At the time, we would also send designs and screenshots by email – needless to say, things would get lost – hardly anything would get done on time, and the most common reply I would get back is that they missed the particular instruction in the mass of emails I would send.
To compound my trouble, we were collaborating across multiple time zones – UK, US Pacific Time, Indian time and Singapore time. Emails would arrive in the night and it is depressing to wake up to 35 new emails from different people.
Then I got my google wave invite. First of all, I didn't really get it. I was not really sure how this would help me. However, after I had a skype conference and one of my partners complained for 15 minutes about how I would write unimportant emails like
“I need a status update next week”
I decided to try something new. All emails that were NOT time critical would be done with google wave, and all important emails could be written normally. We started off doing that.
Suddenly, communication habits of everyone changed. People started grouping their communication into topics and resurrecting old 'waves' when it was about the same topic. For example, if we were talking about bonuses, and then spoke about something else for two weeks, then came back to bonuses, we would simply resurrect the old wave. Business became structured.
Whether you’re an individual, brand, or company, it’s good to know when people are talking about you. It’s even better to know what they’re saying.
The last thing you want is to find out that there’s a firestorm of negativity about your latest post, product, or brand when a forest of media microphones are thrust in your face and the media trucks are camping out just off your property. Instead, you want to be in tune with what people are thinking and saying, and you want to be able to enter the conversation with your perspective.
Here are 8 quick, simple, free tools for listening online:
Best and easiest:Google Alerts
Set up an alert. Set it to be emailed to you at the frequency of your choice. Wait for the messages to hit your inbox. Could it possibly be simpler?
Most immediate and fun:Twitter search via RSS
Enter your search items. Grab the RSS feed. Save it in your RSS Reader (Google Reader, or any offline reader). Watch the items get pushed to you every 15 minutes – or however often your reader updates.
Web 2.0 old-skool:Technorati
The fact is, Technorati is not what it once was. But it can still be a useful tool to electronically eavesdrop on what millions of bloggers are blathering about. Go, search, subscribe to the RSS feed. Simple.
Pretty much the same as above, except this search engine focuses on what opinionated people – the 5-10% who comment on blog posts – are saying. Visit, enter your search terms, and get email alerts.
This can be particularly helpful if you’re in packaged goods or electronics and you want to check out how you’re being reviewed (example: Panasonic TV). But you can just visit the home page for generic search and cast a wider net.
Really old school:Google, Yahoo!, perhaps Live
Maybe, if you want to know what people are saying about you, you should just search the web. What a thought! Alas, you actually have to do it yourself, although you can set up some automated searches too … but it’s a good idea to do it weekly or so.
Social media ear to the ground:Facebook, MySpace, Friendfeed, etc.
More and more people are joining social networks, meaning a lot of the web’s conversation happens behind closed doors. But you can get in … perhaps with your own profile, perhaps just with judicious searching, perhaps by joining conversations … and hear what’s going on that’s important to you.
Yes, discussion boards still exist:BoardTracker
Online discussion boards still exist, despite their low profile in the web2.0 era. Even though they’re one of the oldest forms of online community, they are in some cases still growing. BoardTracker is a good way to search these often thinly sliced vertical niche sites. And yes, you can set up alerts to come to you,
So … that’s 8 ways of listening to your clients and your community that won’t cost you a dime, and in most cases not even much time.
I happened to see this Colin Powell quote in a PM Network magazine I picked up on a flight to Virginia today.
Leadership is all about problem-solving. In the military, there is a lot of discussion about where a leader should be on the battlefield. Should the leader be up front where it’s possible to be a quick casualty, or should the person be at the rear?
The correct answer is that you should be at the point of a decision. You should be where you can make the most difference.
The trick of leadership is being in the right place at the right time.
This is a great quote … it helps me clarify how involved and hands-on (or off) I need to be in terms of the hundreds of projects that my team works through in a given year.