Monday, May 29, 2006

Business Card Couture (from Cool News)

Here's an excellent bit on the usefulness of cool business cards in this digital age (plus a little history lesson on the topic) from one of my favorite email newsletters: Cool News. Check out the post from 5/26/06 here.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Check out this excellent example of follow up

This month, I gave a talk for the NYC chapter of the Usability Professionals' Association and spent some time beforehand chatting with one of the attendees about all sorts of things. I followed up a few days later via email and he responded with one of the most "usable" or thoughtful messages I've received in a while.

My point is that Larry not only remembered clearly what we discussed but also went out of his way to include more details and links where I can find out more about the resources he mentioned. How often do you do that?

Here is the message I got (his comments are italicized):
> Great presentation. My 2 big take aways were
> 1) making yourself usable == self-promotion
> 2) my company name will come from my clients
> When I heard that you were planning on having a hip replacement, I
> recommended several things:
> a) Alexander technique -- to relearn movement patterning
> b) Rolfing -- redo your structural integration
> c) Laban Movement Analysis (LMA)
> I would recommend Hope Martin for Alexander.
( Hope Martin Studio for the Alexander Technique
39 West 14th St. Room 508, Tel: 212 243-3867 ) While I haven't used her, she comes recommended from my exposure to the Shambala Center (

> LMA is not really a clinical or therapeutic technique but rather a rich awareness that informs many different approaches related to movement. The book I mentioned was: Movement And Making Decisions: The Body-mind Connection In The Workplace
> (

If you're interested, I'll dig thru my notes and find a contact.

> > And there was a reference to the Laban work in Malcolm Gladwell's article in last week's New Yorker article about the Dog Whisperer. Did you see that?
> I saw the article; He has a show on the National Geographic channel!
> Hmm, I just made the connection that, this 'Malcolm Gladwell' wrote "blink" and "The Tipping Point" !
> regards,
> Larry

This is related to an idea I'm developing about "personal usability" -- that is making yourself more usable to others, making it easier to work with you, connect with you, communicate with you. I wrote a short article on the topic earlier this year which was published in the UPA's User Experience Magazine (Volume 5, Issue #1, 2006). That hasn't been posted yet online but if you want a copy, email me at

Do you have other examples of personal usability?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Book Excerpt: How to Broach the Topic of Money

Situation: You don’t know how to broach the topic of money.

Strategy: Be direct and simply say, “Let’s talk about money.” Always ask for the other person to tell you what they have in mind first. They may not, but sometimes they will and it will give you a place to start. From there you can either tell your prospect or supervisor what you want and let them respond.

Once your positions are out in the open, don’t feel pressured to respond immediately. Take time to think. Whatever you do, don’t rush into any decisions. This may convey desperation or over-eagerness, neither of which are positions of strength.

Also, if talking about money is one of a number of issues being discussed with this person, create a simple agenda for the meeting and put “Money” on the list of things to discuss. That way, when you get there, you don’t feel like you’re bringing it up out of the blue.

Any other ideas you can contribute to this topic?

Excerpted from Stop Pushing Me Around: A Workplace Guide for the Timid, Shy and Less Assertive (Career Press, 2006). Order your copy here.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Why you shouldn't poo poo phone follow up

I received this message last week from one of our mentoring clients, Lea Ann Hutter, of Hutter Design in Los Angeles. Lea Ann and I have been working together to help her feel more comfortable networking and especially with following up on the phone. Lea Ann has had a breakthrough of sorts recently, so I wanted to pass along her messages so others can hear first hand how this can work. (Also, if you're a designer near NYC, check out our Pricing and Marketing Workshop on June 17th.)

“I'm getting more comfortable with following up on the phone, specifically with someone I really don't know. When it's a referral, there's already a predisposition to liking and openness, so that's easier. Following up on the phone with a total stranger is the hardest. Harder than meeting them in the first place.

At an event, it's totally acceptable to talk to strangers. That's what an event is - a gathering of strangers all interested in the same thing. On the phone, I am interrupting someone's work day on the assumption that I can help them. Also, the lack of ability to see facial expressions on the phone makes it tougher to read the connection.

So what I'm doing to overcome this is thinking of the phone conversation as an extension of the talk (however brief) I had when I met them in person. I envision myself talking to them face-to-face and I try to project the same friendly energy that I find easy to share in person. My growing comfort with phone follow up is a result of your encouragement to call people. Once again, thank you.

I also realized when I got a flood of emails from my AIGA job post that I appreciated it when a few people emailed and called me too. I didn't see it as an interruption, because they helped me single out and evaluate who I wanted in a sea of resumes. I also figured that anyone who called me has good business etiquette and has a stronger interest in working for me that the people who just emailed. If I apply that positive experience to the way I think of calling potential clients, I can see that it really can be helpful, even welcomed.

I just made a follow up phone call to Charles Hollis Jones thanking him for lunch last week. I also wanted to ask if I could send him occasional samples, and he said yes. Then we talked about that LA Modernism show. He said that he goes to a lot of events and invited my husband and I to join him at a book signing coming up. I wasn't expecting an invitation and am so happy to have received one. He also thanked me for the follow up phone call.

I know it's not a lot of people (yet), but the few I've made an effort to call after meeting have been so receptive! Phone following up is a breakthrough for me. I never used to do it, but I am now and it's working. Now I see that a lot of people probably don't follow up by phone (because it feels hard/awkward), so if I do, I will stand out and greatly increase the likelihood of creating a relationship with people. When I do my printed promo, I will definitely make follow up calls after the mailing.”

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The different types of people you need in your network

Your network of contacts should be made up of all different kinds of people, not just people like you and not just your prospects and clients.

This excerpt from "U R A Brand," a brand new book by Catherine Kaputa, explains the different types of people you can find and bring into your network.

Seek Variety
Great networkers don’t just fish for the big fish – senior executives and power brokers.

Networkers realize that you need a lot of different types of people on the road to success. Different folks bring different influences and abilities into play. Here are the special kinds of people that can play a powerful role in your professional network:

Grass Roots:
This is your core group. Grass-roots supporters are people - friends, family, business colleagues - who know you well and will do what they can to help further your success. What they lack in prestige, they make up for in the support they provide.

This is an important power base to nurture. Rulers are high-level executives at your company and elsewhere that you know (but maybe not that well). You need to find ways to gracefully stay in touch with people more experienced than you are through areas of mutual interest.

This group leverages your reach. Connectors are plugged-in people who know everyone. (They have two degrees of separation instead of the normal six.) Connectors may or may not have a powerful job. Often doctors, financial advisors even hair stylists can be valuable connectors because they interface with so many different types of people.

This group is your PR machine. Promoters amplify your self brand message through word of mouth. Promoters sing your praises and can be invaluable in building your self brand equity. One or two promoters in your network packs a lot of media power.

This is your think tank. Gurus are like mentors or professors you can call upon for advice or strategy sessions. They know a lot, are well-read and like nothing more than sharing%