Practical Considerations to Improve Your Town Hall Gatherings

What comes to mind when you visualize a town hall-style meeting in its most traditional sense? Many organizations hope to tap into this New England tradition of democracy, picturing their employees engaged in a rousing and lively dialogue with senior management. Instead, the end result is often a quiet, disengaged audience with heads bent over smartphones as leadership drones on about the company’s financial and operating performance. Even worse, leaders are often convinced the session went well because they were in the midst of the workforce and even saw people smiling and nodding during the talk.

Internal surveys often tell a different story – employees have become increasingly “numb” to town halls. While numerous reasons are cited, the real cause is that town halls are now choreographed events with little “authentic” dialogue and opportunity to better grasp the thinking of leadership while comprehending the future state of the business.

WCG recently conducted research on the relevance (or lack thereof) of town hall meetings as an effective leadership communications effort. This brief summarizes the key findings from that research.

The term “town hall” may be used in the context of large employee meetings with leadership, but few such meetings actually evoke the desired back-andforth interaction typical of true town halls. To make sure that these types of meetings are truly conversational and barrier-breaking in nature, it’s important to remember that there is no one-sizefits-all approach.

There are many ways to help communicators create a constructive dialogue between audiences and presenters, thus ensuring that your next town hall is a successful part of your larger employee experience or engagement strategy. The 18 considerations below reflect some of the next practices being undertaken by organizations large and small to optimize the original purpose of the town hall – to engender dialogue, discussion, and debate all in the name of learning and alignment:

1. Promote the Event Ahead of Time.
Using internal social media, intranet and all other internal communications tools, alert employees about the Town Hall in the days leading up to it. Make them aware that they can participate either in person or remotely through live web streaming. Consider posting podcasts of select leaders talking about the event and the topics they will be addressing. Let them know they will be able to live blog about the event on internal social media (see tip #11, below).

2. Minimize the use of PowerPoint.
Corporate America may love PowerPoint, but keep the presentation lean, with supporting visuals and brief bullet points at a minimum. This forces leaders to make eye contact with the audience and talk more informally.

3. Don’t be afraid to ad lib.
It’s okay to speak off the cuff. Any hope of building trust through spontaneity and candor is lost when the presenter sounds overrehearsed. Coach senior leaders to talk from brief bullet points instead of fully scripted remarks.

4. Include Non-Leadership People Among Presenters.
Have a project manager present the latest product offering or give a business update alongside the leader sponsoring it. This gives rank-and-file employees exposure and helps to keep the meeting dynamic and relatable.

5. Include an Interview Segment.
If you’re discussing a dry topic, keep your audience from tuning out by using a talk-show-style interview format, with a member of the communications team “interviewing” the leader.

6. Try a Panel Discussion.
Ask a quiet audience point-blank to offer up questions to the CEO and you’ll likely be greeted with silence and averted eyes. Instead, try a panel discussion with the leadership team and a mix of “regular” employees. Have conversation fodder on hand if no questions are posed initially by soliciting them ahead of time. To encourage day-of questions, have index cards in each seat at the meeting for employees to submit anonymously.

7. Prep the Audience.
Alternatively, before the meeting, meet with the live audience and talk with them. Employees sitting before the company’s senior management are nervous about asking questions, afraid of sounding uninformed or invoking the wrath of their bosses by asking “the wrong question.” Help ease their concerns. Find out what’s on their minds and, when good questions are posed, encourage them to ask them, exactly the way they framed them with you.

8. Senior Leaders Should Model Positive Attitude.
Positive morale about the event starts with top leadership. Require that senior leaders go to the town hall (even if they’re just sitting in the audience). Strongly advise them against grumbling about the meeting “taking up valuable time.”

9. Relax, Be Funny, Have Fun.
The more informal nature of a town hall means that leaders have a chance to let their hair down and allow employees to see a more relaxed side of their personality. If leaders have a hidden talent or a proclivity for cracking jokes, this is the time to bring those out.

10. Bring In an Outsider.
Keep the audience guessing by teasing a surprise guest speaker beforehand. A celebrity always gets people talking, but a well respected, retired company leader, community figure or industry thought leader is also a memorable and effective option.

11. Take Advantage of Social Media.
Incorporate audience feedback in real time by assigning the meeting a unique hashtag before the meeting. Publicize the hashtag and encourage both on-site and remote participants to post their thoughts throughout the event on internal social media like Yammer or Jive. Have a live feed of the trending hashtag on display during the meeting, so employees can see the conversation as it takes place, which further promotes engagement with peers and leaders present.

12. Don’t Forget the Remote Employees.
Stream the event live on the company portal. Ensure that hourly workers and those at outside locations can participate, either through meetings on the plant floor or video conferences. To that end, make sure to film all updates, or have someone on point to
stream live updates via your company’s blog, intranet or internal social media. Also, give the employees watching online an easy way to post questions. Screen them, and then use the best ones.

13. Alternate Between Heavy and Light News.
Take a page out of the newscaster’s book: keep your audience’s attention by alternating between meatier topics such as performance updates and lighter fare such as employee recognition pieces.

14. Inform Employees About Meeting Content.
Give employees a taste of what they can look forward to at the meeting by sharing the town hall’s agenda ahead of time. Well-informed employees are more likely to be engaged employees.

15. Break Bread.
After the meeting, host a meal with seating and room layout that is conducive to mingling. Invite senior leaders to serve the food and then sit at tables with employees, providing those who may not be comfortable speaking up during a Q&A session to pose questions to leadership one-on-one. Consider including a raffle or contest around key aspects of the business or brand(s) to build anticipation and encourage participation and attendance. Link prizes to trivia questions pertaining to updates delivered during the town hall.

16. Recap the Meeting.
Send out a brief synopsis of the topics covered and questions asked, with corresponding answers and how management intends to act on those questions.

17. Follow Up to Learn What Was Heard.
Ask participants to complete a brief (five questions at most), anonymous survey, printed or electronic, immediately after the meeting. Emphasize that their feedback will directly drive the next town hall agenda and format.

18. Extend the Event From a Single Day Into an Experience.
Keep the event alive in people’s daily lives by capturing highlights on video, edited in quick bites, for later viewing on the intranet. Have the CEO blog about the experience from his perspective. Build a *Content Capsule™ on the intranet to capture key messages, linked back to over-riding themes to put the meeting in a larger context. Components might be select video snippets, related blog posts and background materials on topics covered, podcasts, etc. Use the capsule’s tracking analytics feature to do a deep dive into the pieces that your audience especially engage with, using these findings to inform planning for your next town hall.

Not all of these tactics will work for every organization, but a little variety can grab your employees’ attention, incite enthusiasm for mundane topics and get people to look forward to town halls. What works for your company?

# # #

*Content Capsule™ is a proprietary internal platform developed by WCG that captures video, audio, graphic, data, and other content to better dimensionalize a story for employees.

WCG is an integrated digital/social marketing and communications counseling firm offering communications, marketing, business and technology solutions focused on product supremacy, brand reputation, and organizational excellence to organizations in diverse industries worldwide. WCG is a member of the W2O Group, a network of independent, complementary marketing and communications firms.

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(Co-authored by Blaire Borochoff and Kelsey Carroll)

Strong core muscles provide a source of stability and balance for the human body. The same fundamental principle of core strength is true for organizations and companies. From global corporations to boot-strapped start-ups, companies develop core values to structure, strengthen, and maintain their corporate vision.

Core values cannot simply be installed into the culture; they are as organic and soul-driven as the employees themselves. These principles are the standards that employees live by and are held accountable to. Clearly outlined values provide context for internal communications, as well as inspiration for external social responsibility. Overall, core values are the foundation of a company’s unique identity.

Core values serve four distinct purposes:

Compass: The core values guide the employees as they make internal and external decisions.

Origin: The core values support the company culture. They serve as a reiteration of the vision and mission of the organization.

Resource: The core values provide a benchmark for recruiting and evaluating employees. This concept gauges whether potential candidates are aligned with the company’s values. Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh emphasizes the importance of core values by incorporating them into the interview process to determine if the candidate is a cultural fit.

Empower: The core values enable employees to set goals that are parallel to the brand’s mission. These principles inspire each employee’s role and purpose which leads to an increase in workplace engagement.

Foundational principles are not developed by Googling synonyms for “integrity” and “respect.” Outlining and identifying core values should be a thoughtful, collective process, taking into account the history and individuality of the company. These essential principles inspire the culture of an organization, breathe life into the soul of the company, and, ultimately, contribute to its success.

In today’s rapidly-paced corporate environment, soft disciplines, as in the development of core values and fostering of company culture, are the first things dropped in exchange for double-booked meetings and full calendars. Chairman and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co, Robert Haas once said, “What we’ve learned is that the soft stuff and the hard stuff are becoming increasingly intertwined. A company’s values—what it stands for, what its people believe in—are crucial to its competitive success. Indeed, values drive the business.”  Strong, relatable values should serve as a nucleus for every business decision the company makes and contributes to the interpersonal relationships of the employees.

What are some companies whose values inspire you?

Here’s a few of our favorites:




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Question: When does technology become a burden?

Answer:  When it’s not assimilated into the operations, culture and management of the enterprise.

More and more organizations are introducing internal platforms to encourage collaboration, innovation, discussion, and more effective work styles.  Just as many are finding the technology lying dormant as managers and employees continue to conduct work in the same old manner.

This issue of CommonSense…for the C-Suite provides answers and specific questions for handling this dilemma.

We hope you find it useful and relevant.


Abigail Rethore

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The core driver of any business is investing with the expectation of positive (financial) returns. Companies build manufacturing plants and buy machinery to establish the means to create products and then get them to market.

When customers in their target markets buy their products, the resulting revenue stream is what makes the up-front investments start paying off in the form of profit – also known as return on investment (ROI).

When business people talk about invested capital, this is what they generally mean: physical plants, equipment and transportation, the kinds of investments that are amortized and depreciated over time.

Building a new production plant may cost, say, $150 million and the senior managers justify the expenditure based on the projected ROI – how long it will take to “pay” for the investment before they can start realizing a profit.

However, we rarely hear business people talk the same way about the investment they make in their people, whether they are getting a good return on that investment.  Employees are often an overlooked part of the big picture.

Huge Expenditure

That seems ironic, especially in light of the fact that the cost of personnel is often the biggest line item on most companies’ balance sheets. In addition to salaries, health care costs, and other benefits, investing in people also includes:

  • The time and money it takes to find the right person for a given position, including paying the recruiter and investing the man-hours to conduct interviews and winnow down the candidates to the final few.
  • The initial and ongoing training necessary to assure that people acquire and sustain the skills needed to be the best they can in their jobs, and to excel and rise in the organization, further adding value.
  • Various other costs incurred in retaining people, such as salary increases, incentives and bonuses.

This all may seem obvious. I only reiterate here it because of what we have been experiencing for the past four years or so. Millions of American jobs have been lost – evaporated. And the job shrinkage doesn’t appear to be over in light of recent announcements we’ve been reading about recently: Citigroup’s head-count reduction of 11,000; Dow’s announced cut of as many as 2,400 jobs in Europe; Canadian Pacific’s decision to eliminate 4,500 jobs; and Siemens’ pledge to cut 4,700 positions in its lighting division.

Naturally, a good leader resorts to lay-offs only as a last resort, doing so only after hiring and wage freezes, other expense cuts, and/or price increases have failed to stop the red ink. They know that every single laid-off employee is a lost opportunity, a lost investment. Good leaders feel an ache in the pit of their stomachs at the prospect of having to cut the work force by even one person.

While they are conscious of the personal side of each lay-off – the family that’s impacted, and the blow to the employee’s ego and sense of self-confidence – the business leader side of their personality aches at the loss of investment capital.

The Deeper Impact

However, the bigger challenge and what keeps these leaders awake at night is what each lay-off does to the company and its future prospects. Yes, shedding jobs reduces expenses to better ensure the company’s ability to persevere in the trying times – which is the point, after all.

But the care, feeding, and cultivation of effective employees are works in progress. When it all meshes and the company is thriving, there are few things that make a leader prouder than seeing the employees operating at their best, as a team, contributing collectively toward the company’s mission.

When lay-offs are unavoidable, however, that finely tuned machine loses its edge. Remaining employees lose their focus on the mission, instead concerned for their own future with the company, while wondering when the other shoe will drop.

That said, even in the toughest times, businesses need to continue to cultivate their people, to be sure they understand how much they mean to the future success of the business and how important it is for them to stay focused on the mission.

Of course, the key is communications – through both good times and bad. Keep employees well informed and actively engaged in the external challenges the company is facing: competitive threats, economic turmoil, government regulation and taxation, etc.

Share with them, too, the company’s opportunities and always invite their perspective and ideas. Open and honest communications build trust and understanding, which will be what leadership needs most when the situation gets tough, when the best efforts of everyone and their full engagement to the company’s mission is central to seeing it through hard times.

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The responsibility of keeping employees well informed about and engaged in the business is a mutual one.

That is to say, it is critical that company leadership and managers maintain an ongoing dialogue with employees to assure that they understand, comprehend and act on the challenges and opportunities that confront the business.

But, at the same time, it is just as important for the individual employee to stay engaged in, be curious about, and stay informed about the business: what makes it tick, its history and heritage, its internal and external challenges and opportunities, and its paths to success.

That said, I surprised myself last week when I momentarily forgot this little truth. I had the honor of delivering a webinar on behalf of Citrix and Ziff-Davis on the subject of keeping a distributed workforce engaged and connected to the business. It was done as a companion piece to a parallel white paper I’d prepared on the same subject.

As the date of the webinar approached, I was polishing my presentation, which focused mostly on what I assumed the audience would be most interested in: techniques and new technologies for communicating with remote employees and keeping them informed and engaged, topics that I did indeed cover. Belatedly, I realized I was forgetting one important element – which I added almost as an after-thought to my presentation.

Two Sides to the Same Coin
In talking about the attitudes and behaviors that leaders and managers must have toward a distributed workforce, as well as the communications techniques, messages and tools that organizations must use to reach them, it occurred to me that there are two sides to that coin.

Yes, it is incumbent upon communicators, managers and leaders to make every possible effort to keep employees in the loop and engaged in the business. It is one of their most important roles. And doing so with employees who are not, as a rule, in the main office but rather working from afar in a remote or home office presents additional communications challenges. Yet it is even more critical because distributed employees can become easily disengaged.

But this is a two-way street, as I told my audience. The burden of staying connected and engaged in the business is just as much a responsibility of the individual employee as it is his/her employer.

So, the natural question arises: how do you instill in employees the urge to stay engaged and informed? Frankly, it has to be self-motivated, something they desire, connected to their urge to succeed.

If I were to give a speech to a college graduating class, I would tell them that if they’re going to get ahead in business, they must be engaged in the business itself at least as much as their own role. While they work to master their job and its intricacies, while doing the job well, they must, at the same time, strive to understand the details of what drives the business. In fact, they must make a concerted effort always to connect their role to the larger mission of the business.

Managers, whether consciously or not, gravitate toward those employees who are fully engaged in the business over and above their own narrow role and responsibilities. These are the employees that managers are eager to hire and promote – as opposed to the clock-punchers, the folks who are out the door at 5 o’clock, regardless of what’s on their desks.

Comparing the two types of employees, it becomes obvious which is going to contribute more to the company’s strategies and ultimate successes: the one that connects consistently what he/she does every day with where the company is going, the one whose individual efforts always support the organization’s larger purpose.

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One of the most concerning business trends today is the increasing number of misleading facts or data that triggers the wrong managerial reaction.

Case in point: a large multi-national company conducts an all-employee survey and reports better-than-expected results even amid a year of layoffs, management changes and competitive pressures. Leadership feels confident in their approach and changes nothing. Within three months, several key executives leave, the union stages a walk- out, the stock plummets and key new product introductions are delayed.

What happened? The results documented in the survey were not accurate. Employees, knowing the future is uncertain if not shaky, chose to answer questions positively fearing for their jobs. Leadership, lacking curiosity and knowing the results went against what they were seeing daily in the workplace ignored reality.

The effect: a major talent drain within six months, delayed programs, and reduced revenue and share targets.

Case in Point: Sales of a new product are growing and both Marketing and Communications believe it is the result of their respective efforts.

As such, they each ask for additional funding to support the product citing the growing sales numbers. Both groups receive more money for programming just as sales begin to fall off.

What happened? The early spike in sales was actually caused by three other factors: an initial underpricing by sales to spur usage; a belief in the product’s claims that turned out to be less than promoted; and a movement away from another of the company’s products, which had not been predicted.

The additional monies spent on programming that actually did not influence sales were wasted and, worse, the product was pulled for further development while the cannibalized product suffered further sales erosion. In a nutshell, a major mess!

Case in Point: Feedback from a CEO Town Hall is very positive. The CEO and CCO are very pleased and walk away with the belief that both the venue and the CEO’s time are appropriate and well-spent.

Reality Check: Four months later the CEO is removed by the Board for “failure to deliver results based on an inability to engage both employees and investors in the company’s strategy and direction.”

What happened? Well, in this example, many things, but pointing back to the Town Hall meeting as a key indicator of trouble to come, two very key mistakes were made.

First, the venue and style of the meeting limited real interaction and feedback. It was all one-way with pre- screened “softball” questions conditioning employees to behave like audience members at a Broadway play – respectful and reactive.

Second, the critique itself did not probe for real knowledge extraction from the session – that is, what was the headline? Key thought? Additional questions that needed to be addressed by a manager or supervisor?

Instead it asked whether people were comfortable with the venue, could they read the slides, and did they feel the information was relevant and useful (without asking what the actual information was). Anyone paying attention would have seen that the CEO did not have an authentic relationship with the workforce and the messaging being used was neither relevant nor interesting to the workforce.

With the tsunami known as Big Data upon us, we must – as strategists and business leaders – constantly probe deeper and deeper to discern the true cause of events, constantly looking for gaps or trends. We cannot let pure data lead directly to action any more than we can allow a GPS system on our computers to substitute for actually driving to a destination to determine if it was the right route, mileage and time.

Human behavior is a delicate animal that rarely follows a linear or logical path.

Accepting initial thinking or data on most areas impacting the organization without further investigation is not only naive but dangerous!

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With the arrival of Labor Day, it is clear that summer is over.  Another indicator on the change of season is the empty desks left behind by our departing summer interns.

This summer we had 12 interns that were working within our Analytics, Health Care, Corporate and IT Departments.  Their projects ranged from client facing work to research to data analysis to hands-on IT infrastructure work.

Interns have historically been a great feeder for talent for W2O Group with approximately 15 – 20% of them being retained or re-hired upon their graduation.

Joshua Kadden, our intern in our IT group wrote a great follow up letter to the CEO on his time with us:

Dear Jim,
I would like to give you credit for helping me have the most special, unique, productive and overall amazing experience that I could have possibly imagined.  At first I did not quite understand what WCG did and does because there is so much you guys do.  As the summer went on I realized that was what made WCG such a cool place to work.  There was so many different opportunities and so many different departments. To appeal to different interests.  I took advantage of this by reaching out and learning from the IT department, corporate strategy, finance and the social media people.  I don’t think there are many professors that could teach me what Benny, Gary, Paul and Tom had taught me.

Looking at business the way I look at sports teams is an important approach that I took away from my summer experience.  It doesn’t matter about individual players if there is no strong team and team cooperation.  

I learned this first hand working with the IT team.  This summer was an exciting one for the IT team in NY, most of which was out of their control, and yet despite the heat we took, Benny continued to deal with these problems in a admirable way constantly refusing to throw anyone under the bus.

Despite learning an infinite amount of information this summer, I think my favorite part of being part of the WCG team was the office environment and the rest of the employees.  These two things are what made my last days the most memorable.  During the Olympic Games I had met and spoken with employees I had never even seen.  I was sharing similar emotions with full grown men and women at the victory of flip-cup that I share with my friends at school.

As a result of this experience I feel far more educated, mature and directed and I owe that to you.  I hope that I will have another opportunity similar to this in my life.


One of the things that resonated from Josh’s letter is how WCG is getting it right with working with the Millenials.  In a recent contribution to Forbes, Matt Miller showed a great info-graphic that outlines findings from a study done at University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Clearly, in Josh’s case we provided the collaboration and motivation needed as he worked cross functionally, and inclusively across the organization.  …and playing Flip Cup at the company’s Olympic Games celebration gave him a way to network with Baby-Boomers and continued to keep him engaged in the organization.  Who knew that a college drinking game could be a bridge between the generations that also strengthens employee engagement?
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It is easy to embrace the idea of change, but very hard, in practice, to make it happen. You know that. In your company today, you are probably filled with ideas and simultaneously struggling with how to get the larger team to understand the need to change now….not next year…now.

I’ve heard most of the myths that have been created to avoid change. And I’m not surprised. When you work in a field that is innovative and transformative, like social media, it’s life. Myths have been part of human nature since the time we started telling stories a few millennia ago. We perpetuate myths as a way to establish or reinforce a certain type of behavior, regardless of whether or not it is accurate. Truth rarely gets in the way of a good myth.

In this post, I’ve listed my favorite myths by area along with a dose of reality.

Inside a Company

#1 – The Technology Myth – Since many folks don’t understand the details of how technology works inside their own company, they are susceptible to mythmakers who throw out technical obstacles, such as “we would provide full web access, but we don’t have enough bandwidth ”. I haven’t found a situation yet where this was actually true.

Reality Check: Mythmakers judge bandwidth on old models, such as holding a global webcast where everyone tunes in at the exact same time and all employees obediently listen to every word. The only problem with this model is that no one does this anymore. The reality is that in today’s world, employees can watch vlogs (not webcasts) at their convenience based on their location and time zone. End of issue.

#2 – The Productivity Myth – I hear that “full web access will distract our employees…..our employees will stop working if we provide them access to the web”. Really? Let’s see. We can distract ourselves by talking too much in the hallways, checking our cell phone, chatting on the phone with friends, taking longer breaks and lunches, leaving early and on and on. For those who get distracted, they have already figured out how to do it well.

Reality Check: The world’s best operating system in the world is the web. You can provide the best content available to your employees by enabling them to access it at work. It can become a competitive advantage. In addition, regarding the distraction point, my view is that managers should manage their people just like you always have. Don’t make the web or any other item an excuse.

#3 – The Employees Don’t Know Much Myth – I hear “if we ask employees for ideas, who knows what we’ll get” – After all, mythmakers know most of the answers, so you don’t really need to ask employees how to improve the company. They just work there, right?

Reality Check: Wrong. When I was at Dell, we asked employees for ideas via “EmployeeStorm”. We had over 4500 ideas and implemented over 165 of them. And it turns out that employees are pretty smart….they know how to improve products and services….and they care about their company. Ask away.

The Marketplace

#4 — The ROI Myth – “We can’t determine the ROI of social media yet” is one of my favorites. Traditional marketing is famous for the quote “I know that half of my marketing budget is effective, I just don’t know which half”. Yet, when new ways to reach customers emerge, the “mythmakers”…I often call them antibodies (more later)….decide that new, higher standards must be met before investment occurs.

Reality Check: Social media is very quantitative. It is easy to generate data. It is easy to correlate to actual purchase with single sign on capabilities. The art of the science will be in determining what the data is telling us about our customers and how we need to modify or change our approach, as a result. The best marketers intuitively grasp this and move forward, since they can build an advantage by learning how to improve ROI via social media.

#5 – The B2B Myth – “We are B2B, so this is not as important for us”. Companies that are B2B often believe that they don’t really need to interact in a public manner to reach their customer base, since they reach their customers one at a time via an account leader, for example.

Reality Check: You can build a deeper relationship with your customers via social media. Private B2B communities can be built. The account leader can gain access to knowledge never heard before. My personal view is that B2B may actually be the highest value utilization of social media in the future. Plus, you can reach all of your partners via social media. Your news and actions are being absorbed by your B2B partners everyday via online readers, news feeds and more. By not engaging via social media, you are outsourcing your reputation to those who comment on you publicly.

#6 – The Social Media is for Others Myth – these are the folks who like to say “Facebook is really for younger people” or “Twitter isn’t mainstream” or “YouTube is just a bunch of kids playing silly videos” or “LinkedIn is just a place for your resume”. Humans love to grab a piece of data, lock it into their brains and be done with it. Mythmakers are working overtime in this area.

Reality Check: The world is changing so fast that yesterday’s facts are incredibly outdated. Facebook, which has over 250 million members, is tracking older, in fact there was a 500% increase in people 55 years or older in their latest data. Twitter has over 35 million people on it and far more impact via its natural search results. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine on the planet…..the planet earth……and LinkedIn is becoming a place for groups to form and for research to be conducted.

#7 – The Antibodies – This isn’t a myth, it is actually a type of response that is deadly to innovation. It is the folks who say “I would love to do more in social media, but….”. I like to call them “antibodies”, since antibodies are basically a good part of our immune system that has a goal to neutralize foreign invaders, such as bacteria. The people in companies who are antibodies are generally great people who don’t realize that they are viewing new ideas as foreign invaders and their “immune system” automatically triggers phrases to avoid change, such as “why don’t we consider doing this next year” or “if we had budget, we could do this” or “figure out what the ROI is and then we’ll consider” or “who else is doing this, let’s find that out first” and so on. They all sound polite and sometimes even constructive, but the result is the same….the foreign “idea” is repelled.

Reality Check: Every company is filled with antibodies and, if we are honest, we all do this from time to time. Make it fun to call out folks for being antibodies and talk through how you get to a constructive next step. The key is to recognize it is happening and not allow it to prevent change.

So those are my top myths along with a dose of reality. What myths are you dealing with that we should explore? Let me know.

All the best, Bob

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