Digital saavy is essential to being a smart and effective communicator. Here’s my list of five tested and approved apps and tools I use and recommend to all communicators in 2015.
I am not a natural organiser. At my first PR job in Beijing, I had sticky notes on top of sticky notes on top of to-do lists. A typical one would look like: 1) Draft press release 2) Buy milk 3) Develop media list for upcoming media roundtable 4) Make dinner reservations at taco joint.
Enter Trello. It is hands down one of the best task managers I’ve used. The app synchronizes across mobile devices and has a multitude of utility aimed at keeping you organised (checklists, colour labels, and due dates). Layout is similar to a large whiteboard where you can assemble tasks into different ‘boards’ to simplify and prioritise workflow.
I’ve also found it great for project collaboration, particularly while working across borders with teams in the US, UK or other parts of Asia. I create a board for a project and then team members update the task list when they sign into it. Everyone gets a view of what’s done and still needs doing, which can automate low-level project management and free up time and attention for more creative thinking. Best part is the app is free (for now).
While not an app, the publication makes my list for its mobile-friendly and responsive website, in addition to its smart content. The digital-business news site is my go-to for a brief on key business and financial news in Asia or globally. Content is easily digestible with ‘Buzzfeed’-like headlines. It’s also an ideas hub for developing charts and infographics. Go to www.qz.com and add it to your communicator home screen.
3. The Sinocism China Newsletter
This is where I get news for anything and everything related to China’s business and economy. Bill Bishop, a former Deal Book columnist at the New York Times, often lauded as one of China’s most influential voices, scours the Internet for the country’s most pressing issues of the day. It’s an insightful curation of need-to-know stories and includes short translated synopses of Chinese articles to reveal an inside view. You can follow Bill on his Twitter feed, @Niubi, or subscribe to his daily newsletter.
Business cards have been the bane of my desk life, with precarious card towers scattered throughout my drawers. CamCard has clearly cut my clutter conundrum.
The software scans business cards right into your phone so you can access contacts right away. Plus, its QR-code function enables e-card exchanging. You can scan up to 200 contacts in the free version, and the app supports 16 languages, including Japanese, Korean and both traditional and simplified Chinese.
They say, "behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee."
I use Beanhunter whenever I travel in Asia to find the best local coffee spots. On the app, I’ve come across good finds in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Shanghai.
It offers descriptions of cafés, customer reviews and photos. And it’s GPS enabled, so you can also find the closest coolest coffee spot.
For the connoisseur, listings provide detail down to the type of beans a café uses, along with brewing methods and equipment.