Archive for July, 2010

by Reni Gorman

I agree with Paula Jayne, social networking should not be about adding people to your network willy nilly to get the highest number of connections. All too often I get a LinkedIn request from someone whose name just doesn’t ring a bell. There I sit, agonizing over who this could be and wondering why I don’t remember them. Then I write back and say: “I am sorry, can you remind me how we know each other?” Sometimes I get no reply, other times I get a reply that says: “We don’t know each other directly but we both worked for ABC Company.” It all depends on where you draw the line.

However, I do believe there are other reasons to connect even when you don’t know the person previously. In fact, isn’t that what social media is about? Making new connections you didn’t have before? I don’t look at it as just a tool to put my address book online, I look at it also as a tool to find new contacts, for various reasons. The benefit of the social web is that I can see into my friend’s contact list and connect with people who I would not have connected with otherwise. For example, I interview people for PDG’s Strategy Consulting team and often after the interview, they send me a LinkedIn request—and I accept. Especially if I spoke to them, I liked them, and I feel we had a connection. I have sometimes received requests to connect with people who have read my blog, sent me theirs, are in the same industry and want to be connected—and I accept. And despite all the examples I just gave you, I still don’t consider myself an Open Networker, who, according to Wikipedia, is a member of a business-oriented social networking site such as LinkedIn who positively encourages connections from any other member, whether or not they have had a previous business relationship.

Paula Jayne also talks about the need to contact everyone in her contact list once a month.. I don’t think having people in your network means you have to contact them once a month or at any other interval. I know people with whom I only speak once a year and there is nothing wrong with that in my eyes. Based on the examples above, I have contacts I may never reconnect with—and I am okay with that too. I might even eventually remove them—once I no longer remember them. The goal of my network is not necessarily to have “relationships” with every single person, it is to have connections that can help me and who I can help when needed. Isn’t that the goal of networking to begin with? Social media allows me to do something I could not do before and that is to see my connections’ connections’ connections and so on. It is, therefore, about connections—therein lies the power.


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by Paula Jayne White, Ph.D.

Social networking has become the modern arcade game for some– a relentless pursuit to earn the high score by adding the largest number of contacts.  Bemused, I watch friends pounce on new contacts: friends of friends they barely know; local celebrities; acquaintances with whom they spoke just once.  And I laugh when they tweet, “Just added my 2000th contact!” or “Joe Smith is my 1500th friend on Facebook!” 

I think too of the day when, clad in sleep pants and a Penn State sweatshirt overdue for the laundry, I armed myself for serious networking.  Hours later, I emerged glassy-eyed, having sent 25 invitations to connect.  The funny part is that, like my contact-collecting friends, I really hadn’t networked at all.  Instead, we found ourselves caught in the trap of mistaking contact collection with actual networking.

For sellers, it’s easy to fall into this same trap.  Accustomed to numbers and quotas, we see social networking as an expedient and highly-effective means to broaden our contacts without having to put in the long hours that face-to-face networking requires.  Because time is money, more contacts in fewer hours should be a good thing.  But it isn’t exactly.

Here’s the issue: When used in the way that I described here, social networking is missing the conversation and mutual information sharing that turn contacts into relationships.  In other words, it isn’t social!  People you “know” only by virtue of what they have posted on their social network pages are unlikely to go to bat for you—or you for them—simply because you don’t actually know each other at all.  That’s why, no matter how efficiently modern technology helps us to gather contacts, we still need to do the hard work of meeting people, talking to them, getting to know them one-on-one, if our networking efforts are to succeed.

For this reason, collecting random contacts is counterproductive as well.  At current count, with 479 people in my combined social networks (with some overlaps) I need to spend over 70 hours per month just to have 10 minutes of interaction with each contact.   Multiply this number by a factor of 5 or 10, and you can see why having a massive contact network is tantamount to having no network at all.  There just isn’t time to build relationships with that many people. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love social networking.  Used judiciously, it helps us meet and organize our contacts.  It provides a springboard for keeping up with people and for reaching out to them personally about things that matter to them.  And it’s fun, too!  But numbers in the database don’t mean real contacts, and invitations to connect are no substitute for real conversations.   We still need to get out there and talk to each other.  Which I swear I’ll do just as soon as I send out a few more contact invites

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by Reni Gorman

Tip #6: Provide many examples and practice exercises in which the same underlying concept is at work.

(Links to other articles in this series: 1 2 3 4 5 6)

Cognitive Psychology: Provide examples to facilitate transfer and meaningful deliberate practice to promote understanding and increase memory performance.

Why (Justification):

Bransford et al. (2000) recommend that teachers provide “many examples in which the same concept is at work”. (p. 20) In a study by Gick and Holyoak (1980), they presented subjects with a story of a general who breaks up his army into several smaller groups to take different roads to avoid setting off mines. They still all arrived at the same time and were able to take over the capital. Then subjects were ask to solve a problem where the doctor had to radiate a tumor with enough force to destroy it but without harming the tissue around it. Subjects were told to use the story as the model to solve the problem and most subjects realized that the strategy is to break up the radiation source into smaller rays and focuses them only on the tumor so that the strongest radiation is only there.

“Hands-on experiments can be a powerful way to ground emergent knowledge…” (Bransford et al., 2000, p. 22) However there are different ways to practice. Consider doing math homework with the use of formulas and theorems. If you just followed the rules of the formula, you may have completed your homework in less time than if you truly went through the formula to fully and deeply understand all the ins and outs of the formula. Students who understand the reasons behind a formula can usually remember it much better and apply it much better in the long run. They may even be able to more easily learn or transfer to related mathematical (or other) information that shares the same abstract underlying core concepts, or knowledge elements. (Anderson, 2000) “In mathematics, experts are more likely than novices to first try to understand the problems, rather than simply attempt to plug numbers into formulas.” (Bransford et al., 2000, p. 41) Paige and Simon (1966) conducted a study where they presented subjects with an algebra problem. The expert group quickly realized that the problem was logically impossible.


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by Paula Jayne White, Ph.D.


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I recently called for an estimate on replacement windows.  When the rep arrived, he demanded water and that we sit down first.  Out came the pitch book—and 30 minutes later, there was no end in sight, even though I said I had enough information to buy.  When I finally suggested that he provide the estimate or leave, he stormed out in anger. 

Unfortunately, this experience  is surprisingly similar to many I’ve been through as a buyer of corporate services.  I started on the selling side;  now that I’ve been a buyer, the reasons clients do (or do not) buy are much less mysterious to me than they once seemed.  Here are a few lessons I learned from sales professionals who had a few things in common with that hapless window rep:

Lesson #1: Say My Name, Say My Name

My name is Paula Jayne.  In a meeting, I will introduce myself and hand you a business card with that name.  And yet I’ve been called Paula, Patty, Mary Jane, and (gasp!) even Molly.  As sellers, it’s easy to think of client organizations as similar—that’s what allows us to sell our services to multiple companies.  But individuals are unique and wish to be thought of as such.  Start off a meeting by calling me Molly, and I feel like you have no idea who I am and you don’t actually care to know.  What are the odds you’ll get my business if our meeting starts this way? 

Lesson #2:  Love, Love Me Do (You Know I Love You)

Sales is a lot like dating.  Before you come into a pitch, most buyers will research your company, exchange calls and emails with you, read your proposal—even call references.  By the time you meet with me, I am already convinced of your potential value.  If you want to impress me, don’t spend 2/3 of your presentation telling me what there is to love about you.  To win my heart forever, show your interest in me by doing just three things: 

1. Ask me questions.

2. Listen when I respond.

3. Respond to my questions. 

Simple, right? 

Lesson #3:  I Like It, I Love It (Now Stop!)

While some clients are poker faces, most will indicate how you’re doing during your presentation.  When I talk about implementation, or mention how we can broaden what you proposed into a larger deal, or say, “This solution is exactly what we need,” I am telling you I’m ready to buy. So what do most sales professionals do?  They keep on pitching, even if I all but have a check in my hand ready to sign.  Please, stop selling to me and ask for the business.  Molly will be sure to thank you for it.

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by Reni Gorman

I have been designing and delivering learning interventions for nearly 20 years (dare I say), and I always tell my clients that the learning intervention is just the start of creating change in behavior. There are many other components and models but I boil it down to the most necessary:

1. Goal setting—people need to know what is expected of them. Sounds simple? Too simple? I agree and yet many people do not even consider it. I have seen this assumption so many times. We as learning professionals know better than to make assumptions. Help your clients check their assumptions! All you have to do is randomly ask a couple of learners. If goals are not clear then depending on the level of behavior change needed you can address it multiple ways:

  • The easiest and the simplest is a communication strategy and plan, however that is only for simple changes, like learning to use new software.
  • If, on the other hand, you are changing your sales model, a pretty important and difficult change, you need a change management strategy and plan.
  • Finally if you are totally reengineering the way people work because of, for example, a merger (not uncommon these days) then you need a new or adjusted performance management strategy and plan in addition to a change management strategy and plan.


2.  Learning intervention—I think we all have this one down!

3. Reinforcement and feedback—As we all know, learning is a process, not an event. Therefore, there always has to be some reinforcement and feedback to truly affect performance. This could manifest in: (more…)

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