Do You Have the Skill Sets to be CEO?

If you have aspirations to be a CEO you will need to be both a strong connector and a strong communicator.


Both were cited by the “2013 Chief Executive Study” by Strategy&. The study also noted tomorrow’s CEOs will be increasingly female. CEO’s also will travel globally and be comfortable with technology.

Connecting and communicating are powerful skills to have no matter what position you hold. Here are some tips to enhance your skills in both areas.

Connecting

  1. Join a professional group and get to know the members. Share your knowledge with others just as you would hope they would do.
  2. Make a list of influential people within your sphere whom you should know. When possible, meet them at conferences or see if you can schedule coffee or lunch with them.
  3. At conferences, connect with others. Don’t simply collect business cards. Make a point to get to know the person’s areas of influence and something personal about them. Following the conference, if you come upon an article or item of interest that relates to them, share it with them.

Communicating

  1. One communication skill that many communicators should polish is their presentation skills. Consider taking a course in presentation skills. Lynda.com offers a monthly subscription for $25, and you can take all of the online courses you want, including presentation skills. Or, pay attention during a particularly good or bad presentation. What worked, what didn’t? Be sure to apply what you learn in your own presentation, whether it’s formal to a group or informal as you persuade your boss about a potential project.
  2. Use social media. USAToday holds Social Media Tuesdays in which staff can only share their stories on social media platforms. The purpose is to get the reporters to think like their readers, who are increasingly getting their news through social media sites and not the home page or front page, according to a July 14 article in The New York Times.
  3. Join Toastmasters to develop your public speaking skills. Public speaking usually occurs in a more formal setting with limited visuals. Presentation skills as noted above use PowerPoint or other visual aids to support your key messages.

Are you grooming yourself to be CEO of your own company? If not, you may want to enhance your connecting and communicating skills.

 

What’s Your More?

About a year ago, I was working too many hours. I had a huge project at work and there were too many tasks to get them all done. I often was one of the last to leave.

The man who cleaned our floor would frequently tell me I was working too many hours. Some evenings, he said he would swing back on his rounds and make sure I was leaving or, better yet, gone. I was fortunate that he helped encourage me to break a bad cycle.

The same thing happened to a friend of mine, who also was working too much. Her cleaning person stopped her one night and asked her,

“What’s your more?”

My friend looked at her, slightly confused.

The woman challenged her and asked her, “What do you want to be doing more of?”

From that night forward, my friend made a commitment to herself to leave work at a reasonable hour and to spend more time doing the things she loved.

Fortunately, we were both sharing our stories while on vacation together in Europe. Clearly, we had listened.

It’s easy to get caught up in tasks and quickly lose sight of “our more.” I keep a notebook with me for jotting notes and whenever I start a new one, I devote the first page to listing my boundaries and the things I want to be doing more of.

My boundaries are simple. I have a set time I need to leave the office, and I schedule time for buying healthy groceries and cooking meals (usually Sunday evening).

My “more” consists of time with friends, mini vacations, gardening, walking and reading. As long as I’m consistently spending time in my “more” space, I know I have balance in my life.

What’s your more?

Changing Face of Broadcast News

Listening to three veteran news reporters at a recent conference provided me with plenty of good tips for reaching out and responding to reporters.

Katie Hinman, supervising producer for CNN’s The Lead with Jack Tapper, said:

  • Be honest and comprehensive. We are skeptical and if you aren’t sharing information, we think you have something to hide.
  • Be specific about what your expert will share.
  • Watch the shows you are pitching so you have a sense of what the anchors and correspondents cover.

Gina Garcia, an Emmy-nominated producer with the CBS This Morning program in Washington, D.C., said:

  • “Character is everything.” She was referring to having available someone who benefitted from a program or is using the product. The character provides added depth to the story.
  • Be a resource. Because reporters can’t be everywhere, reporters value PR people who can be available and act as a resource. This often leads to a good story placement for the PR person.

Karen Travers, correspondent with ABC News, said:

  • Follow reporters on Twitter because they often will make requests on Twitter for subject matter experts.
  • Don’t just pitch an idea; pitch the whole concept, including sidebar stories or infographics and possible footage.
  • Provide a phone number where you can be reached 24/7 because you don’t know when the producer is going to call.

Check Your Facts Before Publishing

Have you read something on social media and immediately shared? Did you stop to think about whether it was accurate?

It’s a question, I honestly hadn’t given much thought to on my personal Facebook page, but now I’m pausing before I hit share.

At a recent media conference, Bill Schackner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette questioned, “Just because you can send it quickly, should you?”

(Source: ING)

(Source: ING)

Unfortunately, it seems as if that is exactly what many reporters are doing.

A new survey from Dutch company ING found that 45 percent of international journalists “publish as soon as possible and correct later,” while only 20 percent always do their due diligence before publishing.

Additionally, the 2014 Study Impact of Social Media on News report, created for PR professionals and journalists, reported that one-third of journalists don’t consider social media posts a reliable source of information.

That doesn’t mean they don’t see the value of social media posts. Fifty percent said the majority of their news tips and facts come from social.

Scott Jaschick, editor and founder of Insider Higher Ed, said at the same media conference, “We now have unofficial sources of information. That really helps.”

I was encouraged, though, when he told the audience to lots of applause, “We’re old school journalists. We actually like to confirm facts.”

Maybe more journalists will return to the days of fact checking.

Covering News in the Digital Era

I transitioned from print journalism to public relations almost two decades ago. My reporting and writing skills have been critical to my success. I also like to think that because I was a reporter, I know what reporters are looking for.

The digital era, though, has changed the rules somewhat.

I remember when I wrote a story about children’s beauty pageants. I received not one but two (!) letters to the editor about the coverage. I also received several phone calls. That was unusual. For the most part, I wrote the story, it was published and, maybe, a friend or a colleague would comment about it.

Today feedback is semi instantaneous. Not only do readers share stories via social media, but news organizations know which stories are being read because of page view reports.

Reporters also are connecting differently. When I started in the business, I worked the phone. It was glued to my ear as I interviewed sources and scheduled face-to-face interview. Today, reporters do much of their reporting by email (that’s not to say they aren’t still meeting with sources) and they can find out about breaking news and potential sources through social media, particularly Twitter.

At the College Media Conference recently held in Washington, D.C., every reporter I met had a Twitter handle, and all but a few are active on it.

“Twitter is a quick way to reach people and find stories,” said Bill Schackner, higher education reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

To better engage with readers, newspapers are creating packages, both in print and online. Nick Anderson, the higher education reporter for the Washington Post, noted how a story on changes to the SAT included a quiz with SAT questions that readers could answer online – and many did.

Some publications also seek content from other sources to reuse on their site. Slate Magazine does this and its news editor Chad Lorenz said that PR practitioners should be aware of these publications and pitch stories to them.

The magazine also recognizes the importance of social media. “We use it to deliver content to new readers on their home turf,” said Chad Lorenz, news editor of Slate Magazine.

Not all readers are interested in the full story. “A share of my readers don’t even want the story,” said Schackner. “They just want the nugget.”

Whether you’re entering the world or reporting or you are pitching the reporters, it’s critical to understand how news is covered in the digital era.

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