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I know I talk about this often, but I found another great article today on men’s fashion/lifestyle tips.  They’re all really great and I wanted to share.  There’s even a few that I probably have some opportunity for improvement on.  What do you think?  Any others you’d add?

Til Next Time,

Michael

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Ranker.com had a great post from the Art of Manliness entitled “34 Things Every Man Should Know”. I found it witty, rather insightful, and somewhat humorous. Hence, I wanted to share with you all.

A couple of my favorites and rules I live by:

  • “Sometimes, Always, Never” Button Rule (which I have written about before)
  • How to Shuffle a Deck of Cards
  • How to Tell When Meat is Done

Til Next Time,

Michael

I know I have mentioned it before, but I am a massive fan of gamification. Not only do I think it drastically increases participation, energy, and adoption of ideas/concepts/programs. I also feel like it helps sustain individuals and keep them coming back for more. Gamification is the reason people keep coming back to applications like FourSquare. If you think about it – what’s unique about FourSquare (recently rebranded Swarm I believe)? It’s a relatively pedestrian concept: here’s an app that lets you check in to retail, dining, or specialty locations and share that news with your friends. What’s so hip about that? It aces the ‘adoption’ test though, because it filled a gap in the market and was something that consumers could get behind and derive value from (even if only social status/recognition). Hence, it was downloaded a couple million times and reached a tipping point. But what made it sustain that momentum?

That, my friends, is the gamification element. And the insanely easy thing about their strategy? It is provided at no cost. The badging that they have built into the app is genius, and entices users to want to continue to use the app (thereby promoting the app and creating a snowball effect where even more potential users look into downloading/becoming regulars on the app). Who would have thought that simply unlocking a virtual, (financially) meaningless badge because I had checked into my 25th airport was so cool? Perhaps it’s the humblebrag in us all. Perhaps it’s just a way to occupy our minds. Either way, the addition of gamification can’t be denied when considering FourSquare’s success.

But gamification should not stop with social media/apps. It should be everywhere. It should be in meetings. It should be in our schools. It should be in our families. It should really be everywhere in our culture. I sincerely think you’d see a lot more engaged, active, and happy society. Which is why I’ll continue to bang the gamification drum and support anyone who is trying to use it.

Til Next Time,

Michael

By now, you know me. Mildly fashionable with a continually evolving sense of style of the dos and don’t’s of the game. I must take this time to issue a PSA for collar stays. Gentlemen, when your shirt has cutouts in the collar, and they come with those little plastic thingies (a term a friend of mine actually once used) that fall out in the dryer or at the cleaners, it means only one thing. YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO HAVE COLLAR STAYS.

A huge pet peeve of mine is the flyaway collar because there isn’t anything holding the collar in place. I have even been known to hit up a Jos A Bank or some equivalent on a day if I forgot to put them in just so I can buy some cheap brass ones. In fact – I keep a tube at the office for that very reason. Although I must say it is extremely rare to forget them. To me – it’s almost like forgetting shoes or a belt (although I have done that and ended up finding a cheap retailer to purchase a new one at before arriving to work so I didn’t look like a fool).

I implore you, if you have no idea what I am talking about, please Google it. You need collar stays. It’s just the right thing to do.

Til Next Time,

Michael

Just the other day, I was participating in a meeting where we were discussing general communications strategies and what the best way to reach as many people as possible is considering the need to communicate as efficiently as possible all while keeping the information digestible, relevant, and timely. Scary proposition, huh?

At the highest level, I am a firm proponent of having a central, dedicated corporate communications team. It must be an organization that wakes up every day with one goal: telling your story. So often we get caught in situations in Corporate America where everyone in the building is going a million miles an hour in their own direction, without even 30 seconds to give you the latest on their neck of the corporate woods. I’ve seen it time and time again at clients and competitors alike where my friends and colleagues work.

My boss actually shares her thoughts on the matter really eloquently. Most of the time, the problem is not that people are not doing things. It’s that they are not telling people what they’re doing. Most organizations are mature enough by now to have (at least partially robust) policies and governing procedures to ensure that healthy business initiatives are prioritized, staffed, and funded. A lot of times what I have seen as the missing link though is a mechanism to allow for those stories to be told to the wider company. And, without a dedicated central corporate communications team, this will always be a challenge.

It’s the same reasons companies hire Public Relations firms. Do you think that, empirically, a company that specializes in metal piping really has any subject matter experts around that understand what good communications look/sound like? Probably not – or else they’re likely not very good at their craft. The fact is that people dedicate their life’s energy to these things, and it’s always the best idea to have someone telling your story that has the skill of great communication.

Til Next Time,

Michael

I have talked before about quirks of email in Outlook that really frustrate me. I’ve also included some thoughts on visual communication through the use of tools like Infographics. So, why not share a great article a buddy sent me on common email courtesy? It’s a great article and is spot on for many “rules of the road” in the email universe that are vital in Corporate America now more than ever. Even five years ago, the majority of the workforce (especially the aging populous) could lean on “Oh I’m just not very good at email; I still prefer face to face or phone communication”. Now though – that doesn’t fly. It is vital to be an effective email communicator, and I firmly believe the author of the article (Google Exec Eric Schmidt) shares some very good best practices.

Personally, here are a few of my email management tips, some of which he included as well:

  • Be concise, yet get your point across: this goes back to Eric’s thoughts on eliminating useless prose – although I do think there is a place for the personal touch or normal colloquial voice/euphemisms
  • Use lists and formatting whenever possible: as I’ve shared before, I’m huge on a bulleted list because I think it forces you to think about what your 3-5 (or a few more) most salient points are and articulate them in a clear and concise manner
  • Remember your mobile audience: I would reason to estimate as many as 60% of your audience will first (if not only) see your email on mobile – so limit the enhanced graphics, embedded screen shots, etc
  • Best respectful of others’ ability (or lack thereof): following up one day after you send something is largely seen as obnoxious; try to recall your audience and how they typically respond to email before you badger them

I’ll revisit this topic at some point I’m sure, but had to share the article in the short term and give at least a few of my thoughts on the topic!

Til Next Time,

Michael

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