Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Using Mobile Devices For Company Communications

As smartphone devices become more widely adopted in corporations especially c-level, people can take advantage of tools and apps already available to handle communication.

When looking at these mobile tools, there are key functionalities to consider based upon what your management needs are…

1. Organizing and syncing key contacts
2. Accessing key documents
3. Exchanging notes
4. Communicate and track groups of people
5. To-do lists and reminders

So what are some easy mobile tools that could help you streamline communication between you and staff?

Sync key contacts
One option to consider is iCloud especially for syncing key contacts. If you have an Android device try a service like gmail, Google docs and Google Calendar.

Access to key documents

You can download apps for cloud-based storage services like Dropbox and Box.net. These freemium models also have premium services you can utilize for more storage space and bigger file downloads. You can also invite other people to share these files.

Access to important notes

With Evernote, all of your notes, web clips, files and images are made available on every device and computer you use.

Communicate and track groups of people

Group messaging apps such as GroupMe, Find My Friends, and Kik uses GPS to locate your contacts and send targeted messages with certain groups.

Shared to-do lists and reminders

Wunderlist is a fairly easy and free task management tool that allows you to create lists for projects and to-dos and share with colleagues so they can add to list. Wunderlist works on Android, iPhone and iPad. You can also look at calendar reminders like Tungle.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

When the Media Comes a-Calling: Top 3 Things not to Say—Email, Text or Tweet—During a Crisis

Amid a crisis, journalists don’t just listen for comments from the CEO, business owner or spokesperson; they also dig into the social media circuit to find digital comments that may make headlines.

Social media has become the newest way for executive leaders to proverbially stick their feet in their mouths.

Proven time and time again, crisis communication in a media environment is one of the most important factors in maintaining a company's corporate image. Part of the overall perception of a company and its leadership’s credibility is how well the CEO, owner or spokesperson can internally and externally communicate a message.

Accordingly, there are definitely comments employees and stakeholders should refrain from making public during a crisis—they could be misconstrued by the media and turn one crisis into yet another.

What not to Say:

1. “No Comment”
Classically, this is a no-no. This comes across to stakeholders, the media and the audience as unprepared or even arrogant. It says that you are choosing to give no account, no information, and take no responsibility for a crisis. It tells the world you feel you are entitled to privacy, while anyone knows that high-profile business people and spokespersons do not have that privilege.

What to say:
“As details of this situation unfold, we renew our commitment to this brand, its mission and you, our customers.” This way, you acknowledge the crisis to the media, but show the world that at such a critical time, you’re keeping a cool head and making considerations for the most important things: a commitment to your company’s standards and customers.

2. “We were unaware of the situation.”
A statement such as this causes leadership to look uninformed and out of the loop. People will question: How can a CEO or business owner not know what’s going on in his or her own company? What type of leader does that indicate? It says the company isn’t taking responsibility.

What to say: “We are aggressively gathering information and looking into this situation,” is a more in-control response, without giving the media details about what you do and do not know.

3. “The media misrepresented the situation.”
Blaming the media is a copout and reactive rather than proactive. While the media does sometimes get their facts wrong, trying to play the hurt sheep only makes your corporation look like a whining child. As well, it may be your company’s lack of clear communication to the media in the first place that caused misinformation to be published. Besides, even if the facts are incorrect, the audience will likely believe what is reported.

What to Say:
“We are willfully working with media outlets to clarify and correct misinformation regarding this situation.” This type of open communication shows you are proactively managing the media instead of them managing you. It also says you are directing them in the way that will best protect your brand and actively shaping the stories that will go mainstream.

In summary, a solid crisis communication plan is like insurance for your business. Will you be covered when the media comes calling with hard questions?