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Monday, October 31, 2011

When Communication Really Works

It’s called communication because it is a two-way street – even when only one person is doing the talking, there is someone or more than one person at the other end who is receiving the message. And for communication to really work, it’s not just enough to send out a clear message, you also have to ensure that the correct meaning of the message has been understood by the recipient(s). 

Good communication skills are hard to find, and before you think that you’re a good communicator, let me remind you that it’s not enough just to be linguistically strong and/or have a good voice. 

To be an effective communicator, you must:

·      Know your subject: If you don’t know what you’re supposed to talk or write about, you’re never going to be able to convey the message clearly. It may be the simple act of giving someone instructions – if you don’t know how to do it yourself, no amount of instructing will do the trick. So before you start to communicate, ensure that you know the subject to be communicated well enough to deliver the message. The level of your knowledge depends on how thorough or deep your communication should be. 

·      Know your audience: It’s not enough to just be knowledgeable about the subject, you also need to know the level of receptiveness of your audience. Some people understand when things are put very simply while others expect you to use a certain standard of language in order to be perceived as an expert. Before you begin to communicate, you must know who you’re going to communicate with in order for the communication to be efficient.

·      Know how to tone up/down your subject according to your audience: And once you know both your subject and your audience, if you know how to tone your subject and choose your words according to your audience, you’re well on the way to being the king of communication. For example, you would explain certain things in one way to children and in a completely different way to adults. Even among adults, you would choose your words based on how well you think your audience is likely to understand them. This personalization and customization for a particular audience is what makes communication really effective.

These are the very basic skills of a good communicator – when you know what your message is supposed to be, when you know who the intended recipient is, and when you’re able to adjust the message according to the person who is supposed to receive it, you know you’ve mastered the fine art of communication.  

This guest post is contributed by Anna Miller, who writes on the topic of degrees online . She welcomes your comments at her email id:

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Spending up, Amazon gets Disney Reprieve, New AMPTAS head comes from Indy Film, FOX and the Dodgers

Amazon's Kindle FireConsumer spending on entertainment up for the first time since the Recession began in 2008. Spending on home entertainment totaled $3.9 billion in the third quarter of this year, up 5% from a year earlier, marking the first increase since the recession took hold in 2008.

Purchases of recorded movies fell to $1.7 billion in the latest period, down 4% from the third quarter of 2010, a new report from Digital Entertainment Group shows.

The continued drop in consumer purchases of movies came despite the growth in popularity of Blu-ray discs. Sales of films Blu-ray discs, an increasingly popular format, were up 58%, but that wasn't enough to offset a decline in DVD sales.

The video rental market also was soft, staying relatively flat at $1.8 billion. The closing of hundreds of Blockbuster outlets helped push rental revenue from physical stores down 29%. The loss of Blockbuster stores was partially offset by gains in rentals at Redbox kiosks.

Digital revenue, increasingly important for the home entertainment business, showed double-digit percentage gains. Spending on online rentals and purchases jumped 56% to $811 million as subscription streaming services such as those offered by Netflix and gained popularity. The increase also reflects a decision by Netflix to report its revenue from streaming separately from its movies-by-mail revenue.

Disney deal: Like Netflix, Amazon will not get access to current shows in season. In other words, last week's 'Grey's Anatomy' won't show up on Prime Instant until a month after the current television season ends.

Walt Disney Co. has gotten on the Amazon gravy train.
Looking to acquire content for its video streaming service Prime Instant, Amazon has struck a deal with Disney's ABC broadcast network as well as its cable channels including Disney Channel, ABC Family and some older shows made by ABC Studios including "Felicity."

The short-term agreement is much smaller than Disney's current arrangement with Netflix, but the structure is similar. Like Netflix, Amazon will not get access to current shows in season.

The Netflix deal, which was also given a short-term renewal by Disney, is broader in terms of content. Amazon gets access only to past episodes of one current ABC series, "Grey's Anatomy." Netflix gets past episodes of the medical drama, its spinoff "Private Practice" and "Desperate Housewives."
Besides Disney, Amazon has also signed agreements with CBS, Fox, Warner Bros., Sony and NBCUniversal. It is making a big push for content to help boost sales of its new Kindle Fire tablet.
For all the big entertainment companies, Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services have turned into a vital new revenue stream. They need content for their streaming business and are throwing cash for old TV shows.

Learning curve. The New York Times profiles Dawn Hudson, the new chief executive of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. She's ruffled a few feathers in the thankless job, but no one questions her tenacity. “If you don’t want to say yes, don’t take her phone call,” said Michael Donaldson, the general counsel at Film Independent, the nonprofit Hudson ran before joining the academy.

End of cinema. The New Yorker weighs in on the controversy over Universal Pictures' now-aborted attempt to offer "Tower Heist" on video-on-demand just three weeks after its theatrical debut. Writes Anthony Lane: "There’s only one problem with home cinema: It doesn’t exist. The very phrase is an oxymoron. As you pause your film to answer the door or fetch a Coke, the experience ceases to be cinema."

One born every minute. Almost 20 years ago, the telephone companies invaded Hollywood. Money was tossed at executives and producers with dreams of new content giants being created. Other than a few executives getting even richer, nothing really happened. Now Google is coming to Hollywood with an open checkbook in the hopes of turning YouTube into a competing platform to traditional television. Maybe it will work, but if not, some folks will get overpaid trying! Coverage from the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and New York Post.

Wither the mogul. Rupert Murdoch is under siege and other media toppers are in hiding. That's the take from Variety columnist Peter Bart. I might argue that other than Murdoch, there are no other chief executives of media giants with nearly the personality to speak without requiring three focus group assessments first. Also, his family history is tied to that company. Not true for most everyone else.

The blame game.So Hilary Swank takes a ton of cash to show up at Chechnya President Ramzan Kadyrov's birthday and then there is a backlash against her for it since he's not exactly on the Nobel Peace Prize shortlist. Her next move? Fire her advisors of course! That's the word from The Independent. Swank was clearly a believer in the W.C. Field's line "it's only a crime if you get caught."

Inside the Los Angeles Times: NBC News anchor Brian Williams starts his second job as host of "Rock Center," the network's new news magazine. OWN Presidents Erik Logan and Sheri Salata are prepared to take the long road to success. Why Fox is fighting so hard with Dodgers owner Frank  McCourt.

-- Joe Flint

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With the Mob Museum Opening soon...I felt I should share a mob memory involving the Halloween's of my Youth!

Halloween, Mobster Memories.

When I was a kid I use to change costumes and return to the same house many times. We all did. A nice old man gave out full boxes of Cracker Jack, and in every few boxes there was slipped in a two dollar bill! Lots of money back then. 

The nice old man was Sam Giancanna!

Use the link and you will know why this story is not just some boring Halloween story. 

There is a scary aspect to it when you find out who he was.

Blu-ray disc sales set the pace for home entertainment growth

The Digital Entertainment Group reports that consumer spending on home entertainment increased 5% in the third quarter, to $3.9 billion from $3.7 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Pacing the growth were sales of Blu-ray discs, which jumped more than 20% in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period in 2010, reaching $1.23 billion. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)

Labor Dept. ‘Friends’ Facebook to Help Job Seekers

Share with those who need a helping hand

From the AFL-CIO Blog (click here)

by Mike Hall, Oct 30, 2011

The U.S. Department of Labor is joining forces with Facebook and education and employer organizations to provide crucial employment resources to job seekers through the use of social networks.

A new Facebook Social Jobs Partnership page (click here) highlights available training programs, educational opportunities and job search resources. Also Facebook has made a commitment to drive traffic to the page through targeted online public service announcements that will appear to users in geographic areas experiencing high unemployment.
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis says:
Linking American job seekers with the resources they need to get back to work is a top priority of the Obama administration and my department. By leveraging the power of the social Web, this initiative will provide immediate, meaningful and ready-to-use information for job seekers and employers, and a modern platform to better connect them.

Other partners in the initiative are the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, DirectEmployers Association and the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Those groups will conduct in-depth survey research about how job seekers, college career centers and workforce recruiters are using the social Web effectively; explore how job postings can be shared on Facebook and through other social websites at no charge; and distribute educational materials to recruiters, government agencies and job seekers about the utility of the social Web.
Marne Levine, Facebook’s vice president of global public policy, says:
Facebook is about connecting people, so that they can share what’s important to them, and that is the driving force behind the social jobs partnership. We’ve brought employers, recruiters, college career services and government agencies together to help the millions of Americans who use Facebook to find jobs.

Guest Commentary: Teaching Communication

There are many sources for information on communication, careers, getting over your fears, getting your message through, being open to the messages in our lives and world, filtering fact from fiction, understanding the world around you and understanding how to prosper in, be healthy despite, and a contributing part of the world we live in. A large amount of information is out there. From time to time I will share guest commentary, links to other sites and suggestions on places to go to find additional inforamation. 

There is no reason to not do well in any Communication course or project. If you do not understand something there are many places to seek out explanation, information and clarification.

The article below is the first by  Adrienne Carlson, whose contact information and credentials can be found at links below.

Additional Teaching Options in Communication
There’s no doubting the fact that good communication skills are essential for success in any aspect of life; we may be smart and intelligent, but unless we’re able to show people our abilities, they are in vain. Communication is not just limited to the oral version; it can take on many forms from body language to sign language. Some people are able to transcend the limitations imposed by language and communicate effectively using their eyes and hands alone while others struggle when they don’t speak or understand the local lingo. Any way you look at it, being able to communicate effectively and according to the situation is important.
If you’re a good communicator, you would probably do well as an educator in this subject too, and if you’re interested in exploring teaching opportunities, here are a few options you could try:
·      Teaching in schools and colleges: Most schools and colleges have separate courses that teach communication skills. Some combine it with their English lessons, but this is really not the most effective way to teach communication because to be able to communicate well, you need to cross language barriers. Teaching communication skills is all about getting your students to understand the verbal and non verbal aspects of communication, and being able to get their message across without being ambiguous or vague. Good communication teachers are able to work with students individually and help them overcome their weaknesses and play to their strengths. 

·      Instructing at academies: Some people prefer to set up their own communication skills academies and are involved in conducting lectures and workshops across the country. They work with a select set of students for a while before moving on to the next batch. They have standard procedures and routines that they follow and are usually available on a consultancy basis. You could explore this avenue once you have gained a few years of experience teaching communication skills at a school or college.

·      Authoring self-help books: Once you become an expert in this line of work, you could sell your knowledge by writing self-help articles, e-books and books. You could set up your own blog and use your social networks to promote your articles and get more people to read them. Once you gain the reputation of being an expert, it’s easy to promote and sell your books and e-books.
To be a good communications teacher, you must first know how to sell your skills to others.
This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of accelerated online degree . Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: