Mark Magnacca Shares the Two Questions that Tell You Everything

Check out an excerpt from the transcript for The Social Capitalist interview featuring Mark Magnacca. Check out Tahl Raz’s post on the interview here. You can access the audio recording here. Here’s the full transcript: Social Capitalist Transcript – Mark Magnacca. Enjoy!

Mark Magnacca:    The set-up of this story of these two questions is from the meeting that Ronald Reagan had in Geneva, 1985 with the then Soviet Premier Gorbachev and one of the ideas inherent in this is understanding timing and having an actor sense of timing of being able to deliver the right question in the right way at the right time.  So, Reagan sitting in this meeting, it was a historic meeting, the first time they’ve ever met and as you may recall at that time, United States had more than twenty five thousand nuclear warhead pointed basically at the Soviet Union, they had an equivalent number pointed at us and Reagan was there and he discovered in his own mind, that for him to walk out of that meeting with the 10% reduction in nuclear weapons was a complete fraud because whether we could blow the world up about 10 times over or 9 times over, it really didn’t make any difference.  So, the certain point in the meeting Tahl, he looks at Gorbachev and he says, “how would you like to take a little walk with me outside and get some fresh air.”  That’s not an accidental question.  That was a pre-meditated question and within an instance, Ronald Reagan was on a video, one of the final videos on 60 minutes telling the story he says, “in a second, Gorbachev jumps up and says, “da” and out they go with Gorbachev’s translator, they walked down to a little cottage which Reagan had the fire burning and he had had warmed up and everything and he sits down and he says to Gorbachev, he says, “Mr. Gorbachev, we’re not armed, we’re not armed because we don’t distrust each other because we’re armed, we’re armed because we distrust each other.”  He said, “why don’t you and I spend a little time now to get to know each other and see if we can work out that issue of mistrust.”  In 60 minutes of them talking, they start walking back up and Reagan had another question, he says on the way back to the meeting with all the diplomats which they left alone, he says to Gorbachev, “why don’t we agree that we will have a summit in the United States next year and I’m inviting you to come,” and Gorbachev says, “I accept,” and then Gorbachev asked similar question, he says, “why don’t we agree that the following year the Summit will be in the Soviet Union.”  These two men walked back into the room, the diplomats had made no progress whatsoever and Reagan announces that these two guys have just agreed to do two Summits of the next two years.  It all changed because of the questions, so to bring that down to from geopolitical level to the person listening.   Here are two questions that you can ask in the spirit of Reagan’s questions.  The first question, you have to practice saying it and write it down preferably would be this: I would say to you Tahl, Tahl what do you see as the biggest opportunity to grow your business over the next 12 months, and then I would pause.

Tahl Raz:    Let me answer your question before that.  Do you think most people have a, most customers you dealt with have articulate answers for that? Continue reading

How You Communicate Matters – So for Pete’s Sake, Let the Customer Choose

I had a roommate in graduate school who ate her food one thing at a time, and it couldn’t touch on the plate. All the peas. Then all the rice. Never the two shall meet.

This struck me as a little strange – mixing things up is part of the excitement! Life should not be lived in little separated boxes.

Yet, when it comes to communication, I think I am a partitioned plate kinda person.

If I contact you via email. I want to be emailed back. Don’t call me.

Actually, don’t call me ever, unless my child is dangling by her toe from a chandelier or some other emergency situation is going on. I am not a phone person.

Pet peeve: online forms that require my phone number. If I came online to contact you, that’s where I want our conversation to remain. In little black words on a screen.

If I reach out on Facebook and then the reply comes via text, I am confused. Media crossover = neurons misfiring.

I actively use a variety of communication media, of course.

I text (a lot).

I gChat.

I Skype (a lot).

I email.


I talk on the phone – to my Mom.

There is a time and a place for online chat – but please don’t tell me every 10 seconds that someone is waiting to talk to me. If I want to chat, I will. The reminders make me feel like someone is standing with their nose pressed against the storm door waiting to come in.

I don’t like that either.

It is critical to pay attention and honor the ways that others like to interact. Here at myG we are working on finding the right ways to be accessible to you without crowding you or creeping you out.

So what I want to know is – how do YOU like to interact with a company when you are interested in more information?

If You’re Not Networking, You’re Not Doing Your Job

If you’re not networking, you’re neglecting a key part of your job, according to Forbes. We at myGreenlight obviously agree!

“To many, networking has been viewed as a mandatory activity for sales people but perhaps as an extracurricular option for others, or an activity only to be pursued when a person is in between jobs. Somewhere the paradigm has shifted and many people now recognize it has become a mandatory part of everyday life for anyone in the workplace,” writes Sherri Edwards.

However, unlike what many people think, just getting exposed, or networking for the sake of networking isn’t the answer. Personally, I don’t have relationships with many of the people I’m friends with on Facebook or connected with on LinkedIn.

So what’s the next step? “Relationships develop over time, not with a click and a connection. Developing relationships requires an awareness of a purpose and having an objective, followed by thoughtful communications that will support that objective.”

Just like everything else in life, you have to make an effort in order to have rewarding results.

What about you, do you prioritize relationship building like one of your official job duties?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

What Do You Want to Achieve in 2012?

Does the idea of setting goals instantly paralyze you? Have you found goal-setting to be an ineffective way to create real change in your life?

On a recent Social Capitalist call, the author, CEO, venture capitalist, and coach Christine Comaford gave myGreenlighters the following mission to improve their 2012 planning:

Identify needle movers, rather than goals, for 2012.

Needle movers are things that will move the needle forward in your business or personal life – essentially goals that change your life fundamentally. While a goal is binary and can leave you feeling great or defeated, a needle mover ends with you either reaching your target (what you want), the minimum (what you are willing to accept), or a mind blowing result (beyond your wildest dreams!). You won’t always get the exact result you want but you will have moved the needle forward. Continue reading

Relationship Roundup

This week in the roundup: a focus on leadership traits that will have you better relate to those you lead and hope to lead.

Leadership Highlight: The list of recipients for this year’s Top American Leaders Awards hosted by Washington Post Live, in partnership with Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership provides some nice nuggets of wisdom for leading today. Watch the video clips of Monday’s speeches here

Empower the people: This HBR blog by Anthony J. Bradley and Mark P. McDonald highlights how the use of social media ushers in new ways to enhance your greatest asset, your people, by empowering them to collaborate at unprecedented scale. Read the blog here

3 habits of highly effective people: Assess your leadership strengths and gaps with this CBS Money Watch article. Read it here

A simply amazing idea: Using the extensive knowledge base of the retired and soon to retire holds great promise for organizations that need more intellectual capital. The Amazings have created a unique business opportunity out of this underutilized resource. Read and view more here

Leaders must learn to change people – Change, a must to avoid corporate stagnation and the big bad wolf of executive requests to its employee base. This interview with Kevin Eikenberry author of Bud to Boss by Michael Figliuol of ThoughtLeaders, LLC summarizes some best practices for leaders who want to elicit positive changes from their teams. Read the interview here

Kibibi Springs is myGreenlight’s Community Manager.

How to Make People Care About Who You Are and What You Do

Here is what you have to realize: if you want to sell something, change anything, woo anyone, you have to get people on your side. And if you want to get people on your side, you have to know how to get people to take notice and care.

Thanks to the new imperatives of the relationship economy as much as to the Web, far more of us have a personal stake in creating advertisements for ourselves than we once did. Attention is the scarce resource we all compete for these days. With the ability to access an infinite array of human networks with one click, we have mere seconds to put forth our best cases for why someone should engage us rather then anyone else. The clarity and effectiveness with which you communicate who you are and why it’s relevant is the lynchpin for expanding your recognition, increasing your influence, and attracting attention.

Great ideas, a great product – it’s not enough. Take the dieting book,
The Moderate Carbohydrate Diet. Ever hear of it? Probably not. Despite its good ideas (at least as far the dieting genre goes), the book was published with a thud. Repackaged as The South Beach Diet, the book became a cultural phenomenon. How do you apply these kind of branding insights to yourself?

There’s an entire industry of answers, most of which are crap. That’s why I invited Mark Magnacca to be my guest on a skills and tactics segment of The Social Capitalist. Mark, the author of So What? How to Communicate What Really Matters to Your Audience, has a no-nonsense, practical approach that helps people tailor their messaging to ensure people will care. It’s all about relentlessly focusing on how what you do benefits whoever your audience may be.

In the podcast, Mark introduced us to a couple of helpful protocols to
help hone your message. Here are two: Continue reading

The Five Best Quotes for Christmas Cards that Write Themselves

Throw a “best wishes for 2012” and a personal message on the end of these, and you’ve got yourself a fantastic holiday card. I love these quotes!

For the wise and present
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is a gift.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt (also attributed to Kung Fu Panda)

For the whimsical…
“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

by gavdana

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

For those whose cup runneth over…
“All who joy would win must share it. Happiness was born a Twin.”
– Lord Byron

For the spiritual/poetic…
“Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
– Rumi

For the cynical humorist (best for a New Year’s card):
“Sometimes too much to drink is barely enough.”
– Mark Twain

Sara Grace is myGreenlight’s Program Director.

A Life Without Email

In a very interesting article in TechCruch, Jon Orlin delves into the possible repercussions of a “zero email” policy.

Thierry Breton, CEO of a very large European technology firm with over 70,000 employees, has vowed that in three years, his company will be a “zero email” company. He says that “only 10% of emails turn out to be important” and that email is no longer the appropriate tool. “It is time to think differently.”

We’ve all had moments of overwhelm thanks to the sheer mass of emails in our inbox after even mere hours of neglect. But I can’t help but ask, what happens to those ten percent of emails that are important? Is this a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater? And what is the alternative, how will we communicate with our colleagues if we have NO email?

There’s a lot of room to make email more productive without banning it. Take a look at Keith’s thoughts about sending emails: The Huge Mistake People Make with Email and 7 Tips to Avoid It.

How do you deal with email overwhelm? Are there times that you used to use email that you now reach for another tool?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Mini Mission Monday

‘Tis the season for acknowledging those who have helped you out during the year. Whether you celebrate the winter holidays or not, this is the time of year when service people look for a bit of gratitude for their work during the year. By being thoughtful and generous you can ensure that you go into the new year with stronger relationships with those who help keep your life in order.

Your Mission:

Make a list of the service people who should be acknowledged this season and choose appropriate gestures. The postal delivery person, your hair stylist, housekeeper, administrative assistant, etc. Think broadly – there are lots of people who would be surprised and delighted by a bit of seasonal cheer.

Your gifts do not have to be monetary or cost a lot – referrals and testimonials and heartfelt thanks don’t cost a cent, but can make a huge impact.

Relationship Roundup

Welcome back. Hope everyone had a great kick off to the official holiday season. In the roundup this week, some conventional and unconventional recommendations for taking advantage of the social season and upping the ante on the intimacy in your relationships.

Try a little forgiveness – Forgiveness can be very transforming for an individual.  Imagine what it can do for a company. In this HBR post, management consultant Terese Norton shares how forgiveness transformed a hotel staff’s perception of self to continue bringing value to their organization and its customers.

Nurture the relationships in your nest – While I normally wouldn’t highlight an advertisement as need to know information, the topic of developing internal employees certainly deserves some thought as we go into annual performance review time. Here’s what Booze Allen is sharing about the topic

Release with respect – The unfortunate reality is that some of us may be faced with letting go of an employee in our future. Ending a relationship has some rules of its own. CBS Money Watch recommends 5 “Don’ts” for handling discharges.  Read it here

Before you Bail on Mail – The annual holiday card season offers the perfect opportunity to connect with family, friends and colleagues past and present.  Before you opt for the email version weigh the impact that your personal signature may have on the recipient.  Read what others are thinking about their holiday mailing decisions

Social solutions for the blind – Round of applause for Selene Chew, for considering the possibilities for improving the quality of life of the blind with the BlindSpot Cane — a clever and empathetic technological attempt to create new opportunities for social interaction for the visually impaired. Read the article here

Kibibi Springs is myGreenlight’s Community Manager.