An Interview with the Owner of Austin’s Most Successful Media Production Company
We recently had the opportunity to talk to Kevin Chin, owner of Northshore Media Productions. The company has been ranked #1 in music and audio production in Austin for four years in a row and has since expanded into photography and video production as well.
During the interview, Kevin gave us an insider’s view of what it is like to be a successful music and video producer. He also provided some helpful tips on entrepreneurship and what to look for when choosing a videographer or producer for your project.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation (edited for clarity):
ME: Can you tell me a little about you and your business?
KEVIN: I am the sole proprietor of a company called Northshore Media Productions, and I consider myself a multimedia producer of all aspects of media production, from audio, music, video, and podcasts to photography. So anything to do with media. I have contractors that I use, but for the most part I can function in all aspects of the job, whether it’s recording or filming or photography and all the editing.
ME: What does it look like for you to go through a week of running your business?
KEVIN: My passion is music actually, so I have a recording studio. I also have an office in Round Rock that does video production and voiceovers for like radio, audio books, and podcasts. So I’m going between those two locations with three or four music recording sessions with artists in a given week. Sometimes there’s a photography session, or I might do a video livestream for a client. And there’s video production.
ME: How do you manage everything?
KEVIN: I used to be in a corporate role as a project engineer and manager and in the oil and gas industry, so when it comes to multitasking and project management, I’m pretty on top of things. I schedule things out with enough time to meet deliverables.
ME: What are some differences between working for someone else and running your own business?
KEVIN: I would say my job now, even though I’m wearing a lot more hats, is a lot more flexible and lax than the nine to five constraints. I can take off a Wednesday if I need to or work on a bunch of stuff, accomplish things, and then just chill out.
ME: Where do you find most of your clients?
KEVIN: There are a lot of meetups that I go to. Also, I was affiliated with this incubator called Media Tech Ventures and became known as the guy to go to or the company to go to for any type of media need in Austin. That helped significantly with building a list of consistent clients since I was dealing with startups receiving funding.
ME: That’s great. How did you get into that?
KEVIN: I met one of their founders at an afterparty. And he saw my capabilities as a music producer and audio producer, as well as someone who works the Austin Film Society. I’m pretty well-versed in all aspects of video production, music production, audio, and photography, and having all these skillsets directly correlated with this. I guess my title would be Chief Media Producer or Chief Media Director within that organization. I kind of molded the role over the last seven years of running Northshore Media. It used to be just music and part-time back when I was in Chicago. But after moving to Austin, I made it my full-time gig and developed my video skills to the point where I can produce TV commercials.
ME: It sounds like networking is where you get most of your clients and also industry information. Is that right?
KEVIN: Yeah, I would say that most of my business is B2B, so this type of structure and networking is probably the best way for me at this point. But I do know that LinkedIn would be a great asset to reach out to marketing directors and companies. But I haven’t really used it. I’m not the type that likes to fish around and spam people.
ME: So, we’re running out of time. I have one last question for you. What would you recommend to someone who’s looking for a videographer or a producer? What would you recommend they look for?
KEVIN: I would recommend them to find someone who’s going to be upfront about costs. Sometimes someone that is new to hiring a videographer or video production company might not know about all the associated post-production costs and all the costs associated with insurance and hiring additional talent or additional labor as needed. And sometimes that’s not communicated.
also think there are a lot of really creative video producers, but they can’t organize
a project and complete it from start to finish. They can lay it out in their
heads but they can’t execute within the budget, and they can’t execute the
actual production and post-production. You know, they’re more like dreamers than
When I send out a quote or bid, I never deviate from it. I can give an accurate rate based on my past experience. And I think that’s that’s what’s kept me pretty busy. I’m honest and able to get it done.
AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.
Welcome back to AirSend’s Book Corner!! As mentioned previously in our other book corner post, also titled, “The Referral Engine,” we will be breaking this book into two parts. There is so much useful information from the book alone, we felt it necessary to break it into two parts. If you would like to read the first part of the review, click here. If you have already read the first part, and are anxiously awaiting our second analysis, welcome back! Before diving into our chosen chapter, allow us to give a quick refresher to what the book is about.
John Jantsch, author, blogger, and podcast host published what we like to think as the holy textbook to marketing, “The Referral Engine.” Marketing expert John Jantsch offers practical techniques for harnessing the power of referrals to ensure a steady flow of new customers. Some of Jantsch’s strategies include:
Talking with your customers, not at them
The sales team is the focal point
Educate your customers.
One of the secrets to generating referrals lies in understanding the “Customer Referral Cycle”-the way customers refer others to your company who, in turn, generate even more referrals. Businesses can ensure a healthy referral cycle by moving customers and prospects along the path of Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer. If everyone in an organization keeps this sequence in mind, Jantsch argues, your business will generate referrals like a well-oiled machine. Whew, now that we have gone through the refresher portion, let’s talk chapters! The chapter we will be focusing on as part of our finale series is “Chapter Four: The Referral System View.”
Chapter Four: The Referral System View
We believe this chapter holds some very delicate and intricate points on the idea of referrals, and how to be a success at it. Throughout the chapter, the author offers his words of wisdom, along with a step-by-step outline of referral systems. Rather than telling you the step-by-step process (because that will take all day), we will briefly go over each of the steps addressing key points. We of course highly suggest reading the chapter in full for a better understanding of context. Let’s dive in.
Your Authentic Strategy
This is the first step in creating your referral system. Your authentic strategy should explain a core talkable difference. What makes your business stand out from your competitor? What does your brand say about you? After understanding and figuring out why you are the best in the business, you must then narrowly define your ideal customer. This strategy intertwines with the first strategy. After deducing your uniqueness, what customers can you market to that will also find your brand interesting? Who do you want to be of service to? How/what can your business do to help others? Once you have these two strategies down you are ready to graduate to the next step.
Core Talkable Difference
As reiterated before, your core talkable difference is the first strategy to implement in your referral system. During this process, you will also inevitably unearth your competitive advantage.
“This must be something so special that people can’t help talking about your business.”
With AirSend, for example, we believe we stand alone in the conquest of efficiency. We strive to reach perfection with a purpose. To do that, we needed to create something that no one else could beat. Another example could be your favorite taco joint. Everybody loves this taco joint because they have a product that other taco restaurants don’t have. Are you more likely to go to a taco restaurant that has something no other eatery has, or are you more likely to go to a taco joint that has everything you can get from your local grocery store?
“One of the best ways to create an innovation or differentiation for your business is to take something people already realize they may want and need and make it even easier to want.”
One thing to take note of is that we are entering an age of simplicity and efficiency. Simplicity and efficiency go hand-in-hand. Look at the technology that is being released. What we are really trying to say is that your innovation should simplify something. The market already understands the offering, and they already spend money here (in your desired field). So, what can you offer to the market that is more efficient and simple than your competitors? A market that already has funding in this desired field? Do not be daunted by this idea! Do not be afraid! If anything these questions should ignite an inner spark! Take these questions and conquer your field. Be the next innovator, not the observer.
“Much of this advice has focused on entering proven markets. While that’s absolutely the advice I’m giving here, know that you must do so with a significant point of differentiation that the market easily understands and appreciates. In most cases this can be done by looking at the way most folks in the chosen market operate and find a way to simplify your offerings around breaking the mold.”
Another key element to realize is that nothing is precious. Though we like to stick by our original ideas like they were our children, sometimes we have to adapt accordingly. Keep an open mind and study what the market really wants.
“The owner is the customer. Understanding the characteristics, desires, and behaviors of a narrowly defined target market is very hard work but essential to your success.”
From the traditional business models of hunting customers, we now enter a time era where the referral marketing system is moved from finding to being found, creating valuable content, engagement, and interaction where the ideal prospects are already looking.
“The dramatic rise in the use of search engines in our daily lives has made being found a vital element in the marketing of every type of business.”
Fully developed referral system targets two groups: the customer base (direct network) and a group made of other businesses that also serve your ideal customer, who could be motivated to partner with you in some way to exchange referrals and support your customers
The Strategic Partner Network
According to Jantsch, the real unspoken referral opportunity resides with strategic partners. In other words, using businesses to refer to you and vice versa. An example that I believe takes the cake is game stores. When you go to tabletop game stores, (from personal experience especially), plenty of staff members refer you to other similar game stores that sell generally the same product. Why? Well, I would like to think it is loyalty, but in reality, it is to keep the businesses alive. To encourage more customers/ traffic.
“By using technologies such as online Web conferencing and podcasting you can easily tap the knowledge and resources of a large group of experts and partners and make the knowledge available to your customers on demand.”
When it comes to keeping promises, rewards are almost always the best answer. Plenty of retailers follow this strategy: “refer five people and receive a $25 gift card.” By far one of the most effective ways of gaining referrals. Much like a give and take system. Of course, remember the best referrals are earned when customers do it because they genuinely want to support the business.
“After working out your motivation strategy, you’ll create a referral follow-up process to ensure that referred leads are treated with special care, and that your referral sources are shown real appreciation to keep them motivated.”
Once you finally believe that your business or profession is worth, then create two different referral approaches (check out chapter nine). One for your customers and the other for your strategic partners. Afterward, create turnkey tools.
“Put tangible referral tools in the hands of your referral sources.”
In other words, make it easy and accessible for your clients to refer to you. Additionally have multiple creative ways for clients to refer to you. Have a social online presence everywhere- great for versatility. Then, plan for logical collections.
“The best time to collect referrals from customers is at the point when they realize and acknowledge a good job was done.”
Finally, after following all these steps, and having a basic outline of how your referral system should be, measure and adjust. Hardly ever do we get our referral system right the first time. Your dashboard (outline) should be used as a place that you can go back to. Much like a drawing board. Mistakes are inevitable, and you may not have the referral system you dreamed of first time around, but with time and confidence in your product and/or service, you will surely reach your goal.
“This is a place you might consider going back to your referral sources to discuss your referral campaigns, the type of ideal customer you are focused on, the best way to make an introduction to your firm, and your total product or service offerings.”
AirSend helps startups create a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.
Communication has developed, formed, and transformed our society for centuries. Without the development of communication, we most likely wouldn’t be where we are today.
In today’s blog post we are going to discuss the tendrils of communication.
Communication is when the receiver conveys or shares the ideas and feelings behind the message.
Often, messages can have different interpretations depending on how they are perceived. This leads to different feelings than the intended meaning of the message. Conversations come from the idea of interpretation and the intended meaning of messages. This leads to four categories of communication.
Categories of Communication
There are four main types of communication:
Verbal communication is the transfer of information through speaking or sign language. Additionally, this form is seen in face-to-face conversations, video conferences, and phone calls. Verbal communication is the most common type of communication because it is the most efficient.
Non-verbal is the use of body language, gestures, and facial expressions to convey information to others. This category is most helpful when trying to understand others’ thoughts and feelings.
Written communication is the act of writing, typing, or printing symbols to convey information. Note here that the difference between non-verbal and written is that non-verbal dives into body language to communicate.
Much like the Cuneiform script seen in the Sumerian city of Uruk. Common forms of written communication can be seen in the workplace.
Visual communication is the act of using photographs, art, drawing, sketches, charts, and graphs to convey information. Visuals are often used to aid presentations and provide helpful context alongside written and verbal communication.
Further, categories of communication are used every day, and because they are the most common types, tendrils have sprouted. In other words, categories lead to the next advanced form. An advanced form in which we use the categories and transform them into types of communication.
In this blog post, we discussed the core of communication and what it means, which is the base level. Additionally, we discussed the categories which form the second tiers to communication. In the next part, we will discuss the types and styles of communication.
AirSend is a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.
Do you want to learn how to effectively use your communication skills for your business? Click here to read our book corner blog on Verbal Judo.
Alrighty, everyone. It is now time to break out our collection of Specifics. This week, we thought we would do something a little bit more fun. Instead of hearing it from us on what real estate is, and how to be incredibly successful in it, we figured we would let others tell you about it. **Pushing the spotlight over. Introducing our three preferred real estate podcasts! From these podcasts, you will absorb what the real estate market is like, tips and tricks, behind the scenes, and humor! Let’s get started with the first act.
Tom Ferry Podcast Experience
Tom Ferry is the founder of Tom Ferry Real Estate Coaching. He is also a renowned icon because his coaching actually works. Stated on his “about” section of the website, their mission is to, “hold professionals accountable to fulfill their greatness.” Additionally, his podcasts and blogs are extremely beneficial when it comes to reviewing every facet of the real estate industry. From high-end clients to just starting out, Ferry has it all.
Episode 44: Optimizing and Operationalizing Your Business with Jeff Mays
Jeff Mays is one of our national speakers, coach, and broker/owner of Coldwell Banker Prime. With over 26 years in the real estate market, Mays and Ferry have a wonderful sitdown discussion on the keys to success in operating your business. Mays also dives into the consequences of not being organized, as well as the importance of organization, which summarily, brings greater structure to your business. In this episode, Mays and Ferry decipher what causes and creates growth. Their answer: GETTING ORGANIZED. Or as they like to chuckle about it, “operationalizing your business.” Before diving into the world of real estate or any type of professional service, you first must deduce what you want and why. From there you should implement a schedule.
“Great growth comes when you get ticked off.”
Nowadays agents and other professionals who specialize in giving quality service, wing their plans. According to Mays and Ferry, this is a big no-no. Further, Mays and Ferry highly suggest doing things efficiently, the same way each time. AirSend can help you take back control of your time. With AirSend, take the liberty to maximize efficiency by doing everything from one platform; send messages, upload documents, assign tasks, and have a powerful built-in file organizer. AirSend. Connecting people to get work done.
Another interesting key point that Mays points out is that we spend our working days avoiding the hour of power. In other words, tasks that should only take two hours to complete, end up taking 8 hours to complete. Because of this, burnout happens. With structure comes with more time. A system Mays suggests that helps with creating organization is simply following your checklist every day. If you are more of a visual or analytical person, take the time to create a Kanban or a Scrum board. With Kanbans and Scrums efficiency becomes fun.
To close out the episode Mays and Ferry propose several questions. In order to operate and maximize op-edge (maximum operationalizing) what is your exceptional service? How do you personalize your services to make your customer service exceptional, and therefore worth remembering? This should be one of your top questions you must ask yourself every day when creating your business. This question will not only define what your business is, but it will also be the essence of which you stand for.
Whew! What a great first act! It’s always best to blow away the audience with one of your best acts, however, in this blog post, we have two more amazing acts that will guarantee blow the socks off your feet. Or perhaps blow your mind away. Let’s move on to our second podcast.
Episode 865: Success Through Service With Commerical Real Estate Expert Jonathan Keyser
With more than 20 years in the Commercial Real Estate Industry, Jonathan Keyser has become one of the most famous commercial real estate agents. Not because of his talent of surviving in a cutthroat industry, but by actually doing what he believes is best: reaching success by helping others reach their success. Thus came his business Keyser Real Estate. In today’s episode, one of the leading questions that frequently are asked is, “how do you grow and prosper in the real estate environment?”
“You don’t have to be ruthless to win.”
Indeed. Keyser’s argument, in its essential form, is to create success by helping others succeed. Keyser uses his statement and likens it to hunting and farming. When we hunt, we think for ourselves. How do I survive? With farming, there is patience, care, attention, and resulting in eventual growth. The way farming is applied to Keyser’s argument is simple. Invest your time in people and relationships. Much like growing a tree in your backyard. Every day you must water it, tend to it, and care for it.
The idea of investing in relationships leads to successful futures. However, this is a long game, one that takes on average five years to complete. But, as Keyser boldly admits, he was miserable with the way he was killing it in the industry. He found himself misaligned with his values and for that, he reinvented himself and blossomed into a fruitful success. The way investment in relationships work is that they prove valuable in the long run. With value comes referrals.
“You truly can create extraordinary success by helping others succeed.”
So, how do we apply this value to relationship building? Well, according to Keyser, you must provide a different level of service. Think about your clients’ families, the values you want to create, and how you would like to share these values. Note, doing the right thing because it is the right thing should not be the guiding business principle. Selfless service is brought on by the most self-interested strategy.
“Being kind is not being weak.”
The way to best implement the selfless service ironically is through the self-interested strategy, and here’s why: the self-interested strategy should be implemented in the mindset of how you can help others effectively and to the best of your ability. This type of mindset actually increases production, business, and service.
Your approach should have one major task: with every client, you interface with, what are three ways you can be of service to them without expecting anything in return. Through building relationships, be very present, listen, and ask probing questions. Think about who are the people that can impact you and how can you help them in return. Keyser continuously stresses that serving people takes a lot of work, but the endless success is worth it. Finally, Keyser departs some words of advice to all rookies and experts in the real estate world and the business industry: Think big.
Well, how was that podcast for an awesome act? But don’t start quieting down. We still have one more seat rocker to show ya, that will, like the others, inspire the hell out of you.
BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast
BiggerPockets is a company that caters towards helping realtors become successful. They offer content, tools, valuable tips, deals, financing, finding partners, and how to avoid mistakes when making the best investing opportunity. Their mission statement: BiggerPockets is a complete resource for anyone looking to succeed in real estate investing. With all that being said, allow us to finally lift the curtains for the final act. The episode up for discussion today is, “Episode 359: Using an Agent to Find Your First (or Next) Deal With Ryan Meinzer, Stephanie & Hero Cruz, and Rob Kishi.”
Episode 359: Using an Agent to Find Your First (or Next) Deal
Before diving into this episode, we would first like to note that we will be giving a short summary of one out of the three guests. This way you can go find out who BiggerPockets is, and the other essential house hacking tips you can learn. The entirety of this episode revolves around various types of house hacking. House hacking is a great real estate investment strategy when owning multi-family rental properties. House hacking is when you live in one of the multiple units of your investment property as your primary residence, and have renters from the other units pay your mortgage and expenses.
The first guest on the show is Ryan Meinzer. He recalls his experience of house hacking in the most expensive part of the country, California. What is remarkable about his technique is that he is living for free. One of the key tricks that Meinzer implements is the TIC: Tenancy In Common. TIC is a joint tenancy between at least two people. Meinzer gives the example that if you have a duplex, two people own the property together, but they respectfully finance their respective units. The perks to this are that prices were significantly marked lower.
Another perk Meinzer mention is having an agent for assurance and giving the boost of confidence we all need when making a huge financial decision. This, of course, is one of the definite perks and hacks to house hacking. For more information on house hacking and what has worked and not worked for people trying to get in the game, check out the rest of this episode.
Each podcast mentioned brings in their own expertise and specialized knowledge to real estate. From what you need to know, to the secret hacks no one tells you about. Additionally, anyone can learn some insight into the real estate industry and what to look for as a client. With the final act done that concludes this blog post on our favorite real estate podcasts.
AirSend helps real estate agents create a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.
Alrighty, folks. It is time to break out our library collection and review this week’s book topic: referrals. As indicated by the title, we are going to be tackling “The Referral Engine,” by John Jantsch. John Jantsch? Is he not the guy who is the brilliant author, speaker, and marketing consultant that hosts his very own marketing podcast called The Duct Tape Marketing? Yes! That’s the guy! To find out more about his and other like-minded marketing podcasts, check out our other blog on the top three marketing podcasts. In this mini-series, we will crank out our analysis of two chapters that are incredibly useful. This blog post will cover the one out of two chapter analysis. The second upcoming blog post will cover our second analysis. The chapter we will be covering is “Chapter One: Realities of Referral” Let’s dive in.
Chapter One: Realities of Referral
Throughout the reading of this novel, Jantsch repeatedly presents a theme. A “how-to” theme. That theme is how to get your customers to refer your business, or in this case market for your business. Jantsch also grounds his argument of marketing campaigns behind the idea of word of mouth (WOM). He’s not wrong. Word of Mouth is considered to be the most effective form of promotion. Why? Simply because a person is more likely to believe something that comes from a person that he/she knows or respects, instead of sources like commercials or print ads.
Think about it. Would you rather try a weighted blanket because a commercial told you it was amazing, or because your favorite aunty told you it is worth the try? See my point? Anyway, in addition to WOM, Jantsch argues that the social drive for marketing referral is the hypothalamus. We had to reread the sentence too- don’t worry you are not crazy. The argument is actually logical. According to Jantsch, the hypothalamus likes validation. Additionally, the hypothalamus registers pleasure in doing good and being recognized for it.
“Human beings are physiologically wired to make referrals.”
Now that we have an idea of what WOM is and a fun fact on the hypothalamus, we now enter the five realities of referrals.
Reality #1: People make referrals because they need to
One of the key takeaways from reality #1 is that we rate and refer as a form of survival. Not survival in the sense of nomadic tribes, but survival within the community. In other words, building credit. We refer to build our own form of social currency. We refer to connect with other people.
“I think the growth of many popular social networks can be traced to the fact that people love to connect and form communities around shared ideas.”
As much as the hypothalamus enjoys validation, it also controls and analyzes fear. However, fear is a necessary risk in creating or maintaining a business. Check out our other book review, “Uncertainty,” by Jonathan Fields to understand and conquer the concept of fear in your business.
“When we make a referral, we are putting the trust we have established with the recipient on loan to the person or company being referred.”
Making decisions is another element of risk. Through Jantsch’s perspective, decisions about business are the same thing as making decisions about a purchase.
“People don’t get emotional and passionate about ordinary products, a satisfactory result, or a fair price. They talk about things that surprise them or make them feel great about themselves—and, in effect, remove the feeling of risk they might have about doing business with that firm.”
Jantsch makes an important argument here. To build a business, you have to first discover or create something that makes your product stand alone. A product that gets people talking. You should have a product that convinces and encourages people to refer to you. Take AirSend for example. We stand alone from our competitors because we have the ultimate efficient life hack. We give out customers the opportunity to do everything from ONE place. Send messages, organize files, assign tasks, create a guidebook with a built-in wiki, work with email, and more! What are some ideas or products that make you stand alone from your competitors? What does your product have that others do not? Why should customers use your product and not your competitors? These are the questions you must ask yourself when you design your product.
Reality #4: Consistency builds trust
Put simply, having consistency, authenticity, and repetition in a business are the foundational tools of the referral trade. Customers come back because they like what you have. If you were to change this, chances are customers will slowly stop coming back. Of course, changing your product for the better is always a good thing, but keep it in moderation. Take your favorite restaurant for example. Let’s say you go to your favorite Thai restaurant. They serve your favorite duck curry. One day, you go in to have your usual, and all of a sudden, instead of seeing your usual on the menu, you see Mexican dishes. Would you feel inclined to go back? An extreme example, but you get the idea. To gain referrals, stick with your product and build consistency and authenticity.
Reality #5: Marketing is a System
According to Jantsch, there’s an easy equation to remember. Business= systems and processes. Referral generation is a set of processes within the overall marketing system.
“You must embrace the true value your organization produces and develop a referral system that allows you to bring the best of your authentic self to every opportunity.”
“Expecting referrals is not about you; it’s about getting the customer what’s possible. Find a way to detach yourself from any personal feelings of pride or self-doubt and get to work on creating a brilliant system that’s focused on getting results for your customers.”
Referrals aren’t easy to gain; however, if you have a product that you know will sell then half of your work is completed. You must remember that with referrals comes trust, loyalty, credibility, and an amazing product. If you have these elements in your business, the rest is up to your consumers. Let your customers do the marketing for you. All you need to do is trust them, and have passion and belief in your business. How hard can that be?
Jantsch offers amazing insight into the essence of referrals, how to create your referral system, building your authentic strategy, creating your customer and strategic partner network, and more! Look forward to our second chapter analysis!
AirSend helps businesses and entrepreneurs create a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.
Have you ever been misunderstood? Chances are the answer is
yes, whether you’re aware of it or not.
The frustration of saying one thing only to have your words
misconstrued by the listener is something we all experience at one time or
another. In our personal lives, misunderstanding causes unexpected hilarity and
unnecessary arguments. In our professional lives, the consequences can be more
If a potential client misunderstands what you say, you may
lose the opportunity to work with them. And misunderstandings between business
partners or between managers and their employees can have a negative impact on productivity
and overall business success.
Effective Communication = Success
While it isn’t always your fault, practicing effective
communication can go a long way in preventing misunderstandings before they begin.
Effective communication is the key to success in business not only because it
mitigates the negative effects of misunderstandings but also because it is the
foundation for excellence in sales, marketing, management, and collaboration —
all central aspects of running a business.
So how do you communicate effectively?
Here are five keys to effective communication from George J. Thompson’s book Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion. The first three are positive actions, or things we should do to communicate effectively, and the last two are negative actions, or things we should not do under any circumstances.
Key #1: Know what you represent.
Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.
Whenever you talk to someone in a professional setting,
whether that person is a customer, employee, or business partner, you are
representing something other than yourself. You might be representing your
company, a product, or your department.
It is important that you know what it is you represent and the
reason why you are communicating at all times. Before you open your mouth, think
about these questions:
For whom am I speaking?
Why am I speaking?
Key #2: Move your audience.
Audiences are made, not found.
The second step after you know what you represent is that you
must communicate in a way that generates compliance, cooperation, or
Your overarching objective as an effective communicator in
business is to bring your audience into harmony with your goals. If you’re
talking to a potential customer, that means convincing them to try your product
or service. If you’re talking to a business partner, that means helping them see
No matter what your audience’s starting point is in terms of
knowledge and opinion (Point A), you need to move them to where you want them
to go (Point B).
Getting your audience from Point A to Point B is moving your audience.
Key #3: Disappear personally.
In the process of moving your audience, you must disappear
personally. Remember that you are representing something other than yourself whenever
you communicate in a professional setting. You are not you — you are your
company, product, or department.
That means you leave everything that is irrelevant at the
door. Had the worst day of your life yesterday? Is that relevant to the objective
and what you are representing? If not, then keep it to yourself when you’re
talking to your new client or having a meeting with your employees.
The more you can disappear personally in front of others,
the greater power you will have. Power that you can use to make your business
Key #4: Don’t lose your temper.
The previous point — disappearing personally — will help
with this. In his book, Thompson describes a state called Mushin,
which translates to “no mind.” It is a state of being with no ego —
no biases. A person in this state is calm and centered. No matter what is
happening, she remains undisturbed.
You must practice Mushin at all times. No matter what is
happening, never show anger. The moment you lose your temper is the moment you lose
all hope of effective communication.
Key #5: Never insult.
Along the same lines of not losing your temper — don’t
insult others. Remember that your goal as an effective communicator in business
is to bring your audience into harmony with your objectives. If you insult
people in any way, they are much less likely to want to comply, cooperate, or
collaborate with you.
Insulting others also builds ground for them to stand on that they didn’t have before. Now the main focus becomes your attitude and what you are actually trying to communicate fades into the background.
Practice = Improvement
Like most difficult yet worthy endeavors, effective communication in business is something that you may never perfect. However, practicing the five keys above can lead to improvements that will help you achieve the success you’ve been working towards.
AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for businesses to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.
Social Intelligence (SI) is one of the complex forms of knowledge. There are a variety of definitions, however, all maintain one commonality: relationships with others, or in this case, people skills.
In this blog post, we will discuss the theory of SI, key element: S.P.A.C.E., the ways to increase your SI, refresher course, and several book recommendations that discusses the essence of social intelligence (whoops sneak peek). Alright, time to blow some minds away…with knowledge!
Theory of Social Intelligence
According to Karl Albrecht, Social Intelligence (SI) is the ability to get along well with others and to get them to cooperate with you. Sometimes referred to as “people skills,” SI includes an awareness of situations and the social dynamics that govern them, and a knowledge of interaction styles and strategies that can help a person achieve his or her objectives in cooperating with others. Additionally, SI also involves a certain amount of self-insight and a consciousness of one’s own perceptions and reaction patterns.
Several theorists in the past decade have expanded on Albrecht’s theory of social intelligence in relation to emotional intelligence and intelligence quotient (IQ). Before diving into Albrecht’s theory, we will briefly pay homage to one particular theorist that has imparted his findings in relation to SI.
Harvard Professor Howard Gardner, he presented the idea that human intelligence is more than a single trait or intelligence quotient (IQ). Gardner’s claim led to his “MI” theory, (multiple intelligence), in which there are eight different forms of intelligence. These eight different levels adhere to at least one of the human potentials.
Many researchers now accept Gardner’s proposition that intelligence is multidimensional, and many believe that each of the key dimensions of intelligence can continue to increase throughout one’s life, given the appropriate experiences, challenges and growth opportunities. However, Gardner’s theory, though complete in itself, is actually incomplete on a much larger scale.
Albrecht’s social intelligence theory expands the multiple-intelligence concept (Gardner’s theory) to include another valuable way to observe the multiple forms of intelligence. From his expanded idea comes the key elements of SI, which inevitably leads to finding success at work, home, and beyond.
Key Element: S.P.A.C.E.
Albrecht breaks down SI into five different levels: S.P.A.C.E. From the five levels comes various succeeding effects. Let us first begin discussing the five levels. According to Albrecht S.P.A.C.E. stands for:
Situational Awareness: This is the ability to read situations and to interpret the behaviors of people in those situations.
Presence: This includes a whole range of verbal and nonverbal behaviors that define you in the minds of others.
Authenticity: This comprises the behaviors that cause others to judge you as honest, open, and “real.”
Clarity: This is the ability to explain your ideas and articulate your views
Empathy: This is the ability to “connect” with others. (2006).
From S.P.A.C.E. comes the positive effects as noted by the professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology, Ronald Riggio. If one were to follow the five steps that comprise social intelligence, they would develop effective listening skills, knowledge of social roles, rules, and scripts, verbal fluency and conversational skills, social efficacy, and impression management skills.
In summation, the key concept to S.I. is essentially being in-tuned with your surroundings, attentive to others, and becoming social through easy communication. Of course, gaining the effects of S.I is easy, however, developing or increasing our SI is not that easy.
Ways to Increase your SI
“Social intelligence isn’t easy to master—if it were, there wouldn’t ever be another awkward conversation at a party,” (Morin 2019). According to Amy Morin, psychotherapist and best-selling author, there are people who find social intelligence easy to master, while other people may find it quite the opposite.
Sometimes we may enter a socially awkward situation, internally confused and panicky, trying to mentally blow through a list of possibilities on how to abort the mission. Or sometimes we may be a wallflower who yearns to become social but lack the resources to become one.
Well, fear no more! After some thorough research, we have created a small but effective tactical plan to helo increase your SI. The best part is that you do not have to immediately jump to become the “queen of the ball.” Here are our tactics:
Pay close attention to your surroundings. According to Morin, “socially intelligent people are observant and pay attention to subtle social cues from those around them,” (2019).
Practice Active Listening. Active listening is where you reflect back what you believe the speaker said in order to ensure a clear understanding. Further, take the time to think about what the other person is saying. Doing so will encourage more thought on your answer, which will surely impress the other person.
Increase your Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to control emotions in social situations. For example, a person who does not have emotional intelligence would usually express the wrong kind of emotion at the wrong time. For instance, a person laughing at a funeral. Not good. Through the practice of Emotional Intelligence, comes the result of empathy.
These are our tactics to help you take the first steps in learning social intelligence. Whether at home or at work social intelligence proves to be a healthy practice to mentality, the self, and the emotions.
Bringing it all together
We realized we threw a mouthful of information at you, but it’s alright! You’ll be feeling more knowledgeable than your next-door-neighbor. Just kidding. But you will definitely feel knowledgeable. Let us do a refresher course.
What is Social Intelligence? SI is a theory proposed by Karl Albrecht, which is the ability to get along well with others and to get them to cooperate with you. Often referred to as “people skills.”
Key Concept: S.P.A.C.E. Learning the acronym results in amazing effects, and therefore becoming a better person socially.
Tactics. Pay attention to your surroundings and the people around you. They serve as your social cues. Practice active listening. Increase your Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence results in empathy.
Here are some book recommendations we highly suggest reading. They not only prove to increase your knowledge of what we discuss, but they also prove insightful.
AirSend is a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks, and improve SI. See how AirSend can help you.
“The ins and outs of having the right social media for the right business.”
When it comes to marketing, it is important to create and maintain an online presence through social media. It is 2019, almost 2020, and society is continuously progressing towards an era of digital transformation. According to Salesforce, “Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new- or modify existing – business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and marketing requirements.”
One of the leading forms of digital transformation is social media. According to Google, the term social media means “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” Social media is the essence of customer interactivity, communication, building relationships, and diversified culture. Let’s begin with LinkedIn.
I am sure everyone knows what LinkedIn is, however, for those who do not know, LinkedIn is an American business and employment-oriented service that operates via websites and mobile apps- mainly used for professional networking. With LinkedIn you can make business connections, share resumes, and find jobs. Essentially it is the combination of Facebook and Indeed. Several of their mottos are, “Welcome to your professional community,” “Learn the skills you need to succeed,” and “Join your colleagues, classmates, and friend on LinkedIn.” So, what businesses are great for LinkedIn, and how can LinkedIn bring more traffic to your business?
The real power behind LinkedIn: Word of Mouth (WOM). The ability to tap into existing connections and grow your brand. Remember when I said LinkedIn is like Facebook and Indeed mashed together? I mean precisely that. Take realtors, for example. LinkedIn would be one of the perfect platforms to spread business and personality. Realtors can continuously update their feed with pictures of homes that are on the market or sold, have a complete “bio” page, like and comment on other clients’ feeds, and remain in contact with their clients.
Of course, LinkedIn is not entirely like facebook in the sense that LinkedIn is not centered on memes or what your cat is doing. Instead, it is a platform for professionals, businesses, and business to business relationships (B2B) to interact with other aspiring professionals, building a client base, and accumulate referrals. In summation, LinkedIn is the platform where you would want to grow your business in a professional setting( more business-like). Nothing like Twitter, where you tweet every Monday you wish it was Friday. But, Twitter is not all that bad for business, and here’s why.
Twitter’s call to action is pure genius: see what’s happening in the world right now. “Why is it pure genius, Miss AirSend, writer?” I’m glad you asked. The ability to keep up with what’s happening in the world is something like, “The Neverending Story.” The ability to search the world with trending hashtags, which are usually comprised of one word, and then receive thousands of posts related to that word, is honestly, something that is far beyond my imagination. Twitter is a gold mine for marketing and rhetoric. We have crossed the threshold of what we originally thought was rhetoric into a new form of rhetoric: 280 characters or less. It’s genius! Pardon the rant, let me go ahead and explain to you why Twitter is excellent for growing business.
Follow your Interests
Here what people are talking about
Join in the conversation
These three steps are on the homepage of Twitter, and subsequently, the key to growing your business through an online presence. Unlike LinkedIn, where a professional presence is the hallmark to success, Twitter actually cares about what your cat is doing. Or what you had for breakfast. Think of Twitter as your personality platform.
For marketing consultants, life coaches, and even mentors, Twitter is a great source of advertising. Or software company, realtors, public figures, etc. When viewers see your personality through your feed, it can lead to potential clients. Potential clients also use WOM to their followers to check out your business/twitter. Twitter is also great for interaction with followers. Customers and clients want to see personality when they research businesses. Twitter is one of the most versatile diversified platforms. Looking for more of a visual appeal for your business, try out Instagram!
Whereas life coaches and realtors would find Twitter to be a great place to relay information in 280 characters or less, designers or make-up artists, for example, would find Instagram to be more advantageous. Why? Again, it is for visual appeal. With Instagram, there is the ability to create 24-hour stories, Instagram TV, upload videos and photos, and also explore like-minded creators. Much like Twitter and LinkedIn, Professionals can also keep in contact with potential clients, reply to comments, and maintain an active presence, which, thanks to the user interface (UI), is incredibly easy.
Further, Instagram is marketed towards creators,i.e. artists, who post captivating photos. Designers and make-up artists have a massive presence to the Instagram community, because, again, there is a personal connection between professional and client, and visual appeal in their market. Of course, Instagram is a place for foodies as well. Having photogenic food posted all over your feed is also a plus to freelance food writers (yes, other writers as well).
Instagram is a social media art haven. It is a platform that caters to the idea of portfolios. Of course, realtors, life coaches, and other professionals can have an Instagram as well; however, it is more beneficial for them to apply their rhetoric through words rather than pictures.
“Create a beautiful online home for your business.” This is the motto for Facebook Pages. The benefit to facebook pages is that anyone can have one. It is a platform dedicated to a variety of content. Pictures, pictures with words, or words themselves. Creators, innovators, analyzers, and other professionals, can create an online presence with their business/portfolio. Facebook pages are great for building a community, promoting events, sharing offers, and selling things on Facebook Marketplace.
We are now in an era where technology has become our go-to marketing/business. With digital transformation, advertising has become more accessible than ever. There is now the ability to have user feedback, customer interaction, fast updates, and the innovation of marketing analysis, which ultimately improves business. The tricky part when facing technology is figuring out the right approach for the right business. In other words, the right social platform that conveys the right personality of your business.
AirSend helps entrepreneurs and businesses create a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help.
“Karma? Yoga? What?”
That’s right, Karma Yoga. I’m sure you are thinking to yourself, “okay, Miss AirSend writer, you’ve officially lost it.” Fear not! I have not lost it just yet. But, really, Karma Yoga! It is an excellent practice to use when working with big or small business, or if you are simply a working professional trying to make a name in society. Karma Yoga is one of the four spiritual paths in Hinduism, one that is based on the “yoga of action.”
To a karma yogi, right work done well is a form of prayer. It is one of the paths in the spiritual practices, others being Raja yoga, Jnana yoga, and Bhakti yoga. So, how do we apply Karma Yoga in the Workplace? What are the principles of Karma Yoga? Well, allow me to first provide the introduction of what the principles are, and then I will tell you how to implement these principles in the workplace.
Karma Yoga is about purifying the heart and counteracting egoism. It involves the dedication of all work as an offering, with no thought of personal reward. From this rule follows the four guiding principles: Right Attitude, Right Motive, Give up Result, and Serve the Self in All. Let’s begin with the first principle: Right Attitude.
The action of some kind or the other (Karma) is unavoidable. If we act as a participant in the cosmic activity of Nature, without expectation of personal gain, our actions become part of the ineffable goodness dwelling in all living beings. What binds us to phenomenal existence (known in Sanskrit as Samsara) is not the action but the idea of doing and enjoying. In other words, rather than thinking of personal gain, think of your work as a contribution to society of which you are a part of.
Changing your thinking in terms of contributing to the greater good allows for better workflow mentality and alleviates the pressure of trying to work with personal gain in mind. It is always encouraged to have aspirations within society, but one cannot achieve aspirations without contributing.
When action is done without the expectation of fruits, it becomes liberating – as the action itself is born from the space of selflessness. Karma Yoga can be practiced at all times, under all conditions, anywhere there is a desire to do selfless service and purify the heart. Right Attitude = Right Motive.
To contribute to society without expecting anything in return becomes liberating for the mind. Why? Because you are not continuously thinking which decision will lead you to the most rewards. You, yourself, alleviate the pressure on yourself by removing the expectation of receiving something. Think of it like this.
As a self-serving professional for example, one of their jobs is to maintain connections with their clients. If the professional delivers to the client without expecting anything in return, it is safe to say the job for the professional becomes much easier. There is a peace of mind for the professional, even if the client becomes upset, the professional knows they delivered their best, so they can carry on with the rest of the day with no worry. because they delivered to the client without expectation.
Take out the expectation of reward, and all you have is a selfless worker delivering the quota for their company. To clarify, Karma Yoga is not the same thing as having personal goals within the company. It is great to have the aspirations, however, how can you progress in life if you are always expecting something in return?
Give Up Result
Feel that you are only an instrument and that the inner peace is working through you. Much like an orchestra, you, yourself, are also an instrument that helps create the overall sound of the company. Imagine an orchestra with a first and second violin section. Now, imagine that all you can hear is the sound coming from the first violins. You strain to hear the second violins, but the sounds of the first violins take over. Now, you have an unbalanced orchestra. All you hear is the melody, but no harmony.
This is the same for the workplace. Do not think of yourself as a tool, but as someone who helps create the overall sound of the company. Someone who enjoys working for their company, and does not expect anything in return. To work and not expect anything, I believe is the true happiness of working.
Detachment from results also means detachment from the type of job itself. There is no job that is inferior or superior to a different job. Putting this into practice, you will be freed from the bonds of Karma and enjoy peace. Karma, then becomes Karma Yoga, preparing our heart and mind for the reception of Knowledge of the Self. An amiable, loving social nature will arise within.
Serve the Self in All
In sum, Karma Yoga teaches us to be selfless. To work without expecting anything in return, to consider ourselves a vital piece to the orchestra we are playing, and to detach ourselves from the idea of rewards and the self. By detaching ourselves from the fruits of our actions and offering them back to society, we learn to sublimate the ego.
Work unselfishly. Each job is a teacher of some sort. You can learn different skills by doing different jobs. Each job has different requirements in terms of time, degree of concentration, skills or experience, emotional input, physical energy, will. Try to do whatever job you are doing, well. Be humble and free, rejoice in the welfare of others.
AirSend helps professionals and businesses create a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.
Running a small business is tough. You don’t have a
dedicated marketing team to get the word out, easy access to additional
funding, or any of the other perks that come with size. Maybe that’s why 50% of
small businesses fail within the first two years of opening according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
So how do you launch your small business from the trenches
of struggle to the heights of success with limited resources?
Going viral means people are sharing your business with co-workers, friends, family — who are sharing it with their co-workers, friends, family — who are also sharing it.
And everyone is sharing it because they want to. Not because you’re spending thousands of dollars on ads or bribing them with freebies.
Going viral means exponential growth and exposure at no
additional cost or effort from you.
If that sounds good, keep reading.
What do tribes have to do with it?
While not a fail-proof guide to breaking the Internet, Seth
contains some valuable tips on how to build a powerful brand — a key to viral success
for any business, small or large. In the book, Godin reframes some basic
marketing principles around the concept of tribes.
A tribe is a group of people with a shared interest and a way to communicate. Godin encourages people to make tribes and become leaders because the world needs tribes and leaders to encourage progress and enact change.
For a small business:
Leader = You
Tribe = Loyal Customers
Leader + Tribe = Viral Growth
So how do you attract and lead a group of loyal customers that are so excited about your business that they share it with everyone? Other than providing quality products or services, you need to tell a story.
Good stories make history.
Behind every powerful brand is a powerful brand story. Let’s look at how stories contributed to the success of two renowned brands: Apple (ranked by Interbrand as 2019’s most influential brand in the world) and Disney.
When Apple first entered the tech scene in the 1980’s, computers
were seen as large, mysterious machines used only by governments, scientists,
“1984” ad was not
only a landmark moment in TV advertising but also a storytelling-as-branding
masterpiece. In just one minute, Apple positions itself and its “personal
computers” as the rebel — the little guy against giants like IBM and the “establishment”
— who will save the world from an oppressive dystopia.
The computer itself isn’t even shown. But the point is clear, and the rest is history.
Disney as a brand epitomizes the power of great
It does the opposite of most companies. Most companies create
products, then spin stories around those products. Disney tells stories, then makes
products to fit the stories.
First comes Mickey Mouse, then the figurines, mouse ear headbands and amusement parks. First comes Frozen, then the Elsa dresses, snowflake-shaped candy and skating shows.
It’s a unique approach that has led to great success and which exemplifies the possibilities that open up with great stories.
In a world where attention spans are shrinking and people are bombarded with information from every direction, without a powerful brand you are nothing. And to create a powerful brand you need a powerful brand story.
You might be thinking — I run a small business. What does Apple and Disney’s large-scale storytelling success have to do with me?
Branding is just as important for a small business as it is for a large one. But with a small business, you are the business. So it’s more about personal branding than anything else.
Personal branding is the practice of marketing yourself as a brand. You identify the skills, experiences, and passions that make you who you are as a professional and communicate that in a way that makes people want to work with you.
So how do you create an attractive personal brand? Same way Apple and Disney created industry-changing business brands — tell a good story.
What makes a good story?
Godin gives us two key points.
#1: Good Stories Upset People
Who are you upsetting? If the answer is no one — go back to the drawing board. Powerful stories take a strong stance, and strong stances almost always make someone uncomfortable.
Godin warns against trying to please everyone by diluting what you truly believe in. He stresses that opponents are GOOD. Their opposition strengthens your message and brand.
#2: Good Stories Are Authentic
Have you ever immediately disliked someone because you felt they were being fake? Or the opposite — clicked with a person because of their authenticity. The same goes for stories, brands, and businesses.
Make sure your brand story reflects your beliefs and values. Customers will be able to tell whether or not you’re being genuine, especially in a small business where you interact with them on a regular basis. And no one likes a fake.
It starts with one.
Building a small business can seem daunting, but remember it
only takes 1,000 true fans to be successful and much less than 1,000 loyal
customers to go viral.
In fact, it starts with one. One person who shares your
business with co-workers, friends, family — who share it with their co-workers,
friends, family — who also share it.
So tell your story. Create your tribe. What are you waiting for?
AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.