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Be Honest

Top Ten Most Absurd Respondent Requests

By | Be Honest, Be Reasonable, Have Fun

If you’ve ever worked in Market Research, you’ll understand. If you’ve ever worked in any industry where you have to make people happy, you’ll understand. This is my Top Ten, all-time favorite, most absurd respondent requests.

10. You should do a survey about my cats.

We’re working on something even better. A survey for cats. We have to train them how to read first.

9. Please delete my address and my name and all the information you turned over to the NSA.

Just for the record, we don’t share our respondent’s information with anyone. Even if they ask us really nicely.

8. Can you make your online surveys compatible with Windows 95?

This request was from 2016.

7. I cannot remember my username, password, why I contacted you, or who you are. Why aren’t you helping me?

I’m guilty of losing/forgetting my account passwords all.the.time. But usually I can remember why I got the account in the first place.

6. What about something for the [random bigotry] member? Thanks Obama.

Obama told me to tell you,  “You’re Welcome.”

5. Where’s the $100 dollars I was promised for the a five-minute survey about my Rock, Paper, Scissors strategy?

Let’s settle this like adults. I’ll Rock, Paper, Scissors you for it.

4. Instead of a Walmart gift card sent to my registered email address, can you please submit a Western Union payment to this totally legit IP-masked Russian website?

Not sketchy at all.

3. I don’t have to tell you my age, location, or gender, and I ignore your emails. Why wont you send me surveys I can get paid for?

Usually our clients want to know who’s opinion they’re paying for.

2. You’re just a robot anyway so why should I believe you?

In my experience robots are very trustworthy. They haven’t been programmed to lie. Yet.

1. How am I supposed to complete your surveys if I don’t lie?

So you won’t stop lying until we stop asking questions? Noted.

In the mood for more ridiculous Top Ten Lists? Check out Top Ten Bizarre Client Requests and Top Ten Most Ridiculous Respondent Email Addresses.

SoapBoxSample Jax

Telltale Ten Does Tech

By | Be Clear, Be Honest, Create Value, Inspire Ideas, Invoke Passion

If you read my Telltale Ten regularly, you know that I like to write about a bunch of random things like buying travel accessories at the Dollar Store, or how to assess personality traits. I rarely write about topics specific to the Market Research industry. So you might be surprised to learn that I actually do know a bit about Market Research, the industry as a whole and what we are doing at SoapBox to stay ahead of disruption. The super cool people at Wakoopa (who also seem to know a thing or two) invited me to be interviewed as a part of their blog series called Behavioral Data Barometer. If behavioral data is what gets you excited, definitely check it out. If it is not what gets you excited, read it anyway and maybe you will find yourself excited (or confused – it could go either way).

What made you decide to go into passive metering?

When SoapBox launched at the very end of 2012, it was seemingly the most ridiculous time to enter the “online sample” space. The market was saturated and companies were fighting to sell $2 sample. We saw a unique opportunity to stay focused on the evolution of research, the convergence of technology and the changing behavior of consumers.

Passive metering has actually been around a lot longer than most researchers know. There were some forward-thinking early adopters, and then lots of chatter. Researchers tend to be slow to adopt new technology, but in this case, it was not only the technology (which has since caught up), but also the data. Researchers and marketers have a great appetite for understanding how people behave and make decisions online. Brands want to understand their audiences beyond demographic and attitudinal data; passive tracking data fills this need by showing how consumers move across the digital world with step-by-step interactions. Connecting actual digital behavioral data with demographic/attitudinal data, results in the high-depth, actionable insights clients want.

We recognized the benefit of contributing to the rise, understanding, adoption, shaping of best practices of passive metering. We were lucky to partner with a forward-thinking client who was ready to take risks and experiment, almost immediately following the launch of SoapBox. That experience really propelled us into passive metering and we are continuing to evolve.

How has SoapBoxSample incorporated ‘My Soapbox Meter’ in its panel model? How did it help/change your position as a panel provider?

We have a two-pronged approach. We do a lot of custom recruitment for our clients. They are typically looking for a very specific audience and want to meter them for a designated period of time. Sometimes, they are looking for passive data alone, and other times they want to incorporate methodologies like surveys or diaries. We also recognize clients’ desire for look-back data which was initially the driver for building our existing metering panel. The metering panel also helps with profiling, targeting and a host of other advantages – some of which we are still uncovering.

Where do you see the most valuable use cases of behavioral data?

There are two key areas we focus on with clients. The first is gathering a 360-degree view of the consumer journey. By gathering consumer behavior (as opposed to relying solely on recall) we can see the influence certain types of sites and apps (social media, review sites, coupon sites, etc.) have on the path to purchase. This helps our clients intercept their audiences with the right message at the right time. The second use case we focus on is building digital profiles of our clients’ target audiences. By understanding how certain segments use websites, apps, and search terms our clients can optimize their media spend to reach their target audiences at an improved ROI.

What do you see as the main challenges when dealing with behavioral data?

One of the major challenges about passive metering data is that there is a ton of it and it is totally unstructured. Some of that data is incredibly valuable and relevant to the research objective and some of it isn’t. It takes time, experimentation and the willingness to dive into the unknown to find the connections between seemingly unrelated data points. The idea is to help brands understand their customers by taking millions of tiny details that, when seen as a whole, paint a vivid picture of their customers and their underlying motivations.

Another challenge we deal with regularly, is that most often the clients asking for “metering” data don’t understand the methodology yet and often try to make it fit where it doesn’t, or assume it is the Holy Grail of research data that can answer any and all questions about what people are doing online and on their devices. This is a struggle as there is really no checklist for what metering can/cannot do. Well, there are some checklists on what it can’t do, but the newness, combined with the complexity is a brand new challenge. Clients have to work in partnership with their providers, take risks and be willing to delve into the unknowns to get the magic nugget of information.

How will the growing importance of mobile affect passive measurement?

Opportunities for brands to connect with people, and for people to connect with brands increase as we spend more time on our mobile devices, and we have more devices in our hands. Each item (computer, phone, tablet, wearable) offers researchers another window into people’s online lives. Passive metering is the most effective way to find out what people are doing without disrupting the process, and I believe it will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

How will passive metering influence sampling, data collection and surveying?

I think the research industry is beginning to recognize the value of passive data collection. What remains to be seen is to what extent passive data will replace traditional surveys, how often it will be used in conjunction with traditional surveys, and how data integrations from a variety of sources (survey, transactional, customer, 3rd party, passive) will be leveraged. At SoapBox, we’ve had a lot of success with blending methodologies to create innovative solutions to help answer client’s business questions.

For me, the most unexpected (and potentially disruptive) shift I am seeing is that sample providers, and/or data collection providers in general, are moving away from being order takers of pre-determined research approaches by full service agencies or end users/brands, and now have a seat at the table in designing and contributing to the research approach. It is super exciting to see collaboration from the start of a project to the end.

Is there any advice you would give the market research industry?

My advice would be to stay as lean and nimble as possible. Now is the time to dive in and start even though things aren’t all “figured out” yet. Those who wait and watch, will be passed over. With the coming advances in AI and Machine Learning, the market research industry will certainly be faced with major disruptions — more than we think, and earlier than we expect. We all need to hone our adaptation skills to survive in this business environment. I say learn how to anticipate the ever-changing needs of the industry and be ready to pivot at a moment’s notice.

The Honeymoon is Over…

By | Be Clear, Be Honest, Be Reasonable, Invoke Passion

If you are a regular reader of the Telltale Ten, then you probably caught Jacqueline’s New Year’s Eve post about how she doesn’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. While I agree with her (and I’m not just saying that because she’s the boss) that traditional New Year’s Resolutions turn people into short-term fanatics before they inevitably give up, I don’t think they’re entirely useless. In fact, sometimes people actually succeed at what they set out to do. Now that we’re approaching the end of February, we are in prime-time resolution abandonment season. Leftover Valentine’s Day candy… St. Patrick’s Day booze—It’s all calling our names.  But maybe it’s not the resolution that leads us to failure, maybe it’s our perspective.

The (New Year’s Resolution) Honeymoon is Over

Every love story starts the same way… two people fall madly in love— they date, they get married, they go on a honeymoon— and then life gets real. We often treat our New Year’s Resolutions the same way. We adopt a new habit or quit an old one, thinking that it will “complete” us. We stop smoking, we drink more water, we go on a diet… And we start the year off with a brand new attitude, in love with the idea of our new and “better” selves.

I kept my resolution simple this year: drink a gallon of water a day. At least it sounded simple. I was out by the second week of January. I quickly realized that frequent water drinking = frequent trips to the bathroom, and my schedule just couldn’t support it. And you know why? Because I was approaching my resolution as a habit rather than a lifestyle change. A habit implies a lack of control, but a lifestyle is something we’re committed to living out every single day because it’s a part of us. We don’t quit after one moment of weakness. So what happens now that my New Year’s Resolution “honeymoon” is over? Rather than kissing my commitment goodbye, I’ve decided to kiss-and-make-up with them. I’ve decided to start thinking of my resolution as a part of my lifestyle instead of a temporary habit.

My expectations may have been too high at first… A gallon of water every day is a lot. But I can confidently say that I’m drinking way more water than I did last year. And that lesson transcends just a little New Year’s Resolution. While the “honeymoon phase” feels nice for a little while, a meaningful relationship is always better. And while we’ll never be perfect, we can always be better.

Treadmills, and Yoga and Slides…Oh My!

By | Be Honest, Have Fun, Invoke Passion, Motivate Others

Chyla is our new Social Media Marketing Intern. While I’m out here at SampleCon debating the future of sample, someone decided it would be a good idea to leave her in charge of the blog. The experiment paid off, and Chyla came up with a timely and insightful blog post about what millennials really want in the workplace. (Hint: it’s not just STUFF.)

Millennials & Workplace Culture

Everyone seems to be obsessed with creating a standout company culture these days. From treadmill desks, to unlimited vacation days, to gourmet cafes, there are lists and tips all over the internet trying to teach companies how to be more like the Googles and Zappos-es of the world by incorporating this stuff into their organizations. There’s also a multitude of articles about Millennials and what we really want. According to these articles, I want a lot of stuff.

The truth is, most of us just want an opportunity to carve out our own paths. Not that long ago, another SoapBoxSample Millennial, Sullivan, wrote a guest blog about his transition out of college and into the workforce. Like him, I’ve been learning a lot. We have been labeled as the generation of “entitlement”, but I (and most of the other Millennials I know) just want to work hard and grow like my parents did. So what does that mean for workplace culture?

1. We don’t need a yoga room… We need to not be overworked. I would rather get my work done and leave the office than spend part of my workday doing downward dog.


2. We don’t need a slide… We need to enjoy the work we’re doing. Sure, even adults like to have fun—so why shouldn’t the actual job be enjoyable?


3. We don’t need a game room… See number 2.


4. We don’t necessarily need treadmill desks, but it would be nice to not be glued to a regular desk all day. Here at SBS we even have a plank challenge throughout the day to get the blood flowing. It’s that simple.


5. We don’t need themed or quirky collaborative spaces, we need functional collaborative spaces. Don’t get me wrong, teams are awesome! But wouldn’t it be weird working on the set of “Up” after a while?

It’s not so much about the stuff. We don’t need it. I honestly don’t care if my job prepares gourmet food for me or supports my fitness goals. I can go to Chipotle or join a gym for that. What I care about is the opportunity for growth and the emotional intelligence of my leaders. I care about doing work that matters. SoapBoxSample doesn’t have a giant slide in the office or yoga breaks in the middle of the day. What it does have is an awesome group of people who are kind, open, and passionate about the work they’re doing. The opportunity to learn and grow from a company like that is way better than any treadmill desk could possibly be. Sure, the stuff is nice, but it’s the intangibles that really matter.

When Life Kicks You in the Ass

By | Be Genuine, Be Honest, Be Reasonable

Five Things I’ve Learned

We have all gotten our butts kicked at one time or another by life. It is inevitable. Things just simply don’t always go as planned. Sometimes, even tragedy strikes. Today marks the two-year Anniversary since my life-changing automobile accident. I won’t go into the all the gory details, but there have been countless obstacles and challenges over these past two years. None of this was planned. Even after it happened, I had no way to predict the latent effects.

I have learned a lot. I have had to learn patience, acceptance of the unknown, I have had to learn things don’t go as planned or as I want them. I have also had to learn that things don’t move in Jacqueline time. They don’t even move at ½ Jacqueline speed.

People ask me all the time how I do it. I am not really sure I have much choice. I get a lot of comments on how I am inspirational or strong. Truthfully, it is hard for me to see any of that as I feel like I am a mess all time and am having to constantly to adapt to my health limitations.

Some would say it is not in my DNA to give up. That may be true, but it doesn’t mean that some days I don’t feel like giving up. I have had to be super open to learning, and using some new life tools in order to not to be in an eternal state of losing my mind.

Even when I’m scared, I can show up for life

I am scared all the time. Scared of the unknown, scared things won’t go my way, scared that I won’t get better. I am human. But I have learned to show up in the face of fear. Maybe things won’t go away, maybe I have to leave early, maybe I say or do something dumb, maybe I hear bad news, maybe things will never be the “same” again. Doesn’t matter. Feeling scared doesn’t have to have impact my actions. It is human nature to go into avoidance mode, when faced with fear. Unfortunately, avoidance rarely solves the problem.

It’s OK to say no

I have had to say no to everything from business meetings, to trips to friend’s birthday parties and everything in between. I have missed out on a lot. I probably have avoided just as much as I have missed. It was so, so hard for me to do this at first – it still is. I want to say yes. The simple truth is, that right now, I am just not able to. Some people have been disappointed – None more disappointed than myself. That’s OK. My ego has been hurt. That’s OK. I struggle with it daily. That’s OK.

Self-care is not selfish

I have to take care of myself. I can’t take care of my family or my business if I don’t. This is so hard for to me to justify to myself. Every single time I ignore self-care, I end up in a worse place than I would have been if I just took care of myself. This may mean sleeping in, missing an event, exercising, meditating, a quiet lunch with a girlfriend, a hobby, a good cry in my bed – whatever it is, I have to do it. For me, it is mainly rest and restore. I have to shut down – it is tough when I feel like I am already missing out on so much due to health issues. I sometimes believe that “being sick and injured” counts as me time – IT DOES NOT.

Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness

What? Now you are talking crazy. I should be able to handle it all; run a company (or two), grow a company at warp speed, run a family, be a good Mom, wife, and friend, keep up with my health and exercise, – oh and write a weekly BLOG. It goes on ad infinitum. I was FORCED to ask for help and I hated it (still do). But I have learned that asking for help gives others an opportunity to stand up. Asking for help means I don’t have to go it alone. Asking for help means I am …. human. Asking for help means I am strong.

Even when I don’t know what will happen, I can still just do the next thing

So it turns out my magic eight ball doesn’t work (the toy kind you shake and gives fortunes like “the future is certain” you who were thinking otherwise). I have no idea what is going to happen in the future – nether do you. I do know, that I can show up and do the next thing in front of me. I can tackle on small thing at a time and focus on the action rather than result.

She Let Go

By | Be Clear, Be Genuine, Be Honest, Inspire Ideas, Motivate Others | No Comments

Sometimes life becomes overwhelming. It may be everyday stress, loss of a loved one, injury, illness, or even something as simple as a flat tire. Most of us don’t have the option to just “freeze” in time (#mannequinchallengefarce) when we are knocked down. Everyone needs tools to get back up.

Lately, a combination of physical injuries, illness, work and life have hit ALL at once. Like a brick (no, actually a piano) landing on my head. I’ve learned that the only way to the other side is right through the middle. That middle area can suck pretty damn bad. But you have to acknowledge, deal, accept, and then trudge through by adding new tools to your toolkit of life. It doesn’t really matter if it is a hobby, exercise, spiritual practice….whatever.

This past weekend I had the privilege of spending a dear friend’s milestone birthday with her. The weekend was intended to be a freeing reset. I have not made it to the other side of this reset but know it kicked off a process. We were lucky enough to have a Kundalini instructor come and lead us through a session. It was quite an experience and something very new to me. It was powerful. One of the most poignant moments was the framing and intent of what we were about to do.

The kick off started with a reading of this poem about letting go (no, not the annoying song we all hope to never hear again). While it refers to “She” I think it really applies to anyone, and everyone, no matter the struggle. Big or small.

She Let Go

by Rev. Safire Rose

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.  She let go of the judgments.  She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.  She let go of the committee of indecision within her.  She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go.  She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go.  She let go of all of the memories that held her back.  She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.  She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

52 Weeks of Random. Or not..

By | Be Honest | No Comments

Happy Birthday Telltale Ten!

It’s been 52 weeks since I committed to sharing my zany life and work adventures on the Telltaleten.com blog. I have managed to amuse myself, sometimes amuse others and definitely piss a few people off.

For anyone who’s thinking about starting a blog, I warn you, it’s a lot of work. I was the kind of person in college who could write a term paper in a single night after a few cocktails, so it didn’t seem too hard to bust out a BLOG post each week and WOW the world with my amazing thoughts and adventures. Turns out, it doesn’t work like that.

Sometimes you just don’t feel like writing. Sometimes the topics you want to write about are too personal, sometimes it seems like you’re being a whiny little bitch (who wants to read an article about someone running out of gas? It was a metaphor, ok?), and sometimes, you just don’t feel like doing it at all. Telltaleten.com has been all over the map. Each entry connected back to one of the Telltale Ten (you can read about the Telltale Ten here), but I am not sure “consistent messaging” would be among the top ten phrases my readers would use to describe my content. What I can say (since I am writing this and you are not) is that in looking back over the past 52 weeks, almost every story has some purpose to it.

If you are thinking about writing a BLOG, you can just go all ham and start writing about anything whenever you want. Or, you can maybe use one of these top ten tips I learned in my first year as a Blogger.

1. Consistency
My friends who workout know this rule too. To get results, you have to build on what’s there. Bloggers and Vloggers will tell you the same thing. Post on the same day every week. We picked #telltaletuesday as it sounded the coolest as far as days of the week go. You may want to choose based on your personal schedule, the cyclical nature of your business, your audience’s needs etc. Not only does this help you stay on schedule and produce more content, but also it helps build your audience because they know they can look forward to your new posts the same time every week.

2. Inspiration is Flaky
It can take me a realllllly long time to get around to writing my blog. While I would rather eat a mouse than miss a #telltaletuesday, I have pushed it to the 11th hour more times than I would care to admit. My Director of Marketing will toss around ideas (aka – hey, how is the BLOG for tomorrow coming along. How about ________), but that doesn’t work for me. Something has to inspire me and it is anyone’s guess as to what that will be until it happens. So when I’ve finally come up with something to open up the floodgates of those creative juices, I try to take advantage of it as much as possible and don’t stop until the piece is finished. Still having trouble coming up with an idea? Try one of these techniques.

3. Real life makes great BLOG content.
For me personally, it’s way easier to write about things that actually happened to me as opposed to things I just think about. My opinions are formed from life experiences. I never claim them to be right or even useful, but they are always mine. These tips could be considered the Top Ten Things NOT to do – oh well, it’s what I have done for the past year. Have I mentioned that equates to 52 entries? That’s right.

4. Visuals matter.
A well-crafted blog without an image just isn’t the same. Most people need that extra layer of stimulation to draw them in. And not all images are created equally. I’ve found personal pictures to attract the biggest audience, followed by funny memes. Stock photos of a guy yelling into a phone to accompany a blog about frustration are the worst. Please don’t use stock photos. Unless you want to laugh at how dumb they are, then check these ones out.

5. Link out and link in.
I’m not an SEO expert but I was told that your blog will improve it’s rankings by including lots of links to other articles in your blogs, and by having other websites and blogs link back to your blog. Makes sense, right?

6. Research isn’t always good.
Say what? Yes, I am a Market Researcher. But, when writing a BLOG, research may not always be the best way to go depending on your audience and intent. I try to write personal stories, things that have actually happened to me; things I’ve learned and opinions I’ve formed. If I do too much research prior to tackling a subject I end up including too much of someone else’s ideas. My advice is to write the blog first and then link to other articles to back up your ideas, not the other way around.

7. Embrace the blogging community.
For almost every topic you can think of, there is someone blogging about it. There are even a lot of people out there that blog about blogging. (Like I’m doing right now.) What I’m trying to say is that the blogosphere is like a community. Reach out to people who write about similar topics. Share some links. It will help you reach a greater audience and it will lend credibility to your blog. I’ve been published on other BLOGS like the Micro-Business Blog and Executive Vine. Once you start to get published, those people will often come back looking for more content.

8. Promote your BLOG – even ask people to read it (gasp)!
The goal is not just to drive traffic to your website, although that is great. The goal is to promote your content and connect with your audience and that doesn’t need to happen in one place. Twitter, Facebook and especially LinkedIn are places where my audience already spends time so it would be crazy not to try to reach them where they are. Also, use hashtags. I try to always throw in #telltaletuesday combined with subject related and/or attention grabbing ones. If you want to know what hashtags are trending RIGHT now on your subject, you can go to buzzsumo.com. If you’re not sure how to use hashtags at all, check out this article.

9. Use Your Own Voice
I pride myself in being the exact same person inside and outside of the office. So why would I suddenly get shy when writing my blog? I know when the readers who know me personally are reading telltaleten.com, they can hear me saying the words. I always have at least one person edit my post for the week – sometimes two. Most of the time, I change back whatever they edit as it is not what, or how, I would say something.

10. Don’t Shy Away From Controversy
There is a time and a place for corporate writing. A company website is a good example — full of glowing reviews about the company’s new products, its efficient processes and its competent staff. But if your blog sounds like this, you are doing something wrong. No one wants to come back week after week to read a new marketing piece about your brand – unless you are a super cool brand. I’m not saying don’t paint your company in a positive light. I’m saying be real about it. Talk like yourself. This is YOUR blog. People want to know what YOU think, not what your company wants them to think you think (I think.)

Pawn it Off – Do Less and Grow More

By | Be Honest | No Comments

 

A key component to maintaining your sanity is knowing when you’re approaching your breaking point. Get ahead of the meltdown by “pawning it off.” No, I don’t mean taking all of your stuff down to the Pawn Stars shop and selling it to Chum Lee. I’m referring to delegating tasks.

The best managers do not make “to-do” lists. They make “not-to-do” lists.

Delegating is not always easy, but while having a senior-level employee doing the work of an entry/mid-level employee may get you through a tight spot, it will not fuel ongoing company growth or maximize profitability. In a start-up environment, there is always a fire. There is always something that can pull management away from strategic growth and developing process efficiencies.

I am like a broken record. (Most SoapBoxers have never had to endure the pain of the skipping record. Since I don’t want them to miss out, I fill that void.). Focus on the highest payoff tasks. Focus on the highest payoff tasks. Focus on the highest payoff tasks. Get it? I am always asking, is it crucial for YOU to do it or can someone else take care of it?

By passing the torch, you are also allowing others an opportunity to learn something new.

I was taught early on in my career that if I was always focused on training my successor, I would always move up – and so would they.    

This scares the crap out of some people. People are insecure. They are afraid someone may be better than them. They want to hold on to being the only one who can do something – people think THIS makes them valuable. It doesn’t. It just feeds ego and makes the company vulnerable. Pawning it off (correctly) can be one of your best tools. Your team will be stronger and you can focus on those high payoff tasks.

Today’s BLOG is the last installment of the Sane September series. Hopefully you’ve found some of these tips and hints helpful, and are one step farther away from losing your sh*t.

If you would like to share any of your own ideas on maintaining your sanity while leading a startup, or running a business, tweet me @jax_rosales.

 

HALT — Stop, In the Name of Love

By | Be Clear, Be Genuine, Be Honest, Be Reasonable | One Comment

 

In our business and personal lives, we have to undoubtedly deal with confrontation – both planned and unplanned. It may be in person, telephonically, electronically or even telepathically (that may be stretching it, but sounds cool). We can choose to ignore it, let it control us or actually respond in a productive way. Probably the worst thing to do, is just react in the moment without actually thinking it through. Then all kinds of messes are created. I have found practicing the self-discipline to Halt, has saved me many a heartache. And when I don’t halt, well then someone ends up not very happy.

Halt
/hôlt/

verb
bring or come to an abrupt stop.

noun
a suspension of movement or activity, typically a temporary one.

Since I am a dork, I thought an acronym for HALT would not only bring us back to out 7th grade study habit, but maybe, just maybe, help one poor soul not make an ass of themselves next time they are faced with confrontation.

H. Hush

Take a deep breath. Yes, seriously. Besides the fact that breathing allows more oxygen to travel throughout your body, that brief pause may save you from that Reply All in CAPS or raising your voice.

A. Ask

Taking the time to ask these questions may just help you with H and L. What you can constructively contribute or learn will get you further than “how can I win?”.

a. What can I learn here?
b. What is my part in this?
c. How can be helpful or turn this into a productive exchange?

L. Listen

Hear what the person saying. Listen, seriously. In order to actually hear, you have to do three things. 1) shut up 2) stop focusing on your clever comeback and 3) pause and give the person to a chance to say what they have to say (even if you already know it is idiotic). Listening, can actually diffuse a tense or heated state without even needing to say anything. Trust me, my staff has this one mastered.

T. Thank

Whaaatttttt? Are you serious? Yes, I am. This is part of learning, to respond and not just react. Note; there is a difference between reacting and responding – look it up. I swear they are not the same thing.

The Muse wrote an article in Forbes; they mentioned another great element that is worth implementing – “Thank him or her for sharing feedback with you. Don’t gloss over this—be deliberate, and say, ‘I really appreciate you taking the time to talk about this with me.’ Expressing appreciation doesn’t have to mean you’re agreeing with the assessment, but it does show that you’re acknowledging the effort your colleague took to evaluate you and share his or her thoughts.”

If you would like the other person(s) to change how they have spoken to you, now is the time to think of how you can help them communicate with you better. Try something like” “Hey I hear what you are saying (see the H in Halt) and I want to make this situation better too.” Using ‘and’ instead of ‘but’ is a crucial communication tool. It’s the ‘wax on, wax off’ secret to successful communication.

Have some tips of your own to share? Even if they are not in the form of a clever acronym, I’d love to hear them. Tweet me @jax_Rosales

Sane September Week 2 – Encourage Random Acts of Weirdness [AKA Fun]

By | Be Honest, Have Fun, Take Risks | No Comments

As we head into that last month before the craziness of fourth quarter, we thought it would be fun to share some tips to Stay Sane in September. Last week we talked about beating office fatigue and taking breaks. This week we are focused on lightening up and living a little. You know, having fun? That think some people only do when they are not at work?

Multiple Choice Quiz

Which of the following is an activity I have NOT done with my staff?

  1. Raced through a mud-filled obstacle course, requiring rope climbing and crawling under wires
  2. Played a live escape game, where each team searched for clues to unlock the doors from an insane asylum/military bunker
  3. Held a competition where each team had to construct a robot using only items from the dollar store
  4. Forced my staff to perform a choreographed cheer about SoapBox and perform it in front of a crowd outside the gates of Universal Studios

Answer: C, Well not yet anyway. The robot-building contest goes down next month.

Which of the following items would someone NOT find in the SoapBox office?

  1. A statue of a rooster playing the trumpet the purchased off the streets of New Orleans and shipped in a box the size of a washing machine back to the office
  2. A larger-than-life-sized cardboard cutout of David Hasselhoff sitting on a throne left over from a themed party at my house
  3. A miniature replica of a Truffula tree (y’know the one, from Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax)
  4. A basket full of SoapBox-branded bubble-blowing bottles. (Try saying that five times fast.)

Answer: This was a trick question; you can find all of this stuff in our office. Ha!

So why do we do these seemingly-un-work-related things? And why is our office filled with weird stuff that has nothing to do with Market Research? Well, 1.) because I am a little nuts and 2.) because it makes us feel good. It’s fun. We want to be different. Being different doesn’t just boost creativity and help us see things in new ways, but from an outside viewpoint, it also allows our culture and brand personality to differentiate ourselves from our competition.

Market Research can be a little stiff and traditional. Dare I say it is not the most exciting industry on the planet (shocking, I know). The SoapBox company culture is built on the premise of shaking things up, and offering something genuine and fresh; hence our tagline, Wanna Get Fresh?.

The most exciting thing to me about being startup leader, is molding and shaping a company culture, and creating the type of company I’ve always wanted to work for. Who wouldn’t want to work for a mud running, Hoff loving, 5’3” maniac?