Monthly Archives: October 2011

We tweet 28,409 miles of characters every day! How do we filter the noise?

October 31, 2011

Twitter recently reached an incredible milestone: it delivered 200 million tweets per day. That’s equal to 28,409 miles of tweets (if all 140 characters are used), which when you consider that the earth’s circumference is 24,901 miles across, is pretty impressive.

With that amount of Twitter traffic, we need to be able to cut through all the noise and identify what is and isn’t worth reading, but how?

Firstly ask yourself: am I contributing to the noise? Before I send a tweet I always ask myself —is this going to be of value to my followers? Most of the time the answer is yes but occasionally I realise I’m about to add to the deafening sound of uninteresting, irrelevant twittering and stop myself. It’s a good habit to get into.

Seth Godin, blogger, provides a good example of this in his article, Modern Procrastination. He discussed how social networks are misused in the work place as a way to avoid doing work. It inevitably caused debate in the Twitter world, but I think he had a point. This sort of tweeting adds noise to an already crowded network.

Another thing to consider is grammar. This is of huge importance — good grammar gives you credibility as a writer and subject matter expert. Always check your tweet reads well otherwise you may find your followers humming to a different tune.

Hashtagging for me is one of the most beneficial ways to avoid contributing to the din. A hashtag is basically a virtual filing system — it places your tweet in the relevant section of the library and allows people to search for specific information. I use IceRocket to search for these tags and it allows me to find information that’s relevant to my search needs.

In general it’s up to the individuals to learn good etiquette when using social networks to avoid wasting people’s time. Chris Brogan wrote an interesting article, ‘An insider’s guide to social media etiquette’ which is a good place to start.

Twitter is a numbers game. This means that you should be clear about what you are tweeting about so that you attract, and tweet to, your target audience (also known as ‘numbers’). If you’re not providing value, you’re likely wasting the time of your followers and potentially your customers.

In my opinion, Twitter is by far the most valuable social media tool there is, especially for the communications industry. I’m able to interact with people in our industry, share and gain knowledge and get an insight into the lives of people that dominate the media. I spend about 60 minutes a day checking twitter messages, clicking on links, and reading articles — it’s a great resource when messages are communicated correctly — let’s keep it that way.

Steven Worobec

internal communications

Internal Communications – its an HR thing right?

October 19, 2011

Internal Communications MagazineSo where should internal communications as a discipline sit within an organisation – and does it really matter? That’s one of the issues dissected in the latest issue of AQ, the digital magazine for IC people.

Produced for members of the LinkedIn Aspic Communications Network – Sequel’s thinking place – AQ gets to grips with topics occupying the minds of IC professionals everywhere.

We’re getting some great feedback to issue 2 – why don’t you see what all the fuss is about?

Join the ASPIC LinkedIn group now.

Sequel Thinking

Top tips to put even the most nervous interviewee at ease

October 14, 2011

Awkward silences, the wringing of hands and a rise in blood pressure are just some of the physical reactions that can be caused by the word ‘interview’.

When faced with what can be perceived as a barrage of questions, many people find that simple vocabulary evades them, while others launch into such long-winded answers that you lose the will to live.

Meeting for interviewOne colleague relayed an experience where a manager he was interviewing was providing very short, very corporate answers to his questions.

He decided to try once more to widen the discussion, only to be told: “I don’t want people to see me as human — I want them to see me as their boss.”

The good news is that this is an extreme example, and most people just need a bit of encouragement or gentle guidance.

So how can you get the best out of an interviewee, whether reluctant or over-eager? Here are some top tips to help you get the information you need.


  • Semantics: The word ‘interview’ can sound quite formal, so try using the word ‘chat’ instead.
  • Be prepared: Send some questions ahead of the interview to give the person time to mull over their answers.
  • Time is of the essence: Establish a time limit upfront to avoid overrunning, and so your interviewee knows what to expect.
  • Only fools rush in: Try to have a casual conversation to begin with, whether it’s about the weather or something in the news, so that they feel comfortable by the time you start asking questions.
  • Flattery will get you everywhere: If the interviewee is providing too much information, politely tell them that, although what they have said is extremely interesting, there won’t be room to feature all of it in the finished article.
  • Have a sense of direction: Know what you want out of the interview. Look for opportunities to politely interrupt the interviewee if they are sticking on one point too long and gently steer them in another direction.
  • Be interested: Given the opportunity, most people appreciate a chance to talk about themselves. Take or fake an interest and your interviewee will appreciate an attentive audience.


The Renegade Writer
Writer’s Digest

Things We Like

Psst! Wanna read an article on gossip at work?

October 13, 2011

We like it because… it tackles one of the elephants in the corporate office

Gossip, while not restricted to one profession, is often a way to fill the information vacuum in companies where there is little transparency in internal communications.

Dubai: For Sally, 32, a beautician, the worst conversations start with “Did you hear about so-and-so?”

The vicious gossip about Sally, the newest stylist to join a ladies beauty salon in Sharjah, among her older workmates became so unbearable that she quit her first job in the UAE.

Research shows that about two-thirds of human conversation is devoted to social topics, personal relations and problems, but only five per cent of gossip is negative, according to Samineh Shaheem, an adjunct university lecturer and consultant at the Human Relations Institute.

In a small salon of five aestheticians, who were driving away the “newbies” with their tongue-lashing to keep their customers and tips, it was not long before the boss got wind of it, she said. “Gossip at work affects your psyche… the boss gets the opposite picture of your performance. It affects your work 100 per cent.”

Human resource experts and social psychologists say gossip lowers the odds of being promoted, damages your reputation and affects you physiologically, but some harmless “chewing the fat” can strengthen bonds between workers.
Article sourced from

Facebook – How to make it work for Internal Communications…

We like it because… there’s some common sense advice here – even if we’re not convinced by the whole Facebook as a business tool argument

American social media consultant Hannah Harrill has come up with four top tips for internal communicators thinking of using Facebook in their organisation.

1. Make sure your company is right for Facebook

Many companies are jumping at the chance to use Facebook for advertising, marketing and more, and usually it is worth the effort. But for internal communications, there are important questions to ask before giving it a shot. Do your employees have access to computers? Are you OK with your employees checking their Facebook accounts at work for updates? Are you willing to get top management involved in the endeavor and set an example by joining and interacting? All of these questions should be considered before you start setting up the group.

2. Set guidelines

Make expectations and community guidelines clear from the beginning. Specify whether it is all right to post social activities, such as a happy hour after work or lunch in the break room. Be clear that no one is required to connect with anyone else in the group through their personal accounts. Just because employees join the group does not mean they have to “friend” one another.

3. Pick ambassadors

Choose ambassadors from different parts of the company. If your company has multiple offices, establish an ambassador from each office. Someone in upper management should pick these leaders and assign them the initial task of getting their colleagues excited and involved. Leaders should be people already familiar with Facebook and eager to make a name for themselves in the company.

4. Monitor membership

Make sure to give administrator privileges to responsible individuals, possibly someone in the Human Resources department. Administrators should have an updated list so they approve only current employees.

With more than 500 million active users on Facebook, it’s likely that many of your staff members are already there. Facebook provides a free alternative or supplement to a company intranet where employees can get information and connect with one another in a digital world that most of them already know.

Article sourced from:

internal communicationsThings We Like

So, do you recognise yourself or your colleagues here?

We like it because… it kind of backs up what we already knew but are sometimes afraid to voice

According to respected recruitment agency VMA, people in the internal communications industry are lacking in a number of key skills.

The top five skills that are ‘most lacking’ in Internal Communication recruits:

  1. Influencing
  2. Coaching senior leaders
  3. Strategy setting
  4. Writing – specific corporate messaging
  5. Writing – publications/online

A total of 211 participants from in-house, agency and freelance/interim consultancy backgrounds took part in the survey, which looked at all aspects of the role including reporting lines and responsibilities, remuneration, challenges and future growth and skills & training.

The majority of participants were experienced senior professionals, who reported having seen major changes to the financial services communications profession in recent years. The results of the survey show a rise in the influence of the communications function as well as a rise in the seniority of roles.

Article sourced from:

Things We Like

Our survey said… not a lot actually

We like it because… it challenges the status quo – whether or not you agree it’s worth a read

The latest research-based article from Impact Achievement Group reveals that employee surveys may be doing more harm than good in their current form.

The article, “The Hypocrisy of Employee Surveys: A Closer Look at the True Impact,” uses findings from a recent survey of human resource professionals, managers, vice presidents and chief executive officers to examine the myths and realities of current employee attitude survey practices.

Perhaps the most disturbing finding was the disparity of perceived value. Over the years, Impact Achievement Group has noted a predictable and routine disconnect between senior-level managers and human resource personnel and the manager/supervisor/employee base regarding the worthiness and utility of employee attitude surveys. For instance, the data revealed that 48 percent of senior-level personnel reported the surveys they used were highly valuable, while only 19 percent of all other respondents felt the same.

“The ultimate purpose of employee attitude surveys is to improve work-life for employees and impact business results,” said Lee Klepinger, president of Impact Achievement Group. “To ignore or haphazardly use the resulting data is to breach a fundamental trust. Organizations must be willing to make substantive changes and commit to follow-through if they hope to increase employee satisfaction and engagement.”

Article sourced from:

Yes, social media is a valuable platform for internal communicators – Report

October 12, 2011

We like it because… there seems to be some data around the theory here

A new study says that social media has become a valuable platform for customer service, market research and internal communication.

The study – called Campaigns to Capabilities: Social Media and Marketing 2011 – takes an in-depth look at the role social media plays inside of companies.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are the most popular platforms used, at 94%, 77% and 42% respectively.

To measure usage, over 90% said they look at engagement and participation, such as followers and re-tweets. Companies also study trending topics and blog mentions.

96% of those polled in the survey said they would be raising their investments in creating customized content for social media. 57% are actively hiring new creative and editorial talent, while community managers are also highly sought.

Article sourced from

Things We Like

If you're happy and you know it…

We like it because… there’s still plenty of opportunity for employee engagement

Badenoch & Clark have compiled the Happiness at Work index that shows a truly disengaged work force.

The Happiness at Work index compiled by Badenoch & Clark reveals that only a third of employees are happy at work.

Due to lack of opportunities for a pay rise and high job losses, employee motivation is at an all time low. People are expected to do more with less time and take on the roles of other employees and colleagues who have left and not been replaced.

Amid the difficult economic environment, one in four employees describe themselves as distinctly unhappy at work.

Nicola Linkleter, managing director of Badenoch & Clark, said:”Organisations must now take action to create a working environment where employees are able to develop a sense that their work is both valuable and valued. Failure to do so may result in loss of talent, which in turn may lead to loss of potential revenue.”


Article sourced from: