business

Do you know what time it is?

If you just looked at a clock and were prepared to tell me “It's 8:30” or “It's noon” or some other time, you're probably just trying to be helpful. But that's not always the best communications strategy.

When communicating in business situations – especially when what you’re saying is representing the entire organization – we must practice the following 3-step process: first, really listen to the question that’s being asked; next, answer ONLY the question that is asked; and then, stop talking.

Lots of people in many organizations across the world try to find some connection between their organization and a holiday in order to get news coverage for their company, products or services.

The problem is, most of those people don’t dig deep to figure out a very specific, unique, interesting, valuable and - most of all - newsworthy angle for their “story.”

I'd rather miss the opportunity to say something because I took too long to speak up, than regret saying something before thinking about it. A lesson I've learned the hard way. Over and over again. Less frequently as I continue to practice this important discipline, but it still happens – to all of us.

As an executive of an organization, who do you believe your key stakeholders are? Who would be number one on that list?

In any organization, employees should be the number one audience.

The most successful organizations are those with engaged employees who are involved in frequent two-way dialogue with leadership throughout the organization and given the chance to provide their own feedback and ideas.

Good internal communications will not only make your organization stronger, but it will also come in handy if any changes or crises come along.

As a small, local business it’s important to build relationships within the local community. But as a small, local business there isn’t always time to build and nurture individual relationships.

Sending mass emails to the news media, government agencies and community leaders has become the norm – yet it’s the one of the least effective ways to actually get through to real people.

They know when they’re receiving a mass distribution and often ignore it; or maybe they don’t know, because it gets caught in their spam filter and they never even see it.

Today’s technology makes it easy to engage with customers when things are going great. But what about when things aren’t going so well?

How you engage with them during difficult situations can be crucial to your organization’s survival.

It’s important to do three things: respond quickly, address the concerns with empathy, and offer a solution.

(As a quick side note, be sure to also check out our podcast on Managing Expectations before you respond too quickly…)

I attend a lot of events for our clients. Sure, I attend when necessary to perform specific tasks related to my work on their behalf, such as for press events and media coverage. But I also try to attend our client’s annual celebrations, and events where they are recognized.

Clients have always verbalized their appreciation when I attend these events. But recently, one person asked me: “Why did you come to this? I know how busy you are.”

As public relations professionals, a lot of what we do involves managing an organization’s reputation.

For the most part, the more media attention your organization receives, the more your stakeholders will recognize you.

But visibility isn’t enough. It’s the content of news stories that determines whether your audiences will have a favorable impression of you.

So how do you know whether the content was good or bad? And what do you DO with that information?

Communicating with employees and building a culture with the right balance of employee satisfaction and strong work ethic isn’t easy. And there’s no single formula or trick for this. But there is one strategy that continues to be preached and implemented successfully: include your employees in conversations about your business.

This doesn’t mean telling your employees what’s happening with your business once decisions have been made. This only works if you engage them before, during and after decisions and news about your organization (and then repeat that cycle).

Organizations spend a lot of money each year to develop their image, brand reputation and messaging for their key audiences.

But there comes a point when leadership wonders if what they are communicating is actually being received as intended by their audiences.

Achieving success by re-enforcing your brand begins with research.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The New York State Farm Bureau is among the most vocal groups a proposed $15 dollar minimum wage in the state. They’re asking New Yorkers to put the pressure on state lawmakers who will decide whether to include the increase in the state budget.

 

Satsuma61 / Flickr

The millennial generation will save us all, according to a couple of Le Moyne graduates who have authored books on the subject. The pair brought their perspective to Syracuse this week.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The debate over increasing New York’s minimum wage to $15 an hour is hitting the streets in one small upstate New York community. Businesses in Seneca County are actively fighting the proposal.

Everyone Needs a Boss

Oct 19, 2015

Everyone needs a boss.

At least that is what my dad used to tell me.

For most of us, the boss is the person we report to at our jobs – the manager, director, vice president, or CEO. Someone who provides guidance, direction, and yes – occasionally reminds us of some key priorities, whether we like it or not. But for the person that starts their own business, who serves that role?

It's 4:15 am and I am having trouble sleeping. Nearly every morning I am scheduled to fly I wake up early, full of anticipation, anxiety, and excitement. It's been that way ever since I began this flight journey a few years ago. I hope the feeling never goes away.

As an older first-time pilot, I sometimes wonder if I'm alone with this ceaseless excitement; however the majority of my pilot and instructor friends tell me that it's nothing more than a sign of the addiction that comes from the passion to be in the sky. And I've got it bad.

Over the last several years, I have facilitated hundreds of groups for multiple reasons – CEOs, board members, consumers, members of the U.S. military, marketing and communications leaders, students, faculty members, and others. The groups have considered how to approach a strategic opportunity, key market decisions, or how to work their way through a difficult and sensitive situation. Sometimes the role of facilitator has been assigned to me - other times it was simply something that seemed to occur.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Coyote Moon Vineyards in Clayton is the first winery in the North Country to put their wine in a can. With canned wine, no corkscrew or wine glasses are required. Just throw the wine in a cooler or bag and when you're ready to drink, just pop the top. 

Amy Wort, from Governour, says in her experience, when she first introduces people to wine in a can, they're skeptical.

"When I’m at parties people are like what is that? I'm like, it's wine. And they’re like in a can? Yes, try it!” Wort says.

Jay Colesack visibly recoils at the thought of drinking canned wine.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Start-Up NY is getting good grades from SUNY. Chancellor Nancy Zimpher says it’s taken a while, but the program is taking off on several state university campuses.

Zimpher says she didn’t expect Start-Up NY, which offers new businesses 10-year tax breaks if they set up shop on or near a college campus, to become a massive success out of the gate. But now that it’s had more than a year-and-a-half under its belt, she says new businesses with jobs in tow have settled into several SUNY campuses.

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities

Disabled Veterans are getting a crash course in how to become entrepreneurs this week in Syracuse.

Dan Piston spent six years in the Navy.  When he got out two years ago, he realized he had a passion for the health and fitness field. And wanted to put that In action by doing something like owning a gym.

"I do not have much training in business. Right now my undergrad degree is in health and exercise science. And I’ve always had an interest in owning a business, but I didn’t know how to do it, or where to get started,” said Piston.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

 

Student teams pitched their start-up companies at the Syracuse Student Sandbox demo day. The sandbox is a six-week program for aspiring entrepreneurs that teaches them how to turn an idea into an actual company. The program has been expanding their reach internationally.

 

Depending on which source you consider, the average American adult is subjected to somewhere between 2,000 and 20,000 messages each day. In our digitally enhanced, 24/7 world of instant communication, these images find their way to us through email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, web browsing, online and traditional news consumption, television, and more. They come at us whether we want them or not.

No matter how you slice it, we are overrun with information.

Recently, I had the chance to teach corporate communications to executive-level MBA students at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. The class was included as an elective in the iMBA curriculum as part of a long-term effort by the Public Relations Society of America and SU’s Newhouse School of Public Communications to inject formal communications education into business schools. Syracuse University is one of about a dozen universities around the United States to embark on this initiative.

Recently I had the chance to learn about some groundbreaking research being done by my good friend and colleague Dr. Terry Flynn, faculty member at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON. Terry has been working for the past several months with some other researchers on a project sponsored by the Institute for Public Relations that is focused on how cognitive behavior and neuroscience relates to effective communications and senior leaders.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Local police and Sen. Charles Schumer are asking the Secret Service to investigate a rash of counterfeit money that has turned up recently.

A handful of local businesses, from Wegman’s to Empire Brewery have been fooled in the past few weeks by fake bills. In all, law enforcement says 10 businesses in central New York have fallen victim to counterfeit currency in the past month. 

Also victim has been Byrne Dairy, where regional manager James Kehoe says each register has a counterfeit detection pen for employees to use, which he demonstrates on a new $100 bill. 

Central New York’s business and economic development agency is starting a new chamber of commerce for minority-run companies.

According to CenterState CEO, the black and Latino communities in New York have $170 billion in buying power. That’s why, it says, it’s forming the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance, the only one in the region.

The news was announced at CenterState’s annual meeting. Edward Cuello will lead the new Upstate MEA. He says its mission will be to harness the minority community’s business and buying power.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand faces an uphill battle in getting paid family leave for workers into law.

Gillibrand, a Democrat, wants to make federal law the ability for workers to take extended time off for childbirth or to care for a sick family member. Employees would receive two-thirds pay while they’re away from work, paid for by a small tax to employers and employees, similar to social security reductions on a paycheck.

Chris Boese / via Flickr

Ski slopes this winter had some of their best snow in years, but record cold temperatures kept many skiers sheltered indoors. Now a cold March is allowing ski resorts to get a late-season boost to business.

This will be the last weekend of operation for Labrador Mountain, located south of Syracuse. Peter Harris, who owns Labrador and Song Mountains, says there will be a few more weekends to ski and ride at Song, which has a slightly deeper snowpack.

He says business all year has been about average, balancing the great snow with cold temps.

Destiny USA

  The sixth largest shopping mall in the country says it's taking a recent call to attack Western shopping centers by a terrorist group "very seriously."

Destiny USA, in Syracuse, was not formally named by Al-Shabab, as was The Mall of America and malls in England and Canada, in a video released over the weekend. The video calls on sympathizers to the terror group to carry out the attacks. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Following a trend for downtown Syracuse real estate, an office building is being renovated to have residential space, but with a twist. 

The building at the corner of Jefferson and Warren Streets is transforming into a communal space, with room for both co-working and co-living, making it perhaps the most different addition to the neighborhood’s residential construction boom.

Troy Evans is converting two floors of empty office space into co-living space, where tenants will rent small rooms with individual bathrooms.

Charles Atkelson / via Flickr

The central New York operation of Lockheed Martin failed to secure the third round of a lucrative Navy supply contract.

The first two rounds of funding for a new electronic warfare system known by the acronym SEWIP were given to Lockheed Martin’s plant in suburban Syracuse in 2013 and 2014. Last summers award was worth $147 million.

But the Navy decided to the award the third, and largest, part of the contract to competitor Northrup Grumman. The Navy says the contract is worth skywards of $300 million with all the options.

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