that readers want; not spending enough efforts building a community around the blog. Commenting is a way to build a community.

On Commitment: how much time to spend? How much resources? How to expand? Says maintaining momentum for the long haul is important.

Questions on monitoring & metrics. What resources are needed to maintain the monitoring tools? Can data be exported? How will you use the info (I think this is most impt)?

Chpt 4: content
Breadcrumb trail, usability (intuitive rather than instructive), main page requirements, info architecture (hierarchy & structure to info), cross navigation (e.g. “people who bought this also bought…”), search box, forms, testimonials.

Steps in building site navigation: list all items/ pages, group them, prioritize, link/ draw connections. (showed site map as example). See also XML site maps; for search engines understand site structure;

Register site with google webmaster tools (

Keywords Vs metatags; suggests


Suggests the following steps: write down 5/ 10 words that describe the site offerings, write down 5/ 10 words that differentiate your site from others, narrow the list, combine the words in phrases that are likely to be search terms.

Section on tags, metatags, encoding them.

Web Image optimization;
Suggests: website optimization, Andrew b. King, o’reilly 2009; the smashing book (smashing magazine)

Gutenberg rule; 4 quadrants. Top left: primary optical area. Top right: strong fallow area. Bottom left: weak fallow area. Bottom right: terminal area.

Adapting a sales &marketing model for web design – AIDA: Attention (create content that attracts), Interest (provide info that creates interest), Desire (link info to the desires of the potential customer), Action (provide clear easy path for user to take action)

Idea of “invisible navigation”; navigation becomes an extension and focus of user is on the experience rather than the design (not talking about graphics).

Tips/ considerations on links, mouse overs. Font workarounds. Sidenote: Case study/ explanation of a award winning website.

Content Management Systems (chapter focuses on open source tools that run on MySQL and PHP). Many types: web cms, enterprise, document, Mobile, media, component. Provides an overview & outlines pros/ cons of some CMS platforms like Drupal, Joomlah, Expression Engine, SquareSpace, WordPress, Tumblr. Blog or CMS?

“the whole point if the blog is to humanize and provide information from a personal perspective, so the primary difference lies in content creation and how it is approached.”

Chpt 7 outlines development issues: security, load testing, CSS expressions/ optimization, script placements, redirects, microformats, APIs (covers APIs quite extensively), facebook apps, etc.

Chpt 8 on blogs/ blogging.
Outlines various blog platforms: blogger, wordpress, Tumblr, Squarespace, Moveable Type, features of blogs, terminology. Case study on a company “Intercultural Talk, Inc.”, essentially outlining their social media plan.

Quite in depth on RSS, including outline of its origins and chronological development, and syntax.

Email marketing.
Subject line is the strongest. Recommends stating it in simple, direct, less gimmicky way.

  • Tips for email content (applies to web writing, to me):
  • Killer topic sentences
  • Follow with short smart paragraphs
  • Use headers & sub headers where relevant
  • Create text blocks that are easily digested (white space)
  • Bullet highlights in lists
  • Bold, italicise, highlight for emphasis
  • Provide links for more info
  • Write not in flowery prose; use ability to communicate in as little space as possible

Outline of email campaign tools

Other considerations: width 600 pixels or less; use tables for layout, test ability to view videos/ flash etc, provide alternatives/ backups if these can’t be viewed.

Subscription management: groups, opt-in/ out, invite, add friends.

Case study: shorter email has better response rate, avoid writing about personal success/ write about company success, key message: refer people here with confidence, keep subject lines short & pithy.

Off-site techniques
Covers social media, context, use, relevance (more for the uninitiated).
Outlines (including popular sites) video sharing sites, photo sharing, social bookmarking, microblogging, wiki (didn’t include wikispaces), directories, review sites, social apps
References for this chpt:

Chpt on Social media optimization – covers tips, areas to watch out, tools. Dangers (news references)

Case study: Chicago office of tourism. They offered a “online concierge service” for a blogher conference; answered directional questions via twitter. Gained over 300 followers. They apply the following to their online engagement efforts: helps to be proactive; takes a lot of staff to offer a good service; what works on one platform doesn’t necessarily work on another. Concludes that good (great) service creates word of mouth effect.

Chpt on Web video production. Characteristics of viral videos: usually no overt sales message; often not politically correct; show something out of the ordinary; show dangerous/ comedic (may not be intentional)/ emotional; topical/ tie to current events. Covers some technical aspects, process, equipment.

Considerations for video sharing; tools for tracking videos on multiple sites. Indexing video metadata, Google Audio Indexing (Gaudi). Transcribing audio – adobe premiere pro; soundbooth. SEO for video pages. Open source tools.

Part 4 – The Return
Reality is that people will talk about your company online. Suggests liking at the first page of the search engine results page to see if you are being mentioned. You cannot control what they say but can choose how to react. Need not react to all.

A consolidated case study: “Book of Odds” online publisher of statistics ( Digital user experience requirements. (it’s also about offering differentiated content).

Hired Kurani Interactive. “an engaging experience that would increase the value and meaning of the data”. Started as a book idea; expanded to web. Took 9 months to build. Overall strategy: introduce wide range of audience to concept of probability and chance as part of everyday conversation”. Driven by ad-based revenue/ performance-based ad revenue (in short the activities directed towards building site traffic). Started sketching a profile of audience. User experience was centered on “similar to me” idea. The site recommended a visual history of what people are looking at; visual browsing; user to realise who unique/ different they are from others. Their considerations for content, stickiness, conversion, using Flash, data visualization, tag cloud as a solution to presenting so much data, wrireframe, choice of CMS, search & browse, blogs (they have one for founder and one for the team); custom-build w integration to site CMS. SEO.

Considers ROE as the climb in search rankings and featured on mainstream coverage. Using twitter & fb as social media outlets; directing replies to main site.

Intro to mobile platforms & mobile marketing (e.g. iPhone apps build on Objective C; app store clearance process; blackberry JavaME, android, flash lite). Discusses trends; augmented reality

Twitterville: how businesses can thrive in the new global neighborhoods/ shel israel

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eISBN: 9781101136348

The alternative title could have been, “the twitter story”.

“this book chiefly focuses on how people use twitter to get connected to customers and constituents.” interview notes at shel’s blog. Crowdsourced for twitter stories via twitter.

To me, this was also a book about Social Media’s value to organizations, by allowing it to be public yet come across as human, implies “someone cares”. It also illustrated to me whether social media tools work or not largely depends on (1) the product/ service in the first place, (2) whether they give a hoot about what customers are saying, I.e. Willingness (3) whether organization can do something if they want to, I.e. Capability.

If people don’t have a media budget and only time, they tend to turn to social media. I’m thinking: “In social media, Time and Passion is one’s capital”.

This seems to be the recurrent thread: tweeting as a broadcast tool (less effective), then changed approach to listening, and engaging in conversations. From “talking at to talking with” the community.

Author explains how a single tweet from James buck made him see twitter differently.

To the author , Twitter is like the telephone. a communications tool. Author suggests businesses should allow employees to tweet on company time for the same reasons why the company install telephones, or use email and faxes, at work. The topic is up to the company/ employee.

It is also about using a set of tools rather than just one particular tool. Shel uses the “building a house with a hammer” analogy.

Twitter hashtags and twitter search as the tools in twitterville. (aside: library of congress must have viewed twitter significant enough to consider archiving tweets)

The references to Cluetrain Manifesto keep popping up, and for good reason too, IMO.

Cites Twitter founder, Ev Williams, on what he learned at Google (after his 2nd startup, Pyra, was acquired by Google): (1) get the product right and make users happy before worrying about making money, (2) focus is everything. Every company has to choose between what it can do and what it should do.

Founding story of Twitter, which i thought was amazing. The concept of twitter came from Jack Dorsey, who was working with Biz Stone and Ev Williams on the start up, Odeo. They wanted a way for their team members (who worked their own hours) to know what each was doing (thus the twitter tagline “what are you doing?”

Subsequently, team members used it to post updates on their work status, follow conversations between members, or private messages (like an internal sms system) but also off work topics (e.g. Questions on restaurants to recommend). They liked it enough and started sharing this platform with friends. Twitter was born.

What started as an internal communications tool became a global social media tool.

About Twitter’s debut at SXSW 2007, and ‘live’ twitting.

twitter as a lower-cost customer support tool.

Dell and twitter. The first “twitterville retail outlet” by @delloutlet, June 07. How Twitter accelerated comments and blog post links more than the D2D blog itself.

Twitter being more of a listening tool rather than a broadcast tool. Dell’s strategy of listening and identifying the conversations worth joining/ customers worth converting (side quote: convert the agnostics, rather than the atheists), then joining and acting on the resulting dialogue. This allowed them to save from conducting focus groups.

Adopting a “@atDell” format for Dell staff who tweet for Dell (rather than a generic company brand-name).

Comcast turning their bad reputation around using twitter (@comcastcares). Started by a midlevel employee, Frank Eliason. (I thought it was really Eliason’s commitment to helping customers via twitter, which was a big part in helping turn the reputation around). Each comcastcares rep can cover as many customers as traditional call centre, but the help they provide is public.

American Airlines Portland flight fiasco, relayed via twitter and passed on (by a friend of the tweeter) to tv stations.

U-haul’s failure to respond over a frustrated customer’s tweet, and that sparked off other sharing of the company lack of service.

(at this point I wondered if it was also about customers who tweet, companies o bother to monitor or don’t, and whether the company cared to, I.e. if it were a monopoly, would it matter?)

Motrin Moms ad campaign mistake; @JessicaGottlieb tweets as the catalyst. One observation from author: bad press/ vibes gets quelled if the company responds to the conversation; perception that someone from the company was listening and felt bad about the incident. It’s the silence that tends to make matters worse.

Suggested the pepsi max suicide ad fiasco didn’t get as much attention as motrin bec pepsi social media director jumped into the conversation and had social media creds.

Ford motor company, a ford ranger fan site (, ford social media officer Scott Monty. Example: tuned to social media, “SM creds”, being genuine, personal responses & plea on behalf of company, legitimate company case, posting facts. Author shel makes the case that it’s important for the company to have ppl actively in social media before any crisis occurs (reminded me of the DBS outage & new twitter account incident)

Shel describes his childhood experience of his family’s first tv set, and compares it with advent of social media.

Zappos ( the online shoes retailer and why it has such a huge fan base. They liken themselves as the service company that happen to sell shoes. After a 4-week customer service course, they offer new trainees a $2000 incentive to quit and never return. Says 90% don’t take up the offer.

Zappos employees on twitter don’t talk shop, don’t hard-sell pdts. They engage in everyday conversations. But they do answer questions about their products from tweeters. Shel suggests that’s what successful sales ppl do; start a conversation with potential customers about the weather. Also allow potential customers to observe company twitter culture in deciding if they should engage in business with the company. Zappos feel twitter allows them to expose their company culture to the world.

H&R Block, a tax filing/ preparation company. Started tweeting as a broadcast tool, then changed approach to listening, and engaging in conversations. Their view was twitter was not a mass marketing broadcast tool like tv (won’t give you the dame reach) but more of understanding how some people perceive your brand.

Henry Ford hospital ‘live’ tweeting a surgical procedure, as part of educating other doctors attending a medical conference, and anyone who cared to listen in. Says the event humanized surgery.

Eden medical hospital (@sutterEdenMed) hired PR agencies to tweet, among other social media engagement activities. The PR staff identified themselves as being paid to do so (self-disclosure). Author suggested that because the PR staff engaged in sustained conversations, there was no opposition to the new hospital being built (reasons were understood by community).

Rubbermaid’s strategy is to make known the person behind the tweets. “… Currently tweeted by Jim Deitzel…” as a way to reveal the person yet allow others to take over in future, without losing the company tweeter handle.

Molsen Canada (brewery). Generosity as a branding strategy. Their 2 key employees were tweeters who voluntarily participated in a fundraiser to feed the homeless. Then company got roped into top off the funds as an afterthought. Molsen kept up their foodbank donations and usually communicated this via twitter (consistency seems the key, IMO) Author calls it “lethal generosity”.

Logo tweets (company tweeting). Author argues its easier to speak to a person than a company. Starbucks tweeter explains the Starbucks brand is easier to find than his name (seems to me rubbermaid’s approach to tweeting is a good compromise)

Evernote. Doesn’t attempt to engage in twitter conversations, only as broadcast tool. Only tweet company related info. Shel says their twitter strategy irrefutable works because the company has grown (My conclusion is the same as Shel’s: it’s because they have a great product more than their tweets).

Mayo Clinic. Started a twitter account to prevent identity hijack, but adopted twitter after a while.

IBM. Organic adoption of twitter. No guidelines on twitter use. Says they are happy that employees are using twitter to connect to customers.

United Linen. The CEO views twitter as a way to learn (by following relevant tweeters and their tweets). E.g. They learned how to market on twitter, by following other marketeers.

RedMonk, an analyst company that consults on business models using open source tech. Their office is virtual, in twitter. Gives 3 reasons why they rely more on twitter search than google search.

Sodexo; Using twitter for hiring staff.

Seesmic, “twitter for video”.

StockTwits, a twitter community for stock pickers. Crowd-source company whose product is information. Openly tweet about stocks. Gain trust and credibility points, gain followers (i’m not clear as yet how it works. the community chooses the expert?)

crowdSPRING, a “eBay” for graphic design work.

Coffee Groundz. Accepts online drive-through orders via twitter. Tweetups (meetups arranged via twitter).

Plumbers who tweet. In short, the tweets are public records of the way the person does business. Allows potential customers to make their assessment.

Shel observes a common thread that no clear business model of using twitter exists. Yet it is about using social media, fueled by passion, to form communities. Then reaching a tipping point leading to monetization.

About ppl building up their personal online brands, as a strategy of increasing their employability.

“In social media, people who are the most generous to their communities almost invariably acquire the most influence”.

Quotes Jeremy Owyang on his approach to personal online brand:
– an objective. First, define a very clear career mission. “What is it that you are trying to solve for your client or employer? Don’t focus on the minutiae of tools; instead think of the greater problem and solution you’ll provide.”
– stick to the plan; be consistent
– be ready for the long haul (takes years)
– study others
– integrate social media tools; use in tandem

Shel shares his own journalism background and gives his perspective of the evolution of the mass print media industry (shrinking began in the 70s due to cost pressures).

Section on his perspective on the PRC social media scene; censorship and bragging rights; relatively few censors compared to the content being generated.

How traditional media is finding twitter to be a good source of news; tweeters become their leads. Examples of traditional media picking up tweets (Szechuan quake, Mumbai attacks, US Airways crash in the Hudson) and reporting as mainstream news; tweeters unintentionally becoming citizen journalists. How false info is subsequently squelched (I think one has to be consistent in following, or else will only retain inaccurate info). Raises the issue of whether traditional media should pay for such content as they use it.

On Obama and the twitter campaign.

Twitter and govt; Shel observes 3 trends/ areas: transportation, law enforcement, disaster response.

2008, Israel consulate using twitter to take questions from the world about the bombings in Gaza.

Chapter on case studies of fundraising efforts (for causes or individuals) on twitter. Twestival. How P&G’s effort to rope in tweeters with large followers to tweet its fundraiser failed because perception was that it was about branding rather than real social motivation; large twitter follower base does not guarantee success.

Darker side of twitter: spammers (tips on spotting spammers – gibberish twitter handle, new account follows many, few followers; sexy profile pic). Phishing via shortened urls, and tweets appearing from friends.

Shel’s 8 twitter tips: use personal avatar rather than a cartoon or brand; read first talk later; follow after you’ve posted your own tweets; choose friends over stars; avoid spammer-like stats where you follow far more than the number who follow you; have favourites (which gives context/ info to your potential followers); take your time to chat/ get to know others (no one likes an obnoxious newcomer); orientate yourself in twitter like how you might check out a new neighbourhood.

Advises against trying to achieve numbers (followers) but focusing on the quality of conversations.

Discusses whether to write/ tweet for an audience or for oneself.

End chapter is like a how-to guide to twitter; twitter conventions.

Yes! 50 secrets from the science of persuasion/ Noah Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, Robert B. Caildini


Says persuasion can be a science, not an art. The authors aim to “provide the reader with a better understanding of e psychological processes underlying how we can influence others to move their attitudes or behaviors in a direction that results in a positive outcomes for both parties”; includes ethical strategies to persuade others, as well as what to look out for to resist covert and overt influences on our decision making.

My take aways:
Think better of others
Honesty is still the best policy
Give before expecting to receive
How you say it is just as important as what you say

Book is general enough, yet with clear examples to allow reader to infer best easy to approach. See or

Cites Colleen Szot, infocommercial writer, who changed the phrase “operators are waiting, please call now” to “if our operators are busy, please call again”.

Social proof – encouraging hotel towel reuse. Put 2 different signs. One was the basic message about saving the environment. Another was the fact that majority of hotel guests reused their towels at least once during their stay. Found 26% were more likely to reuse their towels when told about the “social proof”. When they changed the second message to say that majority of guests in the same room did so, the rate increased to 33%. Also suggests the more similar the persuader tithe target audience, the higher the chance of persuasion.

Social proof also explains why a message may self destruct. E.g. When a negative social proof/ behaviour is being used (littering) which may backfire to show many ppl are doing so (i think issue is also the message implies there is no consequence) and the viewer may think it’s ok to continuing littering. Same reason explaining why voter turnout continues to fall when politicians condemn the low turnout. Or the high numbers of ppl who don’t show up for their appointments.

Another interesting case study. The Arizona Petrified Forest Natural Park. They experimented with different messages to deter theft of the petrified wood. The control was a no-sign (2.92% loss of the planted petrified wood), a no-stealing sign (1.67%) and a sign/ illustration saying many people have taken the wood and destroyed the natural state of the forest (7.92%).

Power consumption example. Power of group norms, the “magnetic middle”. Those who consumed above and below average all gravitated towards the middle. By adding positive feedback to the latter, they were able to make them maintain their lower consumption.

Stating the value of things people are getting for free (e.g. You are getting $150 worth of consultation for free Vs you are getting free consultation)

Offering two differently priced products, from same company, may make the less expensive one seems better choice.

(crisis comms) That when communicating dangers (e.g. Health messages or health threat), there should be offering of courses of action or options in clear and specific steps. If not, or by being vague, ppl tend to receive the message with denials, fear or blocking it out.

Power of social obligations and reciprocity (why Iceland granted citizenship to Bobby Fischer). Suggests instead of asking, “Who can help me?”, the long term view is to ask “Whom can I help” and this may result in reciprocal behaviour later.

The sticky note experiment. More ppl bothered to complete the survey when it is accompanied by a handwritten note Vs cover letter or no letter (lowest response). Suggests the more personalized the effort, the more likely they will respond/ agree.

Post-meal mints/ higher tips experiment: it’s the recipient’s perceived significance (not necessarily costly) of the gift; the manner in which the gift is given; the unexpectedness.

A variation of the hotel towel reuse experiment. Reciprocation-based Vs incentives-based (former had 45% higher response): Hotel already made donations to an environmental protection agency, and telling guests it did so on their behalf. Gave impression the guests initiated the efforts. Suggests higher tendency for reciprocal behaviour when we offer help that is genuine and completely unconditional.

(Francis Flynn) study found ppl who did favors tend to increase the value of their deeds while recipients perceived lower value as time goes by. suggests opposite tendencies. Implications: giver could suggest/ remind how recipient would have returned the favour, or start by subtly reminding earlier favor before asking a return favor, e.g. “did you find the report I sent you earlier useful?”

The road safety signboard experiment. Found that getting ppl to start with small steps resulted in higher participation in greater subsequent commitment.

Positive labeling as a way to persuade. E.g. “.. sense there is good in you”; “you seem the type to do the right thing”

Asking people to affirm their commitment (to a desirable behaviour) tends to increase their participation. E.g. From “please call to cancel” to “will you call if you wish to cancel?”

Benjamin Franklin; his way to make a fellow legislator amicable to him was to ask the other person for a favor first (rather than to give one first). Suggest that if the other person agreed, he/ she will find ways to justify why you are worth helping. If they reject, you are no worse off.

“captainitis”. Assuming someone knows best because they are most experienced. Transcript of the downed 1982 Air Florida flight 90 reinforces the point; exchange between co-pilot and captain, where co-pilot spotted the error but deferred to the captain’s erroneous decision, in spite of confirming the fault on the instruments.

Suggests familiarity/ association tends to lead to persuasion. E.g. Same name, same school. Suggests to start with stating commonalities before discussions with other party. Or, naming children after characters (e.g. Harry) may inspire them to read up (Harry potter).

Restaurant waiters study. Higher tips received by those who repeat the orders than those who merely say OK. Suggests Imitation as the basic form of persuasion. Implication for customer service.

Benjamin Franklin: “search others for their virtues”. By reacting positively to others, the other party is more likely to reciprocate. (think better of others)

Notion of loss (scarcity) may be more compelling than gain. E.g. Telling ppl they stand to lose 50 cents a day tends to be more effective than telling them about saving 50 cents more.

Xerox study; unique motivational influence of the word ‘because’. Found that in a queue to copy, ppl tend to let requests through if the requestor phrased the request with the word ‘because’ and with a reason, no matter how weak (“… Because i’ve to make copies”). But need for valid reason increased when the stakes were increased to more pages. Suggests persuasion requires strong rationale to be stated even if it appears fairly clear.

Asking ppl to name 10 reasons (why they should use a pdt) was less effective in creating a favourable impression than asking them to name just one. The former was associated as harder.

Rhymes tend to persuade/ create favourable impressions (which explains why rhyming jingles seem to be popular).

Idea of perceptual contrast. More favourable if you give them a “benchmark” that offers a contrast. E.g. A $7000 spa package Vs $100,000 to construct and maintain one.

Carwash incentive experiment; redeem a stamp if they pay for each car wash. One group had a 8-stamp requirement. The other had a 10-stamp requirement but 2 pre-stamped. more ppl completed the incentive for the latter. Suggests ppl more inclined to participate/ continue with prg if they have evidence that they already made progress.

Suggests that less-than-straightforward sounding names, but readable and pronounceable, can be more appealing.

An experiment with mirrors in a room; ppl more likely to behave if they see themselves or think they can be seen. Same principle with name tags (removing anonymity). Experiment, at a honor-based payment system pantry, with a poster with & without a pair of eyes; the ones that had was more likely to get ppl to pay up.

Study suggests ppl who feel sad are more likely to be susceptible to suggestions; implication is to give ourselves time to consider big decisions. For the persuader, while we may gain an upper hand if we tap onto the sad emotive state of the other party, it will not lead to longer term positive relationships, as the other party will later see the situation as being exploitative or they regret the transaction.

Emotions make ppl less sensitive to magnitude of numbers and more likely to pay attention to the presence or absence of events. For businesses, implies ppl are more likely to pay attention to the presence or absence of emotional-laden offers than actual numbers involved.

Sleep deprivation leads to less than ideal decision-making (get enough sleep!) Ppl who have had their caffeine-fix are more likely to be persuaded (with good arguments) than when they are not mentally stimulated.

Cited US Cellular’s “no email on Fridays” policy. Two employees discovering, over phone, they were just across the hall rather than states (sounds extreme to me, but maybe they are a gigantic org)

Email Experiment found that by disclosing personal info to the other negotiating party, there was greater likelihood of an outcome. Found that women were more persuaded in person while form of communication makes less difference for men (but experiment didn’t explore gender difference of persuader).

A communication experiment (email, voice, face to face) found that all groups tend to overestimate the likelihood of the other party perceiving their message exactly. But the gap for the email group was highest.

Diffusion of responsibility; why mass mails fare worse in getting responses than mails sent to individuals.

Consumer research experiment; buying sofa. Website background that suggested economic value (pennies) tend to persuade ppl to select based on cost, and a background that suggested comfort (clouds) tend to have ppl select based on perceived comfort/ quality. Respondents insist they were not influenced by any suggestions though the facts indicate we may be more susceptible to unconscious clues than we think.

Conclusions There may be cultural differences, e.g. Reciprocity may differ according to diff cultural values. Citibank study: Americans tend to look at individual reciprocity; Spanish look at relationships; mainland chinese look at rank and hierarchies.

Individualistic Vs collectivistic cultures. Implication on business, relating to ppl, advertising and marketing. For the latter, the authors suggest it’s necessary to credit the group rather than just the individual, especially in encouraging reciprocal actions. Suggests that relationships may be more important/ have more emphasis in collectivistic cultures, while individualistic culture may tend to focus more on the efficiency of the message.

References include sources from:
Robert B. Cialdini, 2001 influence: science and practice, 4th Ed.
Journal of personality and social psychology
Journal of consumer psychology
Journal of consumer research
Journal of experimental social psychology
Journal of applied psychology Psychological Science Personality and social psychology bulletin

Update: excellent summary of the points in the book, here, by Martin Poulter.

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