Tag Archives: Communcation Strategies

Top 6.5 Social Media Trends for 2012

Social Media Prediction

As social media matures, even greater technological and financial resources are being dedicated to it by the business community. Not surprisingly, this technology is becoming more interwoven into our culture and daily existence.

As a social media enthusiast, I’m enjoying the revolution. It’s exciting to consider how this fundamental change in the way we communicate with each other will impact the world in 5, 10 or even 100 years.

So without further ado, here’s my subjective, inherently biased and decidedly unscientific predictions for the big social media trends to watch and plan for in 2012:


You probably didn’t need me to point out this trend – but then again, how could I write an article about the future of social media without beginning with the devices people will use to connect.

Social media usage via smart phones will continue to increase in 2012 – and will become the primary way of social media interaction for many. App purchases and usage already reflects this movement, as consumers are discovering the full capabilities and computing power of their smart phones.

Location-Based Social Media Usage

2012 will be the year when specific, location-based social media platforms truly take root in everyday usage.

Location-based social media actually had a “false start” a few years ago. Platforms such as Foursquare and Yelp were at the forefront of this trend, where they’ve cultivated a rabid and loyal following — yet users quickly discovered that the cross-pollination of these sites with their Facebook and Twitter accounts were not always a good thing. Non early-adapters quickly fatigued of seeing where their friends were checking in on a daily, or in some cases hourly, basis.

These platforms stayed relevant by making “checking in” to a location a stand-alone value through discounts, special offers – or even earning “points”, thereby marrying the concepts of social gaming with location-based social media usage. Facebook even joined the party in 2010, offering the “check-in” via Places option on their mobile app.

At present, only 4% of the internet population is using location-based services to “check-in” via social media. I predict this number will increase dramatically in 2012.

Universal Logins

Logging in to a site has always been perceived as a “necessary evil” by web users –  the process is cumbersome, passwords are easily forgotten, and giving away an email address often opens the door to annoying spam. Conversely, businesses are desperate to collect any information they can about who visits their site and views their content, plus have ethical (and in many cases, legal) obligations to protect the privacy of their site users.

Next year will show us an increase in usage of Facebook and Google (and Twitter and LinkedIn to a lesser extent) as universal log-ins. By 2013, I predict the norm will be to log-in using existing profiles as opposed to starting from scratch with each site.


All things considered, LinkedIn is the premier destination for business networking.

The average LinkedIn user had an income of $109,000 a year, and a whopping 86% of companies use the site for recruiting. It’s become a necessity for anyone in the job market – even entry level employees, and a staple for those in the B2B community.

I predict LinkedIn will become an even stronger business tool in 2012. Jobs specific to sales and marketing through the LinkedIn platform will begin to develop, as more organizations will begin to view LinkedIn as a potential market.

Privacy Concerns

People want to selectively edit their social history. Users will demand that applications allow them to delete posts, photos, and check-ins. I predict the marketplace will find a way to meet that demand in 2012.

There will be an even larger demand for the ability to permanently delete information from social media sites. People do not necessarily want all of their social histories stored into perpetuity. Social media sites will soon have to comply with this consumer demand, or risk losing their user base to new sites that do.

Social Media Fatigue

Yes, social media is becoming an integral part of our lives. However, users are now experiencing a “fatigue” when it comes to learning and implement new social media technologies. One needs to look no further than to the public outcry to the new Facebook profiles, as well as underperformance of Google+, to see indications of a certain “comfort zone”.

I predict a return to simplicity and consistency in 2012. Consumers will limit their social media exposure to platforms that make sense for them. Social media will be less about “fun” and more about usefulness as it is integrated into our daily lives. As a direct result, consumers will look for “the straightest point between two lines”, thereby making their lives more simple and efficient.

How To Develop a Winning Social Media Plan

Not really a prediction…but Learn iT! will be introducing a new social media course in 2012 – How To Develop a Winning Social Media Plan. This will complement our Facebook Marketing for Business course, yet will cover a strategy for all social media platforms.

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How to Reduce (or Eliminate) Personality Conflicts in the Workplace

Man and Woman Dealing With Conflict“People’s minds are changed through observation and not through argument.

– Will Rogers

When dealing with difficult people, it’s crucial to remember that we can’t control them, or change them — the best we can do is change ourselves.

That being said, the first step in reducing conflict in the workplace is to understand why most conflicts occur to begin with.

Conflict begins when we focus on difference.

Think about it. When you have a misunderstanding with a co-worker, friend, loved one or family member, often the conflict occurs because you perceive the situation differently, are using different communication styles, or have different goals.

Usually, the person resonates as difficult because they are approaching the project, process, or situation much differently than you are.

When we focus on difference, we end up oversimplifying the situation and seeing it in terms of right and wrong. Our attachment to being right, or winning the argument can take priority and unnecessarily lengthen the conflict while undermining our willingness to really see, respect and equally value the other person’s point of view.

We Can Reduce Conflict by Reframing

Once we understand why conflict occurs, we can choose to reduce the conflict in our relationships by focusing on, and verbally pointing out something that we have in common with the person we’re in conflict with. This method is called reframing.

Reframing allows us to redirect the energy from, “I’m right” and “you’re wrong” into a more productive conversation about how you and I have a shared goal. This could be a larger departmental goal or the goal of a successful project. At a more tactical level, our goal could be to work together to get to the other side of this argument — from our current misunderstanding to a place of understanding.

When expressed with sincere intention and an even keeled tone, reframing can change the tenor and temperature of our arguments and deescalate the intensity for both parties.

Understanding Values Conflicts

Occasionally, reframing means acknowledging that our misunderstanding is occurring because of a deep difference in how we see the world. This is a values conflict.

Values conflicts are some of the most challenging to work through because a person’s values make up who we are — our beliefs, how we see the world, and very often what we expect from others. Examples of values include honesty, integrity, compassion, generosity and a sense of service.

I can usually tell I’m having a values conflict with someone when I am banging my head against the wall in disbelief that they don’t see the world the same way I do. Sometimes this even means arguing about the same thing over and over and over again. Since perception is informed by our values, my world view is just as obvious and “true” to me as their world view is to them — recognizing how deeply ingrained, and unchangeable this difference is — is the first step.

“Fixing” Value Conflicts

We can’t “fix” values conflicts. The best we can do is acknowledge they exist, and recognize them for what they are. Our values make up our identity and make us who we are and how we are.

We can reduce conflict in our lives when we recalibrate our expectations of others, accept them for who they are and focus our energy on changing what we choose about ourselves.


Jennifer Albrecht is the Director of Professional Development and Senior Facilitator with Learn iT! She helps individuals, teams and organizations develop leadership capacity, improve business practices, strengthen relationships and enhance performance to achieve bottom-line results.

Click here for a list and schedule of Learn iT! Professional Development courses.

For more Professional Development tips, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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6 Ways to be Effectively Assertive at Work

What is “Assertive”?

Assertive behavior exists on a continuum, balanced between passive and aggressive behavior.

Assertive communication is grounded in respect – for yourself, and for the person receiving your message. In contrast, aggressive communication is disrespectful of both parties, and ignores the recipients’ rights, boundaries and sensibilities.

Why bother?

Because assertive behavior is grounded in respect, assertive communicators are viewed as confident and capable. With practice, your assertive behavior will help you avoid being dismissed as passive, or misunderstood as difficult or uncooperative.

Six Steps to Success:

1)    Use assertive body language and tone.

Your body language and vocal tone accounts for 93% of the interpretation of your messages! When you need to be assertive, face the other person. Stand or sit up straight. Don’t use “dismissive” gestures, like waving your hands or rolling your eyes.

Keep a pleasant – but serious – facial expression. Take care not to sound whiney or abrasive. Your voice should be calm and soft.

2)    Use “I” statements.

Keep the focus of the conversation on the problem, not the other person.

“I” Statements are not accusatory or blaming – they are simple assertive statements explaining your position.

For example – “I’d like to be able to give my opinion without interruption” is much more effective than, “You’re always interrupting me”.

3)    Express ownership of your thoughts, feelings and opinions.

This works best in conjunction with the afore-mentioned “I” statement. By informing the receiver how you are affected, you provide a contextual reason for your assertion.

Some examples:

“I get angry when he breaks promises,” instead of, “He makes me angry.”

“I believe the best policy is to…” instead of, “The only sensible thing to do is…”

4)    Use facts, not judgments.

By not attaching a judgment or opinion to the facts, you minimize the need for the other person to become defensive. This strengthens your position and leads to a collaborative solution.

For example – “The punctuation could be better and the formatting is inconsistent”, is less threatening than, “This is sloppy work”.

5)    Make clear, direct, requests.

Direct requests minimize the receiver’s opportunity to say “no”.

Can you see how a request that begins with, “Will you please….?” is more effective than one that asks, “Would you mind…” – or even worse, the request that demands, “Why don’t you…?”

6)    Be polite

As you slowly implement the above strategies into your workplace behaviors, remember – being polite is just as important as being assertive.

You knew that last tip already – but it never hurts to be reminded of some basic workplace etiquette  :)


Jennifer Albrecht is the Director of Professional Development and Senior Facilitator with Learn iT! She helps individuals, teams and organizations develop leadership capacity, improve business practices, strengthen relationships and enhance performance to achieve bottom-line results.

Click here for a list and schedule of Learn iT! Professional Development courses.

For more Professional Development tips, “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and on LinkedIn.

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Three Ways to Improve Your Next Presentation

Your typical PowerPoint presentation to your typical audience typically makes everyone wish they were somewhere else, doing something else. The next time you have to give a presentation, see if you can apply one of these three ideas to make everyone’s experience more productive.

Idea #1: Don’t Give a Presentation

Hear me out on this:

  • Is the data easily misunderstood?
  • Do you have to convince anyone of your points?
  • Do your people have 10-15-30-60 minutes where they’re not doing anything really important?

If you answered ‘no’ to all three questions, why are you wasting everyone’s time? Some things can be emailed and understood. Not many of us are that interesting to be giving random presentations for no legitimate reason…

Idea #2: Know What You’re Talking About

It has been studied extensively, and people can not read and listen at the same time. Therefore, putting bullet points on the screen and talking over them will result in less comprehension and retention.

If you want the audience to have your speaking points, don’t put them on the slide – instead put them in your speaker notes and provide a printed copy for your audience members – after the presentation.

Now, I find a lot of people hear this advice and still don’t heed it. When pressed, they can’t give a solid reason why they’re so attached to text on the screen. Here’s the real reason we all love text on the screen:

‘As you can see from the slide, ladies and gentlemen, our revenue rose by 32% because of three factors…’

We love to be able to turn and read the screen, to be reminded of our points.

Very few of us are paid, professional presenters. Most are professionals at other skills, like programming, or accounting, or fundraising. Presenting is a secondary, often terrifying, part of our job. We like the training wheels to stay on if at all possible.

Break that habit, now. If your audience deserves a quality, engaging, persuasive presentation, do whatever is necessary to make that happens. It begins by practicing your presentation.

Idea #3: Be the Center of Attention

It’s interesting what happens in many presentations – the presenter feels like stage dressing, like someone who’s being paid to lead us through a deck of slides. But nothing could be further from the truth. No person in that room came here today because they were going to be shown PowerPoint slides. They came into that room because you, the presenter, were going to communicate something important to them. Own that.

One of the easiest ways to be the center of attention is to, from time to time, cut off the presentation. It’s very simple. Either, on your keyboard, hit the ‘B’ key – for black screen – or actually schedule black screens by having blank slides in your presentation. If you have something important to say, make sure that your audience is paying attention to you – and not thinking about the third column in your chart.

For more presentation tips & tricks, check out our classes on PowerPoint 2003, PowerPoint 2007, PowerPoint 2010, Business Writing or Communication Strategies.

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