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PR Planning for Small Orgs on a Shoe-String Budget

December 14th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

This past week, I participated on a team of business students that helped a small organization with a promotional strategy. The goal of this group was to gain exposure through social media in order to grow attendance at its annual event. They had a wonderful product with an ardent following. They had exceptionally smart people running the show. But what they didn’t have was time. Like many of us with mountains of tasks to finish, one of the hardest obstacles to overcome is knowing where to start. Being keen to strategize wherever possible—and make flowcharts—we intrepid future MBAs burned the midnight oil for a road-map for organizational success where budgets don’t exist. Behold. . .

All kidding aside, we think there’s a great deal of value in understanding this framework. Outreach is important but it’s not what an organization should be built on. Likewise, unlike the way we think of foundations, in the case of small groups looking to grow, building a foundation would only be too expensive for an unproven quantity. No, only by beginning from the top of the org structure pyramid can you find the right foundation to build later on. In this way, the internal and external communications can find an organic fit for building what is needed now, and allowing for streamlining when there’s enough of an organization for it to matter.

Daniel Howard is a 2013 MBA candidate focusing on Strategic Management. He currently interns for M&A Leadership Council in the area of internal strategic integration, and he TAs at the Smith School of Business for courses in strategy, leadership and change management.

 

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Since We’re Blogging, How Would Hemingway do it?

December 14th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Aside from whether he would (he was a bit of a throwback, even in his own time), he may have had the perfect style for it. Punchy, short and hard-hitting lines with assumptions and individualized imagery stacked the pages of the Hemingway canon. Well, the science of blogging for search engine optimization may have its value but man, what if we could blog in a way that would make the Old Man proud? What would this entail? Like most truly important things, you couldn’t possibly cover the essence of Hemingway’s style in a 250 word blog post (what does that say about what blogs are selling?) but let’s give it try anyway. . .

From a ragan.com article entitled Hemingway’s 5 Secrets to Good Blogging (yeah, it’s not an original idea, so what) “Don’t use adverbs at all. You can’t run slowly; if you do, you’re jogging. You can’t laugh loudly, but you can bellylaugh or guffaw or snort. . .” Man, Dickens and Proust would have been horrible at this game.

Also, remember the iceberg: Hemingway believed in omitting everything you could get away with. The idea being, there’s much more beneath the surface. Let the reader paint a picture from an assumption or a feeling, not a list of descriptions that appear too weak as mere words. Ultimately remember, this ain’t your website, and a blog is not where you spell out the disclaimers. Tap your reader’s limbic brain, where they feel and intuit in order to form an opinion that creates value for what you’re selling. If you want endlessly hashed-out reason, go to law school.

Daniel Howard is a 2013 MBA candidate focusing on Strategic Management.

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Delivering by Audience

December 14th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Public speaking can be one of life’s more flinching endeavors. As an MBA student I’ve learned there are a few different leagues of this sport. In a presentation I gave recently, I pointed out that no one wants to be an analyst forever, and if you want to ascend to the top of the scrum, you better know how to sell. This brings us to our PR class and how we’re all learning to be better communicators via an onslaught of presentations in different forms. More than one of us has said they were nervous before their 20/20 exercise, frustrated during media training and exhausted after our conducted class lectures. These three presentations are really three completely different tasks that require being smooth in front of people. Media training is about the pure delivery; teaching a course is about pacing and breathing and having a decent story arc. But the 20/20, the high stakes pitch, the on-stage monologue version of business—that’s the real trick. One of the games I play for a longer presentation is to design slides to be a question because who isn’t better at fielding questions rather than a delivering a speech? But the 20/20 lesson, like my business plan, pitch competition and many of our job interviews, requires one of two things most people won’t commit to: Either become a true expert on the topic being delivered or memorize every line. If it’s important enough, eventually you’ll come to the conclusion that if actors can memorize lines, I can too.

Daniel Howard is a 2013 MBA candidate focusing on Strategic Management.

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