Inspiration
Ladies in Tech Who Inspire Me
December 11, 2013
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One of my former colleagues at Clix Marketing sent me a super cool article in AdWeek about a recent ad campaign from Pantene Philippines done by the guys over at BBDO ad agency, and I love it.

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I’ve worked in the digital agency space for several years and I have to say this business is still very MadMen and these perceptions are still alive and well. Having been on the receiving end of some of these perceptions, I completely agree with my girl Sheryl Sandburg when she calls out how poignant this ad campaign is in illustrating how men and women are received differently when their actions are identical.

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Women in business are a growing voice, especially in tech, and in order to break through these barriers, we need strong role models. I thought I’d take a minute and introduce you to some of my favorite ladies in tech. These gals inspire and motivate me to be the best I can be, no apologies or excuses, to lean in!

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Business
Difficult Clients & How To Deal
September 23, 2013
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stress_memeAre you afraid of your clients? I’ll admit, sometimes I am…

All consultants have been there, dealing with a super intimidating client. Whether it is a whale of an account that you are stressing to keep happy or a micro-managing client that’s driving you bananas, there’s usually at least one in your book of business.

I have found that clients fall into three main buckets and you have to deal with each bucket a little differently in order to save your sanity, your consultancy, and your self-respect.

Here’s how I deal.

Bully Client

This client tends to be the most difficult; the client that likes to threaten you. You know the type, “If performance doesn’t increase, I’m going to have to find someone else”, type client. This client relationship is particularly stressful in that the threats, whether empty or not, can send us into a spiral of anxiety and fear of lost business.

There’s nothing worse than an unhappy client, let alone one that is ready to leave.

How to Deal

The biggest thing in this scenario is to take a step back and breathe. This client needs to be heard, and needs to know that you are actively working to fix whatever it is they are unhappy with. The worst thing you can do in this situation is ignore the threat. The bully client is quick to jump to conclusions and you must Manage with Cold, Hard Facts and document everything.

These clients are the most damaging because they get us all worked up over losing business that we can’t clear our heads enough to do our job. Often this causes us to make heavy handed decisions that lead to additional damage down the road. Our main goal here is to stay calm and focused. Find your Zen and do not let the threats get to you. Beyond that, let the chips fall where they may…there is plenty of business out there!

Once you’ve found perspective and focus, communicate to the client that they are heard and that you are working diligently to solve the issue(s). Make sure to gently set realistic expectations on turnaround time of performance and then get to work on a plan. Once you have a plan, communicate that plan, then communicate as the plan is implemented as well as how performance changes and how your action plan changes in response.

Chaotic Client

These clients are just plain all over the place. They’re often dealing with chaos and lack of resources internal to their organization that bleed into your consulting relationship. This often means lack of direction, rapid changes in goals, KPI’s, and direction, as well as quick decisions made with little data.

How to Deal

This client needs a hug. They need to feel supported, like they can count on you to help take a bit of the load off. That means two major tasks for you:

  1. Be patient
  2. Be organized

Dealing with a client contact that is being pulled in a multitude of directions means often answering the same questions repeatedly, lots of gentle reminders and check-ins, and clear communication at all times. I prefer to communicate in email as often as I can with this kind of client so they always have a point of reference. Prepare yourself to deal with longer time lines on implementations and set up a system that allows you to remain present in the conversation while accommodating these longer timelines.

Know –it-all Client

You might know this client as the micro-manager, or the client that “knows just enough to be dangerous”. This client has a clear interest in what you do, why you do it, and how you do it. They may just find your art fascinating or they may be trying to figure out how the system works so they can help. Don’t get me wrong, it is true that in some cases they’re trying to figure out how they can do this themselves and save some cash by cutting you out of the equation or they just have a hard time letting someone else spend their money. But more often than not, they’re just curious.

How to Deal

This client needs to feel like they’re involved.

I’ve found the easiest way to deal with this kind of client is to work on building your relationship with them, to share, be honest and friendly, and to over communicate. It really is just that simple. You will need to be patient and willing to train and educate this client. Above all else, do not get into a power struggle with this client, this will only agitate the situation. Instead, set boundaries and let them help where appropriate.

No matter what kind of difficult client you’re dealing with, it is important to try and sniff out these quirks in the initial sales and discovery phase of your engagement and Identify Succubus Clients ahead of time. This way you can bake in additional costs to cover the time you’ll need to appropriately deal with these clients.

Sometimes these difficulties will not be easy to spot, so it’s super important to have a thorough investigative conversation or several prior to engaging in a contract with any client. Really focus on learning about their need, their previous challenges, etc.

How do you deal with difficult clients? Share your tips in the comments!

Intentional Living
What Not to Put in Your Social Media Profile
February 27, 2012
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Online social networks have rapidly increased in popularity, especially over the past couple of years. Social networking websites are popular because they easily allow you to find, connect with, and develop friendships with other internet users, often ones that share the same interests as you. To find those individuals, you must join a social networking website and create a profile. It is often advertised that your social networking profile is the key to making and finding friends online.

As previously mentioned, your social networking profile is important when it comes to meeting other internet users. This is because, in most cases, internet users are looking to chat with someone who has the same goals, views, beliefs, and interests as they do. Without a personal profile, it would be difficult or impossible to tell what your interests are. That is why social networking profiles are not only important, but they are needed.

When it comes to social networking profiles, a lot of focus has been placed on what you should include in your profile or display on your profile page. It has been said that pictures produce the best responses, as well as detailed personal information. Although a picture and detailed personal information may help to increase your page views, you may be getting views that you do not necessarily want. Despite what you may believe, most social networking websites do not have restrictions on who can view your personal profile. In fact, internet users, even those that do not belong to your online community, can easily see profile.

Since anyone, literally anyone, can see your social networking profile, on most social networking websites, you are advised to be cautious. Essentially, this means that instead of focusing on what you should put in your online profile, you should be focusing on what not to put. This is one the best ways to protect your safety, both on and offline.

As previously mentioned, pictures are often recommended with social networking websites. If you are interested in positing a personal picture of yourself in your online profile you can do so, but you are advised to carefully choose that picture. While you will want to look your best, you are advised against posting a picture that is too revealing or seductive in nature. Most internet users can look at these types of pictures without feeling a thing, but for others these types of pictures spell danger.

If you make the decision to post a picture of yourself in your social networking website profile, you need to be careful about the rest of the information that you post. Although you may not necessarily think about it, a picture is just a picture, but combined with your name and address, it could be a deadly combination. You are advised to only post your first name in your profile. This will make it more difficult for anyone to try and contact you off of the internet.

It is also advised that you carefully choose your location. A large number of online social networking sites require that you select a city, as well as a state. If it is allowed, you may only wish to list your state and not the city. If you are required to list the city and the state that you live in, you may want to think about using a nearby city or town, especially if you live in a small town. If an internet predator wanted to contact you and you lived in a small town, it could be fairly easy for them to find you. That is why it is advised that you carefully select the answer to the location question.

In addition to the above precautionary measures, it is advised that you do not post detailed information on your children, the location of your home, your income, or when you will be leaving for vacation. By keeping these and the above mentioned points in mind, you should be able to enjoy online social networking without having to always look behind your back.