Remember in school when you had to write an essay on “What I did this summer?” This was your teacher’s way of teaching you the art of storytelling. Well, who ever said the storytelling should stop just because we’re all grown up?
Soliciting stories from members of your organization is a quadruple win:
An effective technique for eliciting stories from the people in your organization or from your customers is to run a story contest with winners and prizes. It’s amazing how excited adults can get over sharing stories. So, how do you create a contest?
1. Define your contest. What is the purpose? What kind of information do you hope to elicit? Do you want individual stories, workplace stories, or excellent customer service stories? Ask a question that excites your target audience’s imagination. Examples:
2. Decide how you’ll use the stories. Will the stories appear in your magazine, your intranet site, your internet site, your management meeting, or maybe on a special wall in the building?
3. Determine the prize(s) you’ll use to incentivize people to participate. Make sure that they are appropriate for your organization, audience, and budget.
4. Establish your timeline and budget. Include the cost of prizes, translations, marketing, and time required. How long will your contest run? Build in time to market the contest, review the entries, and select a winner. Work backwards from your deadline.
5. Draw up the rules. Figure out how you will judge entries in advance – you’ll need to communicate this to participants.
6. Launch your contest. Develop and execute your marketing plan, including the who, what, where and when information on the contest. Monitor submissions, adjusting your marketing efforts as needed.
7. Select and announce your winner(s) and any runner-ups. Notify winners directly in advance before formal announcements are made. Use winning entries in your communications, as planned.
Your turn: Have you ever participated in a contest? What type of contest would you like to run? Leave a comment here to share your ideas.
Everything can be taken from a man or woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. – Victor E. Frankl
Throughout my adult life, for various reasons, I have been told that I am resilient. But my story isn’t relevant today. Oh, believe me, I’d like for you to know all the joys and challenges, triumphs and struggles I’ve experienced. But when I’m practicing resilience, sometimes that means casting aside wounds, wonders, worries and woes in order to allow the simplicity of a message to shine through. So in the spirit of simplicity, all I will say right now about my discovery of the power of resilience is that I believe it is important to cast light, every day.
By shining our inner light outward toward the world, we brighten all that we see. So if you are reading this, it is because you were willing to let this light be cast upon you for a moment.
How will you cast your light? Post a comment here to share how you will demonstrate your resilience today.
Two weeks ago I began taking my first formal art class. The self-portrait I’m showing here is my first completed piece. I am a little scared to share it here, but I’ve decided to do so in the spirit of taking chances. Is it a Rembrant? No. But it’s progress. And that’s all I’m after for now.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” What a lovely invitation to take purposeful risks in the hopes of making yourself…better. A better friend. A better partner. A better leader. A better person. By intentionally choosing to expose yourself to the possibility of reward in the face of failure, you are saying to the world, “I am worth the risk.”
Although the saying, “Leap and the Net Will Appear” is sometimes attributed to an unknown Zen source, it is, in fact, a quote by American naturalist John Burroughs. This blog is an example of taking a leap. When I began writing three years ago, I only had a general idea of what I wanted to talk about, namely: leadership, learning and innovation. I almost didn’t start because I only had ideas – ideas, not even content – for a few posts. What I found was, as long as I tried to be consistent, over time the material for posts naturally began to take shape. I didn’t need to plan or figure it out. The net just appeared.
Special thanks to Tom Hendrich for taking a risk and inspiring me with his courage.
Objects in a composition need to breathe. White space offers an airy canvas stage on which the parts of your design can freely dance. Just ask Mark Boulton, graphic designer and writer from the UK. Here’s my favorite part about Mark’s view on white space:
“Whitespace is often used to create a balanced, harmonious layout. One that just “feels” right. It can also take the reader on a journey through the design in the same way a photographer leaves “looking room” in a portrait shot by positioning the subject off the center of the frame and having them looking into the remaining space.”
Check out this slide show by Brand Autopsy to see some compelling use of white space.
Now, how can you use white space in your next design, web page, slide deck or thank you note to make a bold statement?
Looking forward to [the spaces between] your ideas,