Off-Line Networking Wins

Building online relationships through social sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogging, etc. are important, but  if you have to pick one over the other, building off-line relationships is more beneficial.  I don’t mean just rubbing shoulders in a conference and then leaving, but having the opportunity to hold real conversations with people.  These may be people within your industry, or people who know people, who know people, who know people… because 6 degrees of separation is a reality.

Why is a hand-shake better than an @mention on Twitter?  Because there is more to a conversation that just words.

What makes Off-line networking better?

  1. Honesty through body language –  gives you the opportunity to talk with someone and see their response to your words, or to you in general.  Do you ever notice that when someone loses interest in what you have to say they look away (or their eyes glaze over) or start to fidget?  This is your chance to redirect the conversation to keep them engaged, or let them go because you know now that they really aren’t interested in what you have to say.  Perhaps though this  is not about them, but about you.  Think of their response as a mirror to you.  Are you speaking only of yourself?  These are hard lessons that cannot be ignored when you are in person.  Real engagement is when you talk about others, and less about yourself.  You don’t get that opportunity to have this kind of immediate and insightful feedback when you are online.
  2. Memory – You have the opportunity to include all your senses (and emotion) when meeting someone in person:  Smell – the greatest sense for enhancing the memory, Sight – 3 dimensional sight is more effective than just a profile pic, Sound – how  their voice sounds during a casual conversation may offer insight to how they REALLY feel about what they are saying (podcasts that are scripted don’t offer such insight).  All of this gives you clues to who these people really are.  It will help imprint on your memory for future discussions that may take place later:  off-line or online.
  3. Speed – With all of the above factors taking place during a physical interaction with another person, the speed of getting to know one another through off-line conversation is so much faster than online.  Hard to believe, but online is slower in some things, and this is one of them.
  4. Authentic – people cannot hide their true self when in the company of another, or at least not as well.  Perhaps this is unnerving to some, but in the age of transparency and communication excellence, this should not be a problem.  #foodforthought
  5. Healthy – YES, it is healthy to get out and be with other people!  Away from the computer.  Physically interacting with other people.  For some people this is part of their everyday life, but more and more we find ourselves spending an incredible amount of time behind the screen of an electronic device.  Be good to your body:  Get out and mingle!

I enjoy the sales meetings and conferences that I have the opportunity to attend – especially the global ones.  Not only to learn about new products, but because it is a healthy change of pace.  It is a chance to meet peers from other countries :  to share challenges, accomplishments and best practices.  NOT over a digital platform, but with the mountains at our backs, music around us, drink in hand and much laughter and smiles.  Business cards exchanged, LinkedIn profiles connected, and promises to stay in touch.

THIS is networking.

What other benefits have you experienced through off-line networking?

Image borrowed from : WannaReadYou.com – More about body language

Social Media part of Halton’s Emergency Plan

   

 

In an interview with Nick Buczynsky, Community Emergency Management Coordinator at Halton Region,

I had a chance to find out first hand how one of our local regions is using Social Media to support their Emergency Management program.

Can you tell us a little bit about your job as Community Emergency Management Coordinator at Halton Region?

As the CEMC for Halton Region, I am responsible for coordinating the Region’s emergency management program, with emphasis on preparedness, training, public education and awareness, and emergency response.

How are you using Social Media to support your role?

Using a dedicated Twitter account, we tweet messages on emergency preparedness to help educate the public.  Related messaging on incidents or events that may be occurring are also tweeted.  Where we know of a potential situation, such as severe weather, we will tweet messages advising residents of how to prepare themselves for it.  In specific emergency situations, we will tweet about the incident, any actions that residents should take, and link to the Region’s website for more information.

How long have you been using social media in your role?

Since August 2011.

What tools / platforms do you use?  i.e. Twitter, Facebook.  and Why did you choose these platforms?

Currently we are only using Twitter.  It is fast and convenient and message penetration can grow exponentially in no time.

Challenges  – you have faced using Social Media in your role?

Time dedicated to sending tweets had been a challenge, although with new staff this issue has diminished. Another challenge has been building up the number of dedicated followers.  Although our initial goal was extremely modest and we have exceeded it significantly, I would like to see the number of followers in the thousands rather than the low hundreds.

Benefits – you have faced using Social Media in your role?

It has proven to be a good tool for following events – especially where we are not able to get much information from the site directly.

Is there a specific story that you can share where Social Media made a significant impact on your ability to communicate during a disaster / emergency event?  How?

Just  days after we launched Twitter, a very small tornado blew through Burlington.  By tweeting Environment Canada warnings and our own tips on what to do in a tornado, power outages, lightning storms, etc., we quickly picked up a handful of followers – without having done any marketing, public education or even a media release/announcement that we have launched Twitter.  That set the tone for future growth although, thankfully, we have not had a similar situation occur again to date.

If you can make one statement on the greatest impact social media has had on emergency management, what would that be?  What would you like to see in the near future for your industry?

I think that social media has given emergency management professionals another valuable tool for relaying real-time or near real-time information on emergencies and other signficant events to potentially thousands of individuals directly.

Do you have anything you would like to share with our class here at McMaster University #SMRTCCE about how Social Media has impacted Emergency Management?

Thanks for the opportunity to share Halton’s experience with using social media in emergency management.  I see it has great potential for communicating key messages to residents in a timely manner and can penetrate a large part of the community in little time once the number of followers grows.

Please check us out on Twitter – @BPreparedHalton

Halton Region Website

Related Blog Posts:

Emergency Management: Using Social Media to Save Lives?

According to a recent American Red Cross survey,  more than one-third of citizen respondents surveyed  said they expected help to arrive in less than one hour if they posted a request to an emergency response agency on Facebook or Twitter.  The problem here is that these assumptions could put a person in a ‘life or death’ situation if the First Responder group is not monitoring these platforms.

So the question is…

Has Emergency Management incorporated Social Media into their communication strategy?

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is listening and responding to this new public pattern of communication.  Federal Coordinating Officer Don Keldsen is quoted in a recent press release:  “Events worldwide have demonstrated how quickly social media can connect people and allow them to share information and help one another.  We have been able to reach the survivors of disasters through our continued posting to social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook.”

“The louder the voices from the ground, the better the response will be.  Access to accurate and timely information from the ground during post-crisis response  periods will enable humanitarian responders to act more efficiently,” said one volunteer involved in the evaluation of the Usahidi Haiti Project

Social Media offers real-time exchange of information on a Global scale!  An obvious advantage,  BUT all of that information is a double-edged sword.  One of the challenges emergency management has is the extra resources needed to manage this large amount of information:  to find the right conversation, analyze it and respond to it in a timely fashion.

There are other obstacles to overcome:  Professionals not familiar with social media face technical challenges, and policies/operational procedures/laws must now be adjusted to accommodate this new shift in communication. These are all factors that keep the pace of advancement towards the ultimate goal of eliminating communication silos between EM and the public, and between agencies within the EM umbrella (Fire, Police, Mayors office, etc).

But this is a work in progress.

Emergency management is taking the use of social media as a communication tool very seriously, and moving forward with great strides despite their challenges.  Online focus groups such as www.sm4em.org  have been created to support Social Media usage within the EM profession, creating chat opportunities such as #SMEM on Twitter.  Industry Conferences have recently offered sessions on best-practices  (i.e. WCDM, ASIS conference).  Most local municipalities have  started to engage with their communities on social media to best prepare them for emergencies in their areas – EMBC  offered a list of emergency #Hashtags to monitor during an event (May 2012).

What is our responsibility, as the public, to support our Emergency Management teams?

I believe that we should..

  • Be a part of the learning process.  It is just as much our responsibility to know HOW to communicate with our local first responders groups during an emergency.
  • Be forthcoming with any information that we have during an event that can help our emergency management teams respond effectively during or after an event. (I.e. video, pics, information, etc.).
  • Be smart about what is said online during a crisis to eliminate unnecessary information for EM to have to filter through

How is your local community emergency management team using Social Media?

Related Articles:

Related Posts:

Emergency Management and Communications

Who are our emergency managers?

Emergency management (EM) professionals’ role is to protect people, property, critical infrastructure and the environment during emergencies and disasters.  They are often involved in educating  the public on how to be prepared for such events. When a disaster occurs, they are the ones that are organizing the efforts to get help to those in need.  You will find emergency managers in any organization that are First-Responders during a disaster or emergency – i.e. Fire, Police, Paramedics, Hospitals, Municipalities, etc.

In Ontario, it is law that each municipality is required to have an Emergency Management Program Coordinator. [1] [2] Emergency management is sometimes a role within a role.  For example, a fire chief may take on the job of an emergency manager [3].  A sample task within this role could be overseeing the implementation of a more effective communication program between various First-Responders (i.e. police, fire, mayor’s office, etc) to use during an emergency.

How do they communicate?

Working with FutureShield for a couple of years, I have had the privilege of meeting some exceptional EM pros from across our country.  One aspect of FutureShield’s  business is to help their customers find the right software technology to support better communications within their organizations.  These men and women in charge of sourcing out such solutions are some of the most innovative, visionary and tech-savvy among their peers.  They understand the advantages of using technology to assist their efforts to support the welfare of our communities.  Examples –  Windsor Exercise , U Windsor wins the MTIA award , BC Hydro’s security during the  Olympics

Do these same people embrace social media as part of their overall communication plan?  How is social media affecting their roles?  How does it fit within their overall communication strategy?

Related Blogs:

References:

[1]  Ontario Regulation 380/04

[2] Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act

[3] Emergency Management Coordinator as an additional position – North Bay, Meaford, New Tecumseth

People, Links, Related Articles:

Patrice Cloutier  – Communications Strategist for the Ontario Government

Shared Emergency Management links

IAEM – International Association of Emergency Managers

OAEM – Ontario Association of Emergency Managers

Emergency Management Ontario – EMO

www.sm4em.org – online group for Social Media for Emergency Management – including Twitter Hash tag discussions #SMEM

Magic words of Motivation

“I believe” :  the strongest two words that motivate all of us.  What made crowds appear in Washington on a hot summer’s day to listen to Martin Luther King speak about civil rights?  ” I believe “.  And not what HE necessarily believed, but what they believed as well.  What made the Wright Brothers push through their challenges to invent a flying machine?  Because they believed in that what they were doing would positively change life forever.

Simon Sinek speaks here about the motivation behind WHY people do what they do.  What changes people’s behavior?  The ‘golden circle’ is a visual showing us that we act from the inside out.  The WHY or what we believe in is truly what motivates all of us.

Once we realize this, we will be able to achieve what we want to achieve.

  • Career  – because we will want to get up every day for work knowing the WHY you are doing it.  Your vision will be clear.
  • Hiring – you will know who to hire, because now you know what to look for in those that will be your team mates.  They will believe in what you are doing more than just wanting to be there for a paycheck, which is the ‘what’.
  • Customers – your customers will buy from you because they know the WHY behind why you are offering this product / service ( Simon uses the example of APPLE )

What is really incredible is that this circle, and all of what it means, is rooted in biology – the design of our brain.  Science tells us that WHY is what motivates us, not WHAT.

Trouble viewing the TED talk video?I Go to your TED talks app  and search on Simon Sinek.

Related articles:

The Golden Circle

Following your passion – Easier said than done – Jeremy Floyd

How I overcame my fear of blogging

It was not that long ago that I started to blog.  I have always kept a journal, but to post my thoughts and ideas publicly?  Well, that was a different story.

A 1,2,3 steps that I found useful in overcoming my fear of blogging.  Under the assumed online name, Aceso71 (Aceso being one of the Greek godesses of health and well-being), I began to blog.

After spending 8 weeks learning how to blog in my introductory social media class at McMaster University (Public Relations Diploma Program), here is my final presentation.

Any other ideas on how to overcome a fear of blogging?

View more PowerPoint from LauraLDunkley

PR Pros are Sharpening their Virtual Pencils

We are never too old to stop learning, and in the fast-paced and ever-changing world that we live in, this statement could not be truer as it pertains to communications.  This is why, Public Relations professionals are back in the classroom and sharpening their virtual pencils.

With the introduction of new technology, a real paradigm shift has happened in the way people interact with each other (Clay Shirk’s Book – “Here Comes Everybody”).  They now have the ability to hold two-way conversations ‘on demand’, and they like that.  These same people know that organizations and companies have the tools to converse with them in a similar fashion, and they expect it.   So, as PR professionals we need to develop our skills to stay current, so that we can offer the best possible service to our customers.  This is why I have gone..

Back to School

Last semester I had the privilege of taking the introductory social media for public relations course at McMaster University.  Under the direction of Martin Waxman, we had the opportunity to become better acquainted with  certain social media ‘tools of the trade’, learn some best practices and network with other professionals in our field.

This semester, led by Jared Lenover, we will learn various strategies, tools, techniques and best practices for :  Researching, Planning, Implementation, Management, Evaluation and Measurement for social media as it relates to public relations.

Key questions

that I will be asking from this course are:

  • Engagement:  How do I increase the quality and quantity of engagement with my audiences on various social media platforms?
  • Strategy:  How to best align social media within the overall business strategy to receive the greatest success?
  • Tools:  What are the best tools on the market for the best value, and when do I use them?

Class in session >>>> Let the learning begin!