Inside This Issue:
“Communicating Cable’s Story with Social Media,” ACC’s June 17 online chat, explores the ways social media is changing how and where people communicate. All across the nation, cable communicators are tapping into the power of the medium to tell the cable industry’s story and accomplish business goals in areas such as issues management, community relations and promotion. How can Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or blogs advance cable online?
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Prioritizing, The Bottom Line--Focusing on What Matters
(Editor’s Note: This is the first of a series of articles that will appear in CPR Facts on a regular basis and will focus on skill-building in the areas of leadership and communications effectiveness.)
Cable communication pros are doing more with a lot less. Chief contributors are slashed budgets and reduced or eliminated merit raises and promotions. With this deluge of new responsibilities, employees are struggling to prioritize their increasing workloads, especially when everything seems urgent. Leaders are also challenged with communicating feelings of being overwhelmed to their bosses and peers without seeming like they are not “on-board” with this new work load.
When considering new ways to manage your workload, how do you negotiate your priorities? Here are some tips:
· Sort Out--Before you engage in any dialogue with your boss, determine the stance from which you are speaking. In the book Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen of the Harvard Negotiation Project, the authors state that every conversation is really three conversations:
Before you engage your boss, assess each of these conversation elements so you can talk from a place of neutrality, rather than speaking from your emotion and frustration.
· Tactical to Strategic--When having one-on-one check-ins with your bosses, expand these sessions into strategy/evaluation meetings. Find out if your actions are measuring up to your results, and if not, find out what assumptions your actions are based on.
· Internal Clients--Although you may be in touch with your external customers, are you communicating with your internal clients? How regularly do you check in with them and re-check in to see what their key priorities are? Your priorities change all the time, so wouldn’t theirs? Regular check-in sessions with key internal players are essential and will give you another leverage point to renegotiate priorities.
· Real vs. Invented--When examining your deadlines consider if they are real, hard-core deadlines or are they created arbitrarily? Which ones can be moved? Negotiate.
· Get a Translator--You may find you have a different interpretation than your boss and/or peers about the work you are doing. We each interpret the same information differently. What you think is most important may not be to others. Our individual past experiences form our roadmap of understanding. And our roadmap is different from everyone else’s.
· Be More Curious Than George--Lead with curiosity. If a project is of extreme priority to everyone else and you believe it’s a waste of time or worse, you are drowning in it, seek a deeper understanding of the project. Oftentimes there are one or more missing pieces of information that will broaden your view.
Shifting organizational demands require cable communication pros to reprioritize and juggle differently. This can be a time of great opportunity. Seize it to speak up, gain understanding and increase teamwork and collaboration. Remember, employees will remain loyal to their job in trying times if they feel appreciated, heard and valued. And you don’t need a hefty budget for this, you need a hefty dose of communication skills—as communication pros you’re already ahead of the game.
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Comcast has partnered with the Connecticut State Police to provide their Police Blotter On Demand public service programming to their customers in the state. The video-on-demand channel spotlights local fugitives and gives viewers the opportunity to impact public safety by phoning in tips.
By tuning into the Police Blotter On Demand channel in the Get Local category, viewers can see photographs and short descriptions of up to ten local cold cases, selected by the Connecticut State Police. The featured cases involve violent crimes such as murder, assault, rape, and gang violence. Viewers with information concerning the highlighted cases are encouraged to contact the police and have the option of remaining anonymous. As the individuals are captured, their profiles are removed from the channel.
Comcast first launched the Police Blotter On Demand service in 2006 with the Philadelphia Police Department. Two suspects were captured as a result of tips from viewers within the first month the program ran in the Philadelphia market. In the past three years, the service has expanded to multiple locations including Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Sacramento, Southern Florida, and the state of Delaware. For more information, visit Comcast’s Police Blotter On Demand Web site.
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ACC wants to send you to sunny Florida to network and sharpen your communications skills at The Florida Cable Connection! The association will provide a registration scholarship (valued at $100 each) for up to 30 ACC members to attend the Thursday, June 18, 2009, conference events. For an additional $25, ACC members can also register to attend sessions the next day. Scholarship recipients will be responsible for their own travel expenses.
ACC has also agreed to host "Web 2.0 Today," an educational panel that explores the social media landscape and examines ways that you can advance the cable industry online. NCTA’s Paul Rodriguez and Mike Turk, founders of CableTechTalk.com, cable’s blog on technology, will lead the panel.
The Florida Cable Connection will take place June 18-19, 2009, at the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne. Interested ACC Members can contact Steve Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about how to receive a registration scholarship. For information on Florida Cable Connections, visit www.floridacableconnection.com.
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Discovery Education, in partnership with The Siemens Foundation and the National Science Teachers Association, has named the inaugural winners of the “Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge.” The awareness contest called on teams of sixth through eighth grade students to create sustainable solutions to environmental problems in their community. Team “Dead Weight,” made up of three students from Iowa and their teacher, was named the 2009 challenge winner with their project on the dangers of lead wheel weights on vehicles. They will receive a prize package that includes an appearance on Planet Green, a Discovery Adventure trip with a Discovery TV personality, a $5,000 U.S. Savings Bond, a flip camera, school supplies, and the chance to present their project to a panel of environmental experts.
The team raised awareness of the hazardous material built into many tires and encouraged efforts to phase the weights out of tire production, following the challenge process laid out by the contest administrators. Teams of two to three students and their adult mentors were to select an environmental challenge that impacts their local community and, after research and planning, implement and analyze a replicable green solution to resolve the problem. Discovery Education provided web-based curriculum tools to aid students in research and analysis. Entries were reviewed by a panel of environmental experts for content, originality, clarity, and adherence to contest rules.
More than 2,000 students from all 50 states and the District of Columbia participated in this year’s contest. The challenge is the first and only national sustainability education initiative aligned to national standards and classroom objectives. Discovery Education partnered with the Siemens Foundation, an organization that provides grants to support educational initiatives in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math, and the National Science Teachers Association, the largest professional organization for science educators, to educate, empower, and engage students, teachers and communities to impact their communities for the better. For more information, visit http://siemens.discoveryeducation.com/.
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You’ve shipped off your 2009 Beacon Award entries, but that doesn’t mean your involvement with the Beacon Awards has to be over until the fall ceremony. Get a head start on next year’s campaigns with an insider’s look at the industry’s latest innovative campaigns as a 2009 Beacon Awards judge!
By participating in the judging process, you will learn what your cable communications peers across the country are accomplishing and will walk away from the experience with hundreds of new ideas. “I was amazed at all the wonderful programs and projects that took place all around the industry,” Reinaldo Llano, director of corporation community relations for Bright House Networks, said in a Beacon Awards blog post on his first judging experience. “But more than anything, I was excited because I was picking up some great tips from being a judge on how to prepare my entry, since I clearly was going to submit a Beacon entry for programs I managed within my first year with the company.” Llano went on to win a Beacon Award for the campaign he improved with lessons learned from judging.
It’s easier than ever to judge the Beacon Awards and no travel is required. If you volunteer to judge the preliminary round, ACC will ship several entries to you to review anytime, anywhere during a two-week judging period in July.
For more information, contact Michelle Butler by calling (202) 222-2372 or emailing email@example.com.
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ACC is looking for the best of the best cable communication innovators and it’s up to you to make sure we find them! Every year ACC recognizes up to four cable communicators for their outstanding contribution to industry communications and public affairs. As an ACC member, this is your opportunity to honor your fellow communicators with a Cable Communications Achievement Award nomination.
Judged by ACC leadership, winners are selected for their innovative techniques, achievements, industry recognition including the Beacon Awards, and service to ACC. Nominees must be members of ACC for a minimum of three years and worked in cable a minimum of five years. Every year, one of the four winners may be named a “Rising Star” in the industry, with a maximum of two years in cable communications and no minimum requirement of ACC membership. The deadline for nominations is July 31. To make a nomination, contact Steve Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the ACC Web site for detailed policies and procedures.
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Disney has launched Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green, a multiplatform initiative to encourage kids to preserve the environment by taking action in their every day lives. Leveraging Disney talent, such as Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers, the company will promote the initiative across cable channels, Radio Disney, and its Web site. The Disney stars will be featured in spots educating kids on practical ways to positively impact the environment and direct them to the Web site where they can pledge supportive actions.
The initiative focuses on encouraging actions in four main areas: climate, water, waste, and habitats. Each subject will be highlighted for three months, with quarterly coordinated events during which kids from all over the world will make the same preservation effort on the same day. The interactive Web site will track those who pledge to take these actions as well as provide educational and outreach opportunities for participants. Over the course of a year, kids will also have the chance to vote for which environmental causes will benefit from a $1 million fund from Disney. For more information, visit Disney’s Friends for Change Web site .
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Being a part of cable communication’s premiere professional development event just got easier. The program outline, registration and hotel information for FORUM 2009 are now available online. Join your colleagues for educational sessions and networking opportunities to further your career, October 26-28. Simply visit the Cable Connection registration site for ACC events. Once there, you can register for FORUM, other associated events, and book your hotel room in just a few easy steps.
Denver has affordable hotel rates ranging from $195 at the Denver Marriot up to $349 at the Ritz Carlton with many options in between. The ACC preferred hotels are the Marriot, Brown Palace ($210) and Ritz Carlton. Additionally, airline discounts are available on United, American, and Continental. Use the following codes while booking online or through your preferred travel agent to receive up to 15% off applicable classes of service for tickets purchased prior to the meeting on United and Continental or 5% off American tickets:
United Airlines: 510CK
FORUM 2009 registration is $800 before September 23 for all three days. Beacon Awards ceremony-only tickets are priced at $150. This year, FORUM opens with the Beacon Awards on Monday evening, October 26th, and continues on Tuesday and Wednesday with a full range of educational sessions. For more information, visit http://www.cablecommunicators.org/forum.php.
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C-SPAN has launched the fifth year of its educational program, “Students and Leaders.” The program invites a variety of community leaders, including members of Congress, journalists, and other public figures, to Washington, D.C. area schools to speak about their work and commitment to leadership. The sessions were recorded and aired on the network from May 25-29, in partnership with Comcast, and became available online after premiering on television.
The network has drawn on a variety of well known public figures to engage with the students, such as Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who reflected on his ambitions as a young man. Washington Post political reporters Chris Cillizza and Jose Antonio Vargas as well as CNN’s Candy Crowley addressed their journeys into political reporting and the importance of developing young journalists. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) answered questions from students on his party allegiance and the youngest member of the House of Representatives, Aaron Schock (R-IL), explained how his political career began around the age of his audience. Other speakers, such as Erica Williams, deputy director of Campus Progress, stressed the importance of youth involvement in the political process.
C-SPAN hosts each season of “Students and Leaders” in schools in different cities around the nation. Previous cities include New York, Los Angeles, and San Diego with speakers such as PBS’ Gwen Ifill, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and author Michael Crichton. For more information, visit www.studentsandleaders.org.
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Join and support ACC by becoming a 2009 corporate member. For more information on how your organization can join ACC as a corporate member, please contact Steve Jones at email@example.com or 202-222-2373. For membership details, go to http://www.cablecommunicators.org/cmember.php.
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PO Box 75007 Washington DC 20013 · Phone 800.210.3396 or 202.222.2370 · Fax 703.782.0153
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