Create a Contest

Build Organizational Positivity: Run a Story Contest

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? 

Everyone Wins

Soliciting stories from members of your organization is a quadruple win:

  • Storytellers enjoy the chance to highlight a meaningful experience, a proud moment or an appreciated person
  • Leaders learn about positive things happening within the organization
  • Teams enjoy the chance to share important events, moments with each other
  • The organization gains a purposeful archive of the great efforts, triumphs and creativity of its individuals and teams

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?

Run a Story Contest in 7 Easy Steps

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:

  • What do I like best about working here?
  • How has our product or service improved the quality of daily life?
  • What does the future looks like if we succeed?

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.

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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.

How do I save my video to my computer?

Here’s a Monday freebie for you…

A freeware program called KeepVid lets you save YouTube videos and other movie files to your computer.

 

 

 

 

 

Three easy steps to downloading videos:

1. Copy the URL of the video you want to download, then head to www.KeepVid.com, and paste it in the bar at the top.

2. Click “Download” to the right of that bar. Do not click the large green “Download” button.

 3. It will load for a few seconds, then you’ll have the option to download the video in FLV (Flash), MP4, or WebM format. If you don’t know which one to pick, go with MP4, as it has the greatest compatibility.

Here’s a nice tutorial on how to use KeepVid: http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57405342-285/how-to-download-videos-from-youtube-vimeo-and-more/

Of course, be sure to have the appropriate permissions when saving videos.

Are You Resilient?

Cast light every day…

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

re·sil·ience

noun \ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s\

  1. the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
  2. an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

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.

Cast your light

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.

Your turn…

How will you cast your light? Post a comment here to share how you will demonstrate your resilience today.

Take a chance

Leap and The Net Will Appear…

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.

Take a Chance

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.”

Leap and the Net Will Appear

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.

The concept of taking a chance does not encourage recklessness. But it does make the important point that you must eventually act, believing that the resources you need will show up when you need them. This is simply faith in its purest form.

Special thanks to Tom Hendrich for taking a risk and inspiring me with his courage.

Your turn

 What commitment have you been waiting to make? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
 

Using technobabble to sound cool

Jargonicious! A plea for simplicity…

The ingenious (and totally fictitious) “Turbo Encabulator” video has long been used to warn against the use of technobabble. It has a fascinating history, which includes this Oscar-worthy 1977 performance by Bud Haggart:

 

What’s the lesson?

Avoid confusing jargon in your presentations.

Be conscious of your audience and sensitive to their familiarity with the terms that you use. We should use jargon, acronyms and other technical terms only if we are sure that our audience will understand them. If there is the slightest chance that they won’t understand, then simplify your language. Remember, if they can’t understand your message, they can’t adopt it.

I know what you’re thinking…

“But, Susan, big words make me sound more interesting and credible!”

Actually, the opposite is often true. The more clearly and simply you can deliver your message, the more likely people are to follow your ideas (intentional double entendre).

I would write more, but I’ve gotta go for now, as my flux capacitor needs recharging.

Your turn

Where have you seen (or even used) technobabble?

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Thanks to my colleague, Dave Ilconich, for reminding me of this classic video.