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TED, founded in 1984 as a one-off event, in Monterey, California, has grown into a global set of conferences sharing “Ideas Worth Spreading” in the technology, entertainment and design industries (hence, TED). The no-longer-than 18-minute talks are live-streamed over the Internet, for optimal “spread,” and are meant to be both innovative and engaging. Few disappoint. And, especially in recent years, TED Talks have gone on to achieve notoriety for their medium and their messaging; not to mention, the messengers, who have included notorious voices of the 21st-century zeitgeist, such as Bill Clinton, Malcolm Gladwell, Al Gore, Gordon Brown, Bill Gates, Bono, Larry Page and Sergey Brin… Just to name a few.

Recently, PR Newswire released their list of the six best TED Talks for communicators and PR professionals, which we felt was well-worth sharing with you.

1. Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are, Amy Cuddy

Who: Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, is a researcher and professor at Harvard Business School. She’s known for her work on stereotyping and discrimination, emotions, power, nonverbal behavior, and the effects of social stimuli on hormone levels.

What: Cuddy explains how our body language influences other people’s perceptions of us, how our mind affects our hormones, and how “power posing” can help you “fake it ‘til you make it.”

Why: Her TED Talk, originally delivered at TED Global 2012 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and posted in October 2012, has been viewed more than 19 million times and ranks among the top 2 most-viewed TED Talks.

2. The Clues to a Great Story, Andrew Stanton

Who: The Pixar alum is a film director, screenwriter, producer and voice actor who has worked on favorite family movies, including A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, WALL-E, Toy Story (1, 2 and 3), and Monsters, Inc. (In other word’s, his name being listed, had us at “hello.”)

What: Starting at the end, and working back to the beginning, Stanton—one of our generation’s greatest storytellers—shares his top tips for spinning a great yarn, with terrific takeaways, like the “unifying theory of 2+2,” invoking wonder is a story’s “secret sauce,” and “use what you know then draw from it.”

Why: See “Who” (above). Need we say more?

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A celebration of this year’s most innovative, influential, and powerful nonfiction works

Every year, the world-class editors at getAbstract read through the most inspiring, outstanding, and enlightening English and German nonfiction business literature available, and choose four recipients of the getAbstract International Book Award. Here is a look at the 2014 winners announced during the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany.

English

  • Data Crush by Christopher Surdak, AMACOM A Division of American Management Association
  • The Frackers by Gregory Zuckerman, Portfolio, Penguin USA, A Penguin Random House Company

German

  • Geld by Christian Felber, Deuticke, Paul Zsolnay Verlag
  • Wie wir uns täglich die Zukunft versauen by Pero Mićić, Econ, Ullstein Buchverlage

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CharismaticLeader

Have you ever met someone and immediately thought, “Wow, that person has charisma”? Perhaps you’ve followed that thought up with an “I wish I could command a room like that”. The question of charisma being innate vs. learned is almost as old as the chicken/egg question. For a long time, experts ‘proved’ that charismatic leaders were born, not made.

Companies are always searching for those ‘charismatic’ leaders – the Steve Jobs that was born ready to take their profits to the Promised Land by inspiring and mobilizing employees and fostering customer followership. Today, more and more experts are realizing that this trait can be learned and developed. Read the rest of this entry »

BusinessTrends

This has been an interesting year for businesses as we saw many shifts in consumerism, marketing, production and the workplace itself. Here, our top 5 business trends that you just can’t ignore:

1. Go Big or Go Home
We began to hear a lot about Big Data over the course of this year. What is Big Data? It’s a collection of data sets that is so large it is difficult to process by traditional data processing applications. It makes our list not only because it is one of the year’s new business buzz phrases but also because clever entrepreneurs and innovators are creating tools and applications that can process this ever-growing stockpile of information that is too large for companies to manage, store and analyze in house, thereby crafting a new technology market.

Read the abstract of Mark van Rijmenam’s Think Bigger.

2. Girl Power!
Thanks to Sheryl Sandberg and her 2013 bestseller, Lean In, we all began to reexamine women’s roles in the workplace, which has become known as the Lean In effect. In addition, the power of women in business is growing—the number of women-owned businesses has increased by 54% over the past 15 years. Indeed, according to Forbes, more than one billion women will enter the workplace over the course of the next decade. Research shows that these women will be more educated than men and will begin to take more of the leadership roles available. Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, Marie Forleo are just the tip of the iceberg.

Read the abstract of Sheryl Sandberg’s TED talk Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders. Read the rest of this entry »

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Now in its fourteenth year, getAbstract honors ten critically acclaimed nonfiction books from the past year’s business literature. This is the longest-running international business book award program and celebrates English and German-language works. Previous winners include celebrated authors such as George A. Akerlof, Phil Rosenzweig, Jared Diamond and Detlev S. Schlichter.

“I feel honored to have received this award in previous years from an organization that has a reputation for quality analysis and review of business books,” said Robert J. Shiller, Nobel Laureate and Yale University Professor. “It means more to me to receive an award like this than it is to make a bestseller list.” Read the rest of this entry »

twitter

Twitter can be a valuable tool for gathering up-to-the-minute collective intelligence and ideas from experts, leaders and conceptualizers. Indeed, the social media platform has changed enormously how we collect and collate information by directly connecting us to the innovators and industry leaders of our day. Our personal commentary on news, insights and trends is thereby not only reliable but immediate and efficient. One of Twitter’s leading benefits, over any other social media platform currently available to us, is that it enables us to network with, and learn from, others.

“Business leaders who truly embrace the concept of sharing and helping are worth following,” says Peter Shankman, who is globally recognized for his alternative thinking regarding marketing and social media, and features on our list of top 10 business leaders to follow. “They’re few and far between,” he continues, “but the ones who understand that there’s tremendous benefit in sharing their knowledge, not only for the good of all mankind, but financially- and revenue-wise as well…they’re the smart ones; they’re the ones worth following and retweeting.”

With this in mind, we identified the top 10 business leaders to follow on Twitter. We considered their influence in society or industry, the quality of their tweets, how frequently they tweet and how willing they are to engage with their network. So without further ado, here are our picks: Read the rest of this entry »

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When you’re a small business owner, efficiency is everything. You’re up against the big dogs in the world, so you have to make sure all of your priorities and resources are well-known, because one misstep could make or break all that you’ve worked so hard to build. Deadlines must always be met, but without sacrificing the production quality of your product. This means you have to be on top of the company’s schedule, your schedule and the schedule of all that report to you.

It can be an overwhelming task, to say the least. So here are some tips to help make sure your small business runs like a well-oiled machine.

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

When you’re trying to grow a business from the ground up, it may seem like a great idea to take on every opportunity that comes your way and run with it. But you have to prioritize. Which opportunities seem like they have the most potential? Which can you realistically take on without spreading yourself too thin? Only commit to solid opportunities that your time and resources align with, so that in the end, you deliver something that is up to your standards.

Even Your Strengths Can Be Improved

What is it that is driving the most profit to your business? Identify this and then scrutinize it and determine what you can do to make it even better. There’s always room for improvement, and that leads to increased success.

It’s Okay to Say No

Running your own business is a full-time job; you don’t really get to take a day off. So when it comes to being bombarded with side requests from friends, family and even employees, stop a moment and think: Is this worth my time? Do I actually even have time for this? Or, in the case of an employee: Is this something they should be able to figure out for themselves? If the answers are “no” and “yes”, respectively, respectfully decline and eventually you will have established boundaries.

Set Deadlines

It’s beyond important to have a set list of deadlines in order to ensure that everything is done in a timely manner. Be sure to adhere to these deadlines, because the minute you let a few slide, you’ll soon find yourself buried and it can become difficult, if not impossible, to recover.

Take a Breather

Yes, running a business is essentially a non-stop job. But in reality, you need to allow for a little time to yourself. So while you may be in the middle of a hectic day, make a point to step away for 15-30 minutes. Going nonstop can result in poor decision-making, so taking this time—which you may feel is time you can’t afford to lose—will actually help result in improved work and decision-making.

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When the U.S. economy tanked in 2008, it took a while for everyone to come to grips with what was happening. There was so much conjecture and misinformation being thrown around, no one seemed to realize the magnitude of what was occurring—or that anything substantial was happening at all. As the dust began to settle, it became clear that the crash was not an isolated national crisis—it was a worldwide catastrophe.

I bring this up because it serves as a perfect reminder of something financial experts have come to realize on a new level: Borders are more illusory than ever before. My 15 years of revenue-generating business development experience have shown me that the world is no longer comprised of a series of vaguely connected markets. There is only one market—a global one—and those of us who can’t think on a global level are going to lose touch with the modern economic and world situation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Losing an employee costs more than developing a new one. U.S. businesses lose $10 billion annually due to employee turnover, and as the economy improves, workers who feel their employers aren’t investing in their professional development are leaving to pursue better opportunities.

So, why are some companies dragging their feet and refusing to invest in employee development? In some cases, it comes down to an insecurity most managers don’t want to acknowledge: the fear an employee may become become overqualified, outgrow his job, and leave the company to pursue a better position elsewhere before a promotion is available. This fear isn’t completely baseless. Young high achievers job hop frequently to earn a higher salary, and on average, leave their jobs after only 28 months.

Withholding professional development from employees is not the right response to this fear; it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Employees seek professional development to achieve successful careers, and when companies don’t invest in this development, employees leave. Read the rest of this entry »

Richard Laermer is a New York-based PR veteran with 25 years and four books under his belt. His firm, RLM PR, focuses on helping clients pinpoint perceived competition and break it down with the taste-test approach, i.e. differentiating what the client does versus what the competition is doing. With the right tools (surveys, third-party validation, and advanced market research), Laermer asserts that he can point to what’s failing for the competition in order to redirect customers to the client.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Laermer to discuss his bestselling book, Full Frontal PR, and explains how, 10 years since it was first published it is still relevant.

Best-Selling Author Richard Laermer Talks about Writing Full Frontal PR

gA: Tell us about your best seller Full Frontal PR.

RL: It never ceases to amaze me that 10 years since it was first published, Full Frontal PR still sells in healthy doses. When you’ve been doing PR for as long as I have, you notice trends in the industry before they’re widely spread. That’s why this era of PR is a little mind-blowing—because what us older PR practitioners do (did!) for our clients is no longer valid. Sometimes I think that we don’t even do PR anymore and what the industry needs is a brand new word to describe it. This has nothing to do with the Internet or the fact that everyone’s a publisher, or even that brands do their own PR by communicating directly with consumers. It does, however, have everything to do with what has always been at the crux of our profession: Content.

PR is, after all, mixing story ideas with angles and hooks, then bringing them to “influential” media who in turn make our clientele into stars, or in some cases, superstars. (However, only when it’s a huge trend with a ton of stories following it does the coverage move any sales needles.)

That said, content is now bigger than ever. And there is so much of it! Indeed, everyone is producing something and, oftentimes, it is impossible to say where it came from. In realizing this through incessant arguments with untrusting/ untrustworthy clients I just got tired of standing up for what we did. Or that we “actually” did it. The derivation of an article or blog post shouldn’t be important. Oh, but it is. In our office we hung a sign to display our distaste for this questioning: “Who Gives A Hit!?!”

Today, I am in the process of reviving the book so people in PR realize their own power, and do something with it. The new Full Frontal PR will be released in early 2014 as a series of chapters, in which I will discuss the most sensible, aggressive and creative tactics that we have to make money for our clients.

gA: How has PR changed since Full Frontal PR was first published? How is the book still relevant and what revisions have been necessary?

Today, everyone’s a guru and a broadcaster, so as a PR professional, how do we use our truly specialized skills to help our clients take down the competition? It is my belief, that the only thing that always works (as opposed to the crapshoot of today that is the “no metric PR”) is ensuring that the third parties we once used to extoll the virtues of our client are now “utilized” to portray the horrific practices of our clients’ competitors. Let me explain.

No one knows what is going to happen to the economy—we just witnessed how easily it can fall off the tracks. Yet we know our clients will always have competitors that will try to eat their lunch. So let’s help get rid of them. That is a tactic that will never go out of style. We have to be the ones who are un-do-without-able.

Traditional PR tends to celebrate a mediocre message that needs to get “signed off” on by too many people. This is the message that people already know: brands saying we’re great, we’re here, we do things that you like, and so forth. But a new voice is waiting to be heard. This is the voice that understands the precise weaknesses in competitors and “perceived competitors”, and knows how to use third parties in order to bring down the competition, thereby making the client the de facto winner.

It’s basic economics that businesses thrive on competition. Successful businesses, however, demonstrate to the marketplace their ability to outthink, outmaneuver, outperform and out-goods and -service the company across the street. It’s time to thrive at the expense of the competition. It’s the new PR. It’s what I call Insurgent PR™.

All you really need to do (I do it every day for my clients) is research, then recognize, what competitors missed the mark on, misconstrued, or mistakenly made matter (or lied about). Then get it out there in every single way possible. Use the online tools available and get those weaknesses known. Removing the competition is something you, as a PR person and expert in this field of newfound insurgency, can take advantage of, and, in doing so, you will make yourself invaluable.

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