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  1. About This Series
  2. Hanging Out 'Round the Water Cooler
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Hanging Out 'Round the Water Cooler

All through this series I've promoted the need for your IT staff to understand and work with the folks on the business side of your organization. One of the best ways to learn what the business side does and how they talk is to "gather around their water cooler" and listen in on their conversations. Here's how.

Surf on over to Up2SpeedLists. They have a very nice list of email discussion groups, most of which are oriented to the business side of the organization. To catch up on the discussion quickly, you can view the archives of the lists they offer. I recommend having your IT department subscribe to the following lists, as a start:

  • Sales: The I-Sales discussion list is a forum on almost every conceivable aspect of selling on the Internet—by people who are actually doing it. No resource anywhere is equal to I-Sales in terms of bulk content. I-Sales is one of the top 25 discussion lists on the Internet, according to SalesLinks. Global in nature, the I-Sales community comprises more than 24,000 subscribers from more than 70 countries around the world.

  • Public relations: The I-PR discussion list features news, tips, and resources for developing and implementing successful Internet public relations campaigns. Subscribers to the list include PR professionals and marketing executives. Topics covered in I-PR include PR strategy and implementation for the Internet, online media relations, Internet PR tools and resources, industry articles, and news from major trade shows and seminars. Many leading Internet PR experts are members of the I-PR community, and they're generous in sharing their knowledge with others on the list.

  • Copywriters: The I-Copywriting list discusses ways to write great copy online. I-Copywriting is about paying much closer attention to the importance of the words that provide site content.

  • Content: The I-Content discussion list explores how to acquire, present, and profit from useful writings, pictures, and data—both online and off. Participants express opinions, share perspectives, pose questions, and debate controversies regarding how to make content appealing to a target market and how to price, repurpose, distribute, and protect that content.

  • And here's a discussion list to get the inside scoop on what VPs and department heads are thinking. It's called I-Strategy. The purpose of the I-Strategy list is to help members grow their Internet businesses by discussing Internet strategies and business models and to spark discussion on how the Internet is growing, changing, and affecting everything we do.

You can also search with any major search engine for groups. Many offer their own discussion groups covering a wide range of subjects. Use search words such as email discussion group combined with terms for your specific interests.

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