Zoom take-aways part 2

In our next series of tips about Zoom sessions we look at three more essential areas when hosting meetings on Zoom.

We’re all missing the interaction of being in the office with our “work friends” and this first tip should help with this!

Tip one: If you’re having a team meeting, start with something fun. Don’t just start the meeting (unless it’s an urgent issue /crisis management meeting!)

Whatever you decide, remember, it doesn’t have to take long, something as quick and fun such as one round of Pictionary. Email a colleague with one or two pictures they have to draw and then get everyone else to try and guess.

Another quick and fun game is two truths and a lie, someone has to tell two things that have happened to them that are true and the third is a lie. Everyone has to guess which one is a lie!

It’s a great way to have colleagues connect and start with a bit of a laugh – which gets the endorphins going!

Tip two: Have an agenda, it’s so easy to get off-topic on Zoom, just as it is in face-to-face meetings. Make sure everyone who is required to speak, knows when they’re required to do so and how much time they have allocated to them.

Ensure the agenda is sent at least a few hours before the meeting is due to start (ideally the day before) so if there are any changes to be made, they can be done in time prior to the meeting starting.

If you find you’re going overtime, stop the meeting, check everyone’s schedules and if you can wrap it up quickly in the next 5 – 10 minutes.

Tip three: Note-taking is critical. Encourage people to take notes during meetings, but it’s just as important to ensure that someone is appointed at note-taker (or minute keeper for more official meetings).

If you’re leading the meeting, organise to check-in with the person taking the notes, and cover-off everything later the same day, so notes /important information can be sent to other team members ASAP.

If you’d like assistance with online events or coordinating large meetings online, please get in touch. Pursuit Communications can assist with online event management.

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Zoom take-aways

Like all of us, I’ve been on my fair share of Zoom meetings, webinars and training sessions since the COVID pandemic hit.

I’ve contemplated writing this list for a while and I’ve narrowed my list to a top three takeaways if you’re presenting (or co-presenting) online.

  1. Have a back-up plan if your power fails /tech fails

Okay,  the catchphrase of 2020 might just be “you’re on mute” (or variations) of this! Once you’ve created your presentation, make sure you have a back-up plan if anything goes wrong at any point. You may want to have some notes in the margin if something fails at a particular point (especially if you have a guest presenter).

If there is a worst-case scenario, please appoint someone to communicate with attendees, or to take over. If you’re in the unfortunate position where your internet or power goes out, make sure your laptop and mobile have enough “juice” (power AND data) to get you through the presentation.

 

2. Send the presentation recording ASAP, and include a link for feedback

I can’t stress this enough, a recording of your presentation is GOLD. Not only for the attendees who chimed in for the first half (or second half) or perhaps missed it completely but for YOU!

When you have some time, watch it back, take notes, look for areas where can you improve.

Speaking of improvement, ask the attendees for their thoughts. This is GOLD. They’ll tell you exactly what they want and you can deliver it TO THEM! You’re meeting a need and you may even find that you have a new service /product offering or indeed a lead /new connection!

3. It’s not about YOU – it’s about the content you have to offer

I can’t stress this enough, please don’t spend any longer than 3-5 minutes MAX on introducing yourself. We get it, you’ve achieved a lot (and well done!) but we’re here to listen to your expertise and learn. There’s nothing worse than spending time you’ve allocated listening to someone chest-beating.

Again, this is where a presentation plan /notes will come in handy. Keep it short and sweet and let people connect with you in LinkedIn.

If you’d like to learn more tips like this, I’m hosting a LIVE Q&A on Instagram THIS THURSDAY.  I’d love to see you there!

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Instagram Shopping – A new feature

We know you’ve been able to “shop” via Instagram for a while now, but the ability to set up a shop via Instagram is now available (for those that sell physical goods at least!)

There are several boxes you need to tick before you can set up shop, so to speak, including having a linked Facebook page and ensuring your Instagram account is a business account and not a personal account. To read the other requirements click here. 

So, what does this mean for the marketplace?

Well, Facebook /Instagram Shops will also allow small businesses to sell products through Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, and Messenger, and tag products during live broadcasts! Talk about engaging directly with your customers!

Shops are free and easy to create and, most importantly, they’re integrated across Facebook’s many apps, meaning once you’ve set up your shop, it’s going to be available on your Facebook Page and your Instagram profile (and accessible from stories and ads).

It’s the perfect tool for businesses to pivot online, and during a time when that’s needed more than ever, Facebook /Instagram have delivered a solution that helps.

The good news? It’s available in Australia right now, to see where else the service is available, click here.

If you’d like assistance setting up your shop, content for your social media or any other PR or social media service, please get in touch.

 

 

Service highlight: Getting ahead of the curve – What to do in post Coronavirus world… NOW?

As I’ve been progressing through the isolation period, one very important question has been front of mind for me.

What’s next?

It’s a question that can’t be answered on many fronts, however, there are some aspects that CAN be answered.

In the “Getting ahead of the curve” consulting service, there are many aspects that are considered for businesses interested in participating.

We look at:

*Previous activities carried out across advertising, marketing, public relations and social media

*Planned activities prior to COVID-19

*The new goals for your business in a “post-COVID-19” world

*Refining the best channels for communicating your message to get the maximum return on investment for your business

*How to best execute using these channels in plan format (an outline)

PLUS MORE!

But the question remains, why should I do this now when so much remains unknown?

The simple answer is because it’s VITAL to keep planning and forecasting.

Even if these plans have to change, a plan, in any case, is better than no plan at all.

If you’re interested in this one-hour session click here, choose COVID-19 services and the option will be the first one in the list, proceed to fill in your details and you’re booked in!

Learning as you go… The new way forward

I know I’m not alone when I say, this new way forward, for a large majority of us, will see us “winging it” to start with.

The Coronavirus has thrown so many industries into disarray and knowing how to move forward while we wait on details from the Government about funding doesn’t make the process any easier or any of us an expert in what to do!

However, what we do know that with a few simple steps, the process can be a lot easier.

Firstly, take everything one day at a time. The expectations that we are to achieve just as much, if not more than “B-C” (Before Covid-19) isn’t a fair reality.

If you’re fortunate to still have employment, check in with your team, your boss at least once a day, even if it’s via email or text. If you’re feeling anxious, let them know. These are uncertain times we’re facing and if you need support there’s Beyond Blue and Head to Health. 

If you’re running your own business and trying to keep everything afloat, now might be the time to start with lists, we love TRELLO for a good list creation, you can invite others to see what’s due when and create different boards for different components of your business. Remember now is the time to work smarter, not harder!

If you’ve had to close your business, but still want to keep your company front of mind with your customers we have created a series of lists, for download for you to use to hit the ground running, we’ve currently got lists for:

  • General Retail
  • Gardeners
  • Hairdressers
  • Physiotherapists
  • Cleaners
  • Travel Agents
  • Musicians
  • Creatives /Freelancers
  • Podiatrists
  • Early-childhood educators
  • PLUS MORE!

To get your copy of a list that’s applicable to your industry, click here. 

Remember, no one is an expert of how to deal with business during Covid-19, we’re all just doing the best we can. That’s all ANYONE can ask.

If we can be of assistance, in any way, even if it’s just to chat, please contact us. 

How to work from home effectively – from someone who has done it for over 12 years!

 

When I decided to start my own PR agency 12 years ago, the space that was “my office” was a corner of the family dining room with a desk behind a screen for “privacy”.

It was, at the time, sufficient, but I knew it couldn’t be a long term solution. We moved shortly after and I then upgraded the space to a former bar area. (Translation: another corner of a dining room, but slightly larger).

The new space felt more like a “space” and I was determined to make it work and I did, with thanks to my parents. But there were distractions and it wasn’t until I purchased my own place and had a dedicated room to finally close the door on, at the end of the day.

Working from home in whatever space you have can have its challenges beyond the “space” you’ve allocated.

Here I’m sharing my tips, so if you’re required to self-quarantine, you’ll be able to use my experience and lessons for your benefit.

  1. The above anecdote should prove that space is very important. If you have room to dedicate to work, then do this! Even if it is a corner of the dining room with a screen (IKEA has this screen that may do the trick!)
  2. Set up your space appropriately so you’re not slouching over your laptop, make sure the lighting is good and you’re not getting too comfortable, if your only option is working from the lounge. More tips here
  3. Use the time you’d normally commute to read, catch-up on news, exercise (if you’re well enough!) catch up on personal emails. Be productive with this time.
  4. Start at your regular time, just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you should slack off. Show your employer how productive working from home can be!
  5. Dress comfortably but appropriately. I can’t stress this enough on my “at home” days, I still dress my top or bottom half, so if on the odd chance I’m called to a meeting, all I have to do is change into a nice blouse or get out my jeans into a corporate pair of trousers.
  6. If you’re allocated a lunch break (which you should be!) make sure you take it. Do some yoga if that’s your thing, a crossword, again use your time well. Also, don’t become too sedentary, it’s easy to sit and type and get caught in an email vortex and not move for hours on end. Set your alarm to remind you to move (most smart watches do this!)

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7. If you have kids or pets at home you may need to call on some help from family or the dog walker to keep them away for a couple of hours while you get your work done, or if you have to, screen time for the kids can be a good bargaining tool.

8. Check with your employer about any expenses you may incur as a result of working from home (think Internet usage, notebooks, printing etc).

9. Keep in contact with your office colleagues – you may want to have “virtual Friday night drinks” via Skype or FaceTime remember it doesn’t have to be all work and no play.

10. Finally, enjoy working from home, the ability to dive into the cookie jar without judgement, sure the “at home” coffee may not be as good as your local barista, but think of the money you’re saving!

How to prepare for a crisis – UPDATED for Corona Virus

Australia has seen it all this Summer and there’s more on the way! We’ve had everything from Destructive fires, devastating floods, Australia really is the country of extremes and being prepared in a crisis is critical for any business of any size.

In this post, we share our tips so you can take steps NOW so you’re well armed should you face a crisis.

Communication is key even before you start any of our suggestions. Communicate with the office what will be undertaken and that updates will be provided as is necessary.

PLANNING is critical.

You may have to put aside a day to brainstorm and work out who in the office will be responsible for what tasks.

If you’re a solopreneur make a timeline of what steps will be done when. (If you’re in a team this should be included as part of your plan too!)

Think about who will need to be contacted IMMEDIATELY should a crisis or issue occur, then think about the way this will be communicated. You’ll also want to include in your timeline preparation for power-outages (back-up power supply) or damage to equipment and where back-up equipment can be sourced quickly. Think about stock levels what will need to be done with any stock that’s damaged. Think of all eventualities and make sure someone is responsible for an action from start to finish.

You’ll also want to have draft communications to customers, suppliers and staff drafted for a variety of scenarios. Include in this communication copies of out-of-office messages for employees to use, so messaging is consistent across the company. Include in your out-of-office messages how long you expect to be out of action and best contact details for urgent queries.

Finally, but importantly, keep your social media pages updated. You’ll want to have draft posts created for your social accounts too. Again, let your followers know how long you expect to be unavailable and a generic contact address that should be administered by an executive who is able to respond quickly to customers /followers queries.

These are just *some* of the components of being prepared in a crisis or emergency situation.

EDIT: 

In light of the Corona Virus – here are some EXTRA tips;

*Be transparent at all times – let the public know WHEN the next update will be in terms of communications

*Save media releases online for ease of reference for media and general public

*Health of employees and public must be a priority, follow recommendations from local and Federal Governments

*Ensure best contact details for media contact /PR agency are visible on your website

If you’d like Pursuit Communications to assist your business with creating a crisis or emergency plan, contact us today to organise a meeting. 

Thank You – the most important tool in your PR toolkit

‘At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.’ – Maya Angelou

We’re told as children to remember our manners, “Please” and “Thank-You”, yet when as we get older the intent behind them seems to disappear.

Whenever I meet with a Journalist, Editor, supplier, or client (new, potential or exisiting) I always start by saying thank you for your time. Taking time out to meet with anyone should be acknowledged.

It’s the organisation that goes into being prepared for that meeting that should be acknowledged, along with the time out of their day.

I go a step beyond and send thank-you cards to potential clients, to let them know how much I appreciate them taking the time to hear my ideas and consider my PR services for their company.

It’s all about making that person feel valued and appreciated.

Other ways I say “Thank-you”:

  • Letting my media contacts know about stories that they may not be aware of – outside of my scope of works
  • Taking someone out for coffee /lunch
  • Recommending their business to others
  • Shout-outs on social media (including liking their posts or sharing their content)

So for now, I’d like to say thank-you to YOU. For reading this, you could have quite easily clicked somewhere else, decided to read another blog post or news site.

 

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PR lessons from Harry & Meghan

In the Pursuit office, over the water cooler talk for the last 24 hours has predominantly been focused on the news that Harry & Meghan “revealed they intend “to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent”.

It’s HUGE news. What’s even bigger is that it really did come without warning. Sure, some Royal watchers may have expected the pair (and baby Archie) to split their time between Canada and the UK, but a step back? Wow.

Below we share our thoughts and highlight four important PR cornerstones relating to this announcement.

  1. The importance of communication – If nothing else this announcement highlights how very essential communication must be with all associated parties.
  2. Planning – Having a timeline that includes all associated parties is also critical
  3. Keeping your internal organisation as informed as the general public is paramount
  4. Be prepared for a barrage of questions following a major announcement

It’s our opinion that it appears internal communications didn’t occur with this announcement from Harry & Megan. The statement from Buckingham Palace  said: “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.” This insinuates that Buckingham Palace were not informed prior to announcement. A huge no-no in anyone’s book.

Being caught off guard (pardon the pun!) is never a good look for any organisation (including the Royal Family).

Taking the time to communicate with all associated parties will ensure when making an announcement that there’s a united front and everyone is aware of who will be saying what and when! It will keep any “fallout” to a minimum as well.

Which leads into the planning of any announcement. Making sure you have a timeline that allows everyone involved enough time to get their messaging correct, approved by those who need to approve it and making sure those managing social media are aware of the announcement, when it will happen so they can tackle any questions from the general public.

As with Harry & Megan, they seem to be running to their own schedule and letting Buckingham Palace clean up the proverbial mess.

When making an announcement, knowing what to say externally is one thing. Knowing what to say to those internally is another.

Internal communications need to be handled differently to external communications, often with care and discretion. Some team members may need to have a “closed door” discussion and others may need to sign a non-disclosure agreement, stating they won’t reveal any details of the discussion until a certain day /date.

The language will differ between the general public and your internal communications as well. You may want to be a little more relaxed with your internal communications (pending the announcement).

Internal discussions can often raise more questions which may not have been considered by those making the announcement. It’s always best to discuss in advance with internal executives and get their input.

Finally, being prepared for questions (both internally and from the public) is so very important. This is where good media training and planning really does prove its worth.

Being able to answer a question succinctly is key. If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to say so. DO say that you’ll get an answer to the person who queried and make a priority of doing so.

Your social media team should be armed with a series of potential Q&A’s. If they are asked a question and they’re not sure of the answer, the team should have DIRECT access to spokesperson /decision make to provide them with the answer in a succinct amount of time.

Only time will tell how this will play out for the Royal Family. Hopefully with a little preparation the next phase won’t be as catastrophic as the first.