What Can We Learn From Steve Jobs About Publicity?

In 1997, Steve Jobs was answering questions posed by developers at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC). While answering one of their questions, he mentions that “focusing is about saying no.”

The problem a lot of people have when they are trying to get publicity for themselves is that they lack focus. It is okay to be good at a lot of things, but not everyone needs to know everything you are good at (especially if you want to be recognized as an industry expert).

Jobs also mentions:

"Apple suffered for several years from lousy engineering management. And there were people that were going off in 18 different directions--doing arguably interesting things in each one of them. Good engineers. Lousy management.

And what happened was, you look at the farm that's been created, with all these different animals going in different directions, and it doesn't add up. The total is less than the sum of the parts. And so we had to decide: What are the fundamental directions we're going in? And what makes sense and what doesn't? And there were a bunch of things that didn't. And microcosmically they might have made sense; macrocosmically they made no sense.

...When you think about focusing, you think, well, focusing is about saying yes. No.”

Just because you can do something, doesn’t always mean you should. The same way you find a niche and stick with it in business, you need to find a lane and stay in it for publicity.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Photo Credit: Pexels

The Visible ROI of Publicity

  • Increase Social Media Engagement

  • Targeted traffic to your website

  • New Leads in your marketing funnel

  • Sales

All of these things are measurable and work together to establish you as an authority in your industry.

The Invisible ROI of Publicity

  • Brand awareness

  • Referrals for speaking engagements

  • Referrals for more media interviews

  • Referrals to new clients

I like to think of this as scaling your word of mouth marketing campaign. Before the Internet, companies grew because they served their clients and their clients wanted to refer their friends to those companies. Today, businesses still grow this way in the beginning, but if you are not taking advantage of the benefits of scaling your audience then you are missing out on an opportunity to have word of mouth referrals from sources who have never met you and never worked with you.

If you gain a lot of publicity for yourself and there is no strategy behind it and you are talking about any topic you find interesting, you are doing yourself a disservice because you are confusing your audience. They cannot refer people to you if they do not know what you do. So, while you may be able to give advice on 18 different topics, if you want to move the needle forward and maximize your ROI on your publicity strategy, then it needs to spread a consistent message.

If you would like more tips on how you can increase your credibility online, join my 5 day publicity challenge here.

You can also watch my Truth Tuesday Video titled “Is all publicity good publicity?” on YouTube here:

How to Improve Communication At Work

The Artful Worker Podcast Interview with Sim Saini:
Pay Rises, Networking, NLP, and More | Episode 005

It was an honor to be interviewed on The Artful Worker Podcast! In Episode 005, Sim and I got to talk about how to communicate more effectively in your professional life whether you're working in a leadership role or entry-level position we touched on a lot of scenarios where you might feel uncomfortable expressing yourself.

During the interview, we touched on:

  • How to negotiate your salary when you apply for a new job
  • How to give negative feedback without making people feel defensive
  • The one thing you should avoid so you don't create a toxic work environment
  • How to trust someone again after they let you down at work
  • What is NLP and Hypnotherapy and how did I get involved in it?
  • How to manage your energy during a work conference or networking event (as an introvert)
  • And much more...

Click here to listen to Episode 005 and you can follow along with these show notes:

[2:15] Background information on how I became an entrepreneur.

[6:20] How to negotiate your salary and apply for a job that is going to level up your career.

[18:48] Sim asks, "Is it too risky to be up front about any limitations you might have when you are in a job interview?" Listen in to hear my response!

[20:10] How to stand out in a job interview and differentiate yourself from the other candidates.

[21:10] Sim asks, "What percentage of increase were you looking at when you negotiated your salary?"

[22:49] I share how I felt the moment I said the salary I wanted out loud and the reaction I got on the other end of the phone.

[23:40] Sim and I discuss how to trust colleagues after they have made mistakes as well as performance management and corporate culture.

[24:50] Sim and I discuss both sides of negative feedback - being the person who has to deliver the feedback as well as being the person receiving the feedback. 

[26:08] Bonus Tip: What negative feedback that doesn't upset someone sounds like in action (and how you can do it too!)

[28:40] Sim and I step into the shoes of the person receiving feedback and how to give them the opportunity to ask for what they need help with.

[29:50] Sim asks, "What happens if I put myself on the line and recommended someone, but they let me down. How can I build trust again?"

[31:45] I share the one thing you should never do as a leader when someone disappoints you if you want to have a positive corporate culture.

[33:19] Bonus Tip: I share the 2 words you can use to redirect your employee to thinking about solutions or productive thoughts rather than complaining, blaming, or being defensive.

[34:00] Sim and I talk more about NLP and Hypnotherapy. What is it? How does it work?

[39:39] How did I get involved in Hypnotherapy?

[42:20] Sim and I discuss networking fatigue and exhaustion. I share how to make yourself magnetic so you don’t have to go after people to network and meet them.

[49:40] I share an alternative to large scale networking that offers a more focused and intentional approach to building relationships.

[52:00] Networking in larger cities (comparing London to New York City)

Subscribe to The Artful Worker Podcast and leave a review to help more people find this interview.

How do I trust my Co-Founder again after he drops the ball on an important meeting?

Occasionally my readers will send me requests for topics they would like to see me write about on my blog. The following is a question from a reader.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Photo Credit: Pexels

Dear Tara, 

My company is going through a rapid growth phase and I had to delegate an important meeting to my because I couldn’t be in two places at the same time. The meeting was with a big client and it was a relationship I had been working on for a long time. I feel like my Co-Founder/COO knew how important it was for the company that this meeting go well so I was extremely disappointed and angry when I got out of my meeting and found a voicemail from the client asking me if everything was okay because my COO missed the meeting. I was able to reschedule the meeting, but now I feel like I have to do everything myself if I want it to be done correctly. How can I trust my second in command to handle situations like this in the future as the company continues to grow?

Growing Pains


Dear Growing,

It is such an exciting time in your business knowing that you are about to reach a new level. You would not have gotten this far if you didn’t have a dedicated team of people working together to push the company forward. It is normal to feel like there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on your “to do” list, so please take a moment to acknowledge yourself for finding solutions through delegation.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20 so you can look back and say things like, “I should have never trusted him to take the meeting for me.” Instead of shaming yourself for not doing everything yourself, try asking yourself “How can I close the communication loop on important tasks I delegate to others in the future?” because chances are you are going to have to delegate things to other people more and more as your business grows.

While you can’t change how you reacted to this situation, you can learn from it moving forward.

First, recognize that you both had the best intentions. Your COO intended to take the meeting and make it a success. At the same time, maybe you intended to let him take on a bigger role so he could grow with you and the company.

Second, think about what you really want to accomplish. I don’t think you want to belittle him or make him feel bad for dropping the ball. What you want is for him to take ownership of the company the way you do. The company is your baby and you would stop a moving train to protect it. You want everyone in your company to be that passionate about your baby.

So, how do you do that?

You are on the right track with wanting to delegate things and while delegation came from a place of necessity this time because you are overwhelmed, in the future it can come from a place of allowing other employees to feel accountable for the success of the company.

Here are some steps you can take in the future to ensure that tasks are delegated successfully:

1.     Understand your priorities and communicate them consistently. This meeting was extremely important to you and it won’t be the first or the last time you have to delegate something that is critical to the development of the business. One way you can communicate this is by color coding a shared calendar. For example, you can put high priority tasks in red, secondary priority tasks in yellow, and lower priority tasks in green. Another way to communicate priorities in writing could be in the e-mail subject line. P1 could mean top priority, P2 secondary priority, and P3 low priority. Find a system that works for your organization.

2.     Once you establish the various levels of priority, define what each of them means. How quickly do you expect a top priority task to be completed? Which employees within the organization is it appropriate to delegate a top priority task to? How will you close the loop of communication? For low priority tasks it may be appropriate to close the loop by sending an email that says, “Done.” For high priority tasks you may want to schedule a meeting on your calendar to debrief right after the task is set to be completed.

3.     Be open to teaching. Most skills can be learned, so don’t be afraid to delegate something to someone who may have never done the task before. Be sure you take the time to ask them if they understand how to perform the task, give them the opportunity to ask questions, and ensure they understood what you were asking them to do by having them teach it back to you before you perform it.

4.     Check-in with the person you’ve delegated the task to. In this situation, you delegated a high priority task. The morning of the meeting it would have been appropriate to check in with your COO and ensure that he was prepared for the meeting. In other situations you may want to check-in periodically to make sure the tasks that have been delegated are moving forward. The key to checking in is to avoid stepping in to tell your employees how to perform the task. Trust them to execute it.

5.     Close the loop. Be sure you have a system and structure for how you will execute #2. During this time it is also appropriate to ask your employee what he or she thought went really well and what the opportunities for improvement are.

want more tips on how to have difficult conversations?

How do I give negative feedback without making people defensive?

Occasionally my readers will send me requests for topics they would like to see me write about on my blog. The following is a question from a reader.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Photo Credit: Pexels

Dear Tara,

I’m looking at a new job promotion in a leadership role. At this time I feel I need help learning how to speak to people respectfully and without sounding bossy. To be honest, I am scared people won’t listen to me when I try to help them make their jobs better.


Compassionate Leader

Dear Compassionate,

Congratulations on taking the next step in your career! It is wonderful that you have such a big heart and you want to help develop your employees so they can succeed in their roles. A lot of times we worry about sounding bossy or disrespectful because we have had managers who made us feel disrespected when we have received negative feedback in the past. This is referred to as a fear based leadership style. It is very hierarchical and designed to make employees produce quality work out of fear of being reprimanded. It doesn’t leave employees feeling motivated, uplifted, or competent.

There are many things you can do to create a different workplace experience for your staff. The first thing is to recognize that you don’t want to lead in this way, which you have already done by asking for help. Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It sounds like you want to make people feel respected, comfortable talking to you and asking for help, and motivated to improve upon their work.

If you continue to base your leadership style off of your past experiences and you focus on being afraid of being bossy, then your natural response will be to avoid communication until it becomes a big enough issue that the conversation will be punitive for the employee. Ultimately a self-fulfilling prophecy for the exact scenario you want to avoid. This is a common occurrence when we have the best intentions and we don’t have the framework, the experience, or the skills to be able to change the way we want to be perceived. That also means you have to be willing to go outside of your comfort zone (and stay there consistently, especially when it gets really uncomfortable) to initiate these difficult conversations.

One way you can consistently communicate with your staff is through scheduling regular, expected times to meet with them. This can be done through team meetings after the completion of a project to evaluate its effectiveness, monthly staff meetings to discuss whether or not monthly goals have been met, and one on one meetings with your team leaders. If you have a large staff, it may not be possible to meet one on one with employees often (such as monthly) so in these cases, you will want to make sure you call meetings with them for positive reinforcement just as much as constructive feedback. You will know best what will work within your organization for delivering feedback when it comes to how it is delivered and how often. The important part is that you manage expectations for how this will be done so it is a habit and becomes part of the culture.

If you are working your way up through the company it is also highly likely that you have a good understanding of the work your employees are being expected to do. It’s important as a leader to be able to put yourself in their shoes and see the situation through their eyes. If you aren’t sure about what it is like to be in their shoes then it doesn’t hurt to ask open ended questions to clarify where a breakdown in the system, the employee’s education, or the communication may be occurring. This will also help you collect more information about the situation so you can give feedback that is both relevant and easy to understand by your employee.

If you aren’t in the habit of initiating a conversation where you give feedback, it can be difficult to change for both you and your employees. Since you are planning to start a new position in management, it will be important for you to manage expectations from the beginning about how you want to communicate with your employees. This means you will want to encourage employees to evaluate their progress during and at the end of specific projects as well as after taking on any new responsibilities. Get in the habit of making everything an opportunity for growth, development, and learning by including questions like “What are some areas for improvement or growth?” or “What can we learn from this experience?” The intention behind those questions doesn’t have to be pointing out when something goes wrong.

Lastly, you want to assume your employees didn’t wake up that morning and say, “I hope I go to work today and do a really bad job so my boss yells at me.” Give them the benefit of the doubt, allow them to try to improve upon the situation, and communicate openly along the way so they can be successful in turning the situation around before it gets to a point where you have to give a warning or document that they are not performing. Then if you do have to get to a point where you need to write up an incident, it will not catch them off guard and trigger a defensive response.

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