Update your bookmarks! NEW blog address…

Hi Everyone,

First of all, Happy New Year. I wish each and everyone of you much success in 2011. This year I will continue to provide you with advice, articles and tips on WOW-ing in your professional and personal lives. As the volume and type of content evolves and the blog’s traffic ever-growing, comes the time of an upgraded blog. So I’m excited to announce that my blog has moved to a new server! Please update your bookmarks and e-mail subscriptions and point them to:

www.francescolejones.com/blog

I look forward to a fantastic year with you all.

Frances Cole Jones

How Can You Make Your Resolution a Reality? It’s all in the Timing

“Timing: the alpha and omega of aerialists, jugglers, actors, diplomats, publicists, generals, prize fighters, revolutionists, financiers, dictators, lovers.”

Marlene Dietrich didn’t speak often, but in this instance it was worth waiting for.

I bring this up today as it is currently the time of year when we are fired with resolutions, goals, plans…. But while our New Year’s resolutions are at the forefront of our mind, our sense of purpose may already be tinged with doubt, dread, dismay, etc, as we realize that it’s not enough for us to want or need to re-shape our lives. We need to consider the lives of those impacted in order for us to be truly effective.

Why? Because although most of us pay lip service to the idea of “waiting until the time is right,” we also live in a culture of immediate gratification, which I believe has thrown off our sense of timing, and causing distortion in our judgment—ranging from the slight to the extreme—but inevitably causing an enormous amount of unnecessary push/pull within our relationships.

For instance, we send someone an email requesting their participation, reaction, decision, and because we know when we sent it, we have a pre-conceived idea about when we might hear back from them. When we don’t, we begin our internal storytelling, ‘He must be thinking this,” “She must be doing that.”

And while this might seem a small thing, it’s small like a hangnail: until it’s addressed, it occupies an inordinate amount of our mental space.

For example, we might call a long-term customer on the day his annual report is due, and take it personally when he doesn’t have the bandwidth to give us feedback on our new product offering, or we might take rejection personally when a new sales call tells us it’s not a good time, not knowing that he’s late for his anniversary dinner.

We don’t recognize that these are important plot points in the other person’s life.

So how can you begin to raise your awareness of the importance of timing in a relationship? One way is to watch a little more TV or a few more movies. (I bet you didn’t see that coming.) I recommend this because most of have heard of television shows and screenplays having ‘beats’: moments within their structure where we feel the need for something to happen. Beginning to think of a relationship having ‘beats’ is one way to step back from the particulars of the situation and look at the larger whole.

What’s an example of ‘beats’ with a movie? Well, screenplay calculator offers the following formula for a screenplay of 110 pages:

Opening Image: pg 1

Establish Theme: pgs 1 – 5

Setup: pgs 1 – 10

Inciting Incident: 12

Debate – Half Commitment: pgs 12 – 25

Turn to Act II: 25

Subplot intro by: pg 30

Fun – Games – Puzzles: pgs 30 – 55

Tentpole – Midpoint – Reversal: pg 55

Enemy Closes In: pgs 55 – 75

Low Point: pg 75

Darkest Decision: pgs 75 – 85

Turn to Act III: pg 85

Finale – Confrontation: pgs 85 – 107

Aftermath: pgs 107 – 110

Final Image: pg 110

As you can see, there are multiple moves within the narrative. Similarly, there are likely to be multiple moves within your relationship with another person. Learning to recognize these will help you to know when to show up with the gift, and when to withdraw the olive branch; when to hang back and let time go by, and when to lean in and ask for the favor, the money, the deal—could, in fact, cause you– when someone doesn’t offer you the immediate response you seek—to ask yourself, “Hmmm, I wonder where they are in their thinking/their day? Although I see this as an ‘inciting incident,’ they might be midway through ‘fun, games, and puzzles’ in another conversation; or contemplating their version of today’s ‘darkest decision.’”

Keeping these beats in mind is likely to ensure greater proportionality in the beats of your day, and your life— ensuring this year’s New Year’s resolution becomes a reality.

 

Lift Your Public Persona

By MICHAEL MINK Posted 12/20/2010 04:53 PM ET

When the publicity spotlight finds your company, your skills can maximize a good situation or salvage a bad one. Here’s how:

Be prepared. Before facing the media and public, know exactly what you want to say by crafting your message in detail. This includes anticipating questions. Ask yourself: How do we want our customers or stakeholders to see us?

“It’s too easy for anyone in the C-suite or for a spokesperson to say the wrong thing publicly, and the damage can be significant,” Jeff Ansell, co-author of “When the Headline Is You,” told IBD.

“When John Walter was named CEO of AT&T (T) (in 1996), a reporter at the news conference asked who his service provider is. Walter didn’t know and within four hours of that exchange, AT&T’s market cap plummeted $4 billion. And that was supposed to be a good news story,” Ansell said.

How to avoid that? “Don’t say or write anything you wouldn’t want to see out there publicly,” said Frances Cole Jones, founder of Cole Media Management.

Practice messages. Do this out loud and get feedback. Rehearse answers and ways to move the conversation to the points you want to convey. “Recognize that the first words out of your mouth form the first draft of the story,” Ansell said.

Jones suggests practicing in front of a mirror, especially when doing telephone interviews. “This will remind you to smile and your voice will follow, making you much more interesting to listen to,” she said.

Another benefit: If someone asks you about something that makes you feel tense, “you’re going to see your face tense up, and that’s going to remind you to take a breath and then speak,” she said.

Be accessible. This is especially true when a crisis emerges.

“Not engaging media only leaves your critics with an open field, allowing them to hammer home their messages while you’re hiding behind the door,” Ansell said.

In good times, Jones says, no media opportunity or event is too small. Consider doing all you can.

Follow social media. Dedicate corporate resources to monitor the Web, Ansell said, and respond accordingly: “See what people are saying, and more often than not engage bloggers in conversation. Like Mark Twain said, ‘a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.’”

Jones said, “Tweet wisely or forever hold your peace. Consumers have the power to talk back, and companies need to realize that.”

Continue Reading >

A Holiday Message from Frances Cole Jones

As 2010 ends I wanted to take a moment to thank you all so very much for your interest, feedback, and suggestions this past year– and tell you a bit about what’s in store for 2011.

I don’t know if you had a chance to see my Forbes.com piece on why mixing business and pleasure is a dangerous cocktail but this column is an ongoing assignment and I would love to hear what you’d like me to be writing about in the new year.

I’m looking forward to speaking on The Art of Sales at the Spark and Hustle conference in New York in March.

Topics for upcoming Wows of the Week include:

  • The importance of setting 3-day, 3-month and 3-year goals
  • Why “No” is just the opening gambit in a negotiation, and
  • How to use “quick wins” (not quick fixes) to boost morale for yourself and those around you

I’ll be adding a number of new items to the Wow Store—among other things, the search for the perfect women’s blue shirt appears to be drawing to a close– stay tuned.

I’ve been getting such great feedback from those of you who downloaded the Interview Wow app that I’m contemplating another. Details to come.

And “just so you know, FYI,” in the “upcoming future’ I will continue adding to my list of “core foundational” redundancies that drive me wild….Keep sending them along!

Most importantly, however, I would like to say how privileged I feel for the time and attention you have given this space this past year. I truly appreciate it.

With gratitude and joy,

Frances


 

Wow—It’s Time to Buy My Boss/Colleague/Client a Gift Video

Wow—It’s Time to Buy My Boss/Colleague/Client a Gift

Yes, it seems it’s that time of year—not my favorite, if you must know. (In fact, in my dream world, I would be like Sleeping Beauty: eating the apple that has me fall asleep just before Thanksgiving, and having Prince Charming Heimlich it out of me on January 2nd.)

Since it’s unlikely that particular wish will come true, however, I thought I’d do a quick roundup of possible gifts for your boss, colleagues or clients, as well as cover a few I’d prefer you steer clear of.

In fact, why don’t we begin with those:

I think we can all agree that anything along the lines of a thong-party-pack/a full-body-wax/a gift certificate for a home visit from Super Nanny is likely to end poorly.

I’m also not a fan of a gag gifts/toys: magic 8 balls, miniature putting greens, desk-sized Zen gardens and the like. While they may be funny in the moment, they generally just end up being clutter.

What then, do I recommend?

While I understand this might seem like shameless self-promotion (likely because it is) the items I included in the Wow Store really are appropriate and thoughtful, and provide a nice mix of choices. They include items for:

  1. The tech-friendly: the charge-pod “spider” keeps all your devices fully charged, and allows you to extend the party to those around you
  2. The networker: a lovely card case will keep you from exchanging cards like you’re doing a drug deal—which makes me nuts. You need to make a big deal out of receiving someone’s card. Putting it away in your card case at the exchange, reassures the giver that your drycleaner won’t be the next person seeing it
  3. The control freak: elegant in-and-out trays and an 8-day-a-week planner keep your office from looking like you’re working in a goat’s stomach
  4. The frequent traveler: the ultimate piece of carry on luggage. Remember George Clooney in “Up in the Air”? Like that. Enough said.

Most importantly, everything in the store comes in at a variety of price points, so (with luck!) there will be something for everyone on your list.

Happy browsing!

SHOP the WOW Store Now >

Frances

 

3 Rules for Wowing Your Holiday Office Party