Toronto Women's Expo

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Women & Leadership: Ten Critical Steps Forward

A post for women and men who seek to empower stronger and better leadership in a world of unprecedented change, challenges and opportunities. The future lies in the hands of those who can empower and enable others. It is time for women and men to light the fire of human potential, of great leadership; doing so starts with women leading forward!
© Irene Becker, Just Coach It-The 3Q Edge™

When we embrace our true potential, and do so with humanity, humility and the desire to serve the greatest good, we rekindle the most important fire of all;
the fire of human potential-the fire of leading forward together! Leadership is a 3Q Equation: (IQ) Intellect-Strategic Thought EQ (emotions-empathy-self & social mgmt) SQ (values-integrity-humanity). It is a gender-less equation that must be enfranchised by those who have typically been disenfranchised.

The writing is on the walls of our lives, our communities, our organizations and our world; it is time for women to lead forward. And it is time for men to champion their sisters, because our individual and collective hope for a better future lies in men and women collaborating and leading forward together.

You cannot light a fire with wet wood. The future lies in the hands of those who can empower and enable the best in others. I

am grateful to the sisters, the women before me who suffered for my human rights, and to those men who had the courage to stand alongside them. As a woman, as a part of an ethnic minority, as a member of the human race I am grateful to those who suffered before me for the rights and freedoms I have now.

The most important fire we can light is the fire of human potential, and I believe that women have a critical role to play. It is a role that takes courage, resiliency and the ability to stand tall. It is the most important role we can play. Most of the world, and most of womankind goes to bed hungry, disadvantaged and beaten in one way or the other. The strength of those who have a voice and their ability to use their voices to lead forward is critical. The strength of those who have been enabled with learning to use their knowledge to help others is imperative. The strength of those who refuse to let go of their faith, hope, humanity, integrity and courage is our hope for a better future.

1. Empowerment is both an internal and external journey that takes time. It is important to stand up, not down; it is important to R-E-A-C-H forward When the external conditions enfranchise human rights and voice, those who have been disenfranchised must then reset their own internal GPS. We will not go from a mindset of being dominated, to finding freedom and empowerment without resetting our own internal GPS by celebrating the power, the positive contribution we can and will make. What became clear to me, as I grew, learned and evolved was that it takes time for those who have been disenfranchised to step up to the plate. Laws and society must first welcome them, and then those who have been underdogs need to go through their own metamorphosis where the chains of disenfranchisement and victimhood no longer impeded their own sense of self esteem or abilities.

2. Stereotypes must be challenged, because the pull of the past is strong, and the past will not take us forward. Strong women scare weak men. This does not mean that we must undervalue our strengths. It means we must stand up and stand tall. Typically men are taught to overvalue their strengths, and women to undervalue theirs. Stop stereotyping yourself. See your strengths for what they are, and use your challenges to enable your potential. I believe with all my head and heart that women are in the midst of an important reset, as are other groups who have suffered. And, it is those who can rise above what was, and see their ability to build a bridge between sisters, brothers, diversity, constituencies…between the human divide before us that will be able to lead forward.

3. Do not become a victim of your biology, rather the biological imperative that women have to help the world lead forward. Men are typically wired to control and women to connect. Don’t hide your desire to build a better world under a bushel, celebrate it, ignite it and pass the torch forward. The same inherent strengths that make most of us great nurturers are what the world needs now more than ever before. Will we survive and thrive with a winner takes all model of leadership? Will we develop learning organizations, better societies, improved lives for all constituents by continuing models of leadership, governance that no longer work? Is it not time to celebrate our difference as women, our ability to really champion building organizations that strive and drive collaboration, communication and results for all constituents according to their respective abilities and potential?

4. Purpose = profit. A whole new world, workplace and marketplace will continue to show us that leading forward means harnessing the potential of human being better, not simply doing faster than ever before. The inequities before us are incredible, but so is our power to lead forward. If we are daunted by what is, we cannot begin to use the very challenges we face to create what can be. We must stand up, and standing up means rally the full force of our courage and commitment to doing what is in alignment with the integrity, humanity and values that will sustain our world.

5. Stop competing, start collaborating. Celebrate the biological differences that can make us stronger TOGETHER. The corpus callosum that separates left and right hemispheres in women is thicker than in men. Yes, the biological imperative that helps most women be mothers, tend to multiple responsibilities also gives us an ability that is now critical to our individual and collective survival and prosperity. While we know now that we can all build new neural connections, and that men can learn to be more whole brained; women are hardwired to do so. Women need to take the lead in modeling new and better ways of communicating, collaborating and building relationships and in helping our brothers develop these critical skills. While there are many men who are great communicators, collaborators and relationship builders, many can benefit from growth in these areas just as women can benefit from learning more from men about positioning themselves in ways that help them to lead forward in a still male dominated world and mindset.

6. Get empowered, re-inspired and use this momentum to inspire others because the traditionally male model of leadership is not working. It is time to develop a new androgynous model of leadership that must be championed by women and men. The testosterone surge, the brute strength and desire to win above all that has taken us to where we are now, must be transformed. Women and men are critical to this transformation, and the imperative to work together has never been more important.

7. Celebrate organizations and male leaders who have the courage, vision and values to champion women leaders and the leadership of those men and women who have been traditionally disenfranchised. Help men build skills and strengths that have been traditionally ascribed to women, help those who have been traditionally disenfranchised so that they can become 3Q Leaders who can optimize brain power, emotional power and the spiritual strength needed to lead forward with values, vision and action.

8. Come out of the closet. Too many women are relationship builders, nurturers, communicators and leaders who want to be part of developing a new way, a better way to lead forward together. We want to make a difference, but we can get stymied by ego, by societal definitions. Remember… Purpose = profit. Celebrate your purpose as a woman to help heal the world. Yes, I did say heal and I know this is a term that many might frown at…but, take a look around you. We need to heal as women, heal as minorities because the quicker we can stop looking at what was and use the strengths we have now to build and rebuild what can be, the faster and better we will move and lead forward!

9. Appreciate your ability to be empathetic and to become a WHOLE human being, a whole brained and whole heart leader. Men typically have a much higher concentration of testosterone, which is great when aggressive action is needed. Women are typically better at building relationships, collaborating, solving problems and analyzing people problems. Recognize it as one of the greatest challenges AND strengths you have. The importance of understanding how people feel, and using this understanding to appreciate and motivate the best in others is critical. Model, teach and mentor empathetic leadership and watch it grow.

10. It is time to celebrate and USE our differences and strengths as women and men to lead forward together. We will never accomplish this without women pushing forward in a positive way with a voice that must be heard. The voice of reason, the voice of compassion, the voice of collaboration, the voice of a new type of leadership that can take both men and women forward together. Our voice is not loud enough yet, but it is getting louder. We cannot and must not relent in removing the internal and external barriers before us. Our ability, as women, to light a fire of passion, purpose and potential is exponential. Every time we lead forward, we help others do the same.

The most important fire we can light is the fire of human potential, and I believe that women have a critical role to play. It is a role that takes courage, resiliency and the ability to stand tall. It is the most important role we can play. Most of the world and most of womankind goes to bed hungry, disadvantaged and beaten in one way or the other. The strength of those who have a voice, to use their voices to lead forward is critical. The strength of those who have been enabled with learning to use their knowledge to help others is imperative. The strength of those who refuse to let go of their faith, hope, humanity, integrity and courage is our hope for a better future.

When we embrace our true potential, and do so with humanity, humility and the desire to serve the greatest good, we rekindle the most important fire of all; the fire of human potential-the fire of leading forward together!

More on Women? More on Leadership? YOU Betcha!

Women Leading Forward
Against All Odds
Extraordinary Women Interview
Great Read Excerpt and Review: Dare-Dream-Do

Leadership Tips & Tools
Winning the Race with Wolves
Men and Women Leading Forward: Building 3Q Leadership™
The Leadership Compendium

I am committed to helping smart people and organizations use changes and challenges to optimize and catalyze their potential to communicate & LEAD FORWARD. Use changes and challenges to improve communication, management, leadership…career success? Yes!
Helping my clients build their 3Q Edge™ and develop the R-E-A-C-H™ that helps them lead forward smarter, faster and happier is what I do best!

Irene Becker | Just Coach It-The 3Q Edge™ | Reach-Resonance-Results
Executive Coaching, Consulting, Training and Keynotes with a 3Q Edge™
Face to face and/or virtually by telephone, video conferencing or skype! Twitter @justcoachit
Tel: (1) 416-671-4726 Skype: beckerirene

referenced from

Leadership Means Developing a Community of Purpose

Leadership means building a community of thought and action. It means building a Community of Purpose
Agile leaders are evolutionary leaders; relationship builders, communicators, strategic thinkers and doers whose values, vision and purpose are aligned with a whole new world where success means creating value for others. Purpose means profit, and sustaining profit demands a whole new focus on GOOD business, GOOD leadership on creating GOOD value for stakeholders, shareholders, clients, employees, constituents and communities.

Communities of Purpose strengthen collaboration, communication and results. Communities of purpose are made up of the right people who come together for the right reasons:

•Trust, congruency, shared values and objectives that transcend limitations or barriers.

•New habits of thinking, doing and communicating that build our 3Q Edge™; our ability to optimize, humanize and monetize potential at the speed of change.

•Empowerment, engagement and a new found ability to fail forward, by using challenges as levers for growth, purpose and progress.

•A relentless focus on business for the good because purpose makes profit; and sustainable profit means creating value for ALL stakeholders, shareholders, clients, customers, constituents.

Communities of Purpose can help YOU pop the cork on potential.

Effective leadership demands communication and collaboration; effective communities of purpose build resonance and engagement with a virtual or actual community by aligning shared values and objectives with the skills and experience that drive results. Meaningful work, purposeful work will become increasingly critical as we enter a new era where organizations must create value for all stakeholders, shareholders, employees, constituents and communities. Purpose makes profit, communities of purpose build profit in a way that breaks down barriers to potential and communication, driving value for all constituents.

Leadership means building a community of thought and action-A Community of Purpose

Goodness to Greatness Leadership Seven Steps
What Does Leadership Really Mean?
The Thriving Organization
Ten Essential Leadership Principles

©Irene Becker | Just Coach It-The 3Q Edge™ | QBlog
Helping smart people & organizations communicate & LEAD forward smarter, faster,
Toronto and Virtually Everywhere | 416-671-4726 | Skype: beckerirene

referenced from

March 17, 2013, by Bassem Ghali

Have you noticed the list of local search results at the top of Google when looking for a local business? These local search results, the “7-pack,” are revolutionizing the local search engine industry. When you perform a search, Google’s My Location uses information transmitted from nearby WiFi access points to provide the top-ranked local listings based on your approximate location.

You can have your business rank higher than your competitor in local search results by following a few simple steps.

How? First let’s understand where local search results come from:


Certain databases feed information to other sites. Having an incorrect or inconsistent business listing in one database could mean you also have incorrect listings elsewhere. It is important to ensure your business name and phone number (the NAP) are listed in the exact same format in all listings (eg-don’t use the abbreviated “St.” in one listing and “Street” in another).

Simple steps to help your business rank higher:

Submit or claim your listings on the local search engines, such as Google Places, Bing Local Listing Center, Yahoo Local Merchant, Yelp and list in the most relevant category.
Get listed on local directories.
Use a keyword in your business title.
Use long tail keywords (keyword phrases) in your description; mention your products/services, brands you carry, locations you serve.

Think about citations:

Citations are one of the main ways a search engine determines rank. Citations are like “mentions” of your business NAP on other webpages, even if there is no link to your website. More quality citations = higher ranking!
Citations also validate that a business is part of a community. The more often a listing in another location matches that of your website, the search engine knows you are a real business.

On your own website:

Create a separate contact/location page for different locations. Listing only one NAP on each page can increase citations.
Optimize your contact/location page HTML title tag to: business name, city, province, phone number.
Include the full business NAP on every page of your website.
By following these steps, continuously monitoring new listings sites and encouraging positive reviews by your customers, you can see your ranking in local search results continuously improve!

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Forget Monster, CareerBuilder, or Craigslist.
In this job market, you’ll have to do things differently if you want to avoid sifting through a huge stack of poor-fit resumes — or if you want to reach your dream candidates who already have a job elsewhere.
That’s why many companies are embracing creative recruiting.
From adding interactive group interviews to the recruiting process to actively looking for talent in unusual places, we’ve created a list of ways companies are innovating the hiring process.
These methods can make your business stand out from the crowd and put you in touch with your ideal hires.

imageUse self-selection to find out who’s really interested

To help you better separate the wheat from the chaff, you should try adding another layer between resume-submission and the one-on-one interview. One option is inviting all eligible applicants to an open group event, such as an Open House.
In article for the Wall Street Journal, consulting startup I Love Rewards Inc. describes how, of the 1,200 applicants who were invited, only 400 actually came. The CEO tells WSJ, “”That’s self-selection… It’s so easy to apply for anything but 800 didn’t take the first step. That lowered the screening process.”


The Open House strategy also enables you to see how people interact in groups.
Arrange for group interaction

Interacting with potential candidates in a group setting is an excellent way to see their character, level of interest, working knowledge, and communication skills. It also lets you see if they’re a good fit with your corporate culture.
Interactive interviews can be conducted in different ways, but the fundamental feature is inviting select candidates in for a group session, where you and current employees can engage with them.
You could plan for “speed-dating”-style interviews with each of them, as I Love Rewards Inc. did.
Or you could take a more creative approach, and set up various activities that will give you a better idea of each individual’s knowledge and passion for the industry, as well as their personality. H-E-B Central Market is one company that has done this well, as demonstrated in this Houston Business Journal article.

imageHandpick dream candidates and show them you want them

Passive candidates (those who are already employed and not actively jobhunting) are most likely to be your dream hires, but you’ll never attract them without letting them know how much you want them.
Reaching out in a really personal manner demonstrates that you’re willing to go out of your way to get their attention.
An article in BusinessWeek cites the case of video game company Red 5 Studios, who handpicked 100 ideal candidates and got to “know” them by researching their social media profiles and past work. The startup then sent each one a personalized iPod equipped with a welcome from the CEO.
“The flattery paid off: More than 90 recipients responded to the pitch, three left their jobs to come on board, and many more potential hires discovered the company through word-of-mouth buzz generated by the search,” BusinessWeek says.

imageLook for talent in unlikely places

The Director of Talent Acquisition at Quicken Loans tells the New York Times how his company (which is regularly listed in Fortune’s “100 best places to work”) hires fast while maintaining its corporate culture standards: by looking for great people in unexpected places.
For example, the company once conducted a “blitz” of local retail stores and restaurants, sending employees out to interact with workers and offer interviews to those who really stood out.
“Too many companies focus on industry experience when they recruit… We can teach people about finance. We can’t teach passion, urgency and a willingness to go the extra mile,” Quicken tells the NYT.

imageAttend events that are NOT job fairs

Job fairs often turn out to be somewhat useless, since the best candidates probably already have a job. So you should try looking great talent at other events that aren’t traditionally recruiting-related.
Search forums such as Meetup for group events that are likely to be attended by people qualified for your open position.
For example, if you needed a graphic designer in New York City, you could attend a graphic design-focused meetup in the area and look for potential candidates. You’ll already know they’re passionate about what they do, and you’ll be able to get a feel for what they’re like in person.

imageMake yourself stand out with non-traditional media

A written job description on a jobsearch site won’t necessarily make you stand out. A video or podcast, however, will do just that.
Using non-traditional recruiting media is also a chance for you to convey something about your corporate culture to jobseekers.
Whether it’s through a fun video on YouTube showing how awesome it is to be an employee at your business, or a recorded podcast describing the position and your company (“jobcasting,” as exemplified on Jobs in Pods), this strategy will differentiate you from all the other recruiters out there — and hopefully make you more appealing to the cream of the crop hires.

imageActively search profiles and social networking sites

Rather than sifting through the hundreds of bad-fit resumes you might get in response to your job post, take the search into your own hands. That way, you’ll only see candidates who have the criteria that you want for the position.
Several websites allow candidates to create profiles that include their resumes and other details that can give recruiters a better understanding of their knowledge and talents. On Brazen Careerist, for example, potential employers can see candidates’ resumes, conversations with others within the social network, and contributions to big-idea discussions.
Visual CV is another reputable place to look through candidate profiles.
You’ll not only be able to screen for the perfect resume, but you’ll also have a chance to learn a little more about that person pre-interview.

imageAdvertise in places frequented by your ideal candidate

You should definitely focus your recruitment process in ways and places that fit with your dream hire, as exemplified by this image (an ad placed by Google in the San Francisco area to attract math-savvy candidates).
A less expensive suggestion from this article in BusinessWeek: buy keywords you think potential candidates might be searching for online. “For instance, my company, Rapleaf, is always looking for people who are interested in Hadoop, an open-source software framework that supports applications running across multiple, distributed computers. So we purchase ads that will appear when people search for keywords associated with Hadoop,” the author writes.
Online communities, as opposed to all-inclusive job boards, are another good place to target your recruitment process at a specific demographic. For example, if you’re looking for a developer, try searching for the terms “developer forum”; you’ll find multiple places just for developers where you can publicize that you’re hiring.

imageConsider past candidates

Former rejections could make great hires now.
In the past, you may passed over a good candidate for some reason or another — perhaps their salary requirements were too high, or they weren’t an ideal for that other position.
Whatever the reason, if you think they would be good for this opportunity, it can’t hurt to get in touch with them now and see if they’re interested.

imagePublicize referral incentives

Referrals are excellent sources for great hires. You just have to let people know that you’re looking, and maybe offer an incentive to send someone your way.
A financial reward for the referrer is standard if you end up hiring their referral; if the referrer is an employee, non-monetary perks can work, too (i.e. a premiere parking spot for the year, extra vacation days, etc.).
To publicize outside the company, a great way to to spread the word is to include a note in your e-mail signature indicating that you’re hiring and what you’re looking for, as suggested by this article in BusinessWeek.


Read more:

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Landing your dream job is certainly no easy task. Unemployment rates range from 7.9% in the United States to as high as 50% in some countries. Even if you’re employed currently, the reality is, at least according to Deloitte’s Shift Index, as many as 80% of people are unhappy in their jobs. (By the way, if you have no idea what your dream job is, I highly recommend you check you the incredible bestselling career book of all time, What Color Is Your Parachute? which changed my life.)

The good news? With the openness of the social web today and the availability of your entire life’s connections, a job hunt can be much easier if you present yourself well and network appropriately. Here are three social media essentials to remember:

1) Optimize Your Profiles

You already have your resume in a PDF and have found all the right websites for job listings. But just as important as these things is having your profiles on the major social networks updated and optimized for a potential job search. For some jobs, employers may even ask for links to your profiles in the application or interview process. Don’t be afraid, be proactive!

LinkedIn: Extend your resume

Do you have a picture? If not, make sure you have one that represents yourself in a professional manner!
Reach out to relevant connections for recommendations. Don’t just ask your supervisors at previous jobs, but ask your peers and reports.
Have you listed all of your accomplishments and skills? Sometimes better than finding the right job is being found for the right job! LinkedIn Recruiter allows companies to look for specific skills and past positions. Make sure you list them so you can be indexed!
Endorsements are a great way to easily gain credibility. You should give them as well as ask for them.
Twitter: Show your expertise!

What is your picture? Make sure it represents you as you want the world to see you.
What are you sharing? Your tweets should reflect your personality and expertise. Share articles and quotes from thought leaders in your industry. As a guide for sharing jokes, thoughts, and everything else, if your mom wouldn’t approve, don’t tweet it.
What does your Twitter bio say about you? Make sure you include a link where people can find you. Consider making it a link to your LinkedIn profile.
Facebook: Clean it up!

What do your profile picture and cover photo say about you?
Check your privacy settings and make sure you understand them. They may seem difficult to navigate, but they are really important when it comes to your public image. I’m all for openness personally, but for many, you’ll want to make sure photos and videos for friends aren’t visible to your next employer.
2) Network Appropriately

The opportunity is there for you to find and engage with literally millions of people. The tough part is going for it, setting boundaries and making sure you don’t come across negatively.


Search your 1st degree connections to find interesting 2nd degree connections. Connect with people, but make sure to be upfront about why you are connecting. Don’t ever send the default message! Instead, give them a reason to connect with you. If you really want an in, tell them you’d love to learn more about their company and the position they have. People love to talk about themselves and a 15 minute informational interview, whether in person (ideal) or via phone or video chat - is an ideal way to learn more about a company while subtly showcasing yourself.


Follow the people that interest you at companies you’d like to work at. Follow the CEO’s, marketers and other industry leaders. Follow the Head of Human Resources. Watch what they are doing and find the right time to engage with them. It won’t work to bombard them on a Friday night with a tweet about how you want a job, but Twitter does give you the unique opportunity to engage in conversation with someone you don’t know. When they talk about the Lakers game, or their kids, or their trip to Costa Rica - just reply with interest, if you have something to say. Show them you’re interested in them - and they just might be interested in you.


Most people keep Facebook for their existing network of friends, and some don’t even connect with professional colleagues on Facebook. However, you can like the companies you are interested in and engage with their content. You can also find company and industry leaders to subscribe to, (one way communication, similar to Twitter) which can give you insight into their lives! You never know when a common interest might help.

3) Research

Use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to research the organizations and people where you might want to work before you reach out to apply for a job or schedule an informational interview. You can learn a lot more about a company’s core values and culture from their social sites than their website - and if it’s a dream job you seek, be sure that the the company’s values and culture align well with yours before any interview.

Once you land an interview, do significant research in order to be prepared to talk about the company. You can learn from their company website of course, but again, their social sites will also provide great insight into the organization, their leaders, the department’s personalities, and the company’s culture and values. In addition to the big three, research whether the organization you’d like to work for is on YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, or Tumblr. Read their blogs. The more you can learn in advance, the better you’ll be able to show how well you’d fit in and provide value at your dream job.

Remember, in finding the perfect job, it’s always been about who you know. The only difference today is, thanks to social media, who you know - and who knows you - can quickly change for the better.

This was adapted from a post by Likeable’s Director of Talent, Brian Murray, with permission. By the way, both Likeable Media and Likeable Local are looking for new talent! Would you make a great addition to our team in New York, Boston or Chicago? You can apply using this link and then tweet to Brian.

Dave Kerpen
CEO, Likeable Local, NY Times Best-Selling Author & Keynote Speaker

Referenced from

Facebook could file papers for a mega initial public offering as early as this week. Keeping in mind that it’s roughly $100 billion valuation occurred in the span of seven years, the question is: What were the moves that Facebook made as a startup that resulted in such success?

Here are ten ways that I think helped Facebook become juggernaut:

Nailing the Design. MySpace allowed users to determine the look of their personal profile, while Facebook determined that its user experience would be the same for everyone. And they nailed it. Its crisp, clean and easy to navigate approach has so far attracted more than 800 million active users.

AcquHiring. When Facebook acquires another company, they scoop up more than just technology and patents. They acquire people with unique skill sets and a passion for connectedness. This hiring strategy often called AcquHiring, enabled Facebook to generate more value from the companies they’ve acquired.

Monetizing user data. Today, totes up an amazing 28 percent of all display ads viewed by U.S. consumers online. Why? Early on, it utilized its database of personal information and urged advertisers to target those users with an affinity for their particular products.

Taking on accredited investors. Facebook has issued more than two billion shares to accredited investors. People like PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman got in very early, contributing to Facebook’s angel and Series A funds. Then Facebook raised $2.34 billion dollars in eight rounds of funding, which is positioning the company to raise an additional $10 billion in an IPO.

Relaxing membership requirements. At first, Facebook membership was restricted to Harvard students. By 2006, membership was opened to anyone with a pulse and an email address, giving it the broadest demographic appeal possible. From teenagers to grandparents, everyone uses Facebook.

Requiring real names. From the get-go, Facebook members were required to use their real name — a deviation from the former avatar or nickname approach of identification from others such as Friendster, message boards and forums that allowed users to remain anonymous. Real names matter in the real world.

Launching the Open Graph. Facebook’s Open Graph, the technology that allows anyone online to automatically identify what they like anytime a Facebook “Like” button appears, is beginning to re-index the web around people.

Encouraging third-party applications. Facebook has registered more than a million developers who are creating apps for the platform. Investment firms are also launching multimillion-dollar funds dedicated to helping companies develop new applications just for Facebook.

Establishing user trust. I know what you’re thinking, but the fact remains that Facebook’s privacy controls have evolved to the point where the user is in control of how much of their information is shared with advertisers and other users. To its credit, Facebook has addressed concerns about privacy when they surface, admitted mistakes and held third-party developers to extremely high standards.

Branding Pages. Allowing businesses, brands and organizations to create Pages on the site ushered in a new era in marketing. A fifth “P” — Participation — joined Product, Price, Place and Promotion in the traditional marketing mix, turning the top down marketing funnel into a viral loop.

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What You Need to Know: 8 Simple Rules for Great Email Design

by Audrey Howes

Email marketing has been and will continue to be one of the most central components to most companies marketing strategies. The potential ROI is just too good to ignore. The difference between successful email marketing and trips to the junk bin hinge on one main component: email design. Here are eight tips to take your email designs from good to great.

Your Brand Has a Style

Over 20% of the Swiftpage customers we surveyed last month about Email Marketing and Design said their emails don’t match their company branding. We know it is tempting to do your own thing, but the cost might not be worth it. Customers build familiarity and trust with your brand by repeatedly seeing your company’s logo, colors, font styles, etc. Especially in email, customers want to know exactly who is sending the email and only trust emails that look familiar. We recommend that you create a simple style guide for your company. Make a list of acceptable fonts, colors, secondary colors, and logos that can be used for various publications. If you already have a style guide in place, do an email check-up to see what is aligned with the guide and what needs some adjustment.

Match Emails to Print Pieces

In a perfect world you could design an email newsletter, print it, and mail it to customers who don’t get email. Well here’s the reality, email and print design are two entirely different animals. Here are just a few of the differences:

Emails are designed at 72 DPI (low resolution) and print pieces are designed at a minimum of 150 DPI (higher resolution), so printing emails will never be as pretty since the resolutions differ.
Email widths are generally narrower at 600 pixels wide to make image downloading faster, viewing more accessible, and keeping email sizes small for increased deliverability.

Print pieces are usually 8.5 inches wide (1275 pixels at 150 DPI) allowing for higher quality printing functionality and file size is not a obstacle

There is no limit to which font can be used on print pieces while emails are limited to web-safe fonts. Make sure you have uniform fonts for both marketing pieces. Read our recent blog post with some creative font ideas here. >

Print pieces can expand over many pages whereas emails need to be short and sweet to capture the reader’s attention.

Printing is significantly more costly than sending emails and is almost impossible to track results.
A well-designed print piece can certainly be used to inspire an email design for brand consistency. If you need some assistance making your brand consistent, just reach out to Bright Peak to take the inspiration and make it reality.

The Top Spot

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, pay attention to the space at the top left of your email. The top section is what pops up in preview panes and on mobile devices. Plus it is where the eye naturally starts to begin scanning. Make sure to include your company name and/or logo in the top section along with some of your key email text to draw your readers in. top section should make readers want to keep scrolling through your email, so be creative! Use current branding, optimized navigation links, and custom taglines to make your email’s purpose known.
Drive ‘Em to the Right

In a recent study using eyetracking heatmaps, MarketingSherpa’s team found an interesting trend in click patterns. They discovered that readers click more on links found on the right side of emails and links closer to the top. Add your most important call to action to the top right sections of your email to take advantage of our clicking tendencies. In addition, try to move other hyperlinks to the edges of paragraphs rather than burying them within the text and include a line break before ‘Read More’ or ‘Learn More’ links. Think of reading your email in an “F” shape−left to right with your eye ending on the right side.
An Image Here, An Image There

In our Email Marketing and Design Survey, 78% of you told us that you prefer to receive emails with either mostly images or a balance of text and images and we agree. Images are a key component in email design, but they can’t be the only thing. Small to medium sized businesses should to include a healthy mix of images and text to get the most impact from emails. Balance is the key to a well-received email. Small businesses aren’t on the same level as big box retailers who send image-only emails because they have incredible brand recognition. Ask yourself, if your images did not display correctly or at all – is your email’s message still conveyed?

Common email image items are: header images, logos, buttons, charts and graphs, footers, social media icons, and content-oriented images.
Common text items are: taglines, headlines, main body text, hyperlinks, pricing, and tables
The Great Image Hunt

When searching for images to add to your emails, please don’t just ‘Google it.’ Google and other search engines image searches don’t give you permission to use what you find. Most of the images are copyrighted and you need permission to use them in business communications. Instead look at sites like offering low cost images or for free images. is another helpful site and offers the ability to search for icons based on license filters. Those are just a few examples. There are many more sites out there that can help you find professional images to add a little something to your email.
Headlines Should Pop

Newsflash: Emails aren’t really read, they are scanned. Our inboxes are too full for us to give every email we receive the attention we give the latest New York Times best seller. To aid in the scanning process, make your headlines stand out from the rest of the text. Try using a larger font size, bolding or italicizing the font, changing the font color, or a combination. When you apply the headline style, sit back from your screen and take a practice scan. If the headlines don’t grab you, try a different combination to engage readers. Don’t be obnoxious with overly-large text or oddly colored headlines that make it hard to read and look like junk mail.

We Don’t Like It Either

No one, including us, likes the email testing process. Testing emails is boring, tedious, frustrating, and necessary. It is amazing what small errors or glitches you will find during the testing process. Better for you to find them and fix them than to hear negative feedback from your readers. Set up accounts on the bigger free email clients such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail. Send tests to all of your free accounts and look over the email in multiple browsers, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Chrome. If you have a mobile device that receives email, check out your test email on the device. Also send the email to desktop email clients such as Outlook and Apple Mail. If you really prefer to leave the testing to the experts, check out Bright Peak’s email analysis service that previews email campaigns in over 30 email clients and 8 mobile devices.

As one respondent from our recent survey put it, “Email design is critical to our success.” While good email design can feel challenging at first, once you have put these tips into practice, it will soon become habit. Don’t let the initial challenge of email design stop you from the success on the horizon!

Reference from

You’re the CEO of your company. But do you look and act like a leader? Here are five ways to get started.


Most members of a team know when they’re doing their work well. They often have a particular area of expertise, and they have deadlines and deliverables.

For leaders, it’s a bit different. How do you show that you’re leading? Here are five competencies that good leaders demonstrate. They are related to one another, and each is framed with a question to help you think about opportunities to display leadership.

1. Visibility

We know that leaders need to be seen by followers—from formal presentations and announcements, to a crisis, to simple “managing by walking around.” The less-obvious occasions, however, are easily overlooked. They can be lost opportunities, or powerful expressions of leadership.

As a leader, when do you feel out of your comfort zone? Maybe it’s when you have to deliver bad or unpopular news, or mediate a conflict between direct reports, or perform a necessary task that you just don’t like. One CEO client told me that he found it hard to celebrate the “small to medium wins” that his team wanted acknowledged. He considered these victories just part of doing business. His solution was to ask his executives to publicize accomplishments up to a certain level, allowing him to save his praise for the really big achievements.

Ask yourself, “How am I visible to others when I don’t want to be?” The answer is not to pretend to like being visible—far from it. Instead, ask yourself this question prior to an uncomfortable event, and use it to help you prepare. Consider some behavioral options, and put yourself in a different mental space. Then you’ll be able to be visible in a more productive, less stressful manner.

2. Preparation

Many leaders are great at preparing the logistics of leadership (the facts and figures in a plan, or the pitch for a presentation). Too many leaders, however, don’t prepare regularly for the deeper daily requirements of leadership. This is a shame, because most leaders face complex challenges, relentless claims on their time, and increasing pressures to deliver on goals over which they don’t have direct control. A bit of regular preparation goes a long way.

Just as athletic activities involve physical, mental, and emotional energies, leadership is a “whole-body practice” and requires preparation of the whole person. The next time you are running through your checklist prior to a leadership event, ask yourself, “How have I prepared my whole self for this?”

3. Comfort

This is closely related to preparation, because leadership discomfort is greatly enhanced by a lack of preparation. In order to be more comfortable as a leader and to appear that way to other people, you need to practice (which is simple preparation repeated). By “comfortable,” I don’t mean perpetually happy or even relaxed—I mean grounded in your complete embodiment of leadership.

Ask yourself, “How do I display that I am comfortable with the responsibilities and demands of leadership?” Look for nagging doubts in the back of your mind; or instincts that need to be surfaced around what you feel should be happening instead of what is happening, or that feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach about an issue not faced. This is valuable data, and if you do not address your lack of grounding and comfort, others will certainly sense it for you.

4. Listening

One reason that modern leadership is hard is because an effective modern leader must listen to others. Though few people manage to do it, this may be one of the easiest competencies to demonstrate—provided you can resist the urge to talk.

Ask yourself, “What one thing can I tell myself as a reminder to listen more?” It’s vitally important that you think up an effective cue. If you can’t come up with one, that in itself could indicate a deeper internal misalignment.

5. Blend

This list started with visibility. When the opposite is required, a leader must blend in. Otherwise, he or she risks drawing attention away from the people and issues at hand. When you pull back, it makes it easier for other people to bring you hard problems, bad news, and perspectives that challenge the status quo.

As a leader, it’s not all about you. The clearest way to demonstrate this is to find the right moments to step out of the spotlight so that other people get the attention they need. Ask yourself, “When necessary, how do I lower the volume of my leadership presence?”

Though leadership can be hard to demonstrate at times, regularly questioning how you embody your role will serve your leadership well.

Brian Evje is a management consultant with the organizational-effectiveness practice Slalom Consulting and an advisory board member of Astia, a global not-for-profit dedicated to increasing women’s participation in high-growth businesses.

Referenced from

You can be the most marvellous business in the whole world but if no one has heard of you so what?

Getting yourself known is the holy grail of all business activities because to a large extent you have very little control over the biggest tool available to you that is the media. Whilst many an innovative marketing manager has laboured under the impression that they have what it takes to get their story in the press, in fact a lot depends on circumstances. It is like holding the king in a game of trumps and being forced to play it at the same time as the person holding the ace!

So how do you get noticed by the media? What can you do to improve your chances even if you can’t guarantee the outcome?

The standard thing to do is to write a press release and then send it to your favourite or even every media outlet you can think of. However, it’s always better to take aim at a specific target with a high calibre weapon than it is to blast the target with a shotgun aimed in the general direction.

The first thing to remember when loading your weapon, is that every media outlet has a specific audience. A lifestyle magazine or website like Mumsnet targets women with young children and Elle magazine’s audience is most likely focused on younger more career minded women in their late 20s to mid 30s. National newspapers like the daily Mirror cater for the general public and have specific sections for specialist interest and websites like Techcrunch and Mashable are industry specific.

So the first thing to bear in mind is that you need to select the media outlet that matches your business message. There’s no sense sending an article about the launch of your new personal development program to Anglers Today unless you can make a direct link to how it will improve their readers fishing skills! This means that you need to take time to do your research and ascertain the most appropriate media outlets to target. Your analysis should take account of geographic coverage; audience; specialism and the seasons to name a few as all these will determine whether or not your story is going to fit the profile of the media platform you have chosen.

Another thing to consider is your story. Most businesses contemplating using the media for publicity take one of two approaches: either they think I’ve got nothing of any interest to say and therefore they give up before they begin; or they think everything about them is of interest to the rest of the world and send out press releases about how great their products are; that they’ve moved offices; hired a new member of staff or are hosting an event. The problem with this is it may be of interest to your business but unless you are constantly being followed around by the paparazzi, chances are your day to day activities aren’t news worthy. That said it’s possible to make any story appealing to a particular news outlet. You have to pick a relevant angle and be timely. A story that is likely to be picked up should be:

1.Relevant to the audience. For example if you’re an Accountant and you have just devised a great new system that makes completing tax returns for GPs a breeze then sending it to the BMJ at the end of the tax year is likely to result in a call from one of their journalists.

2.It should be newsworthy. A story becomes news when it has one or more of the following 7 qualities:

timely – it happened recently;
proximity -it has occurred in the area of the readership and therefore is relevant to them;
rarity – it’s so unusual that it stops the reader in their tracks and make them go “geewhiz”;
prominent – the person or people affected by the story are prominent members of the community;
impact – it has a direct effect on the lives of the readers;
novelty – it is the first time or a rare occurrence
it is of human interest
3. It should be authentic. That is create stories that match your business message to the message of the media outlet rather than changing your message to match it. This is not the same as looking for the right angle for a story. For example suppose you want to get coverage by a local radio show that does a feature on how to deal with Cowboy builders and you run a building company that has developed a home owner’s guide for choosing a good builder; a code of conduct for good construction and run home maintenance seminars once a month in the local community center. Based on this, topics that are relevant to both your company and the radio station are: how to comply with building regulations; building an extension; planning your dream home. It is important that you identify the common messages because if you modify your core message for the sake of coverage a) it won’t be good quality coverage because you will be struggling to be authentic and b) the audience of the media outlets won’t become part of your community or convert into your customers because your wider message and blog won’t relate to the thing that drew them in, in the first place.

Getting media coverage is a great way to boost awareness about your business but like everything in marketing it isn’t a magic pill. If you do get coverage, even if it is carried by the major news outlets, you won’t be instantaneously launched to international stardom so forget any ideas of being able to sit back and put your marketing efforts out to pasture.

Typically all that happens is that you will get a short lived spike in your traffic or sales which will peater out as the days since your coverage increase. The larger the media outlet and the more prominent your feature, the bigger the spike. If the media outlet has a small circulation, listenership or viewership and/or the feature only gets a small mention, you’ll only get a small trickle of traffic/interest (if anything at all).

Using the media as part of your marketing strategy requires long term commitment, i.e. you need to create a publicity calendar so that you have a constant stream of stories that you are working up in order to release them as they become timely.

Have you got any free press coverage in the past or have you tried and are yet to be featured? Please do leave a comment and share.


Infographics are all the rage at the moment, particularly with the rise in popularity of sites like Pinterest where visuals and images of statistics are being shared.

What are inforgraphics?

Inforgraphics are visual representation of data with small, relevant and clearly displayed nuggets of information. But infographics are not just useful to consume, they are also useful to produce for your business. People want their information quicker and using visuals are an excellent way to do this. Their eye-catching appeal draws more attraction than your average blog. Comprising interesting facts presented in a concise nature will maintain the attention of your readers, plus it’s good to break up your blog with different types of content (video, articles, visuals etc)

I recently shared an infograhic (Know Thy Internet Marketing Commandments) and found that generated a lot more shares than an average blog post. Using inforgraphics is a great way to share content, get more backlinks and more traffic back to your blog.

How do you create an infographic?

Think of a good idea or something relevant to what you often write about. Research some fascinating facts and statistics. Develop arguments that are solid and relevant. Make conclusions.
Consider the best and most relevant format to convey your data. Infographics come in many different formats so think about how you wish to show your statistics – it might be timelines, flow charts, annotated maps, graphs, diagrams, size/value comparisons.
Aim to quickly convey the key points behind complex data. So keep it simple! Don’t put too much in one picture
Decide on a relevant and attractive colour scheme. Think about your own branding here and whether you’re keep it consistent to your own look and feel or will match it to the subject i.e. if you’re creating an inforgraphic on Facebook.
Reference your facts in the infographic.
Include your URL and company name so people can find out who created it.
The Top 16 Tools to create Inforgraphics

Piktochart transforms information into compelling visual stories. Very easy to use and has customizable infographics. You can add icons and your own logo. Piktochart is an online image editor specifically for creating inforgraphics. It has a nice selection of themes to use. Free to use although if you want to be able to choose more themes and have better customization prices from $9.99 a month. is a great tool that allows you to generate a range of infographics almost instantly based on social metrics such as Twitter or Facebook data. Relatively new still they are adding to their categories. Very easy to use and free.
Fluxvfx is an awesome tool where you can create video inforgraphics. It has a selection of templates and is easy to use. Prices start from $25.00.
Many Eyes allows you to upload your own data or use data stored on the site to create professional visualisations. The easiest way to use your own data for online visualisations. Lots of different options in terms of your final product, ranging from creating a world map to a network diagram. is a new app (currently in Beta) that creates an inforgraphic of your resume. It works by taking a user’s LinkedIn profile information (so you need to ensure your profile is s up-to-date) and turns it into a customizable infographic. It’s a fabulous way to show off your skills, work history, expertise, connections and much more. is still relatively new and has lots of features coming soon. Useful tool to create free interactive charts and infographics.
Vizify is a new Twitter infographic tool and showcases details from your tweetstream, including: top followers, geographic impact, most-retweeted posts, and more.
Photo Stats is an iPhone app which analyses all photos on your iPhone and generates cool stylish infographics which show how, when and where you take your photos.

Creately is a user-friendly tool that helps you to create professional diagrams and flow charts. You can choose from a number of purpose-designed diagram types and simply add your data to create your own chart.
Stat Planet is a great tool that creates interactive visualisations (or static images). Access to important worldwide data which you can usefully display through some great map visualisations. You can also customise your visualisations.
Hohli is an easy-to-use online chart maker. You can customise the look and feel of your chart. Simply pick your chart type, add some data, vary the sizes/colours.
Google Public Data Explorer – A very useful way to use public data to transform it into an infographic of your choice. Choose from numerous existing data sets. Perfect for creating attractive and colourful graphics to display your data. You can also embed these charts onto your website or blog.
Tagxedo turns words (famous speeches, news articles, slogans and themes, even your love letters) into a visually stunning word cloud. Words are individually sized appropriately to highlight the frequencies of occurrence within the body of text.
Wordle is a simple and easy to use tool to create effective word visualizations. Simply enter your own text (from short to long passages). Lots of different designs to choose from.
Cacoo is an online drawing tool that allows you to create a variety of diagrams including site maps, wire frames, UML and network charts. Allows real-time collaboration means multiple users can share and edit a single diagram simultaneously. Free to use.

Lilach & Sarah’s Inforgraphics package – If you’re looking to get your hands on a a set of 10 inforgraphics where you can not only upload your logo and website URL but the content is already there then for £10 you can purchase these stunning inforgraphics (includes blog master, business blog set-up (, Hosting, Internet Marketing Commandments, Resume tips and others) More information is here.
Are you using Infographics? What are your favourite tools to create them? Please do leave a comment and share your favourites.