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When discussing upcoming meetings, complicated projects or even a workplace conflict, it’s easy to fall back on well-worn phrases to get your point across. But according to bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch, this indirect and confusing language can easily do more harm than good.
“Business jargon is pretty much meaningless,” she tells CNBC Make It. “I mean, ‘shifting paradigm’ — really?”
Below, Welch highlights four business buzzwords that you should strip from your vocabulary today:
“Let’s take this offline”
Not all workplace conversations will be friendly. But regardless of whether or not you agree with your colleagues, Welch says you should never resort to the phrase, “Let’s take this offline.”
Using this business jargon sends a message that says, “We’ve reached an impasse and things are getting awkward, so I’m going to have a private meeting with a smaller group of people later to get what I want.”
Instead, Welch says, you should push through the challenging conversation and address whatever issue is taking place right in that moment.
“Empower” and “Ownership”
“Empower” and “ownership” are two buzzwords that Welch says have a “super high BS factor.” She emphasizes that you should never use the words together in a sentence like, “I’m empowering you to take ownership of this project.”
Instead, Welch suggests being more direct, and saying something along the lines of, “I am giving you the authority to run this project, and I will hold you responsible for its results.”
Once you say this, she says, the key is to actually hold that person accountable.
Most of us have heard someone toss this one around, as in, “That’s a great idea, but we just don’t have the bandwidth for it right now.”
Welch says this is one of her least favorite buzzwords, because it’s usually used to “gloss over your real reason for saying ‘no.'” Rather than beating around the bush, you should be honest about why something can’t take place and simply say some version of:
- “That idea doesn’t fit our strategy.”
- “We don’t have the money.”
- “Our competitors already do that better than we do.”
Regardless of how bad the truth hurts, Welch says that everyone prefers to hear it.
“I could go on and on, because, honestly, all buzzwords are bad,” she says. “Fight like crazy to banish them from your vocabulary, and you might be surprised how truly empowered you become.”
Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. Think you need Suzy to fix your career? Email her at email@example.com.
Ben Small says “These beautifully designed homes with unmatched harbour views are a result of careful and thoughtful planning. Newcastle is one of the most visually stunning places in the world so the developers have made sure you can take in as much of it as possible. Hence the reason the double tower design which allows you to experience uninterrupted views of the harbour and the city. Partnered with exceptional design and quality construction, the aim is to create homes that you’ll never want to leave”.
One of the best parts of Stella is undeniably the views across this beautiful city. That’s why we’ve built a rooftop for residents to enjoy. With multiple seating areas and pergola style awnings, we’ve designed a decadent rooftop area for sunny days and starry nights
The property will suit first home buyers, investors and owner occupiers due to its excellent location and modern facilities with Sales by Urban Activation.
With new social media platforms popping up every day, how do you decide which sites your company should have a presence on?
In today’s business world, social media marketing is a strategy that no company can afford to ignore. With new social media platforms popping up every day, how do you decide which sites your company should have a presence on?
Below is a list of the top social media sites, along with the reasons you should—or shouldn’t—consider maintaining an active profile or page on each platform.
As the largest social media platform in the world with over a billion active users, Facebook is a social media platform that cannot be ignored. Unless your company is niche business that deals mainly on a B2B basis with a very specific and narrow type of audience, and doesn’t need to have a public way to interact with or provide content to your target demographic, your company should maintain a Facebook page.
Although most companies place Facebook at the forefront of their social media efforts, a small number of companies have decided to abandon Facebook in recent years. This abandonment is due to Facebook’s practice of modifying the algorithms that determine which posts appear on each users’ News Feed, which in turn has resulted in fewer company posts getting seen by a page’s followers.
Because of this, companies now have to spend money on Facebook ads or boosted posts to reclaim a prominent place in their followers’ News Feeds.
Having to “pay to play” for what used to be free has caused some companies to rethink or alter their Facebook strategy. That being said, only companies that have had considerable and measurable success on other social media platforms should consider leaving Facebook at this time.
Twitter focuses on brief, real-time communication, with almost 6,000 tweets posted every minute. Because of this, tweets can quickly become buried in a user’s Twitter feed. Due to this fast paced atmosphere, it is important to tweet at least a few times a day if you want to have any sort of visibility.
If your company doesn’t have enough content or commentary at its disposal to maintain an active presence on Twitter, you should consider focusing your company’s social media efforts elsewhere.
A major caveat to this rule applies to companies that frequently interact with their customers regarding questions or comments about their products or services. Twitter is the social media platform that customers are most likely to turn to when they have questions or complaints about a company.
Because of this, these types of companies should have a customer service specialists monitoring their Twitter account on a daily basis for any potential customer questions or complaints. According to a survey of Twitter users, 42 percent of customers expect to receive a response to a customer service complaint within one hour, so waiting to respond until the next business day could seriously hurt your businesses’ reputation.
LinkedIn is the most prominent social network for professionals. It’s an extension of old-fashioned, face to face social networking, and should be used as an avenue to connect with your colleagues, as well as potential business leads and referral partners.
If you run a B2B business, you should have both a personal and company profile on LinkedIn to increase the visibility of your company among other professionals in your field. Engaging in LinkedIn groups, both through posting and commenting on other posts, is another great way to build the professional reputation of individual members of your team.
Top-level members of your management team should also consider posting original articles on LinkedIn’s Publisher feature to improve the reputation and credibility of that individual, as well as your company.
Although Google+ is a platform that has never caught on in comparison to competitors like Facebook, the fact that Google+ is a Google product should make you still seriously consider investing time on this site. Content that is posted on Google+ is picked up by Google’s search engines in a way that content from other social media sites isn’t, so if you are looking to increase your company’s SEO, your company should be on Google+.
Another reason to have a profile on Google+, especially for local, service-oriented businesses, is Google+ reviews. Once a company receives five Google+ reviews, the number of stars associated with your business will show up directly on Google search results. Having a high rating on Google+ reviews will greatly impact the reputation of your company.
Pinterest is a visual platform in which people can “pin” pictures and other content to their boards. This content usually consists of products that the user likes, and therefore, is the leading platform for website traffic referrals.
If you run any sort of business that’s core business consists of products dealing with home decorating, fashion, recipes or any other product that is visually appealing—especially to targeting women—your company should have an active presence on Pinterest.
Instagram is currently the best platform to reach out to teenagers and other people that love a good image or short video. The difference between Pinterest and Instagram is that pictures shared on Instagram primarily focus on photos of people, landscapes, and the like as opposed to products, so companies such as travel companies, magazines or any other companies that have access to high-quality images of people using their products should be on Instagram.
Using any sort of stock photography on Instagram is considered a major faux pas and should be avoided at all costs.
Even though you should consider having a social media profile on each of the relevant platforms above for your business, remember that having an inactive social media profile might be worse than not having a profile at all. However, if you are busy and unable to consistently stay active on social media, then there is a variety of software available to help schedule posts such as Hootsuite, TweetDeck, SproutSocial, etc. Because of this, it is important to have a social media strategy in place before you set up your social media accounts.
Be sure set goals ahead of time, such as the number of times your company should be posting, tweeting or pinning per week. Once you develop your social media strategy, make sure you have the resources to properly execute your strategy.
If you find yourself unable to maintain an active social media presence with your current staff level, you should either hire a social media professional to manage your social media efforts, or enlist a marketing firm to manage your social media presence on your platforms. You can do yourself a disservice trying to do it yourself and doing it poorly, and consequently damaging your brand. Get it right from the start, work with a professional for a minimum of 90 days to learn and perfect your own social media craft.
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Client agency relationships: confessions of an ex-client
Posted on June 22, 2016 by Bruno Gralpois.
This post is by Bruno Gralpois, co-founder of Agency Mania Solutions, a premier service and technology firm specialising in helping large brand advertisers realise the transformational value of managed partnerships.
The uneasy truth about being a client and what it means to build lasting partnerships in today’s cut-throat environment.
I’d like to confess. Actually, I have multiple confessions to make. Four to be precise. No worries. This is not a remake of “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” (2002), so they won’t keep you up at night.
Client agency relationship confessions
But if you’ve ever been a client, you too would have much to say. By now, we can all agree that the client/agency relationship is no longer what it used to be. Long gone are the days of long-lasting relationships where it took a major blowup for the partnership to be at risk.
Now, relationships are very fragile. So fragile indeed that the only thing that might keep an agency from walking over the deadly precipice of a separation is a performance improvement plan (PIP) and a 90-day termination clause, which is increasingly shorter as clients ask for more flexibility and are unwilling to commit long term.
I’ve had the opportunity to work as a client many times over and manage a complex set of relationships with incredibly talented agencies and their holding companies. Managing agency partnerships successfully is both an art and a science.
Because it’s both, it’s subject to many challenges, biases and other intangibles that are part of our daily lives. Ignoring them is risky. Acknowledging and embracing them is a first step toward overcoming most common challenges.
Confession #1: Most clients don’t understand the agency business.
That’s the reality. I was lucky to have worked at agencies before, but most clients have never had this experience. It puts them at a disadvantage because it’s hard to fully understand how agencies operate, how they manage their P&L and why they behave the way they do at times, unless you’ve walked in their shoes.
What can be done to address this? Some agencies do a very good job of sharing with their client the unique operational nuances of their business and how these might impact the relationship or how it’s managed. I always encourage clients to spend time at their agencies to experience firsthand the inner workings of the agency life.
Some clients organise agency days where client teams get to spend time with their agency counterparts in their offices. The better you understand the agency business, the better equipped you are to build mutually beneficial partnerships.
Confession #2: Too many clients think agencies are operating with fat or hidden margins.
Last year’s ANA survey, “Enhancing Client Agency Relationships,” demonstrated the huge gap in perception as it relates to compensation. Only 40% of agencies feel that their compensation arrangements are fair, while 72% of clients feel that they are.
One-third of agencies actually disagree or strongly disagree. It’s not new. The era of “Mad Men” in the 1960s, populated with alpha male characters like Don Draper, hasn’t helped and is still trailing in clients’ minds: agencies are perceived to be operating with fat margins that pay for the extra martinis.
The lack of transparency further accentuated by the recent debacle of AVBs and media rebates continues to fuel the perception that agencies are always finding ways to make up for profitability in ways that are not always clear to the client.
What is the solution?
Well, greater transparency around agency compensation and more accurate reporting go a long way to address this perception gap. Well-informed clients know that when agencies make reasonable profits, it allows agencies to secure and assign top talent, which ultimately benefits their clients.
Confession #3: Too many clients don’t know that they are bad partners.
Collaborating effectively with an agency is a skill set that most clients acquire over the years. They have the scars to prove it. And there are a number of benefits of being a great client. The work produces better results and you end up attracting the best agency talent over time. Everyone at the agency wants to work on your business, and as a result, the work continues to flourish.
What does it mean to be a good client?
Provide strong guidance. Set clear expectations. Encourage risk-taking and autonomy. Push the envelope. Challenge the work in constructive ways. Provide direct, timely and actionable feedback. Lead by example. And the list goes on.
Unfortunately, too many clients don’t know that they are bad clients. In the same ANA study referenced earlier, only 36% of agencies don’t think the client approval process works well, while over half of clients (54%) feel it does. Only 27% of agencies think clients provide clear assignment briefings to them, while 58% of clients think they do.
Open, direct feedback and 360-degree client/agency evaluations allow clients to learn the important role they play in building a productive relationship with their agencies, and how to become better clients over time.
Confession #4: Clients significantly impact how agencies behave or perform.
The most progressive clients welcome the opportunity to conduct self-assessments or get feedback from their agencies about their role in the partnership.
Many times, I’ve seen clients complain about the lack of strategic insight brought forward by the team without realising that their fee-reduction efforts may have led the agency to remove critical staffing resources that would be tasked to fulfil that role.
They may unintentionally do something that gets in the way of an outcome they desire. Is the client adequately training the agency? Is the client providing clear guidance and the resources needed for it to be successful? Is the client giving the agency enough time or access to resources to think proactively or innovate on the account? Is the client cutting budgets that might impact the quality of resources available to the agency?
Client decisions around agency assignments or budgets tend to have a domino effect on the agency relationship, which is felt later on and is likely to shape the relationship for the foreseeable future.