It's time for another Friday-morning installment of "Ask the Murr," because most but not all communicators are cracklingly smart and intellectually honest.
Here are some of the more asshole-ish questions I've seen on various professional forums this week, and the answers their colleagues and I have refrained from providing. We'll start with the easiest one:
How can you change the "cynical" to a "how can I help?" mindset of a government employee considering the fact that the problem is deep rooted and endemic?
Fire, ensure remains jobless until ribs are showing, then rehire.
(Questions like this drive me bonkers, probably because I once manned an "Employee Communication Hotline" for a consulting company—an asinine attempt to grub for business. I actually had to try to square such circles, or convince potential clients that we could. "But first, let's do $30,000 in focus groups to see just what kinds of circles we're dealing with here ….")
A tiny rock hammer is a valued tool in brand building. Do you agree?
When the only tool you have is consultantspeak, every insight seems to revolve around hammers.
The communications profession is changing, are you ready?
You mean the communications profession is suddenly going to eclipse all others in terms of prestige, power and pay? Yes, I'm ready!
Are you (or your company) at risk of becoming obsolete?
Well, we all become obsolete sometime.
Don't get left behind
Are you perchance trying to scare me into buying something? No, but I bet you will be during your "free webinar … on 'Marketing with Interactive Collateral' which might be described as
2ndGen Digital Editions–with rich media embedded and google-type
Have you started a "Personal Branding" strategy?
A 20-something internal communication manager answers: "Oh! Great question. I'm working on this now and have discovered what I thought was my personal brand strategy is now out dated!" This is her polite way of telling your bald, middle-aged ass that not only has she started a "Personal Branding" strategy, she's had one for years and is now fittin' to get a radical "Personal Branding" makeover. As for you, I'm thinking a hair piece would be a start.
What's Your Avatar Look Like?
It's nice to see that the recent global economic catastrophe hasn't distracted us from the important questions in life. Lucikly, this post answers its own question—and provides the solution to many of our modern problems:
"What needs to be added to the 'interaction layer' of avatars and voice-over-IP audio is … the 'process choreography' to enable collaborative decision-making. This includes the type of rigorous, physics-based modeling of advanced simulation environments as well as basic business processes such as document sharing."
Boy, you can say that again.
"What needs to be added to the 'interaction layer' of avatars and
voice-over-IP audio is … the 'process choreography' to enable
collaborative decision-making. This includes the type of rigorous,
physics-based modeling of advanced simulation environments as well as
basic business processes such as document sharing."
Quick, where's my tiny rock hammer?
David – you chose most of the ones I thought would end up here, but you missed one – possibly my favourite one – How could you NOT have included THIS gem??
Am I at risk of becoming obsolete? Well, my employee security pass that lets me in the door each morning actually does have an expiry date on it. No kidding. And it appears right below my smiling photo. It says I expire June 30, 2009. So maybe obsolescence is only about five weeks away.
Twit-ethics? Ugh. Whenever I hear “twit” anything I still think of the classic Monty Python Upper Class Twit of the Year sketch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSqkdcT25ss – which may well explain why I am about to be obsolete.
I want you to answer some REAL questions, David. (Not that what you’re answering isn’t fun – it is – I just want some answers.) So here we go:
Why can’t we find junior writers anymore who can WRITE?
Exactly what do people who join organizations as communicators who CANNOT write think they will do all day?
Internal blogs don’t really work because you can’t say anything interesting/controvercial enough to be worth reading: discuss.
How come we know that print works, but our print budgets all go out the window, while lots of money and money and more money chased with some additional money is spent on fancy technology that doesn’t work as well as print?
Why does the brand department want to own everything up to and including the colors of the carpet and paint on the walls?
How many exclamation points are you alloted in this life, and what happens if you exceed that limit?
I think that’s enough for today, but I have more if you feel up to it.
Eileen B. says
Here’s my question and it truly happened today.
While driving to work I noticed turkey vultures were circling over my office. Do I (1) turn around and head home, acknowledging that this is a crap sign given this economy, (2) speed up and see which carcasses/computers/file folders I can pick over, or (3) stop looking for signs based on flying creatures?
1) Because their parents and MBA profs can’t write either.
2) They’ll “strategize” and then wonder why their strategy fails.
3) It’s not necessarily the blogs that don’t work, it’s the scaredy cat org culture.
4) Because print isn’t “leading edge” and everyone wants to lead – screw what works.
5) I’m responsible for our brand, and I’m not even sure why my office walls are the brand colours. So can’t really help on that one.
6) You get 3,287 exclamation points. Alas, the punishment for overuse does not even come close to fitting the crime.
Eileen: on a friday, go with option 1. Any other day, I’d try option 2 just in case you find something good. Always look for the birds – they’re as reliable as anybody else’s predictions these days.
David, you are truly a kind and generous person to put my mind at rest. Do you know how long I’ve been struggling to get these answers? I feel SO MUCH BETTER!!! (I just used up several of my 3,287 exclamation points, but I like to live on the edge.)
And, “2) They’ll “strategize” and then wonder why their strategy fails.” Totally briliant and exactly right.
Oops, I meant “Rueben” — thank YOU for those amazing answers. (David, thank you for connecting me to the brilliant Rueben.) I love your answer #2 so much I want to marry it.
David Murray says
Well, Boots co-bloggers, thank you for doing some fine asking and finer answering while I was out launching the Crescenzos’ boat, and summer itself.
Rueben, thanks for the Monty Python; I’d never seen it and am still laughing.
“Internal blogs don’t really work because you can’t say anything interesting/controvercial enough to be worth reading: discuss.”
Only partly true: I think an internal communication blog could work if it actually contained some hard news and real items of common interest and only occasional commentary.
With a blog like that with only occasional commentary, it can be interesting for readers to watch how CLOSE you dare to come to truly saying something interesting.