Tuesday, July 5, 2011

...Following The News

News channels can be a great source of information. On them, you’ll learn anything from global changes to your local daily weather. With so many channels, you are given the option to choose what you want to see, and with that, what you want to learn each day. Today’s blog bulletin comes from newscasters, programing, and its technology. These are the lessons that happen behind the scenes and are brought to you live each day.  
This just in: there are business lessons for you and me in news channels too.

The Ten Things I Learned…Following The News

1. Keep broad news topline
Great communication comes down to a simple rule, keeping it simple. Unfortunately, some news channels overwhelm us with useless information instead of focusing on meaningful reports.  Unless we are the jurors on the trial, we don’t need the information overload, just what happened and the outcome. Keep your broader messages topline and let the details get their timeslot in another show.

2. When presenting, know the subject and the upcoming slides
Weather men could teach us a lesson or two on presentation skills. It’s like standing in front of a large slideshow on the hour, every hour.  For starters, they are proficient in the subject, knowing everything there is on meteorology. Second, they’re always prepared to transition smoothly to that next slide. When presenting, know your subject well by practicing your slides and memorize what’s coming next. 

3. Multitasking without losing control
When Marty McFly, turned on six channels in his version of the future on Back To The Future 2, I thought that would be cool but impossible to follow, but I was just a kid. These days, thanks to DirecTV, I can do the same and switch audio back-and-forth to the channels I care to follow all at the touch of a control. At work, multitask while staying in control. Take a break from Excel to make a call, send an email, and go get water, and then come back to finish that painful spreadsheet.
4. Keep a global perspective
News channels let us see how the world is becoming more and more interconnected each day, how events in one country kick start movements in others. Like the wave in a football stadium, we have synchronized movements that come to a stop when a whole section isn’t watching. No matter your business size, leave a positive global impact around the world, from the brands you sell, the communities you help, to the donations you should be making.

5. Share relevant information
Here’s where blogging allows me to be personal:  I honestly don’t care about Lindsey or Charlie, especially when it comes at the expense of learning what’s happening in my area, my town, or even the world.  In a business environment, keep your topics to what’s relevant to your people. Change the conversation from unimportant issues to the ones that truly affect your employee’s lives

6. Use charismatic speakers that don’t alienate.
Frankly, I’m not a huge fan of guys yelling which stocks to buy, nor sarcastic interviewers looking to embarrass their guests, nor presenters that remind me of Droopy, Eeyore, or Sleepy Smurf delivering the job loss reports. In your business, if you have something important to say, get your strongest and most charismatic speaker to say it, otherwise you’re losing ratings.

7. Be relevant to your target and remain inclusive with secondary targets.
As I surf news channels for that perfect balance of information, I’ll sometimes switch to Univision. Being Hispanic, it lets me learn what’s happening in that community too. I value how they stay true to a mainly Mexican-American target, but wonder how many other cultures go unrepresented.  In marketing to your customers stay true to your target, but remain relevant and include others who share similar interests.

8. Let people decide what they want to hear
Where newspapers have an advantage over 24hr news channels is that they let us flip back and forth between pages to find what’s relevant to each one. Similarly, Goggle News provides a quick snapshot and lets us click on what we want to read, better yet, it allows us to switch between countries and languages. At work, consider a communication vehicle that allows people to choose what they’d want to learn. Consider a website or email with customizable company communications.   

9. Provide a 24 hour service.
Not finding that perfect channel is no excuse to remain uninformed. News is available 24hours online on websites, twitter, facebook, and smartphone apps. The challenge now is learning those means and finding the time to read them. Be accessible to your customers 24-7, in many cases information can’t wait till your next day’s office hours.

10. Balance information and entertainment - there is a place for both. 
Not every news has to be so serious, and that’s where comedy comes in - for those who like it. There’s a place for formal news reporting, and another for making fun of it. TV found a way to bring comic relief through late night shows like Letterman and Leno, and in a more news-like format like Comedy Central’s Daily Show and Colbert Report.  Balance your more serious messages with some respectful comedic relief, but be considerate of the place and time to do so.

Spread the news: there are business lessons every place we look, including the news, reporting live from The Ten Things I Learned.com, this is Ricardo Aranda saying tune in next time for more business tips taken from the real world.  

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