Something to think about at Thanksgiving – The Science of Gratitude – More Important Than $$$

3 MINUTE READ – from FAST COMPANY

The Science Of Gratitude And Why It’s Important In Your Workplace

Lack of gratitude is a major factor driving job dissatisfaction, turnover, absenteeism, and often, burnout.

This is the time of year when we focus on giving thanks, with many of us sharing our gratitude with friends and family. But when is the last time you thanked your employees? Coworkers? Or boss? If you haven’t recognized the members of your work team lately, you need to repair the oversight before your holiday leftovers are history.

Gratitude is absolutely vital in the workplace, says UC Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons, author of The Little Book of Gratitude: Creating a Life of Happiness and Wellbeing by Giving Thanks, and a leading researcher on the subject. “Most of our waking hours are spent on the job, and gratitude, in all its forms, is a basic human requirement,” he says. “So when you put these factors together, it is essential to both give and receive thanks at work.”

Gratitude has been the subject of numerous studies, and the findings could be beneficial to your workplace:

GRATITUDE IMPROVES CORPORATE CULTURE

Lack of gratitude is a major factor driving job dissatisfaction, turnover, absenteeism, and often, burnout, says Emmons. “In many organizations the workplace culture is toxic,” he says. “Symptoms of this are exploitation, complaint, entitlement, gossip, negativity.”

Expressing thanks is a remedy against these symptoms, says Emmons. “Grateful individuals live in a way that leads to the kind of workplace environment that human beings long for,” he says.

Gratitude also reduces aggression, according to a study by the University of Kentucky. Participants who practiced gratitude were more sensitive toward others and less likely to seek revenge or retaliation when given negative feedback.

GRATITUDE STRENGTHENS TEAMS

Gratitude takes people outside of themselves and to a place that is part of a larger, more intricate network of sustaining relationships, says Emmons, relationships that are mutually reciprocal. “In this sense, it, like other social emotions, functions to help regulate relationships, solidifying and strengthening them,” he says.

Gratitude also leads to reciprocity. “It is not only a response to kindnesses received, but it is also a motivator of future benevolent actions on the part of the recipient,” says Emmons. “Serving these functions, gratitude enhances our own well-being in that we are built for relationships,” he points out. “Gratitude is the high-octane fuel that, without which, we’d be in relational ruin.”

IT’S A BETTER MOTIVATOR THAN MONEY

Researchers from the London School of Economics found that financial incentives can backfire when it comes to motivating employees. An analysis of 51 separate experiments found overwhelming evidence that “incentives may reduce an employee’s natural inclination to complete a task and derive pleasure from doing so.”

Appreciation is a much better motivator. A study by Glassdoor found that 80% of employees would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss, and 70% said they’d feel better about themselves and their efforts if their boss thanked them more regularly.

A study done at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania underscores this point. Researchers divided participants into two groups, and asked them to make fundraising calls to solicit alumni donations. One group followed the traditional method of making calls while another group was given a speech by the director of annual giving, who expressed gratitude for their efforts. The group who received the pep talk made 50% more fundraising calls than those who did not.

HOW TO DO IT

There is no limit to the way in which gratitude is expressed, says Emmons. “We are hungry for genuine expressions of gratitude,” he says. “Everyone wants to feel appreciated, valued, recognized.”

Employee recognition programs are a common way gratitude is demonstrated in workplaces, but little micro-expressions of gratitude are easier and can be delivered more frequently. “Just saying ‘thank you,’ acknowledging a kindness, or engaging in a helpful act are all ways of expressing gratitude,” says Emmons.

Particularly important is sincerity, adds Emmons. “With something like gratitude in the workplace, we know that it works, but we also know you have to keep gratitude authentic,” he says. “If, for instance, a leader tries to offer gratitude for purely cynical or instrumental reasons, it’s unlikely to work.

“Gratitude is the ultimate performance-enhancing substance at work,” says Emmons. “Gratitude heals, energizes, and transforms lives in a myriad of ways consistent with the notion that virtue is both its own reward and produces other rewards.”

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, you are very much appreciated – Laura

Will You Be OUT OF OFFICE this Holiday Season?

Will you be “out of office” over the upcoming holidays?

While traveling recently with a large group of travel writers, the discussion turned to the importance of travel and maximizing your vacation time.  Which led to me to thinking about the best way to manage your “out of office” communications.

I have an attorney friend who constantly has the same message up when she travels for business, and she does that weekly it seems.

In my case, I rarely post an out of office message, because I answer my phone and email anytime and from anywhere.

Are we both missing an opportunity to continue building our brands?  Yes I think we are, and as of today I am changing my ways!

Are you looking to add some personality, humor and information to your response?  Here’s an excellent piece from the New York Times on how others are managing this opportunity.  Click here to be inspired.

And have a great vacation too!

Do you dream of being a spell binding speaker? Use this smart advice to make your speeches all you can be.  

WHAT MADE “I HAVE A DREAM” SUCH A PERFECT SPEECH?speech getting applause 2015

A CLOSER LOOK AT ONE OF THE GREATEST SPEECHES IN AMERICAN HISTORY OFFERS INSPIRATION FOR ANYONE TRYING TO MOTIVATE A CROWD.

Each year on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I make it a point to listen to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s great “I Have a Dream” speech. It’s electrifying every single time.

The content of Dr. King’s speech, his inspiring presence, and the moment in history all came together to make the iconic “I Have A Dream” speech the defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. But there are several other reasons why this speech, delivered over 50 years ago, remains as an example of one of the best speeches in American history.

Since part of my job is to help people become better presenters, I’ve noticed several techniques that we can all learn from and be inspired by in this magnificent speech.

IT’S ANCHORED IN A POWERFUL RELATED LOCATION

In most cases, you can’t handpick the spot to give a presentation, as MLK did for supreme symbolic effect when he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and echoed the opening words of the Gettysburg Address (“Five score years ago…). But you absolutely can amplify your message by adapting it to your setting and location.

speech A Lincoln 2015Think about place, and how you can weave imagery, anecdote, and historical context into your presentation. Even if you’re presenting essentially the same material in Annapolis and Anaheim, it’s worth exploring what inspiration you can draw from each location to make your overall presentation more unique, more tailored, and more memorable. Abraham Lincoln also incorporated context in his iconic speech.

HE INCLUDED TOUCHSTONES THAT SPOKE TO BOTH THE HEAD AND THE HEART

In his opening paragraphs, Dr. King eloquently references the Gettysburg Address as well as the Emancipation Proclamation, the Constitution, and Declaration of Independence. These intellectual references give his words weight and credibility; they ground his speech in significant historical context.

In the latter part of the speech, Dr. King turns his attention to his listeners’ emotions as he quotes passages from the Bible, “My Country Tis of Thee,” and a stirring Negro spiritual. It’s the elegant balance between these two elements—the intellectual and the emotional; the head and the heart—that makes his speech so compelling and satisfying.

Great presenters connect with their audiences by weaving in well-chosen references and touchstones that will resonate.

IT USES VIVID AND METAPHORICAL LANGUAGE

Let’s face it: Many speeches are boring, even those about important topics that affect our lives. It’s easy to default to jargon and technical terms, or get lost in complex facts and statistics. But when you use evocative, vivid language, you create strong and memorable images.

Dr. King doesn’t just address gradualism, he warns us about the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. He paints a vivid picture of the plight of African-Americans, “living on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.” He talks about his faith, with which “we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”

For example, Dr. King weaves in an evocative extended metaphor, like a golden thematic thread, about cashing a check:

“In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

Vivid imagery, evocative language, and on-point metaphors are mighty tools for making your message clear and memorable.

HE SHARPENED IDEAS THROUGH CONTRAST

Nothing brings an idea or a concept sharply into focus like demonstrating what it’s not. In a presentation, there are a number of compelling ways to employ contrast—problem/solution, past/present, present/future, us/them, ideal/reality. MLK makes use of many of these, to great effect. For example:

“With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”

And:

“The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”

You might notice that Dr. King repeatedly contrasts what is against what could be. If you haven’t watched Nancy Duarte’s fascinating analysis of this method in “I Have a Dream,” be sure to take a few minutes to absorb her electrifying insights.

HE REINFORCED KEY POINTS THROUGH REPETITION

If there’s an important message you truly want your audience to remember and take away, saying it once is likely not enough.

Not only does repetition help your message stick, it can improve your presentation’s rhythm, structure, and flow, as in this gem of a passage:

“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”

Dr. King’s crucial idea—that now is the time for action—seeps into your consciousness and gathers strength through the expressive repetition and emphasis.

Purposeful repetition, stripped down to its purest essence, can be potent and poetic, but it’s worth noting that being repetitive—rambling or including too much extraneous information, is a different thing altogether. Strive for the first to make sure your key points truly sink in, and avoid the second by stripping away anything that doesn’t directly support those key messages.

HIS CALL TO ACTION IS CLEAR AND COMPELLING

Your presentation should be designed to inspire action or effect change—if it’s not, argues Seth Godin in “Every Presentation Worth Doing Has Just One Purpose,” what’s the point of giving it at all?

Dr. King, of course, is the master, articulating in lucid detail not only the action that must be taken (and the dire consequences if action is not taken)…

“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.”

…but how he wants his listeners to conduct themselves as they take action.

“In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

The sense of urgency is palpable, and his instructions are crystal clear. It’s a compelling call to action that can’t be ignored.

HE ENDS ON A HOPEFUL NOTE

Dr. King traverses intense emotional territory, from the “flames of withering injustice” to those “battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.” But he closes by filling his listeners’ hearts with a hopeful, aspirational message. He paints a picture of how things can be:

“One day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

Another example of this is the lovely passage that came to characterize his entire speech:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

While most of us will never give a speech as rousing or historically important as Dr. King’s, we can all be inspired by his masterful craft and delivery, and try some of these techniques to make our words more stirring and our messages more powerful.Speech making BOOM 2015

Laura Bennett thanks the author —Catherine Carr is VP of Marketing and chief inspiration officer at Haiku Deck, a presentation tool based on visual storytelling. Her mission is to inspire entrepreneurs, marketers, thought leaders, educators, and creative communicators around the world to set their story free. 

Exceptional Role Models Make for Exceptional Careers

Christine Mau, named one of Ad Age’s “Women to Watch” and a former design director at Kimberly-Clark, says design must be brought into an organization’s full conversation, rather than considered an output.

American Marketing Association does an exceptional job of bringing us stories of people who we can learn from, emulate and follow.  A recent story in Marketing News gives insight into Christine Mau, read on!

Mau’s work has included the redesign of Kleenex boxes into oval and triangular formats, as well as the U by Kotex launch. The tampon brand presented its product in black and neon colors, a massive departure from the typical blue and white found in the feminine hygiene aisle.

This ability to talk about and design for what are sometimes considered taboo topics made her the prime candidate for co-creating the logo for No More, a movement for raising awareness and engagement around ending domestic violence and sexual assault.

The logo (pictured at right with Mau), which consists of a blue circle with a disappearing center—intended to evoke the concept of reducing the number of such experiences to zero—has been part of a global public service announcement effort that has received more than $2 billion in earned media.

https://www.ama.org/publications/eNewsletters/Marketing-News-Weekly/Pages/christine-mau-encourages-design-integration-in-marketing-process.aspx

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Why we click on news stories

For news organizations, clicks are tracked closely. They generate advertising revenue and help newsrooms to better understand audience interests. But what motivates news users to click?

great news headlineThe reasons are diverse and perhaps unexpected, according to a study forthcoming in the academic journal Journalism by Ph.D. candidate Tim Groot Kormelink and journalism studies professor Irene Costera Meijer at VU University Amsterdam. Kormelink and Meijer are part of the research consortium The New News Consumer.

Stories can garner clicks — or lose out on clicks — for many different reasons. To reach this conclusion, Kormelink and Meijer asked 56 different news users to “think aloud,” or share exactly what passed through their minds while browsing news on a site and device of their choosing. The 20- to 40-minute interviews were transcribed and then carefully analyzed to find themes.

Common reasons for clicking included the personal relevance or social utility of news. Stories that spoke to people’s lives and their need to be informed in social settings attracted interest.

“Common reasons for clicking included the personal relevance or social utility of news

Unsurprisingly, news about nearby locations and about unexpected events garnered more clicks. The important reminder from this research, however, is how much variability there is in what counts as “nearby,” and what counts as “unexpected.” For example, one participant saw an event happening 15 miles away as near, but another did not.

headlines for blog in 2017News about topics that seemed familiar, but that participants couldn’t quite recall, also generated clicks. Think of reading a headline about a name that sounds familiar, but you can’t quite remember who it is.

Site design and layout affected people’s decisions about what news to view. Prominently placed news and attention-grabbing visuals both motivated clicks, but a long perceived load time or presence of videos, however, deterred clicks in some instances. This was because participants wanted to conserve their time and data plans.

The emotional impact of a headline influenced clicking behavior. Headlines conveying disheartening news attracted attention up to a point — if the information seemed too disheartening, people avoided the story. Light-hearted news also resulted in clicks among those looking for stories would lift their spirits. Stories that actively irritated some of the participants, such as an article describing an anti-gay law in Uganda, yielded clicks.

Several expected reasons for clicking on news articles were surprisingly absent from the decisions described by the news browsers. The timeliness or recency of the article were rarely mentioned as reasons to click on a story. Further, few said that they chose articles because they agreed with the conclusions reached.

The timeliness or recency of the article were rarely mentioned as reasons to click on a story”

In addition to uncovering reasons for clicking on news, the authors also learned why people avoid clicking on news.

A number of the study participants said that they weren’t interested in news that seemed too obvious, or that seemed to replicate what they already knew. They also avoided stories that seemed to require background knowledge, or that appeared to provide the middle of an unfolding story.

headlines breaking news 3Headlines that conveyed most of the information about the story — even though the topic may have been of great interest — also did not earn clicks. And in some instances, people didn’t click on stories because of their schedule — longer news stories, for instance, didn’t make sense when people were checking the news briefly on the way to work.

The research provides ample evidence that there are many different reasons that people click on news — in particular, they are drawn to news that is relevant to personal interests or happened nearby, news that gives them something to talk about, and news that provokes emotional responses.

The most interesting takeaway from this research is the potential ideas about how to present news in ways that cater to why people click in the first place. For some, a set of short headlines is sufficient — this would support creating newsletters and quick summaries. Allowing people to save articles for later can help those who don’t have time to read longer stories during certain times of day. Finding ways to adopt a user-centered approach in news design could be the true answer to more clicks.

Research shows people click on stories that happened nearby or gives them something to talk about.

This article courtesy of American Press Institute, insights, tools and research to advance journalism.

Micro Moments = Newest Battleground for Marketers

Micro moments are the intersection of sending the right message at the right time and you reach the consumer just when they are ready to buy.   The good news is that consumers are actively look at ‘media’ on their cell phones and computers – nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Remember when advertisers were sure no one was ‘listening’ on holidays or weekends?  Thanks to the mobile consumer there is a fundamental change and we now have thousands of these ‘moments’ available to us as marketers.connections-2

How best to find these micro moments?  Think With Google posted this story below and I had a micro-moment just reading it – hope you do too!

Consumer behavior has changed forever. Today’s battle for hearts, minds, and dollars is won (or lost) in micro-moments—intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that occur throughout the entire consumer journey. Read more about this new mental model for marketing.

Every day your customers are checking the time, texting a spouse, chatting with friends on social media.

But then there are the other moments—the I want-to-know moments, I want-to-go moments, I want-to-do moments, and I want-to-buy moments—that really matter. We call these “micro-moments,” and they’re game changers for both consumers and brands.

Micro-Moments

Real-time, intent-driven micro-moments are the new battlegrounds for brands.

Consider these findings from some recent research we conducted:

• Of leisure travelers who are smartphone users, 69% search for travel ideas during spare moments, like when they’re standing in line or waiting for the subway. Nearly half of those travelers go on to book their choices through an entirely separate channel.

• Of smartphone users, 91% look up information on their smartphones while in the middle of a task.

• Of smartphone users, 82% consult their phones while they’re standing in a store deciding which product to buy. One in 10 of those end up buying a different product than they had planned.

• Of online consumers, 69% agree that the quality, timing, or relevance of a company’s message influences their perception of a brand.

The successful brands will be those that have a strategy for understanding and meeting consumers’ needs in these micro-moments.

What Benefits and Perks Are Being Offered to PR and Marketing Professionals? Here’s the list!

With thanks to Dennis Spring of Spring Associates, Inc. here is their ever-growing list of 91 benefits being offered to PR and marketing communications professionals.  To learn more about Spring Associates, specializing in executive recruiting in PR & corporate communications, here is their website:  Website: springassociates.com

                                  Bucket List of 91 Benefits and Perks
  • Assistance with continuing education courses
  • Assistance with student loan debt
  • Birthday off
  • **Biz class seat for 3 hour+ flight
  • Casual dress policy
  • **Charitable matching contribution
  • Childcare
  • *COBRA (need 20+ employees)
  • Clothing allowance
  • Commutation assistance
  • **Commuter card
  • Company credit card
  • Company smartphone or laptop
  • **Country club membership
  • Defined benefit pension plan
  • Defined contribution pension plan
  • Disability insurance
  • Employee assistance program
  • **Employee referral bonus
  • Employee stock purchase plan
  • **Employer funded annuity
  • Exceptional service bonus
  • Expense account
  • *Family and medical leave
  • Family (or pet) to work days
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Food discounts
  • Free admission to specified museums
  • **Free coffee
  • Free massages
  • Free parking
  • Golden parachute
  • Grooming allowance
  • Gym membership
  • Health insurance
  • *Health insurance for companies (with 50+employees)
  • Health savings acct (HSA, FSA, HRP & HRA)
  • Holiday parties
  • Hybrid car allowance
  • Jury duty supplemental payment
  • Lactation room
  • Liberal vacation policy
  • Life insurance
  • Matching charitable gift program
  • **Monthly car allowance contribution
  • **Monthly mobile contribution
  • New business commission
  • On-site amenities, e.g, haircut, spa, cafeteria, dental care
  • Paid association membership
  • Paid holidays
  • Paid internships
  • Paid family leave
  • Paid holidays off
  • Paid legal costs for H-1B visa
  • *Paid maternity leave
  • Paid maternity leave (less than 50 employees)
  • Paid or unpaid sabbatical
  • Paid time off for bereavement
  • Paid time off during summer
  • Paid time off to join protest rallies
  • Paid volunteer time off
  • Performance bonus
  • **Productivity contests
  • Profit sharing
  • Relaxation lounge
  • Relocation assistance
  • Retirement savings plan
  • Semi-annual performance review
  • Service recognition awards
  • Severance pay
  • Sick and personal days
  • Sign-on bonus
  • *Social security, Medicare & FICA
  • Sponsor approved college degree programs
  • Stand-up comedy training
  • Stock options
  • Summer hours
  • Team-building company retreats
  • Telecommuting options
  • **Tenured sabbatical
  • Tickets for sporting events
  • **Travel retreats
  • Tuition assistance
  • *Unemployment insurance
  • **Unlimited vacation days
  • Vision insurance
  • **Weekly happy hours
  • Wellness pay
  • Work remotely
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Yoga breaks
TOTAL = 91
* = government mandated
** = added since 08/03/17

A great list, helping employers better understand what they are up against as we compete for the best candidates!