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Five benefits of using multimedia to build your expert brand in academia and beyond

Photo credit: Irina Drigalenko


Our Bookphoria team has just returned from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where we were honored to be part of the STARTALK program. We delivered our presentation on the use of multimedia for academics so that they could build their expert brands to be both in and on demand.

Because of the economic situation and development of technology, more and more academics need to find new ways to promote their courses and programs. Some start information businesses or consulting practices as full-time or part-time options. All academics need to enhance their presentation skills and online visibility to succeed in their professional endeavors.  In order to stand out in the crowded industry, academics must position themselves as a known authority in their field. While being subject-matter experts, they often lack marketing skills and may dislike self-promotion.

The good news is that you can build your expert brand without having to push sales on your clients or spend endless hours figuring out how to make social media work for your business.  Multimedia storytelling offers a perfect solution to combine what you know and love (education) with effective promotion. In multimedia storytelling, you pair different elements of your expertise with various media platforms to develop engaging content and build unique client experiences by offering your own blend of edutainment.

According to Getty Images statistics (2012), 92% of people want brands to make ads to feel like a story or game.  Multimedia solutions allow you to advertise your expertise across multiple channels that your audience already uses to build stronger emotional connections and higher engagement with your business.  Here are five benefits of using multimedia to build your expert brand:

  1. You grow your visibility and influence online.
  2. You engage your audience and make your presentations appeal to multiple senses and modes of learning by using games, animation, interactive activities, infographics, scenarios and digital stories.
  3. You leverage your content by re-purposing and remixing publications, video and audio information products, and marketing materials.
  4. You stock your toolbox with ready-to-use multimedia learning modules to enhance your branding and marketing as you educate your clients.
  5. You create an engaging and dynamic expert portfolio that showcases your unique strengths and expertise to prospects, conference organizers, as well as potential employers.

Bookphoria is here to help you build your expert brand to be both in and on demand. Sign up for our complimentary consultation at http://bookphoria.com/register-for-your-complimentary-consultation/

Storytelling 2.0: a mystery singer, a shoe and a conflict.

Happy New Year!

What is your most daring business-related vision for 2014 and beyond? I will share one of mine with you. I just submitted a book chapter on transmedia storytelling for speakers. Transmedia storytelling is a novel concept for many.  Here is a short video that explains it:

Having worked in the peacemaking and conflict management field, I would love to generate projects that can teach conflict management skills through transmedia. I plan to develop transmedia content myself as a speaker and trainer.  Through Bookphoria, we work with authors to bring their expert content into multimedia.

What if we could create a transmedia narrative that is not about a mystery singer and a shoe, but rather about a conflict?  Every good story has a conflict. We all have seen enough of venting about conflicts on social media. In contrast, our “caught-in-conflict” transmedia story can engage the audience members to solve a conflict by using their existing skills and extra help they may get along their journey from skillful professionals. The transmedia story may  include videos and narratives of effecting peacemaking, as well as different scenarios to explore. The audience members become active participants and digital storytellers themselves. People can play and learn!

OK, this is an example of my vision of the future of conflict management training. How can digital storytelling become part of your vision?

Share your daring vision in the comments below!

P.S. Bookphoria offers a free PDF of my ebook “FANology Playbook: 27 Brain-Friendly Activities to Turn Virtual Friends and Foes into Fans.” Get it HERE.

Online communication: 12 questions to ask before you hit that ”Send” button

everything was saidCommunication feels like air, water and food to us.  We communicate naturally and with abundance. The Internet turned communication into a buffet of ideas that we can all gorge on at any given moment, for better or for worse. How do we avoid empty information calories and excessive vicarious emotions that stimulate the brain but provide no meaningful outlet for the cultivated opinions and responses?  How do we encourage communication that makes a difference and gets results?

Perhaps, taking responsibility for what we consume and share online and reflect on its usefulness and meaning can be a step in the right direction. A healthy diet for your mind is as important as a healthy diet for your body.  In the words of Lama Surya Das, “If we want to simplify and deepen our lives, we must simplify and deepen our minds. When we become more centered, clear, spacious, caring, and open, there is suddenly much more room in our frenetic lives for both others and ourselves.”

Here are 12 coaching questions to explore if you want to become more aware of your online communication style and make it more effective and productive:

  1. What is the intent behind your communication: to inform, entertain, support, motivate, inspire, reflect, understand, connect, persuade, distract, misrepresent, annoy, aggravate, vent, deflect, etc.? The intent is rarely stated but often assumed when we communicate online.  You may never know what motivates other people to say certain things, but you should be clear about your own intent.
  2. How do you want to be perceived when you communicate online?
  3. What issues are appropriate for an email, a private message or a post and what topics are better handled via a face-to-face conversation or a phone call?  If an important issue is likely to become explosive online, at what point do you pick up the phone?
  4. How can your words be interpreted differently from what you intended?
  5. How can you interpret what you read or hear differently?
  6. How can you ascribe a neutral or positive intent even when you receive a seemingly negative message?
  7. What needs to be clarified?
  8. If you are having an online argument with someone and that person walks into the room, what would you say face to face?
  9. What would you write if you were angry? What would be the benefits, costs and consequences of sending an angry message?
  10. What would you write if you were calm and composed? What would be the benefits, costs and consequences of sending a balanced message?
  11. How can you make your communication factual, positive, direct, precise and concise?
  12. What do you want to communicate about HOW the issues are communicated? What suggestions do you have to improve communication and avoid misunderstandings?
By | 2013-09-13T15:26:06+00:00 September 13th, 2013|Communication, Conflict Management|0 Comments

Multiply Your Impact & Income Through Packaging Your Brand Online (The Right Way)


A few years ago, I conducted a teleseminar titled “Leveraging the Web to Grow Your Dispute Resolution Practice” for the New York State Dispute Resolution Association.  Its premise was that conflict resolution professionals loved their work but often struggled when it came to marketing their services.  In that teleseminar, I discussed how no-cost to low-cost technology could help conflict resolution professionals build long-term trusting relationships with their clients and prospects and even create passive income streams while they shared their expertise and valuable experience with a wider audience.

The topic of information products is even hotter these days when so much of our knowledge is acquired online. That is why I am especially honored to share the work of Dr. Marina Kostina, founder and CEO of Wired@Heart, who is an expert in transcending distances online and helping business owners leverage their time and expertise through online courses and products.  Maybe, now is the time to package all your experience and wisdom into a product that can make you extra income around the clock. Find out how you can do it in today’s post.

The author of today’s post is our guest blogger Dr. Marina Kostina, founder and CEO of Wired@Heart.

 Why go online?

You love your clients.

You love connecting and engaging with them.

And you’d love being able to make a difference on a larger scale.

But there is only one of you! And that means that no matter what, your impact (and income) will always be limited.

We live in a very exciting time, as there are literally billions of online businesses nowadays.

However, 95% of online businesses fail and they fail in a matter of months!

These statistics tell us two very important things:

1) Small business owners finally realize that the online environment has tremendous potential for impact, profitability, and building the lifestyle of their dreams.

2) Most online businesses fail, and fail super-fast because they do not know how to bring their brand online in an effective way.

Many “business gurus” promise that designing an info product will solve all your financial frustrations, magically attract lots of clients, and ultimately will help you build a lifestyle of your dreams. I strongly believe that most info products experts are missing the KEY ingredient: building connection and engagement in cyberspace.

How to make your brand shine online the right way:

After 10 years of working online and conducting research on online interactions for my doctorate dissertation, I know one thing for sure: connection and engagement is THE KEY to success in cyberspace! I believe that an engaged client is a happy client. It is a client who will keep on buying your products, develop a sense of identity with your brand, will produce great results that he will gladly share with others, and will become your biggest fan and an advocate for your business!

There are 5 types of connection that businesses need to foster while bringing their brand online:

Strategy # 1: Building Client-Client Connection

The client-client type of engagement is where clients engage with each other, creating an online community. Often, such communities are considered to be a “bonus” to an online product. I argue that developing such communities is a MUST. You can easily create a community of like-minded individuals even with self-paced, downloadable products by providing an opportunity to access an online forum, or maybe creating a private Facebook group where your clients can interact and share their experiences, questions, and success stories.

Strategy # 2: Building Client-Mentor Connection

The secret of engagement is this: you need to find a way of making your trainees feel that they are involved in a learning process that they own, one that they have helped to construct, and that they are working on a piece of work that is relevant to their lives and interests.  They are searching for information and finding in it what is of most interest and relevance for their piece of work, reporting the progress of their work to others, and benefiting from the feedback.  They are giving constructive input that can help fellow participants clarify concepts and arguments in their work, being producers of knowledge rather than consumers of it, and having a hand in their destiny and living creatively as they progress through the program.

Strategy # 3: Building Client-Content Connection

Client-content engagement refers to the client’s accessing the content of the course or a program. You have to consciously and continuously facilitate discussions, and guide your clients toward the program goals. Remember, this is not a mentorship approach in which you tell your clients where to go to find answers; rather, you encourage them to explore the parameters of an issue, raise questions, and go to the program content and other valid sources of information to find their own answers.

Strategy #4: Building Client-Platform Connection

A Learning Management System (LMS), an interactive video, or a downloadable PDF series – are all important in the learning process: it is a part of the learning community, as your clients must engage with the technical platform that delivers your product. As the mentor, your responsibility is to facilitate interaction between the platform and the client. In order to minimize early dropouts because of technology, you should help your clients with navigation tools by creating a short video or a detailed PDF cheat sheet that explains how to interact with the platform, download a product or post a comment in a discussion forum. You can also develop problem solving queries in which you can invite clients’ comments on the culture of online learning, its strengths and its limitations, and ask for suggestions on how their current learning experience might be improved.

Strategy #5: Building Client-Learning Process Connection

Clients need to feel that the learning process respects their needs and that they are trusted to have a say in what they learn and how: they need to feel that they have agency and that you are fostering their autonomy. Explain to the clients the basics of the online interactions, where each participant creates a new identity and information might be miscommunicated more easily than in face-to-face interactions. Delayed response and technology might create a sense of isolation. When the clients are aware of the challenges of the online environment and have the tools to deal with these challenges, they will less likely become frustrated with the program and will not lose their motivation.

In conclusion, if you want to multiply your impact and income, you MUST bring your brand online! Imagine not having to worry about attracting new clients. Imagine creating a referral powerhouse where your satisfied clients spread the word about you! (Remember, people would more likely buy a product recommended by their friends).

I know that the process might sound scary for many of you.

I created a FREE training session: “Multiply Your Impact and Income Online” that will be held online on April 4, 2013 @ 7:30 pm.

In this training you will discover 3 simple steps to:

  1. Big Idea: Finding your product’s main idea that will instantly connect with your clients
  1. Design: Weaving connection and engagement into the design of your product
  1. Delivery: Building connection and engagement during delivery of your product

Sound interesting? You will find more information here:

Register Here

I cannot wait to see you!


Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which I receive a commission if you make purchases.


By | 2013-03-28T19:02:39+00:00 March 28th, 2013|Communication, Conflict Management, Learning|0 Comments

5 practices for resilient communication

rubberbandballResilience is the ability to bounce back.  Resilient communication allows us to bounce back from any negativity, perceived threats or attacks that may happen in the course of a social interaction.  A good visual for it is a rubber band ball – a bouncy ball, made by wrapping rubber bands around its core. Each individual rubber band can stretch to a certain point but it can’t bounce as well as the collection of those rubber bands.  Similarly, there are stress and tension points in most important conversation.  A certain amount of tension is not a bad thing if we know how to use it to create breakthroughs and moments of growth and solve problems. But if we snap in a conversation because of too much stress or we feel detached, communication falls apart and we lose resilience.

Resilience allows us to survive, thrive and grow through challenges, conflicts and tensions. Resilient communication can feel vibrant, honest, sometimes vulnerable, but also liberating because we can fully express what we mean and be respectful and hear what others have to say without jumping to conclusions or feeling defensive. By expressing our own vulnerability, we offer others space to open up too.

Resilient communication  works with the brain to enhance its natural capacity to search for solutions while stress and inflexibility can cause the so called “tunnel vision” in our thinking.  Resilient communication encourages creative tension – the push and pull of ideas that creates the environment for new possibilities and perspectives to emerge.  Here are 5 practices that promote resilient communication. Notice how they build on the natural tension and contrast that are present in every interaction: “us” and “others”; conformity and autonomy; voice and silence; self-expression and self-control; status-quo and change.

1. Zoom in on the common things you share with others, zoom out of the differences. We tend to be threatened by people with opposing beliefs. Our brains are wired to filter out information that does not support our own views. The confirmation bias causes us to give more weight to the opinions that we agree with. Therefore, we naturally gravitate towards people like us. The advantage is that we feel safe.  The downside is that we are limiting ourselves to what we already know and feel comfortable with.  To overcome this tendency, get out of your comfort zone and get to know people who are different from you. Be curious and open minded about what you may discover. If you feel secure in who you are and what you stand for, you can extend the same sense of safety to others.  By acknowledging the shared humanity of all, you can show respect to those who may disagree with you.

2. Choose dissent over groupthink.  It is hard to go against the group and rock the boat because maintaining and enhancing status and social standing is a reward to the brain. When people realize they might compare unfavorably to someone else, it triggers the release of cortisol and other stress-related hormones and activates the brain areas that process emotional pain, the amygdala and posterior cingulate. People exhibit a surprisingly strong tendency to conform under group pressure even when the ultimate conclusion seems clearly wrong, as shown in experiments conducted by psychologist Solomon Asch back in the 50s. The opinions expressed by the group can influence our own perception. The good news is that it takes just one voice of dissent for a different perspective to be heard. Encourage what psychologist Daniel Kahneman calls “adversarial collaboration.”  Good decision-making requires resilient dissent.

3. Be slow to talk and in a hurry to listen. Effective leaders and influencers master the art of listening, and they understand that people want to be heard. Active,  empathetic and resilient listening is a rarity in our fast-paced world, and it’s not as simple as it sounds.  Even if we know how to listen, we often don’t do it for a number of reasons. Next time you talk to someone, watch for the common listening barriers that block a good conversation flow and may cause misunderstandings:  relying on the predetermined attitude and assumptions; jumping to conclusions; completing other people’s thoughts; selective listening and paying attention only to what you want and expect to hear; ignoring body language.  Listen with a compassionate heart and an open mind.

4. Control your hot buttons to have cool conversations.  As strong negative emotions begin to get hold of your whole inner being and highjack the thinking part of your brain, call them out:  “Anger.” “Panic,” “Fear,” “Defensiveness,” etc. Putting feelings into words disrupts the amygdala activity in the brain that can cause a fight-or-flight response. Label your negative emotions to tame them. Take deep breaths in conversation to relax and bring more oxygen to your brain. Take a break if the emotions become overwhelming. Be mindful of your physiological and emotional responses. Be present and aware.

5. Create chaos to open possibilities. Our brains are wired to search for patterns and create a sense of predictability and certainty to keep us comfortable in our environment.  A real change often requires the disruption of the existing patterns and the exertion of mental resources that the brain tries to conserve.  Build your tolerance for ambiguity to become a better collaborator and problem-solver.  People who aren’t comfortable with ambiguity and want to make quick and firm decisions are also prone to making generalizations about others.  Ask questions to make a leap into the unknown and push yourself to the edges of your comfort zone. Rebel against your own linear thinking. Questions are the power tool of creativity. They drill through the surface into deeper layers of meaning and understanding. They shape and guide our thinking. Flip the assumptions and connect the opposites.  Distance yourself in time, space and perspective to improve decision-making.  As Margaret Drabble wrote, “When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”

Resilient, brain-friendly communication and practices that support it were a topic of my recent interview at The Texas Conflict Coach Radio, hosted by Pattie Porter.  You can listen to the podcast here or below.

Listen to internet radio with Texas Conflict Coach on Blog Talk Radio
By | 2013-02-15T13:56:20+00:00 February 14th, 2013|Communication, Conflict Management|1 Comment