Where did the year go?!
As things wind down, have you considered these 10 essential questions to ask of your business so that you can build upon a strong foundation in the new year?
It’s worth taking a few minutes to consider how you would answer.
With the year drawing to a close, are you happy with your last 365 days?
Years go by so fast and you don't want to lose track of everything. Here are some questions to ask yourself now.
The quest to understand the humble human customer has been at the core of Marketing since the beginning of time - and still continues today.
In fact, in the digital age of technology, AI and Automation, it's even more important to understand more about consumer psychology than ever before.
Here's what you need to know about customer behaviour, and how to achieve marketing success through this appreciation.
Innovation In Business: Not doing the same thing over and over…
Sounds self-explanatory, right?
But then why are organisations getting it so wrong, over and over?!
Strategy... we all do it. We all need it.
Does anyone ask why?
‘Strategy’ is a buzzword within the business world which has been thrown around in every corporate circle, business function, yearly kick-off conference and staff meeting for absolute years.
But does everyone truly understand what it really is and how to maximise its potential?
In a corporate world where it's easy to look externally for inspiration, learning and even blame, there seems to be a lack of understanding into how valuable it can be to first look at ourselves and the team around us.
Have you considered the importance of the relationships you have with both yourself and your colleagues?
Micro Snapshots and Key Insights into TEDx Macquarie Uni, September
Topic: Breaking New Ground
I was very excited to be at the TEDx Conference at Macquarie University on Saturday 27th of September to listen to an array of amazing and inspiring speakers and personalities from a wide range of industries, areas, backgrounds, locations and experiences, each sharing their own insights into how they 'broke new ground.’
Luckily, all of these talks are not lost! You can find them online and I recommend that you view them as everyone can benefit from their content. However, as a snapshot, below is a micro-summary of the main points I took from each presentation.
Professor Bruce Dowton
“What does it take to lead?”
Leadership lies in five key elements: building identity, ethical behaviour, motivating innovation, creating connections and the interpretation of complexity.
We cannot be effective as leaders unless we are true to ourselves and accept who we are first. By understanding ourselves, we are then able to lead and understand others and the environment around us.
Arvin Bayatpour and Cohen Bosworth
“So they told you age is a brick wall.”
These two boys were fifteen years old and had already begun their journey into gadgets via their company Arcod.
Innovation can start at any age. Don’t let societal pressure tell you anything else!
Don’t be afraid and don’t wait. Start now!
“Want to innovate? Become a now-ist.”
Don’t be a “future-ist, be a “now-ist.”
Deploy or die: Getting tangible innovations out into the market is the only true way to measure success.
Educational methods need to keep up with the times. We are all so connected by technology that we don’t need to read and study the entire dictionary before we set out. We can research everything at any time on the internet, so education should focus on adaptation, and not rote learning, simply because that’s the way it was always done.
Compass over maps- know your direction, rather than every street.
“Challenging gender selection.”
Even though we, as a society, assume that we have complete gender equality, it's not really true.
A new trend is emerging, called prenatal gender selection, which is the predetermining of the sex of a baby using science. It is illegal in Australia, but parents can go to countries where it is legal, such as the USA. Whilst it can be valid for specific medical reasons, couples are beginning to adopt this technology and specifically deciding the gender they would prefer. While most do this for an innocent reason, such as “family gender balance”, the repercussions in the future could lead to adding to gender stereotypes that should be phasing out, rather than being strengthened.
When we decide to have a child, it is different to deciding gender. But some parents are starting to demand more selection based on their traditional biases (i.e.: they want a girl because they want a baby who can be dressed up like a princess and get married, or they want a boy because they want a sportsman). By allowing this behaviour, it may be reinforcing gender stereotypes that hinder and bias future societies, as well as distort their views on what is right and wrong.
Leave gender stereotypes behind and let children grow up to be individuals they want to be.
“HIV illness narratives”
Presenting her three-minute thesis, Cheryl was investing homosexual men suffering from HIV/AIDs to piece together the real history on the past and future of the disease.
“I am the son of a terrorist.”
Zak was the son of one of the terrorists involved in the New York World Trade Centre bombings in the 90ies.
Most members of society want the same things out of life, however, in a population, there are always a very small group that adhere so closely to their beliefs that they will do anything in their power to get others to believe what they do, even if by force.
His story goes to show that being raised in that kind of hostile environment can still produce a family that can gain the independence to grow beyond the narrow minded ideas of past generations.
“Designing cities for women.”
Urban planning has shifted from desiring driving accessibility, to favouring closer proximity and walking spaces. In addition, the traditional idea of separating work from home locations no longer meets the societal needs of today.
New apps, like “Walkability Score”, are clear indications of new urbanism trends and illustrate the importance of the ability to walk to desirable locations. The cost of housing closer to central hubs is rising like it never has before, simply because people appreciate proximity over other considerations.
Unfortunately, this means it’s pricing out half of the market, which is a complex issue that requires solving. Individuals, families and couples part of the lower economic bracket have begun to move close to the city, as opposed to the past, where they all centralised further out in the suburbs. This is because all of the jobs are located in central jobs and so, they want their homes now closer to this than ever before.
“The elephant in the classroom.”
Humans love and hate change! This applies quite prominently in work and school settings. Learning and business environments suffer from balancing between rigidity to encourage productivity, and innovative flexibility.
Reforming public education lies in culture and economics. Schooling ‘educates’ children, but does it really teach them to be active contributors of society? Does it prepare them to live in an adult world?
So called ‘gifted students’ are just ones that thrive in the current learning paradigm. No student is unintelligent- they just need a more catered environment.
We need a different model to engage each individual student. The education system needs to adopt a “personalised learning matrix”- where the teacher and the student ‘negotiate’ the best way to meet their individual needs, within a dynamic, engaging space that achieves curriculum objectives.
Mr Speaker and The People Party
The struggle for your dreams is a hard reality. Therefore, we need to change whatever it takes to position yourself to achieve your dreams
Surround yourself with positive people that have the same passion as you, and whatever you do, believe believe believe!
“The secrets of nature’s grossest creatures, channelled into robots.”
Inspired by the cockroach (which can adapt to pretty much every challenge and environment), robotics of the future is adopting Robust Systems, which can perform multiple, challenging tasks, rather than one specific purpose. These robust systems include fault tolerance and damage resistance, so they can be utilised in more complicated scenarios such as search and rescue applications, amongst other functions.
“Creating the most influential you.”
As a magician and entrepreneur, how a magician practises their act is a good lesson for any individual to learn and adopt. It’s something most people never get to see, as it spoils the illusion of the tricks, but the method can be used in improving the way someone prepares and delivers a presentation.
Showmanship lies in three principles: Sight, sound, sync.
Sight: what the audience sees.
Sound: what the presenter says and how they say it.
Sync: How the first two work together.
When you are inconsistent (out of sync), people don’t trust you and you come across as insincere and not genuine. Therefore, actions, confidence and words all need to be in balance.
A way to improve your showmanship lies in the following method:
Video record yourself, then leave it for a day (to avoid critical bias). After a day, turn it on and mute the sound, watching only for visuals. Check your posture and take notes.
Watch it again, however turn your back and just listen to the audio. Do the words offer value? Is the message clear?
Watch the video for a third time with both sound and sight. Are both your actions and your voice now consistent?
The stage is a sacred place, as it's where a performer goes to influence and inspire. Always give it your best and treat that privilege with respect.
Dr Joanna McMillan
“Eat for a real change.”
One pill that provides absolutely everything we need to survive in a healthy way is not what we want. Food is much, much more than just about nutrients and essentials: food is culture and interaction.
She worries that nutritional science is ruining the cultural side of food, as we are now over analysing every bit of information, and, as a public, we are completely confused with this information’s interpretation. In addition, western cultures are suffering from obesity, diabetes and other food related conditions. Diet choice is a large contributing factor of all of those negative conditions. The way we eat is so engrained that bad habits are hard to shake.
70% of Australian people are confused as to what healthy eating actually means because the media skews all knowledge, and research can be greatly misinterpreted. E.g.: “low fat” doesn't mean healthy. It gave rise to a misinterpretation and it’s heavily impacting our society.
The real key to healthy eating is large amounts of plant food and stay away from the processed products.
“From unknown to expert.”
Presenting your ideas to an audience and being in the spotlight is a very challenging thing to undertake for most people. However, Catriona says it’s time to redefine the spotlight; it’s a responsibility and a privilege to present, and not only for the loudest and boldest.
Freedom comes with saying “yes”. No one should feel like their story is not as worthy as others, and so it is up to people that usually shy away to turn the tides and say yes to spotlight opportunities.
It’s deeper than just general excuses- it’s a personal issue. Everyone should have the confidence to present their ideas and find the strength deep down. You deserve to be in the spotlight, if what you have to say will help others.
The spotlight isn’t about the speaker, but the audience and what insights you can provide for them. You must give yourself permission to speak; only then can you unleash your potential.
Connect with your ‘why’: think about your higher and deeper purpose for the audience.
Be of service: gain confidence by knowing that listeners will help them.
Be yourself: it’s not about changing yourself, but being genuine and brave enough to be vulnerable.
Believe in your own stories: stop competing. Everyone has their own road and you can never compare your own situation to others.
Be open to yes: who are you not to shine your own light?
“Redefining the ordinary to the extraordinary.”
Everyone is extraordinary because everyone has their own unique story. To most people, someone might be ‘ordinary’, but for someone else, that person may mean the world. Next time you feel ordinary, remember that you were born extraordinary, you still are, and always will be.
Dr Steven Lin
“The power of smile.”
We often underestimate the power of a smile.
Good oral health is such an important, and such a neglected area of healthcare. Unfortunately, however, we are not educated enough as a public to see the true value of dental care, which means that the government is not motivated to make a change for the benefit of us all. This increases the negative and flippant culture toward dental health, and it becomes a vicious cycle.
The key to a better future dental industry can be promoted using newer technology via social media. These avenues create awareness and education with the public which, together all start to make noise and therefore create a change.
Changing from reactive dental treatment to preventative methods is necessary in the future, and it’s up to the public to start the ball rolling.
Susan Redden Makatoa
“Stop pandering to working mothers.”
We could and we should extend flexibility to everyone in the workplace, not just females.
'Workplaces with heart' is a reformation of the standard business model, and is all about inclusion and equity. Giving choices to how people work and offering them more choice, such as allowing different start times and end times, could end up putting less stress on the transport problem and reduce pollution, as well as increase employee satisfaction.
There are three elements to this kind of working paradigm:
Assumptions- assume that employers want success and satisfaction, and employees want to do well for the business. Both sides need to be working together positively, first and foremost.
Acknowledgements- the essential operations for the business in generating profitability effectively are still the core of a business. Feedback and measurements will still exist, no matter what.
Arsenal- Negotiation skills and willingness to accept flexibility.
People are the key asset to any business; they’re important. Workplaces that are equitable and inclusive remove negative stigmas and add satisfaction because empathetic choice was provided to all employees.
“Let architecture in: Amazing things can happen if you do.”
The spaces we inhabit affect us all in so many ways. Iconic architecture, such as the Syndey Harbour Bridge, are uniting beacons of culture and add to the overall environment around you.
Embracing the impact your surrounding environment has upon you and everyone around you will increase your self-awareness. Being aware of it allows you to adapt to it, and you can make it adapt to you, too in order to achieve the optimal outcome. It can lie in something as grand as a city monument, or something in your own home.
“Touching tech- wearable technology.”
Technology can be quite distracting in today’s society. Whilst it is an advantage, sometimes businesses need to get back to the real world to create innovation.
Where we want to be next is taking over where we are now. We are all experiencing life through screens rather than life itself and our own senses. Technology needs to adapt to this, rather than add to the problem.
To show this, Ben and his team have developed wearable, fashionable technology, an industry advancing so fast that everything has to be developed straight off with little planning (sometimes spanning only 3 weeks!). such technology connects to your phone to your clothing for use in such applications as GPS. However, technology isn't always just about utility: fashion and technology have to meet correctly. For example, Google Glass is amazing technology but a fashion disaster.
The explosion of this type of technology starts with realigning with the real world again. Empathy for our environment is the key.
“Unmask your potential.”
Unmask your true potential. Stop locking yourself away. Don’t be trapped by your assumed “limitations.”
All of us are dying slowly and time isn’t infinite- we need to be more realistic with ourselves. Only then can we access our true potential.
“What are we doing?”
Take the fond memories of loved ones that have passed, and put one of their favourable traits into practise. Learning a favourable trait from someone is the ultimate honour to them and will help make you a better person.
One of my life long goals is to learn languages, however with the hustle-bustle of everyday, how can find the time to dedicate hours studying a language?
Well, modern technology has solved this problem with smart phones, tablets and amazing apps.
I found this completely free app called Duolingo, which is completely ad free and simply amazing!
This app claims that it's scientifically proven for someone to learn a language to a solid level over just a couple of months, by dedicating half an hour each day! Easy, if you're like me, stuck on the bus each morning and afternoon to and from work.
Duolingo lessons are short and straight forward, with assistance at every step of the way. It's clean and clear and simply a joy to use.
It also offers a multitude of different languages which can be accessed by everyone from beginners, to people that wish to brush up their language skills.
Learning a new language does wonders for the brain- it's like intensive brain training every morning, and can break up the monotony of your work-day's activities.
I look forward to passing each lesson every day and the app allows you to track your progress, which is very encouraging. The app also allows you to add your friends so you can all motivate each other and share your progress.
The lessons range from voice recognition and pronunciation, to visual cues, word matching and so on. It's so simple and easy, and you progress through stages that build upon previous lessons. I quite liked the fact that it reminds you to go back and brush up on earlier lessons to ensure that you don't forget the basics. Very clever.
Upon completion of each module, you earn points, called "lingots" that you can spend to unlock bonus content, such as 'sayings', 'idioms' and 'learning how to flirt'! These were a nice perk and an interesting addition.
Additionally, you can create a universal log-in, which stores your progress, regardless of whether you're using multiple platforms: so, if I use my phone on the bus and then wish to continue on my iPad at home, it keeps my progress so I don't have to repeat anything.
Obviously, I cannot rave about this app enough! It's a very thorough system, with an enjoyable interface and no bugs or errors (that I could see). I'm very impressed and I hope that many more will join me on this app!
Just on their website here: https://www.duolingo.com/ or find their app in the iTunes App Store, or Android's Play Store today and enjoy the benefits!
Grazie mille! :)
Being a professional writer (of both fiction and non-fiction) and editor of all kinds of work, there seems to be a repeating theme amongst an alarming number of fellow editors and writing reviewers: this need to become overly emotional with their editing and feedback.
The sheer amount of edits I get back from beta-readers looking at my upcoming novels with comments that are inches away from aggressive abuse startles me! I actually laugh out loud at how emotional some of these editors can be and, truth be told, it can actually lead me to distrust and undervalue them as you begin to question their thought patterns and motivation behind their processes.
Now, I'm NOT saying that I don't have a thick skin or anything as petty as that; this is NOT a whinge blog post. In fact, the deeper and more thorough the reviewer and editor is, the better in my opinion! However, there is no need to get aggressive or emotional with your edits, notes and comments.
As an editor: keep your comments professional. It's very important that if you are dedicated to your craft and are serious about repeat work, and wish to encourage positive word-of-mouth about your services, you ideally want the original author to continue to trust your opinion. There is no need to capitalise your comments (e.g.: "DO NOT USE THIS WORD HERE!!"), use excessive punctuation (e.g.: "Why would any character ask this?!?!?!?!?!?), or use snide comments (e.g.: "Surely you know this is wrong?!").
Editing work is already a sensitive process, as people are very defensive with their work, so I believe it best not to poke the wound by adding unnecessarily bitter comments.
I prefer to keep my editor comments light and informative, without emotion. Professionalism is the key as you want the author to read your ideas and comments, and think to themselves 'Yes, I see why you would think this.'
Additionally, give them the option to agree or disagree with you. After all, it is their work and most elements of writing are very subjective; ie: your opinion may not always be correct.
When editing, I try and keep suggestions light, as one of the main rules to editing (especially with fiction) is not to rewrite it for the author; instead, explain why something did not work, or give them your opinion from the perspective of a reader, not a writer.
Remember, as an editor, you're there to help, not patronise!
All the best in your writing endeavours!
Social media makes the ordinary person feel like a celebrity. That comes with its ups... and equally its horrible downs.
Make the start of January your chance to refresh all of your business' communications!
With the previous year coming to a close and the new year looking like another big one for your business, it may be time to look for a high quality copywriter to refresh all of your business' copy, whether it be on your website, your customer materials, your advertising or even your internal communications, such as your Marketing Plans.
The amount of businesses that overlook this critically vital step is unfortunately growing.
It may be time to contact a high quality copywriter and make your business' New Year Resolution for 2013 to improve and refresh all written communications so that the business can start the New Year in a rock-solid way. You will be surprised at how cost effective the outcomes are for your business.
Effectively written copy is the key to success in so many ways.
Contact Melotti Media today for high quality copywriting solutions for your business.