400+% increase in webinar registrations in 9 days | How we did it?

Webinar Generic

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist / Byline in : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | Wipro NewsCred |Finextra | Inc42 Business2Community | ProBloggerFamous Bloggers |TheNextWomen | Nasscom | PaulWriter WomensWeb | Sheroes PeopleMatters YoWoTo |  2Most.com | Parentous | The Change Blog
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Top Marketing Blogs in India, Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

The C Mantra’s for Marketing Success

C is one of my favorite alphabets of the English language. I don’t really know why.. I guess it is somewhat lucky for me. For e.g.: As a student, for any multiple choice question for which I did not know the answer, I’d choose C and it would be right :). So C and me go a long long long way back! I also love marketing, and infographics are my latest muse. So I thought why not do an infographic the C Mantras for Marketing Success!

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it!

mktng success

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist / Byline in : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | Wipro NewsCred | Inc42 Business2Community | ProBloggerFamous Bloggers | TheNextWomen | Nasscom | PaulWriter WomensWeb | Sheroes PeopleMattersYoWoTo |  12Most.com | Parentous | The Change Blog
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Top Marketing Blogs in IndiaDirectory of Top Indian Blogs and Most Widely read Indian Bloggers,Directory of Best Indian BlogsAlltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) ,50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter (2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Perfection v/s Progress – You Choose!?

Progress v_sPerfection(1)

Your blog posts are never perfect” she said

“What do you mean?” I asked

“I almost always find some mistakes in them – spelling, grammar, sentence construction, etc.. They can be better.” She said

“Hmm.. OK. Noted. So what do you want me to do?” I asked

“Don’t publish till it is perfect, or if you don’t have time – Ask someone else to make it perfect” she said

Why is perfection important?” I asked

Because that is the ultimate goal” she said

The above is a conversation I had recently with a very good friend of mine, someone who is my best critic (for writing and life), a trusted adviser and diligent blog reader.

It got me thinking, and of course going back to read my blogs. They read fine to me. But yes! Like with anything in life, there was scope for improvement. BUT.. That incremental improvement comes at a cost – which is my time. And time is precious for me as a working mother. And I’m sure it is for you too, in whatever you do!

So whenever I publish a blog post, the effort is mostly “time-boxed”. For e.g: If I decide to write a post in 30 minutes, that’s carved in stone. When the time is up, I review it and publish it. I don’t even attempt to make it perfect. Yes! I made that choice to let go of perfection for every blog post. And that choice has come at a price – which is feedback like the above, or may be even losing some readers along the way. The best part is that it has enabled my growth and progress as a blogger, writer and social media influencer. It has also helped me be regular in posting because had I strived for perfection, I might simply not have been able to post so consistently.

So, here’s the thing about Perfection – It takes time. It takes a lot of energy. It can drain you. And the other thing about perfection is that it is almost always relative. It is in the eyes of the beholder. It is almost always time-bound. Nothing is truly perfect forever. At least, in my view.

I know this because sometime in the distinct past – I used to be a perfectionist. Not in everything, but things which were important to me. Over time, I recognized that it was not realistically sustainable. May be it was not a virtue meant for me. Whatever! I let-go of it, and have made peace with that choice.

And just as I was writing this post, I came across this video from Apple CEO, Mr Tim Cooks in which he mentions that perfection is core to what Apple creates. So if perfection was not the ethos of Apple, we’d probably not experience the best of what Apple had to offer. And I also know from sure that Apple as a company has made progress over the years – in terms of growth, innovation, market share. So progress and perfection can co-exist!

So, I’ll end with the fact that we probably need both progress and perfection – in people, in life, in businesses and in the world. Just that whether they can co-exist in your context is something that is an individual choice and preference.

Here and now, I still choose progress over perfection.That is the only way it will work for me in this phase of life.

What about you? Leave a comment to let me know

First published here

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist / Byline in : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

5 Points which impact Marketing Success (or Failure) …

So it is the Annual Appraisal time at work – The time to introspect on the good and not-so-good for the year gone by. Also the time to get feedback on what was good and what was not-so-good; take the lessons and move ahead into a new year.

As a I look back at last year wearing the lens of a marketer, I can say that it has been exciting and excellent. Most importantly, it has been wonderful to see the impact and difference marketing has made on business. As I go down memory lane to see what truly made a difference a few points stand out. In this post, sharing the 5 key points:

Marketing objectives are closely linked to business objectives

The role of marketing has changed significantly over the past few years – especially since the onset of the ‘digital revolution’. From being a supporting enabler for business, marketing is increasingly viewed as the custodian of the customer experience. As a result, success of marketing directly and significantly affects business, and hence it is imperative that marketing objectives are closely linked to business objectives. For e.g.: If a business objective is to be known as a ‘Market Leader in a particular area”, then a possible marketing objective can be to feature in a respected industry / analyst rating report as a Market Leader as an external (analyst / customer / partner) endorsement of a company’s brand is critical to achieve this objective. Or if a business objective is to increase business growth by X%, then a possible marketing objective can be to generate Y leads – where is a multiplier of X based on typical conversion metrics

Marketing has well defined “measurable” objectives

Again marketing teams have always known to focus / report the ‘soft / qualitative’ aspects, and hence marketers are increasingly under pressure to demonstrate the marketing impact. The most effective way to showcase any impact is through metrics. The only pre-requisite to capture and report metrics is to know what to measure and how to measure. For this, it is critical to have a sign-off with business on what “measurable” objectives are to be worked on. For e.g: If one of the focus areas for business is to create a compelling content strategy to demonstrate thought leadership for external branding and customer lead generation, then a measurable objective could be to publish 1 content piece a month on the company blog. This becomes easy to track, measure and report every month as opposed to an objective which states “Create content to reflect thought leadership”. Defining measurable objectives at the start of the year helps set expectations among all stakeholders, and provides a direction for marketing to focus their efforts.

Regular Monitoring, Tracking and Reporting “marketing outcomes”

Again, while defining ‘marketing objectives’ is the first step – continuous monitoring, tracking and reporting the marketing outcomes on a regular basis is key. Leveraging the power of tools and technology to capture key marketing metrics and sharing these metrics with key business / leadership stakeholders on an ongoing basis is critical for long term success of marketing initiatives.

Being able to show the co-relation between “marketing outcomes and business impact”

Again, this is one area where most marketers and businesses struggle with. How to show the co-relation between “marketing outcomes and business impact”? For e.g: Let us assume a B2B company hosted an online event – like a webinar or a virtual round table. The event was outstanding with an attendance of 500+ audience. Now most marketers are always asked “OK Great. But so what?”. In general, online / offline events are great opportunities to identify prospects and convert them to potential leads through focused lead nurturing initiatives. However, such initiatives need time and effort. And time is money – so it becomes important to track both. It is exactly for answering the marketing ROI questions that marketing technology in the form of automation solutions plays a key role.

Marketing sits on the table with Business, Technology, Finance and Operations

Last but not the least – Marketing has to be in-sync with business, technology, finance and operations. Marketing has to be part of the discussions, has to be in-tune with key data and has to be a key participant in decision making. For this, a shared vision and goals along with an environment which fosters communication and collaboration with the customer at the center of the universe is key for marketing and business success.

That’s my view. What do you think? Leave a comment to let me know..

A version of this post was first published on LinkedIn Pulse

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World Columnist / Byline in : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Top Marketing Blogs in India, Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]


Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Do you participate in Tweet Chats? 6 Compelling reasons you should..

I started participating in Tweet chats several months ago. At first, it was just out of curiosity. Over a period of time, I realized the many benefits (not to mention, I enjoyed myself too!) and continue to participate in a few chats regularly. Some of the Twitter chats that I’ve been part of include #Bufferchat, #Eduin, #IndiaHrChat, #chrdx, #hrtrends, etc.

According to this Forbes article, a Tweet chat is a live Twitter event, usually moderated and focused around a general topic. To filter all the chatter on Twitter into a single conversation a hashtag is used. A set time is also established so that the moderator, guest or host is available to engage in the conversation.

From what I’ve read, the very first Tweetchat (popularly known as #blogchat) was hosted Mark Collier in March 2009. The response was so good that Mark continues to host this chat every week – 8 PM Central. Each week a different blogging topic is chosen, For e.g.: sometimes it is about personal blogging topics, other times the focus is about business blogging. There are more than 5000 tweets on an average during every 1 hour chat session!!! For more details, click here .

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a corporate, an individual, or a community manager – there are many good things about participating in Tweet chats. In this post, I’m listing 6 compelling reasons to be part of Tweet chats

Tweetchat WHY
(1)   You think : One the reasons why I enjoy being part of Tweet chats is that they compel you to “think on your feet” about very pertinent questions around a topic. Questions which may be you’d never think about. By being part of a tweet chat, not only do you have to think – but answer publicly state your response. So you really need to think quickly and respond concisely and creatively (in 140 chars), which is a good exercise for your left and right brain!

(2)  You learn : The other most important benefit of being part of tweet chats is that you learn about the subject under discussion, and a social media skill on how to participate in tweet chats . Most tweet chats involve a combination of personal opinions / perspectives and also generous sharing of previously published articles / resources on the topic in question. So you get to access to some of the best online resources around a subject which is a great learning experience

(3)   Your social network only gets better as you connect with a diverse set of individuals / businesses : This is probably one of the most important reasons to be part of Tweet chats. Your networks and relationships make all the difference – both in your professional life or personal life, and especially in the socially connected world. The best way to nurture a relationship is to invest in it – with time, with valuable content, with positivity. Most of the regular tweet chats also have a guest on the chat – Someone who is an expert in the area and he /she shares their perspectives on the questions. Tweet chats provide a great opportunity to connect and converse and engage with the experts, thus setting the initial foundation for any future interactions

(4)  You get diverse global perspectives for the same question : This is again one of the key reasons to be part of tweet chats. Many times I find just “listening” to many unique / personal responses to the same question can be a huge learning experience. Reading the insights and trends which give you a holistic view on any subject is in itself is a huge take-away

(5)   You can get answers to your own queries : The other good thing personally for me is that many times if I have a question, I raise it during tweet chats and invariably get some of the best answers. So it is like “googling” for your query, just that here the responses are from people who know / are genuinely interested in the subject under discussion. And many times there are several global industry experts / gurus who join into these discussions.

(6)   You enhance your own online brand : Sharing your unique views, voice and perspective based on your experiences / thoughts during a tweet chat gives you an opportunity to create and enhance your own online brand – What you say makes all the difference in the online world , and goes to create and enhance your online brand.

And all of the above with the only investments as your time, your thoughts and a willingness to share…  Those are my 6 reasons.. Do you participate in tweet chats? Yes / No.. Why? Leave a comment to let me know..

Suggested Readings

http://blog.tweetchat.com/blog/
http://www.likeable.com/blog/2011/07/whats-the-roi-of-a-tweet-chat/
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/twitter-chats-with-pam-moore/
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/tag/tweetchat/
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/28979/8-Steps-to-Hosting-a-Successful-Twitter-Chat.aspx
List of Tweet chats @ http://www.gnosisarts.com/index.php?title=Tweetchat_Wiki/By_Day#.VCyQImcxNyU

Blogging for Business / Run a corporate blog? – Here are a list of topics for 1 year (for FREE!)

Are you blogging for your business / run a corporate blog to gain mind-share, market-share or profit-share?

And you don’t know what to blog about?

If I had to create a Blogging FAQ( Frequently Asked Questions) on what I get asked most of the time, the top questions would be
1) Why blog?
2) What to blog about?

If I had to answer Why should a business / corporate blog? – The answers are manifold :

(i) To share their views / voice

(ii) To engage / nurture your industry ecosystem by connecting with customers,partners, suppliers, analysts, solution providers, etc.

(iii) To learn yourself and stay updated with market / industry trends

(iv) To generate leads and

(v) To create a brand!

The next question is What to blog about?. In this post, I’m listing blog post ideas for a business blog which can last you for 1 year – if you publish at least 1 post a week.. The key to success is consistency over a long period.For that, focus, plan and a commitment to invest in your blog is most important.

I usually recommend a healthy mix of different content formats on a corporate blog – including blogs, pictures, infographics, video content, etc.

So choose a topic from the list below, decide on the format, and publish publish publish away :)

1) Why did your business / corporate start? What was the idea and how it came to be?

2) The initial phase – Challenges and Lessons. What you learned from setting up your business?

3) The founding team – Who they were and How they came to be? A fun or lesser known facts about the team. It always makes an interesting read if a reader knows a “personal / human” side to you.

4) A timeline which highlights key dates / milestones since inception.

5) What are your offerings (services / products)?

6) Recent innovations in your business / which affect your business – This could be done once in 3 months, so you can have at least 4 posts / year

7) What is unique about your offerings?

8) What difference will your offering make to a customer?

11) An industry timeline – Infographic (How the industry came to be?)

12) Less known facts about your business / industry – – With interesting trivia, facts and figures (well researched and data accuracy is important)

13) Industry survey / trends – Infographic (What all the latest market surveys are saying – for your industry as a whole).

14) Video from your CEO on any topic he is passionate about

15) A blog post on the current trending topic (technology / business / process) and your view on it – Even you do this once in 2 months, you’ll have 6 posts for a year

16) A success story for your business | Who was the client? What was the problem? How you solved it? This could be done at least 2 times / year

17) Lessons learned from a not-so-successful customer project | What was the problem? What did you learn? This could be done at least 2 times / year

18) A Must-Read monthly round-up of 8 – 10 interesting industry articles, news, views, opinions, perspectives – from your customer, partners, competitors | as an online curated resource which anyone can refer to (With 1 / month, this adds up to 12 posts for the year)

19) A Must-Read monthly round-up of 8 – 10 interesting articles, news, views, opinions, perspectives – on life hacks, productivity, getting better at work, general inspiration | as an online curated resource which anyone can refer to (With 1 / month, this adds up to 12 posts for the year)

20) Interviews with Experts – What your industry experts are saying about the future? Even if you do 1 / quarter, you will have 4 posts in a year

21) Choose any topic that is currently trending and get the 3 or more alternate views on the subject. for e.g.: if the topic you are currently interested in is around next generation analytics solutions, write a post with the views of a customer, technology provider, product vendor and analyst. Just bringing together voice from different perspectives can make a truly unique and compelling read

22) A note of CSR initiatives (Corporate Social Responsibility) and what your company is doing towards specific causes

23) 10 reasons why anyone should join your company

24) A post on Marketing – Its relevance and importance for your business

25)  A post on Digital – Its relevance and importance for your business

26)  A post on Social – Its relevance and importance for your business

27) A post on Big Data – Its relevance and importance for your business

28) A post on Analytics – Its relevance and importance for your business

29)  A post on Cloud – Its relevance and importance for your business

30) Your company’s view on “The Next Big Thing that can change the world”

31) Your company’s view on Innovation

32) Your company’s view on changing role of Leadership

33) 10 Must-Read books – for your business / industry, and Why?

34) Open Letter to anyone joining your company

35) 5 – 10 Blogs you suggest anyone to follow to stay updated / relevant in your business / industry

36) 10 – 20 Twitter thinkers / influencers you recommend others to follow and Why?

NOTE: Some of the above may already be part of most company websites, but a blog post is usually more informal and can be written by the CEO / founder/ core team in an anectodal / story-telling fashion.

 

Suggested Readings

Understanding the Hype Cycle of a Blog

Why you should were the 6 Thinking Hats on your blog

Focus on Diversity on your blog

Why will a reader remember your blog?

Importance of an editorial calendar

T for Thought Leadership..

There are some buzzwords which will not go out of fashion in the business / corporate world. “THOUGHT LEADERSHIP” is one of them. When I first heard the word more than a decade ago at the start of my professional career, I was in “awe” as the word sounded important and impressive.

My first thoughts were “Don’t we all have a zillion thoughts zooming in our minds every single day, so what qualifies for thought leadership? How can anyone demonstrate leadership with their thoughts? Who decides that it is thought leadership? How does one demonstrate thought leadership?
With time and experience, I found these answers. Today, “Thought Leadership” is an integral part of my professional responsibilities.
And here’s the thing|
1) It is still in vogue to be associated with this “T” word or / and have it in your professional resume
2) It is still important and impressive to an individual / organization

According to Wikipedia, the term ‘Thought Leadership’ was coined in 1994 by Joel Kurtzman, editor-in-chief of the Booz & Co magazine Strategy & Business, and used to designate interview subjects for that magazine who had business ideas which merited attention

Thought Leadership is simply about becoming an authority on relevant topics by delivering the answers to the biggest questions on the minds of your target audience.” By Michael Brenner

I think Thought Leadership is many times about asking the RIGHT QUESTIONS too. In fact many times the questions are more important than the answers – as they get one to think and provide the direction for your strategy and plans.

Thought leadership should be an entry point to a relationship. Thought leadership should intrigue, challenge, and inspire even people already familiar with a company. It should help start a relationship where none exists, and it should enhance existing relationships.” By Daniel Rasmus

I fully concur with this definition. The only thing is that very many times “Thought leadership” is incidental or accidental, and consequently so are the relationships which is possibly and probably not a good space / place to be in for any business.

According to a Forbes article,
A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.

A thought leader is an individual or firm that significantly profits from being recognized as such.

I agree with this view. The most challenging part is to become a Thought Leader, or the big HOW? I’m not so sure if Thought Leadership always results (directly) in increased profitability. It can – provided it is marketed / positioned well, and reaches the right audience / reader.

Wikipedia says that “Thought leadership is often used as a way of increasing or creating demand for a product or service. High tech firms will often publish white papers with analysis of economic benefits of the product as a form of marketing”

Agreed! It is really about putting your voices and views in the marketplace and promoting it on multiple online / offline channels that your prospects view.

Why is Thought Leadership important today?

Simply because it is a competitive marketplace and every individual / organization has several thoughts on a periodic basis. Establishing “continuous leadership” on your thoughts is a direct testimonial to the kind of team that you have and a clear ‘market message’ that nurturing and sharing these thoughts is important to you / your team and your organization. Thought Leadership can sometimes be your one and only “key differentiators” in the GTM (Go-To-Market) Strategy. Hence it is imprative for organizations to build, nurture and demonstrate “Thought Leadership”

How to demonstrate Thought Leadership?

With your content. With you communications. With your conversations (online / offline)

Who should drive Thought Leadership?

The beauty of Thought Leadership is that it

Integrates with a SME (Subject Matter Expert)
Integrates with content and social media functions
Integrated with marketing functions
Integrated with Leadership

And so it really is a collective collaborative constructive responsibility of an individual / team / organization to showcase / demonstrate Thought Leadership over a period of time.

And lastly who determines it to be “Thought Leadership”?

This is a tricky one since it depends on who is the addressable market for your offerings / solutions / services / products and who is the (potential) target customer. What may be “Thought Leadership” to one may not be “Thought Leadership” to another. The point is that there should be an “industry / community / group” of experts who “publicly” ratify a thought as “Thought Leadership”…

Agree / Disagree? Leave a comment to let me know

Recommended Readings
What Is Thought Leadership? 5 Steps To Get It Right
What is a Thought Leader?
How to become a Thought Leader?

Why entrepreneurship? – 36 Reasons I discovered

The decision or choice to be an entrepreneur is no easy one (usually).. – whether you are a new kid on the block or you’ve had a corporate career for some (or large) part of your life.And yet, I increasingly read see and hear of so many people taking the deep plunge into entrepreneurship..

I always wondered “Why entrepreneurship?“…And I discovered 36 compelling reasons

(1) To create something new / unique / innovative

(2) To have a fair chance to make money that a corporate job can probably never really pay you

(3) To fell the thrill / high of building a new business / enterprise (This is very different from 1 above)

(4) To be your own boss

(5) To get away from your current boss / company / life

(6) To work on a purpose larger than yourself / life

(7) To generate employment and improve the quality of life for someone somewhere

(8) To work wholeheartedly on something that you are deeply passionate about, and strongly committed to

(9) To create wealth

(10) To experiment with something you’ve never done before

(11) To fulfill a dream

(12) Entrepreneurship is in the blood ; They can’t / won’t do anything else

(13) To lead from the front (really from the front)

(14) To make life worthwhile

(15) To truly solve a problem / market need

(16) To make life easier for someone somewhere

(17) To address a higher calling

(18) To challenge yourself, and push the envelope

(19) To be in control of your life – and not dependent on someone

(20) To live a life (style) that you’ve always desired

(21) To be in full-control of your time at work

(22) To take-over the family business / set-up

(23) To be in power, and to have the power to control, influence and determine the outcome of a zillion things

(24) To build / create / groom / mentor individuals ; a great opportunity to do it your way

(25) To prove a point – to yourself or someone else

(26) To dis-prove a theory / hypothesis / widely held popular belief. For e.g.: He / She can never be an entrepreneur

(27) To find a way to do something better / faster

(28) To pioneer the way to do something in a cost effective manner

(29) To settle past scores with someone. Sometimes jealousy or revenge are the cause for one to embark on entrepreneurial ventures

(30) To heal wounds of the mind and heart; To some entrepreneurship is therapeutic I’m told

(31) To do something worthwhile / productive with your time, skills and knowledge

(32) To pay the bills and put food on the table

(33) No one else is ready to employ / hire you :(

(34) To make a difference in someone’s life

(35) To maximize usage of both sides of your brain :) – Entrepreneurship needs optimal usage of the left and right side of the brain. Ample role of creativity and logic

(36) To leave a legacy which your forthcoming generations will be proud of

 

Did I miss any? Leave comments to let me know

Infographics 101: What? Why? How?

What are Infographics?

Information graphics, or infographics as they are more often called, are a great way to convey complex information clearly and concisely [Src: http://www.problogger.net/archives/2011/09/16/blogosphere-trends-using-infographics/ ]

Over the past few weeks, I’ve read hundreds of infographics, and have enjoyed reading most of them. One, it is for very good reason that the adage A picture is worth a thousand words was coined. I truly understood the “power of images” now. Two, infographics convey a lot of information in a simple, easy to read and easy to comprehend format. Three, I’ve been tasked with creating one at work.

Since I had to create an infographic, I looked for resources on any guidelines, tips, tricks, best practices and advice on “How” to create one. Dr. Google threw up a lot of content. Sharing in this post the links I found useful

The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Infographics @ http://blog.crazyegg.com/2013/05/10/infographics-ultimate-guide/

What Makes A Great Infographic? 8 Experts Weigh In @ http://marketingland.com/8-experts-talk-about-making-great-infographics-34958

The power of infographics @ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2014/01/20/the-power-of-infographics-on-your-blog/

 

Tools to create infographics

20+ Tools to Create Your Own Infographics @ http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/infographic-tools/

10 free tools for creating infographics @ http://www.creativebloq.com/infographic/tools-213197

9 Awesome Powerful Free Infographic Tools @ http://www.infographicsarchive.com/create-infographics-and-data-visualization/

70 Tools And 4 Reasons To Make Your Own Infographics @ http://www.edudemic.com/70-tools-and-4-reasons-to-make-your-own-infographics/

Five Infographic Templates in PowerPoint @ http://offers.hubspot.com/how-to-easily-create-five-fabulous-infographics-in-powerpoint

And how could I conclude this post without an infographic?

[Src: http://mashable.com/2012/07/09/how-to-create-an-infographic/ ]

What working women can learn from productivity in ants?

A few days back I came across an infographic titled 7 Productivity Lessons from Ants. Packed with wisdom and insights, I loved reading it. Refer below to the details.

7 Productivity Lessons from Ants

7 Productivity Lessons from Ants

Source: http://visual.ly/7-productivity-lessons-ants

As a working mother, I’m always looking for ways and means to improve and enhance my productivity. After all, we are trying to do things as quickly and efficiently as we can every single day. And honestly, whenever I see or read or think about ants, I almost always go back with a lesson. They are small, hard-working, focused and do what they have to do!

So based on the wisdom from ants, and my own experiences, I am sharing a few points in this post. These are not about how to excel at the workplace, but really about how to maintain a balance between the expectations and demands of your professional life and the expectations and demands of your personal life. I’m not an expert in this department and I’ve not figured it all out. It is work-in-progress for me, but I do have more than a decade of experience of things that work and make a difference. I only strive to share what has helped in my journey this far with a hope that it may help you – sometime, somewhere

So without any further ado.

Focus – on the things that matter

Look around you at anyone who achieved anything in life – and you will see one defining characteristic. That is FOCUS. Focus is important for anyone in life, but more critical if you are a working woman.

a. Be focused on what you need to accomplish at work for a day, week, month, quarter, year. Keep your eyes on the end goal and objective. In between, even if you deviate, that’s OK! But make sure you come back on track as soon as you can. The best way to do this is to write down what you need to accomplish for a specific time horizon, and look at it at the start of every single day. That will ensure you are on track, at least as you start each day!

b. Be crystal clear on what all you need to do as a part of your personal life (in terms of things to do at home) and for yourself. Identify what is absolutely essential, and let go of everything else. Either outsource or delegate or just let it be. In the long run, many trivial things that you are stuck up about (in terms of your thoughts, time and energies) are really not worth it. For example, I used to be a stickler for a clean, well-organized house every single day, and anything below my expectations was not acceptable. Over time, I realized that this was taking up a lot of my time and energy, taking me away from what I really wanted to do and it really did not matter to others .With time, I relaxed my own benchmarks and go easy on myself. And when I do embark on a house cleaning exercise, it is usually time-boxed.

c. Give undivided time and attention to the task at hand and make sure you complete it. Say NO if and when you have to say NO – To people, friends, distractions, phone calls, TV, Social Media, the spouse, the boss, mummy, spouse, kids et al. The sooner you learn to say NO, the better for you.

Most importantly, as they ants do – focus on one small thing at a time. Multi-tasking is a working woman’s boon, but for things which need to be done really well – Do it one at a time.

Build your team and collaborate

As a working woman professional, you will realize that the sooner you put together a good team to help/enable you at home, the more effective and productive you will be at work. What I really mean by this is to build and nurture a team within the 4-walls so you can be the best possible you at work. From experience, I can say the following are critical members in your core team:

Your maid/helper/cook – will always be on the No. 1 spot. Trust me, you really cannot be a working woman and have this wrong!
Your spouse – needs to be highlighted because he plays a critical role in what you can do at home and work. This usually determines how far your career will go! It is for a very good reason that Sheryl Sandberg says, “The most important career choice a woman makes is who she marries“
Your family – especially your mom, your mother-in-law and your kids
Your friends
Your neighbors

Most importantly, as the ants do – recognize that you will go farther if you collaborate as a team.

Develop a routine that works for you

I can’t emphasize this enough. Suffice to say, create a routine that works for you. Stick with it. And see the magic unfold. It seems very simple and logical. But for many working women, it takes years of experience, many, many failures and serious introspection to come up with the right routine. And once you do, everything falls in line.

As a working woman, you should have the following routines planned out – a daily routine, a weekly routine and a monthly routine. Among other things make sure your daily routine has time for eating right and healthy, catching up on the news and general reading. Make sure your weekly routine has time for exercise, doing something you love (‘ME’ time) and speaking to one/two people in your friends and family network. Networking is critical in the long run, and many working woman lose out here. Ensure your monthly routine has some time to learn something new. Constantly learning, re-skilling, cross-skilling and up-skilling is the need of the day. This can/should include professional learning.

Most importantly, as the ants do – follow a routine to become more efficient and effective.

Communication

Make sure you communicate things that need to be said in a clear and concise fashion – at least to those who play a critical role in your life. Be sure to express clearly what you really want and expect from them – especially your core team at home. Be real and reasonable on expectations from others. And most importantly, say it, and listen to what they have to say.

As a working woman, I’ve burnt my fingers many times by assuming they know. They DON’T! Be it your maid/domestic helper, your spouse, your kids, your boss, your team – assume they don’t know till you clearly call things out for them – in terms of what you will do, and what they will do. And what is non-negotiable! Many times I assume they are OK; many times, they are not OK. So make sure you listen and pay attention to what they have to say. It makes all the difference.

Lastly, to communicate clearly you need to be clear in your head. That clarity usually takes time to get, but it is well worth your time. Be clear in your mind. Be clear in your words.

Most importantly, as the ants do – focus on communicating right and to the right people. And yes! Listen. Communication is two-way.

Stay Positive

Being a working woman is not easy. Being a working mother is tough. I speak from experience here. As working professionals, many women face gender discrimination, workplace bullying, harassment, slow-paced career progression, questionable compensation, unsupportive workplace environment and outdated policies. They are the realities of the environment and ecosystem one is a part of. And there is no easy way to survive, and no magic mantra to thrive.

And yet, every single working woman I’ve met or known has to be positive if she is to have a fair shot in her career. So stay positive and be positive. Read positive messages/books/blogs, speak to positive people and think positive.

Most importantly, as the ants do – Look ahead into a great future.

Set Deadlines

The beauty of a deadline is that there is a line drawn, and the bane is that the line dies somewhere before we get there! So the universal truth is that most deadlines are really not deadlines – they end up just as moving line! As a working professional, it becomes critical to define what a deadline means to you and then set some deadlines – for your own well-being. For e.g., at work, it is important to set deadlines around how long you will stay at work on most days (critical for your personal safety), how soon you will complete tasks assigned to you, how fast will you be able to demonstrate your value, etc.

Similarly, at home it becomes critical to put deadlines around phone conversations and general chit-chat/gossip, TV time, bed time, social media/FaceBook time, etc. Each of these deadlines if consciously defined, and judiciously worked towards will ensure success in the long run.

Most importantly, as the ants do – bring on board your advocates, your allies and your brownies before the storms.

Division of Work

Does this need explanation? Especially for things at home – identify what all needs to be done to keep your house going: cleaning, shopping, home maintenance, cooking, paying bills, etc etc. And then, divide the work or delegate the work – to family, friends or anyone else who can help you. The sooner you figure out the art and craft of division and delegation, the more productive and successful you will be at the workplace and in life!

Most importantly, as they ants do – clearly define the roles and responsibilities. Share it. The sooner people know what they have to do, chances are they will do it sooner than later.

These are some of the points that worked for me. What has worked for you? Leave a comment to let me know.

 

Originally published here

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