Be Real, Be Courageous & Lead— My Big Takeaway from #ANAB2B

When I go to marketing industry conferences these days, I get more inspired by intangibles, rather than the tangible. Give me something that will really move me or get me thinking deep thoughts. Give me something that I could do in my every day life, not just in my job.   I want to meet people, be inspired by stories, and feel moved to do something different or be reminded of what I need to do to be more successful and fulfilled.   That said, my highlight of the 2017 Masters of B2B Marketing (I still call it BMA) Conference earlier this month in Chicago was one great slide by keynote speaker Tamara McCleary (@TamaraMcCleary).     Tamara’s talk was on innovative personal branding and becoming an influencer. The slide and discussion that really hooked me included three simple things to think about:   Be real. Be courageous. Lead.   Simple. Powerful. Moving. These are the types of things that...

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You Can’t Improve without Improv!

Learning effective communication by wearing a chicken hat, dancing and speaking gibberish may sound - for the lack of a better word - weird. I get it, it’s not what you’d normally do at a networking event, but let me tell you, this was no ordinary event. This BMA Chicago Breakfast was led by Erin Diehl from Improve It!   Her aim was to teach us effective communication through improv. It sounded fun and I was intrigued but I got a lot more out of it than expected. Why? Well, there was a purpose. Right then and there we started putting theory into practice. There were no laptops or note taking, this was a roll up your sleeves, we’re doing this kind of BMA Breakfast.   Erin started us off with this simple message: “Our mission is to provide high-energy, laughter-filled team-building workshops that incorporate improvisation.” From there it was all fun and games,...

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Deep Thoughts: Why I Do What I Do

"Why do I do what I do? Plain and simple answer – I want people that I know and like to be happier and more fulfilled." It doesn’t happen every week, but several times a year I am able to take a step back and really think about what I do for a living and the purpose of what I do. And it all comes down to that simple idea -- I love to help people be happier and more fulfilled.   That’s my why.   The most recent example of that happened this past weekend with client MAXDigital at the National Automobile Dealers Association show in New Orleans.   Read about it in my post on LinkedIn Pulse: Why I Do What I Do....

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8 Steps for Storytelling Success

8 Steps to Storytelling Success

Tell Your Story Founder George Rafeedie gave a recent breakfast seminar with the Chicago Business Marketing Association where he taught a group of B2B marketers how to develop and share stories on any budget.   In his dynamic presentation, George explained how every organization (big, small, start up, non-profit, division) has a story. And our job as marketers is to find it. Then develop it. Tell it. Measure it. And lastly, improve it. The story should be unique and tied to an organization’s purpose, the difference they make in the world, says George.   He shared the following 8-step process that marketers can use, right now, to develop and share their story/purpose.   1) Executive download & brainstorm. This is where executive buy-in happens. It is where you go to your boss/CMO/President/whomever and explain the process and why your organization needs it. This step is crucial as it ensures your stakeholders feel like they are part...

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Lemonade Stands & Business Acumen at BMA Chicago

  Did you ever have a lemonade stand as a kid? As it turns out, that early business experience can help you succeed in your career as a communications professional.   As I learned at yesterday’s BMA Chicago luncheon with DePaul professors Ron Culp and Matt Ragas, having business acumen is one of the top criteria needed to be a successful marketing/communications pro. Ron and Matt discussed how in order to earn—and keep—a seat at the table and maximize your full value, communicators need to be able to speak the language and understand business goals, issues and trends.   The problem is that most communicators don't hold an MBA and didn't study business in college.     Ron and Matt offered the following tips to help you develop greater business acumen:   Understand Your Company’s Business Model. Transparency is key here. Make sure everyone on your team understands what drives your business. How does your company and clients make...

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