Tuesday, June 30, 2009

UPDATE: Nurturing My -- and Your -- Professional Network

Just a quick Tuesday update on my cause...
  1. Saw some back-and-forth between my JHU colleague and the reporter who was looking for a source. Not sure if my colleague will end up being included in the article, but at least I generated some conversation there. And perhaps it will lead to media coverage for my colleague in the future, if not this time.
  2. Reviewed the new "look and feel" of the NetSol web page. (By the way, I like it.) I didn't give it as much of a once-over as I'd like, but I plan on giving it a closer look... soon!
  3. Found out one of my referrals (from earlier this month) resulted in a gig for a colleague. (Yay, Denise Graveline!)
  4. Agreed to help a colleague with some training he's doing this fall.
I think I'd rate Day 1 of my Challenge a success. Yay!

Nurturing My -- and Your -- Professional Network

I read the Washington Post Jobs section every Sunday, but I don't read it for the classifieds. I read it because I enjoy the Jobs column. This week's piece was about fostering your professional network, in this particular case, your alumni network. (Particularly fitting since I work for a university, but not really my point here...)

What caught my eye the most from this article -- and what stuck with me and inspired me to write this post -- was the following sentence:

"'You have to do something for someone every single day. That's how you maintain and keep expanding your network,' said [Lee] Dudka, [president of the Princeton Club of Washington and a pharmaceutical and technology consultant] who's finishing a book on networking."

I'd like to think I follow the spirit of this advice. I make referrals for colleagues I respect. I run this group and help coordinate monthly lunches. But do I do enough? Do I do something every day? Probably not.

So in the honor of Dudka's sentiment, I thought I'd try a little experiment for the month of July... plus today. Each day during the work week, I'm going to aim to "do something for someone" to help maintain and expand my professional network. And I'm going to post here about what that something is. (If it goes well, maybe I'll keep doing it through August... or expand my self-challenge to a whole year. But sometimes it's better to start small and succeed before promising something bigger.)

So, in the spirit of this post, I'm happy to say it's 8:40 a.m. and I've already done two things for others:
  1. Sent a media query on to a (non-Hopkins) colleague I know through the Leadership Montgomery program that could result in some nice media coverage for him and his business.
  2. Sent a media query on to a Hopkins colleague (who isn't on my campus) with an offer to help him fine-tune his answer before he responds to the reporter.
I think those two activities should count as today's "good deeds."

Come back here each day to find out what that days "somethings" are. (And I'll post updates as to any results of my efforts.)

In the meantime, happy networking! (And wish me luck!)

-- Robin

Monday, June 29, 2009

June lunch overview: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!!

Earlier this month we hosted our June lunch: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!!

Our amazing speakers gave so much information, I'm not even sure how to recap it here. It would just take up too much room. So I'm going to give you some of what I thought were the highlights, and I'm hoping others who attended will chime in with their take-aways.

From Kate Perrin, Founder and CEO, PRofessional Solutions
  • The most important thing in any job hunt is networking! If you know the right people, they can hand carry your resume to the HR department, making sure your resume makes it to the front of the line.
  • Get personal: Those people you know through your neighborhood, church, synagogue, ski club, etc., may be great contacts when you're looking for work. They may be able to get your resume to the HR department of companies in which you're interested.
  • On your resume, adjectives = bad. Show, don't tell, what you did. Results, results, results.

From Suzy Howard, Principal, McCormick Group
  • Stay current with what's going on in the marketplace, even if you're in a steady job and not looking for work.
  • Ensure you have the "basics." People in communications often think they have the best resumes, the best cover letters, etc. And often that's not the case. Make sure others have reviewed your materials.
  • Make sure your materials (cover letters, resumes, etc.) show how you're a value add to the company.
  • Volunteering for a professional society is a great way to fill out your skill set and get experience in areas of communications that you may not work with for your day job.

From Katherine McHale, Senior Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Top reasons resumes get tossed: grammar and spelling errors. Also, realize it's possible to "over produce" a resume.
  • Demonstrate flexibility. Companies want the best employees. In the case of Booz Allen, Katherine hires the best people, not people who will fill certain contract needs.
  • Realize that writing assignments can be about more than just your writing. They can be "culture" tests. How you respond to having to take a writing test can tell a company whether or not you would fit with their culture. (Also, people who are the most overconfident about how they did on a writing test are often the ones with the lowest scores.)
And that's just a quick sample of what was shared. (Please, attendees, weigh in with your thoughts on the lunch. Or maybe our speakers will share what they felt was their best piece of advice from the day!)

Oh, and I should mention, this is our second time at Bar Louie in D.C. And once again, they did a bang-up job of hosting us. The food came out quick. The wait staff was professional and attentive. The private room was, in fact, private. Thanks to Steve Centrella and his team for the great job once again!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Beauty of Twitter: Being Human

I'm inspired to write this post after reading "What's the Point of Twitter" on (non-DC based) communicator Sarah Morgan's blog. I hear people complaining all the time about Twitter... "what is it?" "why should I use it?" "why do I care what you're doing?" "people write about so many mundane, stupid things" and on... and on... and on...

Sarah captured the point of Twitter beautifully. With one word.


Her point...

With Twitter, we see the human side of our colleagues, co-workers, and perhaps online-only friends. It allows us to see sides of people that make them who they are, not just what they do. It's relaly no different than the small talk you make when you attend a networking breakfast, formal dinner or other work-related event. Or one of our CCG lunches. Does your every conversation in these forums revolve around work topics? Probably not. You talk about what's going on in your personal life, a good book you read, a movie you disliked, a recent recipe you tried out and loved... any number of things. And after the lunch, you probably remember better the personal connections.

The point? If you're on Twitter, be human. Talk about your life, not just your work. People will remember you for it. And appreciate the "human" in those you follow. (It's a sentiment I've heard talked about not just by Sarah, but by our own CCG social media guru, Denise Graveline of don't get caught.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Non-CCG Event: Communicating Pandemic

Communicating Pandemic: Lessons for the Future
The Communication Roundtable Series
The recent H1N1 scare reminds us that it’s just a matter of time before another pandemic — perhaps as lethal as the 1918 influenza outbreak — strikes again. Will we be prepared? Learn how scientists, journalists and public health advocates have worked to keep the public informed during this latest health scare, and what we’ll all need to do when the next big pandemic strikes.

Monday, June 29, 2009
7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C. Center
1717 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Lower Level Room 7

SPONSORED by The Johns Hopkins University M.A. in Communication Program

Jane Twomey, PhD Master’s in Communication program, The Johns Hopkins University


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Making Meetings More Efficient, Useful, etc.

First let me say this blog entry is inspired by @dariasteigman who tweeted the following earlier today:

Better, more useful meetings (introduce everyone --in context): http://bit.ly/Met5w. Some solid advice.

My (Twitter) response (I'm @rferrier, by the way) was to tell Daria that the favorite piece of meeting advice I've read is to hold your meetings in a place where everyone has to stand. When people have to stand, they: (a) say less; (b) edit themselves so they only say what's important; (c) make sure they don't repeat those who came before; and (d) are much more to the point with their comments. You end up "wasting" less time in meetings.

@dariasteigman tweeted back the following: "LOL So true. Flip charts can be useful too, b/c you can point to fact that 3 people have already said same thing."

Which got me thinking... we all have our tricks and tips for making meetings more bearable... er, I mean, efficient, useful, etc. And I think we'd all benefit from other's words of wisdom on this topic. So start sharing yours! Comment below...

Friday, June 5, 2009

AWC Event with Washing Post-featured speaker Sam Horn

The DC Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications presents...

POP! Your Communication with The Washington Post-featured speaker Sam Horn
You believe in your skills and ideas, but how do you get your boss to listen, convince an interviewer, pitch a project or even just work a room? Nationally-recognized author, speaker and consultant Sam Horn will share the secrets of how to command interest and respect for your ideas and projects.

Tuesday, June 16
Topaz Bar

More about Sam:
With 15 years of understanding in the art and science of communication, Sam's books What's Holding You Back, ConZentrate, Tongue Fu and Take the Bully by the Horns explain how to use verbal skills to gain confidence, to develop focus and to deflect difficult people and situations.

Her latest book POP! tells you how to express yourself in a Purposeful, Original and Pithy way that intrigues people, so they want to know more about your idea, project or company.

$20 AWC members
$25 nonmembers
(includes hors d'oeuvres and one drink)

Register online.

For more information, contact Elaine Graves.