Apps have become an integral aspect of small business innovation. With a new app released at every turn, it’s important to stay updated on the latest technology. Many apps are free or cost-effective for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Every business owner wants the best for their business – smoother operations, more effective processes, flexibility, and tools that allow businesses to grow. Apps directly impact and improve business operations, and with the demands of operating a small business, you’ll feel relief using these technological life-savers. Here are a few top apps every small business should know about, and incorporate into their daily business practices.
There are many other apps at your disposal so go forth and explore the exciting world of apps for your small business. Many are easy to use; designed to advance businesses in nearly every stage of growth.
Which app do you find most beneficial for your business? Share your comments below!
One of the services OrganiCommunications provides is social media management to businesses and organizations of all size. With the emergence of social media platforms, many businesses feel as though they are treading on foreign territory. They know their business needs it, but they’re hesitant about social media’s ability to generate income. The main question I encounter regarding social media: Is it really worth it? My answer is – Yes. However, I explain to them that it’s important to develop a strategic marketing/communication plan before investing in social media, whilst realizing social media amplifies existing activities in the community with clients or internally.
Questions for clients to consider:
Many smaller businesses tread carefully on digital media platforms because they’re unsure of what their goals are in relation to social media, fearing a possible negative impact. Others want to be convinced that it actually works. When I launched OrganiCommunications, I thought I had to convince potential clientele to invest in social media for their business, but I soon realized it’s not my job to sell social media. As social media is only one of the services OrganiCommunications provides, I came to the definite realization that I don’t need to sell the platforms and technologies I am using for the advancement of my business. Perhaps many of you provide social media, marketing, or writing services that utilize existing platforms and technologies, and have encountered similar issues with customers. My solution to this recurring problem was to shift my brand strategy.
Whilst I fully understand the struggle between small business owners and emergent digital media platforms, I did not want to spend my time selling social media.
Here are some solutions I found beneficial:
Often times we forget that it is not our duty to sell the products/services we promote. Our purpose is to market our services/products in order to help other businesses succeed in their ventures. If you have any other tips or suggestions in relation to this area, please share below in the comment section!
We look forward to your thoughts and SHARE if you’ve found this post useful!
I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur. I attributed entrepreneurship to someone who owns and operates their own business, and I definitely did not consider myself a business person. Throughout my childhood, I came in contact with local business owners who I respected but never aspired to really become. I thought they worked too hard, generated minimal income, and seemed unfulfilled. Forward to life after graduation, my peers from university ended up working for companies and sticking to a 9-5 schedule. I was more of an intellectual fiend, constantly needing mental stimulation, but I needed a temporary break from academia at the time. As I discovered myself to be more of a motivated individual who possesses behavioral traits of creation and leadership, I needed to formulate my own platform. Where did that leave me? The pursuit of entrepreneurship.
I realized very quickly that I wasn’t the type of individual to work a 9-5 schedule and work up a corporate ladder. I was motivated to create my own agenda, pursue my interests, lead people, and generate income whilst doing so. As I was accustomed to searching for a career on main online job boards, I didn’t really know how to launch a career as an entrepreneur. Typically, most people have found working for a business much easier than attempting to launch your own for the following reasons:
I questioned whether entrepreneurship was the right path for me as I did not possess a singular passion that I wanted to pursue as a business venture. I longed for a flexible schedule, higher responsibilities, more value, and independence, but what good are those professional desires when you don’t have a niche? This is when I came across the term, Serial Entrepreneur. I didn’t feel so alone after all. There are other entrepreneurs who operate various ventures throughout their professional career. Success! Not just yet. Sure, I had ideas, but no direction.
The first step was finding a mentor, someone who has owned a business and understood the process of starting one. I was lucky to have such a person close to me who was able to guide, advise, and simplify the process. A strategic business plan is crucial to launch any business, even as a solopreneur. In this case, I chose an area I enjoyed – Writing. Then I combined it with my professional experience in marketing, event management, and social media. My path, thus far, has developed organically and has taught me much about what it means to be an entrepreneur. With each passing month, I have grown as a business owner, slowly compiling the traits I believe one must possess to succeed as an entrepreneur.
Bold – Discerning – Intelligent – Motivated – Self-Disciplined – Organized – Visionary – Creative – Independent – Understanding – Emotionally Wise – Determined – Committed – Diligent – Goal Oriented
There are far more traits that I haven’t mentioned but these are my top traits for entrepreneurial innovation. Don’t rule out the life of an entrepreneur for the safety of a 9-5 schedule. My idea of entrepreneurship was misguided, and until I further explored its implications, I realized how compatible it is with my goals and personality.
Share your comments on being an entrepreneur below!
Have you ever called a business you were interested in for their services only to have them communicate with you in an inefficient manner? If you’ve answered yes, you’re not riding solo. Over the last week, I spent a lot of time interacting with local businesses for one reason or another. These interactions weren’t linked to my business endeavors, which makes it even more worrying. Most of us like to assume that if we’ve established ourselves as credible sources in our industries, we know what we’re talking about. Well, that’s not always the case. I have been accused of being highly inquisitive and investigative when I research services I’m interested in. I, like many, believe that one should communicate in an articulate manner concerning her/his area of expertise so I’ve rarely hesitated to question extensively before I purchase a product/service.
Before speaking to these chosen businesses, I did my research in the industry and topic area and organized my questions appropriately. Many of my discussions resulted in confusion, poor communication, and chaotic messaging. I couldn’t fully understand why this occurred so many times that particular week so I began to analyze each situation. What I came to realize was that it wasn’t that the business owners didn’t know their area of expertise, but that many potential customers don’t typically ask such specific questions as one of the owners mentioned to me. In saying this, the business owners aren’t prepared to fully answer quite researched, specific questions. Being cognitively prepared as a business owner and credible source in your field is vital. You may have target customers who deviate from the norm of the ‘regular customer’ you usually encounter so you should always be prepared to adequately communicate your product and/or service, especially to an involved customer.
Another issue I faced in this realm was not receiving a clear answer. If you’re established as a business owner/authority figure in your field, surely you can answer questions within the discipline. The problem is that many business owners do not communicate the full extent and capacity of their products/services as they haven’t practiced that form of communication. Someone may be fiercely knowledgeable in their field, but still not capable of fully communicating what it encompasses in a way where every interested party understands. This is problematic as every business owner should utilize an effective communicative model in presenting their business to anyone.
Here are some useful tips in better communicating in this particular realm:
Communicating effectively when it comes to your business is key to developing solid relationships with your customers. It increases credibility, trust, respect, and professionalism. Finally, it better ensures a committed, loyal customer.
As I was perusing the web, I tried to find some relevant forums, blogs, or articles on key differences between freelance marketing and corporate marketing. Much to my dismay, there isn’t much information on this topic. This was a surprise, as surely there are individuals who transitioned from corporate marketing to freelance marketing and vice versa. In a previous post, I wrote about the differences of working in corporatism vs. freelancing. This post focuses more on the concepts of marketing and the different marketing strategies implemented dependent on the environment.
I transitioned from corporatism to the freelance world and love it! Don’t get me wrong, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, I valued my experiences and time invested within the corporate environment, and have been able to transfer many of the skills acquired to the freelancing realm.
Here are several characteristics of corporate marketing:
Characteristics of freelance marketing:
Within a corporate marketing capacity, I liaised with team members, other departments, graphic designers, mailing houses, etc. on a daily basis which were provided to me as long-term contacts of the business. Corporations also utilize advanced technologies and software. This is expected as large businesses require systems that operate across platforms and departments. Analytic reports were generated every week based on the efforts of the entire marketing department, at times including the sales team performance. These reports were generated by complex systems and discussed in meetings with the Director of Marketing and/or Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Social media was tracked using web metrics, a number of social media analytic tools, Google Analytics, and other paid measurable tools.
As a freelancer, it is expected to acquire specific contacts when I should need them, and the technology and software used is far more simple than what is used in the corporate environment. One of the main difficulties as a freelancer is that you must find as many cost-effective (free) marketing tools as possible. The client (small business) is rarely willing to pay for analytic tools or other advanced functionality. If the client does not come from a corporate background themselves, it’s even more difficult to sufficiently explain how some tools would be more beneficial if you paid for them.
Another matter I’ve run into is goals. In the corporate world, goals were always set out for me. I knew what I had to achieve and worked hard to do so. As a freelancer, I often set out the goals and expectations for my clients which is quite exciting; yet challenging at first. What I’ve realized is that you (the freelancer), are both the employer and employee. You educate, initiate, and guide; yet you deliver, receive, and learn. It’s the best of both worlds!
If you found this helpful or you have anything else to add to this particular post, please do so here OR connect with me via social media on my homepage.
Intelligence is a broad, overarching concept in today’s society, so what does it truly entail in relation to holding the clever individual’s attention? Intelligence can be defined in various ways based on interpretative analysis, societal values, economic status, and/or communication techniques. How people view and interpret intelligence consists of an expansive, comprehensive list to say the least.
As a freelance marketer, I often have to conduct content analysis on content creation and content curation. Generating content requires an extensive process that can be time-consuming whether you’re a copywriter, author, publisher, social media specialist, communications strategist, and so on.
It requires you:
There is a lot of content out there and as a result, it’s difficult to always find what you’re looking for without being bombarded with irrelevant content. On one hand, this is an organizational technology issue, and a few new emerging tools appear promising. Traditional search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo don’t cut it.
The main questions my clients who are new to social media always ask are:
1. How will people find YOUR content?
2. How do you find precisely what you’re looking for?
The issues of time and organization arises here which can put anybody off. Now, let’s delve into what type of content is being created out there and for who. Depending on your profession and/or interests, you’ve already narrowed your content search and target area/s. I’m sure everyone at some point or another have noticed how content in a specific area appears very similar. I term this the content homogeneous effect. Essentially, content utilizes key buzz words, generic statements, and similar puns. Of course, this is natural as it is not the easiest task to consistently produce original content; however it can induce boredom to experts/intelligent individuals in the field/area. Just look at the proliferation of twitter #hashtags.
How do we overcome these issues when it comes to content creation and content curation in relation to keeping people interested?
Share how you produce phenomenal content in your industry and keep your audience captivated!
Connect with via my social media networks on my blog homepage.
Aloha Readers! Apologies for the extended break in writing, I just relocated to a brand new city! The preceding blog post is written with the hope that when you become successful (if you aren’t already) in business, you will avoid the pitfalls of the professionalism paradigm discussed below.
Before embarking on my professional career, I held an idealistic view of the corporate world and business professionals in general. I naively believed professionals acted professional ALL the time, as if it were ingrained in them. As I grew up and launched my career within the constructs of corporatism, I realized professionalism was primarily an act and some were simply better actors than others. I’ve always considered myself a naturally professional individual beginning with my humble familial roots conditioned to be well-spoken, well-mannered, upright demeanor, and so forth. Having researched employee case studies, reflecting on my own professional ventures, and conversing with acquaintances about their experiences with the idea of professionalism in the workplace, I realized that much of it is a stage for actors. Allow me to explain.
A script is written, often by Hollywood. The westernized arena of the professional world is marred by the recruitment videos of the early 60’s; movies depicting ruthless but clean business dealings and an under-arching belief that professionals are completely capable of doing the jobs they are tasked to complete. The real world often contains characters unfit to handle the tasks they attempt to perform; yet they lead organizations and divisions nation-wide. This script can also be referred to as social conducts, social conformity, and organizational socialization processes.
Organizational socialization is crucial to the formation and production of actors (potential employees). For example, it’s not always enough if you have the credentials for the job, but it’s a question of do you fit within the corporate culture or do you know someone within the company to make an introduction? A free-enterprise economy, also known as capitalism, sets a professional standard defined by an organizational structure and culture, and keeps its minions shackled to the expectations of advancement through capital gain.
Examples of professionalism gone awry in a business setting are as follows:
Whether you’re a freelancer, working for a corporation, a start-up, or self-employed, professionalism is crucial in all areas of business and personal life; however this standard and idea of professionalism must not be restricted to a limited arena as corporate culture, mainstream cinema, or any other form of unrealistic expectation. This causes an imbalance in our economic infrastructure and rejects people not based on their talents and skills, but on not conforming to an absurd standard of a business image imposed upon us through irrational, unequal means.
In our modernized system, it’s not as simple as identifying as a Karl Marx fan or a capitalist devotee. The economic infrastructure is an intricate design involving a multi-faceted platform with many entities. Economics is at the center of everything. Every choice we make, be it within the constructs of relationships, business, education, consumerism, politics, religion, health, communications, economics is taken into consideration. For some, that may be an unsettling thought, but it doesn’t have to be. Economics in itself, as a discipline, practice, or theory is not negative. It can become negative through how we define it, attribute value to it, and interact with it. A concept called Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein led me to carefully consider a few things about our current economic system. The video is definitely worth watching.
“Charles Eisenstein is a teacher, speaker, and writer focusing on themes of civilization, consciousness, money, and human cultural evolution” (http://bit.ly/VxHigR). The term Sacred Economics actually refers to an anthropological and social science of a Gift Economy. Wikipedia defines it as:
In anthropology and the social sciences, a gift economy (or gift culture) is a mode of exchange where valuable goods and services are regularly given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards (i.e. no formal quid pro quo exists). Ideally, voluntary and recurring gift exchange circulates and redistributes wealth throughout a community, and serves to build societal ties and obligations. In contrast to a barter economy or a market economy, social norms and custom governs gift exchange, rather than an explicit exchange of goods or services for money or some other commodity.
You may wonder how this type of economic construct could apply to a modern system. Essentially, in science and technology, a gift economy prevails.
Engineers, scientists and software developers create open-source software projects. The Linux kernel and the GNU operating system are prototypical examples for the gift economy’s prominence in the technology sector and its active role in instating the use of permissive free software and copyleft licenses, which allow free reuse of software and knowledge. Other examples include: file-sharing, the commons, open access (Wiki).
Market economies were established when city states became more prevalent, and a more complex money system was necessary. Take into consideration the eruption of social media tools and management systems. Social media operates on a gift economic infrastructure in that it differentiates itself from a market economy on three accounts – context (relationship rather than transaction), earned rather than bought status, and the creation of social currencies.
In the Pacific Northwest, native tribes developed the ritual of the potlatch. Status was given not to those who accumulated the most wealth, but instead to those who gave the most to the community (http://bit.ly/MvjAuC)
Perhaps this type of economic philosophy sounds like fluff and infeasible to execute, but consider why you would think that. Our modern system no longer entirely operates on a gift economy so it’s difficult for society to comprehend an alternative economic operative process. Given our complex and expansive global economic system, an integration of a market and gift economy would be an optimal model to consider. How would we incorporate this? Would we refer to the mechanical and social operations of media, technology, and networking? Which entities would be involved? This would require a complex, collaborative process, but it’s completely plausible to execute. More on this in my next post.
-Share and spread the economic gift-
The barriers of cultural communications. The power of a message. The global accessibility of technology. Should there be a regard for ethics and cultural sensitivity when it comes to conveying a message? In the United States, citizens utilize their freedom of speech brazenly in comparison to other cultures; yet should this human right allow us to publicize content on a global level, specifically targeting cultures which indubitably do not exercise the freedom of speech to the extent westernized culture does? The key to artfully communicating is catering your message to your audience. The internet is a global technological platform for communication which places a great deal of responsibility on content creators.
This article is a response to the Anti-Muslim Video which has caused riots, hate crimes, and wide-spread violence world-wide. I believe that it is the responsibility of webmasters to empower users before viewing content. This can be done by providing a synopsis of the content, i.e. tagging videos as satire or inappropriate. These warnings could also be added post video upload by YouTube users based on votes. The issue at hand is not one of religious difference or the intent of the film maker. It’s an issue of communication in terms of technological accessibility, cultural awareness, and the power of a message. A simple resolution to this problem would be respecting a social group by not creating a film which blatantly depicts a parody of sorts about the Islamic culture. However, it’s obviously not that simple. Due to language and cultural barriers, what appears to be a parody to one group of people is simply an insult to others. One should have the freedom to express a message in any form in order to make a statement be it religious, political, sexual, etc. So perhaps we can develop the technology to communicate the true intent of our online content, while working to prevent and stem the outrage of unsuspecting users.
They must first provide a description and rate its content based on level of controversy. In that case, those who still wish to view it after they have read the warning (description of the content) will take responsibility. This may not seem like a significant step in improving such a matter, but psychologically speaking, if one is given the choice to view content that may stir controversy, one will feel like s/he made an independent choice and that will increase the probability of the person taking responsibility for that choice.
If anyone else has an idea on how to improve a situation as this in relation to technology, power of a message, and cultural communications, I’d love to hear your comments!
Dale Carnegie, the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, talks about resolving conflicts in any situation through self-empathy. In order for you to empathize with someone, you must first connect with yourself. The idea of putting yourself in someone elses’ shoes seems like quite an elementary idea, but it’s evident that this concept is very difficult to execute depending on the situation. In his audio book, Dale Carnegie provides many examples of when you admit your fault before being reprimanded by the person you faulted, it significantly increases your chances in establishing a peaceful alliance. Most people want to feel important and significant, as well as, being told they’re correct in their thinking or behavior. Carnegie gives an example of arguing with a police officer. Does this ever resolve the problem? However, if you admit your fault before the officer even has a chance to reprimand you, you demonstrate self-empathy and the ability to be objective about the situation you’re involved in.
In my previous post, The paradoxical entanglement of the self and the other, I discuss the complexity of self-empathy – the ability to understand someone else’s standpoint and act accordingly. In other words, being able to admit your folly and resolve the issue through an effort in understanding your similarities and differences. Referring to Carnegie’s 4th Principle, Begin in a Friendly Way, he quotes Woodrow Wilson.
‘If you come at me with your fists doubled, I think I can promise you that mine will double as fast as yours; but if you come to me and say, ‘Let us sit down and take counsel together, and, if we differ from each other, understand why it is that we differ, just what the points at issue are,’ we will presently find that we are not so far apart after all, that the points on which we differ are few and the points on which we agree are many, and that if we only have the patience and the candor and the desire to get together, we will get together.’
Often we think most disagreements are because of our differences, but in actuality, the way we communicate those our disagreements are the primary problem. Rather than trying to resolve the conflict by focusing on the differing views, try to focus on what you have in common in relation to the issue/s at hand. This will create a mutual alliance through shared interests and views and leverage the differences at hand. Leveraging a difference produces strength. The strength produced will manifest in the relationship and benefit both parties. Diversity, differences, and conflict should not intimidate you and/or instigate negative reactions. Through self-empathy (understanding yourself in connection to the other) and a genuine willingness to solve the problem/s at hand will establish a peaceful alliance. The main reason people resort to violent forms of communication is because they don’t want to invest the time and energy required to solve the problem by executing the steps mentioned. However, if you do invest the necessary time through non-violent communication, you will realize that not only does it get easier every time, but that you would have spent more time and energy in violence and warfare. Be smarter, not harder.
Whether you’re an academic, graduate student, or simply an entity within an educational institution, you’ve probably heard the term Ivory Tower referring to academic elitism. As within any social group, there is an acquired language and behavior associated with the group. As a participant of that group, you learn the language, mannerisms, behavior of what the group requires in order to discover your place within that group. This is typically known as a socialization process. There are cultural, social, political, economic standards a member must adhere to in order to find her/his place in the group more adequately. Education as an institution is not any different from other institutions and/or groups such as business, the arts, fashion, technology, or religion. Even within these main groups, there are subgroups with differing standards leading to a lack of cross communication. Given this is a communications blog, this post will cover strategies to improving society through the ability to interact with different institutions.
What makes academia different? Why is it often referred to as an Ivory Tower? Knowledge and language are two of the most elemental driving forces in creating operative processes. It creates power structures and a hierarchical order, sometimes without any form of accountability. A conundrum: what use is knowledge if most people cannot comprehend the language in which the knowledge is communicated in? This is problematic on an institutional level within the educational system, especially in higher education. On the other hand, should an academic (someone who has diligently worked to reach a level of intelligence) translate her/his production to a more ‘common’ form of language so that the public can understand? Or perhaps a communicative, technological tool should be used in order to solve such a problem.
We shouldn’t expect academics and scientists to translate their work into a more common language shared by most people, but we can advocate for a communication platform in which it is translated for the general public. Most pedagogical research focuses on developing equity centric frameworks for those already within the educational system. A recent development are ivy league institutions offering free classes online to the public. This is a great leap in the right direction, allowing a greater majority of people to increase their knowledge, but this avoids the problem with the pedagogical processes and academia itself, the general public is still unaware. To solve the original problem, translating existing scholarly work into a common language, would require a large workforce or an advanced program.
This would require an intricate, complex design involving technology and communication devices. How would this advance humanity?
These are just a few reasons as to why an alternative platform needs to be developed. I can understand why an accomplished academic or scientist may have a problem with such a platform given their process in achieving such credentials, but isn’t the purpose of achieving such impressive credentials to share your knowledge, discoveries, insights in order to cultivate a greater understanding and interrelatedness with others? Beneath our accomplishments which were achieved through a hierarchical process, don’t we all share a common trait – being human?
For those of you who studied Spanish, not French, this post is called The Fashion of Consumers. I attended a fashion show this week held in downtown Portland, Oregon called Fashion’s Night Out. I’m not a devoted fan of the fashion industry, but initially I couldn’t resist the free cocktails, goodies, and food. This particular fashion show deviated from others I’ve attended given the show was open air and featured free pedicabs; although I opted for walking and being whisked between participating stores. An instigation of conflicting feelings and ideas began to consume me that were of much surprise. I had always committed myself to the belief that the fashion industry is a cultural, social, and economic space for the mass production of consumerism, a capitalistic playground, and a regression of female identity. Discussions and debates on the fashion industry rarely changed my mind even after attending fashion shows in Europe with friends in complimentary industries like film who invited me. Sure, I considered their ideas that the fashion industry aided individuals to discover a solidified sense of identity through the embodiment of fashion or that the industry offered consumers choices in identifying with these style of choice. However, as someone with a strong background in marketing and advertising, I could not be convinced.
However, there is something positive I realized while attending this particular fashion show. I always associated fashion in its entirety to be negative, but the expression and communication of fashion can actually have a positive influential impact on the economy, the consumer, and the construction of identity. There are 3 immediate issues which need to be addressed in order for this transformation to take place.
Is it valid that the marketization of fashion offers consumers choices in style? Of course. However, those choices are economically structured. Certain brands and designs are ranked of higher quality which means a higher price. How is that assessed and/or qualified? It’s simply qualified through what the consumer desires. If there are people willing to pay a certain amount for this ‘art’ if you will, then the demand increases as does the economic value. It’s really a game of numbers. The socially elite, the focal group of fashion patrons are the ones who construct and define the fashion industry. Similarly, it’s the idea of the artist discovered – an artist is made through the recognition of the elite patron.
Fashion in itself is not oppressive or destructive, but the systematic processes behind it is. The belief that the fashion industry is ranked through a legitimate assessment of ‘high quality’ production is false. The industry primarily “relies on low-paid female, and often child labour, not only on a national but also a global level” (Joanne Hollows). The social and economic process is clearly more complex than what I have described, but I wanted to provide a general systematic idea. Not only are icons in the fashion industry representatives of eating disorders and invalid reproductions of gendered identities, but it advocates a hierarchy of styles through economic branding. Identity in this sense is an illusory concept. Our identities are not simply based on our style of choice, but the style of our earnings. That style of choice is essentialized and processed through an economical hierarchy, and the psychological alteration of the mass consumer through marketing, branding, and the misuse of identity.
Fashion can be enjoyable, stimulating, and part of a larger social phenomenon, but it needs to be re-configured to truly endorse a humanistic approach. Join me in producing this change by sharing this post on your social networking space!
Here it is folks – The Republican National Convention. What we’ve all been anxiously waiting for. Even for those of us who do not identify as a Republican or perhaps don’t care much about politics, it’s difficult to not take a peek at what’s taking place at this convention. I was too tempted to not take the opportunity to analyze Paul Ryan’s speech, ‘College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms’ found on Yahoo News. Topics such as unemployment amongst college graduates, Obama’s healthcare plan, the housing and financial crisis were covered in this approximately 30 minute video. I paused it periodically and solely observed his facial expressions, bodily movements, and affective mannerisms. Most of us know there is a social psychological component to public speeches. In other words, have you ever asked yourself why so many political speeches sound similar (sort of like company mission statements)? Why is it that they seem to say so much, yet so little simultaneously? And what is the common leadership trait of a successful politician? That’s right, transactional and charismatic leadership.
In comparison to many charismatic religious and cult leaders, politicians utilize a persuasion-emotion based communications approach. They are taught to place a great emphasis on their non-verbal communication and inflection of their voice.
These forms of persuasive strategies are essentially the utilization and execution of physical stimuli. If you deconstruct any human interaction in any context, you are left with the basis of physical stimuli. From an evolutionary psychological perspective, physical stimuli is the basis of all communication and existence. In critical discourse analysis (CDA), “an interdisciplinary approach to the study of discourse that views language as a form of social practice and focuses on the ways social and political domination are reproduced in text and talk” (Fairclough, 1989), essentially analyzes powers structures in relation to language construction. In saying this, although the premise of charismatic leadership lies at the core of physical stimuli, what you say matters as well. However, how much of what a leader verbally communicates actually matters?
In Paul Ryan’s speech, he initially establishes his authority stating:
I accept the duty to help lead our nation out of a jobs crisis and back to prosperity — and I know we can do this.
I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with opportunity for the young and security for the old — and I know that we are ready.
The importance of these statements center on: I accept the duty to help lead; I know we can do this; I accept the calling; I know we are ready. A few sentences later he proposes we need change and that Mitt Romney is the man for the job. The audience responds by clapping and loudly expresses their praise. Why? Because of the strategic steps Paul Ryan took in establishing his authority, communicating his purpose, and providing a benefit/solution.
The Effective Introduction:
The audience is already excited about being at the convention so all the politician has to do is prove himself even further by executing the 3 simple steps in his introduction. Did Mr. Ryan really say anything substantial in his introductory paragraph? Anything that really made him unique or different from any other politician? Of course not. Political speeches are scripts with differing concepts depending on the political view/s. The same is true for charismatic religious speakers. The approximately 30 minute video of Paul Ryan’s speech at the RNC left me feeling disappointed that political speeches still contain sweeping broad statements, and have not evolved past the basics of physical stimuli tactics, leading to unsubstantiated communication.
The dynamic between leaders and their followers is one inclusive of many intricacies and analyses. According to many studies within psychology, sociology, business, or communications, there are 2 primary types of leadership – transactional and transformational. Transformational leadership “includes charisma, intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration, and inspirational motivation” (Barbuto, 2005). Transactional leadership, on the other hand, is described “as a simple process of creating strong expectations with employees, along with clear indications of what they will get in return for meeting these expectations” (Blanchard & Johnson, 1985). Within a transactional dynamic, leaders and followers decide upon a performance management system where both parties work towards mutual goals.
In recent studies, charismatic leadership has been a form of leadership style that has maintained a great appeal. “Weber (1947) first described the concept of charismatic leadership as stemming from subordinates’ (or followers’) perceptions that the leader is endowed with exceptional skills or talents” (Barbuto, 2005). “Research of charismatic leadership has consistently found significant relationships with follower trust, effort, and commitment” (Howell & Frost, 1989; Lowe et al.,1996). Both transformational and charismatic leadership have a direct, emotive impact on the follower through emotion – persuasion based communications. Examples of charismatic leaders include, Jim Jones (leader of the Peoples Temple), Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Joan of Arc, Eleanor Roosevelt, and many more.
Transformational and charismatic leaders are known to attract many followers given their persuasion – emotion communications approach. In order to evoke emotion from an audience, the leader must keep a few things in mind.
The leader must persuade the audience of the change, revelation, experience, etc. cognitively, emotionally, and physically. Transactional leadership, on the other hand, is more about establishing a common set of guidelines, mutual agreements, goals with the followers and monitoring the progression. Transformational and charismatic leadership focuses on persuasion through tapping into emotive triggers. Both are beneficial forms of leadership that manage expectations. What a leader must keep in mind is who their followers are and what they need. In my next post, I will give examples of transactional, transformational, and charismatic leaders and the relationship they have with their followers.
What makes an exceptional leader? I was watching the widespread, viral video on Todd Akin, Senate candidate in Missouri, Republican Party give his two cents on rape from a ‘doctor’s perspective’ saying that women’s bodies can reject a ‘legitimate rape.’
While most upstanding citizens are baffled by this absurd comment, I began contemplating the traits of his followers. A leader cannot solely exist without its followers. Leaders such as Adolf Hitler, Vlad Tepes, Idi Amin Dada, or Joseph Stalin could not generate their ideas and execute their plans unless they had people willing to follow in their ventures.
Weber’s great contemporary Georg Simmel was even more explicit, suggesting that followers have about as much influence on their leaders as leaders have on their followers. Leaders cannot maintain authority, he wrote, unless followers are prepared to believe in that authority (John Gardner).
For most, it’s difficult to understand how someone like Todd Akin could have any followers especially after making such an invalid and offensive comment. On the other hand, because of his identity as pro-life and affiliation with the Republican Party, it may be easier for those with similar views to overlook and excuse his comment in order to focus on the bigger picture. Presumably, leaders designate the structural relationship with its follower; however, to what degree do followers also direct the relational pathway?
The communication style is a critical distinguishing factor in whether the leader’s message will be remembered and endorsed. Flauto (1994) determined that every leadership dimension (charisma, individual consideration, intellectual stimulation) was positively correlated with the communication competence construct. Implicit in this assumption is the belief that leader’s communication competence is a prerequisite for effective leadership (Barge, 1994) (Matveev & Lvina).
This two-way, interpersonal communications model whereby the leader communicates the message to its audience, and through the leader’s ability to communicate effectively, the audience chooses whether or not to follow and develop a relationship with the leader. The leader must appeal to the needs of its audience through a multitude of communicative strategies and channels dependent on the context whether it be religious, social, political, or economical. The communication strategies in relation to leadership management vary in usage and execution. I will provide a more detailed overview of this in my next post.
As always – stay tuned. In the meantime, be both a leader and follower.
The relational dynamic children
have with their parents consists of varying levels of growth and development. There is not a perfect parent nor child. There are, howev
er, strategic ways you can negotiate with your child. It starts with respecting the child as a small grown-up through listening and responding accordingly. Simple enough right? Well, obviously there are hurdles to overcome given all children are different. The most common problem when it comes to parent-child relationships is one of dependency and trust. Children have no choice but to depend on their parental units for economical, mental, emotional, physical, and in some cases, spiritual support.
This dependency is the foundation of the dynamic and can either be a healthy or detrimental platform depending on the leadership of the parental figure. For example, the parent can equip the child with the adequate tools to be effectual, independent individuals in society. On the other hand, parental figures could restrain and prevent their children from becoming an upstanding citizen of society and finding their sense of self-identity. Dependency is a frail concept that needs to be constantly monitored, evaluated, and reconfigured in order to ensure the child is receiving the utmost preparation for the ‘real world.’ In saying this, it is crucial for parents to treat their children as respectable, independent beings by listening and responding to them in an appropriate manner.
Because children are still developing, parents often feel as though commanding or forbidding them to do/not to do something is the most effective strategy in the negotiation process. This is a very unhealthy tactic that lead children into possessing low self-esteem, lack of self-reliance, and poor negotiation skills with others. Scott Brown, author of How to Negotiate With Kids Even When You Think You Shouldn’t states, “the negotiation between parents and kids can actually be a great learning experience for your kids. If you don’t negotiate, your children may not learn how to deal with conflicts constructively. If you don’t teach them how to work with you, they may never learn how to work with others.” Kids need a venerable role model to learn from and demonstrate how to live as an independent entity in society. Rather than reprimanding your child, teach them what they did wrong by explaining it to them.
Referring to an example given by Stuart Diamond in his chapter on negotiating with children:
A boy wants to play with his new toy cars on the newly refurbished rug instead of the wooden floors. Rather than his mother reprimanding him or commanding the boy to use the wooden floors because the rug had just been clean, the mother told the boy that the wooden floors would be better for playing with his cars because the cars will go faster on the wooden floors.
The child doesn’t care that the rug had just been refurbished. By providing him with the benefit of playing with his toy cars on the wooden floors, he is more likely to choose that option. This may sound like a simple solution but children often have simple requests. Because of common stresses and pressures of life, parental figures think (either subconsciously or consciously) that being militant or perhaps too authoritative will solve the problem. However, instilling fear and/or ignoring the child will only lead to unhealthy development. On the other hand, tending to your child’s needs without a concern for your own needs is just as harmful. When negotiating, in any situation, you choose the best option for all parties involved.
Share your examples on how you negotiate with children on this post!
Often we focus so much energy on what people are saying through discourse that we overlook their body language. Many psychologists state that non-verbal communication makes up for 60-70% of human interaction; therefore, in any negotiation or conflict situation, it is vital to understand non-verbal communication. Embodiment can be defined as how the cognitive mind determines the form of the body (Merleau-Ponty). “Merleau-Ponty bases his entire phenomenological project on an account of bodily intentionality and the challenge it poses to any adequate concept of mind” (Carman, Columbia University). Referring to the idea that the mind and body is interconnected through an ontological or phenomenological framework, is one that many can agree upon given the simple neurological occurrence of our brain sending signals to our body in order for movement to occur.
Despite neurological support of this interconnection, we still have a choice in how we communicate with our bodies to align to what we verbally express. Recently, I watched a documentary called Examined Life by Astra Taylor who interviewed some of the most influential thinkers in our society such as Judith Butler, Peter Singer, and Slavoj Zizek. In the segment on Judith Butler conversing with a woman with a disability on issues regarding gender and disability. I observed Butler’s hands alternate from awkward limps to clenched fists from time to time throughout the conversation which can imply nervousness. The problem is that we don’t know if the nervousness derives from being filmed or because of the sensitivity of the topics discussed or both. This is why it can be challenging to understand the origin and intent of what you’re communicating through embodiment and affect.
What are some useful strategies in interpreting and understanding body language and cognitive communication? If you are involved in a negotiation matter, intently observe how the other body maneuvers in the situation and how it aligns to what the other is communicating. Take on an inductive approach in considering all influences and tactics in the matter, e.g. the environment, other parties involved, personal backgrounds.
These are some strategic indicators and tools of conducting a successful negotiation in relation to mind and body interaction. In my last several posts, I have provided an overview of negotiation, communicative barriers, and strategic ways to overcome these barriers. I will begin to focus on more specific situations and matters in relation to persuasion, negotiation and communication.
Whether it’s within an interpersonal, business, or cultural relational dynamic, the heightened understanding of the others’ cognition, emotions, and sensations seems out of subjective reach. Why do we find it so difficult to ‘place ourselves in the others’ shoes’? The process of identifying with the object (the other) requires disciplinary action given the existence of self-perception. Self-perception is accentuated through what one perceives in their internal state along with present and past external influences. So if self-perception involves external influences, the others, then why does one continue to struggle with understanding? The simple reason is communicative barriers.
One cannot fully transpose into objective realization through self-immersion because one is restricted through communication. First, “perceptions only indirectly reflect reality; they are colored and shaped by influences ranging from the imperfections of vision to the distorting pressures of hopes and desires” (Pronin). An individual has the ability to understand the others’ cognition, emotions, and sensations but is prevented by his/her own thoughts and experiences creating static interference when communicating. How do we overcome this perplexing obstacle? First, we need to address some of the problems associated with these communication barriers.
In order to surpass the barriers mentioned, one must take on an inductive approach. Stuart Diamond defines the inductive process as, “starting from each situation and then figuring out the exact strategies and tools that are likely to be most effective.” Another concept to take into consideration is inter-subjectivity, the understanding and relatedness of a concept or idea through psychological means. “If intentions develop inside words, they also appear between them. If discourse is meaningful, so too is silence: the gaps between words also have their eloquence. To understand the other, it’s not enough understanding what [s/he] says; it is also understanding what [s/he] does not say but what [her/his] presence expresses all the same” (Serge Carfantan). Within the concept of inter-subjectivity, there is understanding and relatedness given the state of social being. If that relatedness and understanding can be achieved through psychological conceptualization and social integration, perhaps we can overcome the restrictive communicative barriers of understanding self and other.
So next time you’re negotiating with someone, keep an eye on their body language – do their shoulders tense, their eyebrows raise or their fists clench? In my next post, I will further discuss the connection of inter-subjectivity, embodiment, and negotiation in terms of avoiding conflict and establishing a peace-based solution. Stay plugged and share your opinions!
In my last post, What to do with Raw Power – The Basis of Negotiation, I addressed how peace-based negotiation strategies need to be implemented in order to avoid physical warfare. How do we achieve this? Stuart Diamond in Getting More talks about useful and effective forms of negotiation strategies to ‘get more’ and benefit all parties involved in a negotiation process.
He addresses three questions in any negotiation:
In a conflict, what is your goal? What is it that you wish to achieve or obtain? Who are you dealing with? Who are the key players in the process? How will you convince them to change their mind? How will you persuade them to take on a different course of action?
Goals – you need to possess a clear focus on your goal/s. Communicate clearly and precisely what your goals are and what you hope to achieve from a negotiation. That means PREPARATION is key.
Listen – Be genuine in your approach in what the other party wants from the negotiation. Make a conscious effort to understand in order to formulate an agreeable arrangement.
Perception – The only way to true understanding of the other is through perceiving their feelings and thoughts as your own. (In my opinion, this is the most challenging. I will address this in greater detail).
Differences – Often cultural, racial, ethnic differences are barriers to establishing a peace-based negotiation through communication strategies. The best way to overcome these barriers is through accepting the differences through the understanding of the origin of that difference.
Don’t be frightened of emotions. Emotive triggers are integral to who we are as humans. I cannot stress this enough – Emotions are HEALTHY. However, keep in mind, everything is a balance. Understand why, where, and how your emotions are executed and expressed. Understand why the other party you’re negotiating with is expressing their emotions in a particular manner through perceptive channeling. The challenge of perceptive channeling is the ability to undergo a simultaneous occurrence – the equilibrium of removing oneself in order to experience objective immersion. This leads me into my next topic on how one can potentially achieve a symmetrical form of consciousness in oneself along with an understanding of the other within a multi-dimensional communicative sphere.