What We Want Matters

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Brain, Culture, Dysfunction, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Platform Building, Presentations, Privacy, Problem Solving, Relationships, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity

We as a society of consumers, publishers, advertisers, and owners have failed to understand fully the radical implications of the communications schema we now live under with the presence of the Internet.

When almost everyone in the world has access to a keyboard, a microphone, and camera, almost everyone will become a publisher.

But, someone must fund that publishing in order for it to be seen by an audience willing to be changed by its presence in the world.

And while publishers may fail to understand the relationships between awareness, advertising, persuasion, publishing, and creation, consumers do themselves a disservice when they pretend that what a third party–wedged between them and the publisher–wants doesn’t matter.

There are multiple parties to consider in this transaction that is now going on at scale in the world right now:

Publishers are people (and sometimes organizations) who want to publish. They create, comment, click, like, share, and otherwise either participate, or validate, an opinion, a fact, or an idea through their actions.

What publishers want is a platform upon which to publish and attention from the audience they seek to impact.

Consumers are people who want to consume. They passively watch, applaud, share, click, like, and otherwise take in the opinions, facts, and ideas that publishers create.

What consumers want is to consume. Preferably without much action or engagement on their part and with as little friction as possible.

Owners are brands, organizations, and community builders of all types and stripes who want to own a piece of the communication real estate that the Internet has created. Owners create and own.

What owners want is to get paid for their work, their creativity, their cleverness, and their time spent building something for others. And they want to get paid as quickly as possible, as much as possible, as often as possible.

Advertisers are organizations, buyers, creators, and others who seek to intersect themselves in between owners, publishers, and consumers, ostensibly for the benefit of publishers and owners, but in reality, for the benefit of themselves.

What advertisers want is attention, awareness of the products, services, and processes they are seeking to persuade consumers. And they want it at scale, with as little friction as is possible.

There is little alignment between all of these parties (even though there is often confusing overlap), as the Internet has fractured and atomized the 20th century’s mass media, mass audiences, mass attention, and mass awareness.

With this lack of alignment comes confusion, misunderstanding, miscommunication, and at the end, scandal, corruption, mismanagement, and further erosions of public and private trust.

The best alignment is the type that removes the middleman from the interactions between the publisher and the audience and gets the publisher and the audience aligned.

The worst alignment is reflected in what is happening right now.

We as a society have gotten the Internet we asked for; dare I say, the Internet we wanted.

Now, at the beginning of yet another unraveling, a further atomizing and erosion inflection point in the overall communication culture, it’s time to ask for, and to want, something better.

Times You’re Waiting For

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Relationships, Selling for Peace Builders, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Truth

The times that you wait to take a risk.

The times that you wait to apply an innovation.

The times when you wait for reassurance.

The times you wait for enough external motivation.

The times you are looking for permission to act.

The times you are waiting for “everything” to be “just right.”

Those are the times that never come.

The times you take the risk, despite not knowing how it will turn out in the end.

The times that you apply the insight from the innovation.

The times that you don’t wait for reassurance.

The times you don’t need any more motivation.

The times when you don’t need permission. You just act.

The times when “everything” is not “just right;” in fact, “everything” is “mostly wrong.”

Those are the times that are always here.

They surround you all the time.

If you’re waiting for stability, safety, surety, and certainty, those times are rare. And they don’t come unless you act—actively—to do.

Now.

Otherwise, the times that you’re waiting on are assured to never arrive.

 

Building a Pirate Ship

By | Emotional Intelligence, Advice, Blog, Culture, Dysfunction, Entrepreneurship, Google, Leadership, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Old Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Presentations, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, The Future & The Singularity

The steps to building an effective, online content pirate ship that will surprise your competitors, aren’t flashy or interesting.

But they are effective.

Step 1: Know which content ship to build before you build it.

There are three modern forms of shipbuilding in the value creation space online: writing (i.e. blogs, books, etc.); audio (i.e. voice search, podcast, etc.); and video (i.e. performing, editing, etc.).

You’ve got to know which one of the three is at the edges, which one of the three is the most valuable to you, and which one of the three will get you the furthest.

You’ve also got to just pick one. Better to pick the one you’re good at, rather than the one that’s most popular right now.

Step #2: Pick the right content slip, the right building tools, and the right materials to build.

Knowing your own intuition is key to the first part (pick the right slip) because, as the person building the pirate ship, no one can tell you what the “right” slip is. And, if you try to build a pirate ship in another slip, too far away from the water (i.e. other opportunities) you fail.

Knowing yourself is the key to the second part (pick the right tools) because, even there are many low to no cost solutions to building a pirate ship of valuable, online content, every tool is not for you. And there are a lot of dead ends.

Knowing what you want to accomplish with the ship you’re building is the key to the third part (pick the right materials) because if you pick the wrong shipbuilding materials, your pirate ship of content could sink before it even leaves the slip. Or, much like the Spruce Goose of old, it could only fly once. And then crash.

Step #3: Execute the building with patience, perseverance, and prayer.

Execution (shipping) matters more than anything else in building a pirate ship, and that means struggling through self-doubt, other people’s doubt, and the market’s doubt. Prayer doesn’t hurt either.

Step #4: Launch the ship with a crew (or by yourself) and raid the edges of the empire.

Having an attitude of shipping (launching the ship) and an attitude of raiding (staying on the edges) allows the pirate to explore first with their content, survive second, and to thrive third.

The real tragedy is that many people (now as in the past) will instead choose to eat off the raiding of other pirates, rather than taking the opportunity to build a ship of their own.

Unremarkable

By | Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Dysfunction, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Old Posts, Persuasion, Presentations, Problem Solving, Selling for Peace Builders, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy

The problem with many (if not most) people, processes, services, and products is that they are unremarkable.

This is not to say that they are unreliable, undesirable, or unmistakable.

There are people, processes, services, and products that fill niches that are banal, boring, and seemingly unnecessary.

They aren’t worth talking about, thinking about, or even spending a lot of cognitive effort in justifying.

The problem of unremarkability is compounded by the fact that the organizations developing and promoting these products, services, processes, and people, is that the solution to their unremarkability is thought to be a lack of attention and awareness.

That’s not the problem.

Not even close.

Buying more followers, increasing social proof, becoming more likeable; these are long-term processes, that cannot be successfully applied to the banal, the boring, or the seemingly unnecessary.

Here’s a tip, for winning the long game.

Instead of trying to figure out how to scale unremarkability with money, time, or other resources, figure out how to scale the number of activities (i.e. process, services, products, etc.) that are actually remarkable.

Drivers Aren’t In Charge

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Entrepreneurship, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Selling for Peace Builders

The same drivers that attracted you to entrepreneurship, to taking a risk, to leaping, to shipping; those same drivers may lead you to failure, loneliness, and perhaps even brokenness.

But you’re in charge of where the drivers go.

The drivers aren’t in charge of where you go.

Sometimes, the process of getting to your goal matters less than what your motivations for attaining the goal are.

Look closely at why you’re doing…

Empathy in Your Peacebuilding Marketing

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Entrepreneurship, Marketing for Peace Builders, Mediation, Networking, New Posts, Opinions, Relationships, Selling for Peace Builders, Storytelling

If you want more people to resolve more conflicts, your training organization, your mediation practice, or even your content and marketing around peacebuilding, must acknowledge the current state of consumer behavior.

When the reality set before you, is that you would prefer to shop on Amazon, date online, order food from a service that you can turn in to a pre-made meal, and watch whatever you want on-demand whenever you want it, you have to expect that the people in conflict you seek to serve are interacting with the market in the same ways.

This is market and consumer-based empathy.

You favor convenience, so do parties in conflict.

You favor speed to a solution with low friction, so do parties in conflict.

You favor paying attention to what you like and ignoring what you don’t, so do parties in conflict.

You favor the appearance of having access to multiple options, but only accepting one or two, so do parties in conflict.

This is market and consumer-based empathy.

If you examine your own consumer behavior in the market of ideas, products, and services, and still can’t find a way to change your training and mediation marketing to match consumer reality…

…then the reality is, you might have an empathy problem in your marketing.

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode # 10 – David J. Smith

By | Blog, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, Education, Entrepreneurship, Marketing for Peace Builders, Mediation, Negotiation, Old Posts, Platform Building, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Selling for Peace Builders, Storytelling, The Future & The Singularity

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode # 10 – David J. Smith, Peace Builder, Consultant, Speaker, Educator and Author

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode #10 – David J. Smith

Some things, ideas, and even spaces are hiding in plain sight. Like the idea of walking in peace. Or building a career in helping people walk in peace.

The big question is (to paraphrase from the film The Prestige): Are you paying any attention?

Our guest today, David J. Smith is the author of many books on teaching peace. He most recently wrote the book Peace Jobs: A Student’s Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace.

And he has come on at no better time than now, to talk about what really matters.

Look, I asked a podcast guest recently, “Why aren’t peacebuilders paid more?” and she gave that question an honest and thought provoking answer which you’ll have the pleasure of hearing next season.

I assert that the reason peacebuilder’s struggle to get appropriate compensation for the emotionally draining work that they do, is because we live in a conflict comfortable and peace skeptical society and culture.

David answers the question in another way on the podcast today.


Look, this is the last episode of our penultimate 4th season of the podcast, and I for one, could not be more grateful and appreciative of your ears, your attention and your focus this year.

Your feedback, as always, has been tremendous for a podcast that runs no advertising other than mine, and where I don’t come on the mike and ask you to donate to my Patreon page, or to rank me in ITunes, Stitcher or on Google Play.

Though the Earbud_U Podcast is available for download and rating on all those platforms.

Thank you for all your support in this self-funded effort, and we’ll be back in January 2017 with a new year, a new slate of guests, and even a new opening I’ve been working on.


Connect with David J. Smith in all the ways you can below:

Website: https://davidjsmithconsulting.com/

Peace Jobs Book Link: http://www.infoagepub.com/products/Peace-Jobs

Facebook (For Peace Jobs): https://www.facebook.com/PeaceJobs1/

Facebook (to Connect with David): https://www.facebook.com/david.j.smith.54584

Twitter: https://twitter.com/davidjsmith2013

[Strategy] Crossing the Chasm for the Peacebuilder

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Ebooks, Education, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Old Posts, Selling for Peace Builders, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Training, Website, Workshop

For the innovative peacebuilder, the truly important switch must happen in how thinking about products and services cross the chasm.

crossing-the-chasm-for-the-peacebuilder

Most of the time, processes (such as mediation, negotiation, or dispute resolution) are confused with products.

A process is, in essence, a service.

Sure, there are sometimes opportunities to grow a process past a service and into a product, but this is rare.

The idea that content focused around “how-to” can be a product, is supported by the digital reality we live in now. With digital platforms, developing digital components for processes we already think of as services, should become second nature.

But for many it hasn’t.

At least not yet.

There are four ways to cross the chasm in thinking, from a strong consideration and focus on services, to a strong consideration and focus on products.

  • Deep listening requires surveying clients (formally and informally), compiling that data, and executing on the results of that listening. By the way, deep listening is beyond active listening, and is something that peacebuilders are increasingly seeing as a tactic for clients at the table.
  • Deep understanding is the corollary to deep listening. Deep understanding requires accepting that crossing the chasm is the only way to scale. Plus, it requires accepting that one-offs, workshops, seminars, and more of the traditional ways of engaging with audiences, clients, and scaling a “lifestyle” business, have changed irrevocably.
  • Deep advice requires accessing the wisdom contained in the organizations peacebuilders may already be working in. It also requires listening to, and reading, advice that comes from non-traditional places. Accessing, and considering deep advice is strategic and tactical. Deep advice not only comes from outside the box, but also it comes from looking in another box entirely.
  • Deep courage is the last way to cross the chasm. Execution is about courage, and many of the reasons that serve to “stall out” the crossings peacebuilders attempt, is less about not doing the other three things listed above, but is more about the lack of courage to pull the trigger and execute on a truly scary idea.

Philosophy first, tactics second, and courage always to change how peacebuilding happens in our digital world.

Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode #6 – Darren MacDonald

By | Blog, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Marketing for Peace Builders, Old Posts, Opinions, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Problem Solving, Relationships, Selling for Peace Builders, Storytelling

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Four, Episode # 6 – Darren MacDonald, Investor, Film/Movie Buff, World Traveler, Local Raconteur

podcast-earbud_u-season-four-episode-6-darren-macdonald

 

Intercultural context, humility, and world travel.

Capitalism, expanding your worldview, entrepreneurship, one-way traffic, and the country of India.

Our guest today on the show, Darren MacDonald, is a local venture capital investor, film buff, and world traveler.  This interview stands out as a “call back” to our very first episode of the Earbud_U Podcast, where we debuted by featuring Darren’s unique, humorous and engaging point of view.

And we’re doing it again here.

In this episode, Darren talks about finding his way from the Taj Mahal to Mumbai, his travels in India, and how to expand capitalism into other areas and explore new ideas.

One idea that we talked about extensively in this conversation was about hope. Now, hope is not a strategy, but it does lie at the core of many questions, yet to be answered, in the world of entrepreneurship globally:

How do we get hope to people?

Hope to places from Mumbai, India to St. Louis, Missouri.

Hope to places where all hope–economic, social, and even spiritual–has left.

Hope is the eraser for despair. But before we get to hope, we’ve got to identify what the problems are, why they are important to solve, and who actually has the bandwidth to solve them.

This is the first part of a two-part conversation with Darren and it’s a lot of fun, while also being sobering, inspiring, and sometimes, just downright goofy.

And there’s nothing not hopeful about any of that.

Connect with Darren through all the ways you can below:

Check out our first interview with Darren here: http://www.hsconsultingandtraining.com/blog/earbud_u/earbud_u-episode-1-darren-macdonald/

Follow Darren on Twitter: https://twitter.com/upwordz

Connect with Darren on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/darrenmacdonald/

Connect with the Southern Tier Capital Fund: http://stcfny.com/

Connect with the Southern Tier Capital Fund on Twitter: https://twitter.com/stcapitalfund

[Strategy] Facilitating-as-a-Sales Process

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Marketing for Peace Builders, New Posts, Old Posts, Relationships, Selling for Peace Builders, Speaking, Strategies, Strategy, Training, Workshop

The skills required to facilitate training for an audience with content that wasn’t developed by the facilitator, are the same skills sale people practice every day:

Persuasion: Since a facilitator doesn’t create the presentation content (or product) they are facilitating (just like the sales person doesn’t create the product they sell door-to-door), the skills of persuasion through using influence in the room, is critical for success. The facilitator must use all the skills of persuasion their fingertips to get the “customer” to buy the product. Yes, the audience already “bought” the product by being there physically. But just like children in school, you have to “re-earn” their attention caring and awareness, rather than taking it for granted.

Body language: Sales people know that confidence, body language, and silence combined with active listening (more on this one below), can help close the sale in a face-to-face encounter. Facilitators need to keep this in mind. Particularly, when facilitating content with which they are not familiar. A facilitator with none of those traits, just like a sale person with none of those traits, can stumble and fall in the room.

Active listening: Facilitators should listen more that they talk. This is easy when the facilitator has developed the product they are facilitating. It’s hard when facilitators haven’t developed the product they are facilitating. The problems compound when they don’t believe the content itself. The first person to listen and react to the content should be the facilitator. But not in the room. Not in front of the audience. And not when the audience pushes back and disagrees, asserts themselves, or engages in conflict with the content.

With all this being said, the facilitator should remember, above all else, that the work is on the line in the room, not the facilitator as a sales person.