Top 10 Communication Quotes

May 27, 2010 at 4:15 pm (communicators, Uncategorized) (, , , )

It’s about time I wrote a blog post, and I’m feeling a little uninspired as of late. So, to perk up my inspiration, I’ve decided to post my Top 10 Communication Quotes, in no particular order.

  1. “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
    Winston Churchill
  2. “You can communicate best when you first listen.”
    Catherine Pulsifer
  3. “The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.”
    Joseph Priestley
  4. “Communication is a continual balancing act, juggling the conflicting needs for intimacy and independence. To survive in the world, we have to act in concert with others, but to survive as ourselves, rather than simply as cogs in a wheel, we have to act alone.”
    Deborah Tannen
  5. “Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard.”
    Anne Spencer
  6. “I slept for four years. I didn’t study much of anything. I majored in something called communication arts.”
    Don DeLillo (This one’s slightly tongue-in-cheek)
  7. “I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.”
    Bill Gates
  8. “The art of communication is the language of leadership.”
    James Humes
  9. “Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.”
    Jim Rohn
  10. “The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.”
    Sydney J. Harris

Of course, there are other quotes that are equally, if not more, inspiring. If you know any, feel free to comment!

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What is integrity?

May 20, 2010 at 4:22 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I have always felt a connection to the word, but when asked I often struggle to explain exactly what integrity means to me. According to Wikipedia, integrity is a concept of “consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes”. This definition is as close to what I use the word for as possible.

I was taught at a young age that being dishonest was wrong, thanks to an older brother with a penchant for lying. Seeing how upset my parents were, not by his actions, but by his excuses and made-up stories, made me an exceedingly honest child. This is not to say that I didn’t stretch the truth here and there, and I’m sure my parents would be more than willing to elaborate on this point, but I was more conscious of it. It was then that I realized that words and actions are intertwined. When I was around 12, my mother told me, “You shouldn’t do anything you feel ashamed of telling someone later.”

As an angst-ridden teen, I despised hypocrisy, and pointed it out any chance I got. When I began a career in sales, I had to find a balance between my integrity and earning enough money to live. It was difficult, but I still feel that I made the right choices. When I had to make a decision that questioned my integrity, I quit. To me, it was more important that I like the person I was than make a dollar. Not everyone would have made that choice, and it may have been a dumb, impulsive move, but I felt good about it.

Now, as I work on building my career as a professional communicator, I feel even more strongly about the importance of integrity. There are many sharks out there, who will say or do anything to try and make money, but I will never allow myself to be on that level. If I ever get into a situation where I am tempted to compromise my integrity, I hear my mother’s advice, and it guides me to make the right decision.

But this always leads me to wonder, What does integrity mean to others? Do the people whose value do not match their actions not have integrity, or do they just follow a different definition?

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Crossing over

May 17, 2010 at 11:40 am (communicators) (, , , , )

This is an issue brought to my attention by Althea from Worldly Bites. As a member of Victoria’s Social Media Club, she noted that some of the members represent themselves differently online than they do in person; or, worse yet, never appear in person at all. Living their life behind the glow of the monitor, they are quick to add a comment or give advice to others but no one has met them. Are they communication angels? Floating in when needed to add insight and expertise? Or are they recluses, typing in their underwear while snacking on a bag of chips? Without emerging into the real world, no one will ever know.

Don't be a Social Media Ghost

Get out there and meet those who you are connecting with through social media. Go to events, hand out business cards, make yourself known. Don’t just be an eerie presence on the web. Cross over to the real world, we welcome you.

BUT, remember to portray yourself accurately, otherwise your real world debut will not be so successful.

You’ve been communicating with a potential client over Twitter, and the time has come to meet up to discuss business details. So far, you’ve determined that his company needs a social media presence, and he wants you to lead the project. You may have exaggerated your past experience just a little in order to get the job. Now, you have to deliver on those promises. What do you do?

Everyone lies on their resume, right? Wrong. Represent yourself accurately, whether it is in person or online. It is a proven fact that people have less inhibitions over the internet and although it may be tempting to elaborate on your skills over Twitter, you will have to prove your abilities when called upon. A true professional is confident in their abilities, but does not misrepresent themselves. You will lose the respect of prospective clients and employers faster by lying than by admitting that a skill needs to be further developed. Honesty is the best practice, in person and online.

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Tweeting it like it is: Part 2

May 10, 2010 at 11:52 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

In my first post about Twitter, I outlined how to get as many followers as possible, quickly. However, these followers may not be of the best caliber. To weed out the followers that are not contributing to your network there are sites to help you out.

Friendorfollow.com – By entering your Twitter name, you can see who you are following that do not follow you back. There, you can go through, hover over each picture, and unfollow anyone that is not adding quality information to your Twitter account. I wouldn’t suggest unfollowing everyone that isn’t following you. There will be some people on Twitter that will still contribute positively that may not be following you. Be selective, but choose carefully.

Socialoomph.com – This site is designed to help you manage your new followers. By signing up, you can set it to respond with a customized welcome message, automatically follow new followers, or to put new followers on hold pending approval.

Tweetstats.com – With Tweetstats.com, you can track your Twitter data.See how many tweets you make, who you send them to, and when you send them, along with other information.

These are only a few of the sites available to help you manage your Twitter account. A list of 47 Awesome Twitter Tools you should be Using, from Deontee.com, gives you the names and links to other sites that will help you to maximize the potential of your Twitter account.

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Credibility should be borrowed, not stolen

May 7, 2010 at 7:10 pm (Uncategorized)

I’m often told that I am “just like” someone they know, or that I remind others of someone. Although I may feel like less of an individual after these comments, it is important to know that these links are how people remember. By finding likenesses throughout the world, we categorize people, items, etc. in order to understand them better.

If you are trying to describe a grapefruit, you might say, “It is somewhat like an orange, but bigger and more sour.” This lets the other person know that it is probably also a citrus fruit, and they can imagine what an orange is like, but apply the differences. It is a form of borrowed credibility; the same can be done with communication styles.

Frequently used in marketing, borrowed credibility allows one to link to something in order to be associated with the attributes of the other. In advertising, it may be a celebrity endorsement or an “As seen on …” label. If the consumer thinks highly of said celebrity, than the product in question gets seen in a more favourable light.

When you are branding yourself as a communicator, borrowed credibility can help others to understand who you are and what you’re about sooner than they may have without it. Students can use established professors or local professionals to vouch for his or her performance to an employer. In some cases, just the name of the university attended can boost your credibility.

“Oh, James went to Harvard? Well, that means a lot.”

Use what you have to your advantage, but make sure to not rely on the skills of others to further your career. When you land that perfect job and are expected to carry out those skills, others will see you were faking it all along.

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Proof of ownership

May 3, 2010 at 11:08 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Today I am working on getting my blog out there, linking to aggregator sites like Delicious and Technorati. To prove that this is a real blog with an actual author (me), Technorati asks for a secret code to be embedded into a post. As the “real” owner of this blog, here is my code: P7RMEP95M8MV.

There are many ways to be deceived, especially online, and services like Technorati just want to ensure that the right person gets credit for their work. Thanks, Technorati, for looking out for real people!

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The Fine Line Between Private and Personable

April 28, 2010 at 10:51 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

How do you decide what information to post online?

A big concern with using social media sites is who sees what is posted. Some experts suggest having a public professional account, as well as a private personal one, and keeping all information separate. Others say that this discredits you as an online persona, and creates a distance with the reader. There is a delicate balance that can be achieved, and with minimal effort.

My guideline in life has always been “don’t do anything you’d be ashamed to tell someone about later”, and this also applies online. Are you excited to show your boss those drunken party pictures from last weekend? If yes, then, by all means, post them on your Facebook profile. If you answered no, like the rest of us, either refrain from posting, or edit your privacy settings to limit who views your wild night out.

It really is quite easy, just go up to the top right of your Facebook page, where you will see the Account drop-down menu. Select ‘Privacy Settings’. Once in that screen, you can adjust all aspects of who can see what on your profile. 

Facebook Privacy Settings menu

 By adjusting your privacy settings, you don’t have to monitor every picture posted of you on Facebook.

As for Twitter, I really don’t find it that difficult to self-edit what I tweet, but if you find it hard to not complain about your jerk boss or awful coworker, maybe you shouldn’t have a Twitter account in the first place. As far as I can tell, and I may be wrong, there isn’t any way to edit your settings so that certain individuals cannot see certain tweets. Try and keep the inappropriateness to a minimum, and I’m sure you’ll be fine.

Another good rule to follow is to not say or post anything that you aren’t comfortable owning. This means that you can say whatever you feel like to whoever you feel like, so long as you are taking responsibility for saying it.

By completely editing your web presence, you remove the individuality that makes your audience want to follow you. Without the authentic personality shining through, you are just another generic web user doing nothing spectacular.

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3 Steps to Posting a Proper Profile Picture

April 26, 2010 at 12:11 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

*person may not be exactly as shown*

I love my father, I really do. But when I saw his recent Facebook profile picture (see right), I had to laugh. This is not what my dad looks like, and, if you look closely enough, you can

see that the angle of his face is not matching the angle of the head he transplanted it on to. Although he is not using this photo to deceive those who view it, many of his friends assumed it was a real picture- perhaps taken a few years ago. He admitted it wasn’t a real by saying “Does anyone really think I would wear a Queen t-shirt?”

While I find this picture amusing, it also reminded me about the importance of being truthful in your online representation. Everyone wants to put their best “face” forward, but gross exaggeration is not promoting who you actually are, and isn’t really doing you any favours.

Here are 3 steps to ensure you are presenting yourself honestly, but in the best possible light.

  1. Make sure you use a recent picture for your profiles
    Maybe 10 years ago you were thinner or better looking. Maybe you had the best haircut of your life, and you want to hold onto that memory. Maybe you paid a lot of money for that 80s-style glamour shot. You don’t look like that anymore. Get over it. Embrace who you are today, and find the most flattering picture you have of yourself. I suggest that the picture be updated every six months or so. Keep those pictures of the younger, hotter you for your desktop.
  2. Use tasteful photos
    Most people know this, but using a picture that shows a lot of skin or excessive drinking does not capture you in your best light. You might *think* it does, especially while under the influence, but, and trust me on this one, it doesn’t. Anyone who is impressed by these pictures are not going to help your online reputation. Use a headshot that captures who you are when you’re at your best- sober and smiling.
  3. Match the tone of the picture to the purpose
    When making a Twitter account for your business, use a professional-looking picture. When making a profile for Plentyoffish.com, use a picture to attract dates. When setting your Facebook profile picture to share with friends, use a casual, relaxed picture. Know your audience, and accommodate them. Your audience will know who you are and the purpose of your messages based on your visual representation, and will respond appropriately.

In my father’s case, it was a silly tongue-in-cheek post, but people are misrepresenting themselves in profile pictures across the internet, and it needs to stop. Be who you are, whoever you are.

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Grammar etiquette on the web and beyond…

April 17, 2010 at 10:20 am (Uncategorized)

Like most past journalism students, I am a bit of a stickler for proper grammar. This isn’t to say that I don’t make a spelling error or misuse a phrase now and then – no one’s perfect – but I find it more than irritating to read a message or story with blatant errors or sheer laziness in writing. Even when I text, I attempt to spell out words in their entirety, and use correct punctuation. Only when I’m low on space and I need to squish a message into 140 characters will I sacrifice grammar; it breaks my heart every time. I can’t stand to receive texts or emails asking, “When R U comin 2 da partay?”. If you are shortening ‘are’, ‘you’, and ‘to’, why lengthen ‘party’? Did you get to the end and realize that you saved ample space, and you may as well use it up? This baffles me.

And while I’m on the subject, ’4get’, ‘gr8′, and ’2gether’ are not words. They are random mash-ups of letters and numbers. Spell it out.

Proper grammar clears up any confusion jargon creates. Missing commas in contracts have cost companies millions. If you want to send a clear, compelling message spell words right, punctuate where needed, and, please, do not use number-word concoctions to spice up a boring message.

L8r all!

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Tweeting it like it is

April 13, 2010 at 6:07 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

New to Twitter, I am learning the ropes to tweeting.
Goal: Get as many people to follow me as possible
Step 1: Follow as many people as possible. This includes people who have nothing to do with my cause, who I will eventual stop following
Step 2: Follow everyone that follow someone who follows me in order to have them reciprocate the follow
Have I lost you yet?
Step 3: Retweet random information I find in order to entice new followers
Step 4: I’m not really sure. Take over the communications world? When I find out, I’ll let you know

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