Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Days 17-19: Nurturing My Professional Network

Day 17 (Friday):
  • Finally offered up a blog post topic for a colleague's blog... I've been promising said colleague for months now that I'd write something for him. (Unfortunately, before I could write the post, some other factors prevented it from happening... so now I have to come up with another topic!)
Day 18 (Monday):
  • Had coffee with a colleague. Connected her with another colleague because their two pet projects complement each other. (I think it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship for these two... Sorry for the cheese factor there! I just couldn't help myself)
  • Recommended some important VIPs for an event being held by a colleague. (They weren't on her original list.)
Day 19 (today, Tuesday):
  • Helped facilitate a meeting between two people in my network, one of whom really wanted the connection and the other of whom I think will benefit (a lot) from the connection
  • Lunch with the ever fabulous Shelley Ducker from Qiagen. (Of course, this was about nurturing both of our professional networks. And also just because, I think it's safe to say, there's mutual admiration going on between us. And she's just cool...)
  • Forwarded media queries to two non-Hopkins colleagues
  • Did a RT (have I mentioned my Twitter name -- @rferrier -- before?) for a colleague having to do with making a 7-year-old's day by voting for her dance team in an online competition
(Oh, and for those "new to the show," the original blog post with the story behind this whole "Day 17-19" / "Nurturing My Professional Network" thing is available here.)

August Lunch... er.... Happy Hour

As is our tradition, we skip hosting a CCG lunch in August in exchange for a happy hour. And this year, we decided to partner up with Washington Women in PR and hold a joint happy hour.

WHEN: Tuesday, August 18 from 5:30-8:00 p.m.
WHERE: RFD, 810 7th Street, NW, Washington DC (metro red line)

COST: That's up to you. It's pay as you go for food and drinks.

WWPR has created a Facebook page for the event. (Thanks, WWPR friends!)

Friday, July 24, 2009

7 Deadly Sins of Networking: A Response

I just read a great blog posting at Communication World about the 7 Deadly Sins of Networking.

The sins ranged from being "all about you" to scanning the room to see if there's somewhere else you'd rather be. And while I agreed with most of them, I think I have to strike their number four -- He belongs on What Not to Wear -- and replace it with my own number four:

He only talks about work.

I think this is actually one of the biggest sins that I see people -- including some of my less socially comfortable colleagues -- committing ALL THE TIME.

First off, let me make it clear: When I want to network and make new connections, I want to connect with a person, not a title. I want to know about your kids and pets, your hobbies, your travels, that great new (or old) restaurant you just tried, or anything else interesting that will make you stand out and be memorable...

And when I get in a "social" networking situation -- a networking lunch, a happy hour or an annual dinner for a professional organization -- I don't want to only talk about what I do, what you do, or a specific work-related project. Sure, if I'm just meeting you we'll swap titles and organizations and maybe a few lines about what our jobs entail or how our work might overlap. And yes, maybe one of us will mention a project -- and maybe we'll even have a conversation about that project -- but the work talk is (a) always secondary, (b) hopefully after I've made some sort of personal connection, and (c) usually curtailed with a statement about our having a follow-up conversation at a later date. Because I want you to remember me -- not the project I happen to be working on at this moment -- and I want to remember you. And the way I think you make that happen is through the personal connections.

(Oh, and for those concerned about committing Sin #3 -- He’s talking to you, but he’s looking over your shoulder -- Jennifer Nycz-Conner from the Washington Business Journal recently wrote wrote about Mastering the Conversational Exit When Networking.)

-- Robin

July CCG Lunch Recap: Voice of America

I'm a big proponent of not reinventing the wheel. With that in mind, this month, instead of writing a recap of our lunch, I'm going to direct you to The Capital Buzz, where Capital Communicator Group (CCG) Member and Deborah Brody of Deborah Brody Marketing Communications posted a recap of the lunch.

Just click here.

-- Robin

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Days 14-16: Nurturing My Professional Network

A three-day recap.

Day 14 (Tuesday):
  • Scheduled coffee with a colleague -- with whom I have no projects right now and on whom I had to cancel numerous time and got too busy to reconnect with until yesterday.
  • Sent media query to a non-Hopkins colleague
  • Offered to help a colleague with a new non-profit he's starting. Not sure yet what shape my "help" will take. I have to wait until he has a chance to brief me more on the project.
  • Sent media query to a non-MCC Hopkins colleague
  • And had one of my colleagues do something for me by handling the CCG meeting because I was feeling extremely ill...
Day 15 (Wednesday):
  • Met with a new contact who is looking to transition into communications and community relations to give him some Robin Ferrier "words of wisdom"...
  • Took the lead on planning the CCG August happy hour even though one of my colleagues (ahem... you know who you are!) was supposed to handle this one.
Day 16 (Thursday):
  • Talked with a colleague about helping him with his personal passion because I have a work colleague who is connected in that particular field
  • Forwarded a link to a blog post about using Facebook to promote your small business to a colleague who owns a deli / catering business. (Shout out to Mitch and The Bean Bag in Rockville, Maryland. Great cookies! Great gazpacho... I tried it for the first time recently! Great chicken salad... his chicken salad has ruined me for all other chicken salads!)
  • Sent information to a reporter for her blog that came from a non-MCC Hopkins colleague
And so the challenge continues...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

8 Sources of Media a Day??

According to a recent tweet from @PublicityGuru -- FYI: The average person sees or reads eight sources of media on a given day, according to the Pew Foundation

Let's see if that's accurate for me...

1. The Washington Post
2. The Gazette
3. Yahoo.com... which really should count for more than one since it sends me to so many other outlets
4. Television... I don't have one specific station or news program I watch, so I'm grouping these all together
5. Washington Business Journal
6. Twitter... yup, it's a "source of media" now since it links me to news articles
7. Facebook... ditto what I said above

And then, on more of a monthly basis I look at:
-- entertainment websites (like E! Online and TVGuide.com... what can I say but we all need a little downtime now and then)
-- Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and other "housewife-y" publications
-- PR Strategist, and other PR-related publications
-- Pink magazine, a great biz mag for women
-- Real Simple, one of my favorite magazines EVER

So yes, I guess that's pretty accurate... or even low for people in our biz. What about you? What are your go-to media sources? And do you hit that "magic" 8 number? And do you have a favorite?



In the next 1-2 weeks, the CCG Executive Committee will be planning lunches for Sept-Dec. With that in mind, please forward us the following:
  • ideas for good speakers
  • ideas for topics you'd like to see covered
  • lunch location suggestions
Forward this information to the CCG email account.

Looking forward to seeing your suggestions!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

DAY 13: Nurturing My Professional Network

I was out of the office on personal matters -- a friend's wedding -- on Friday, so yesterday was my Day #11... and I must admit, while I like the nature of the challenge, it's getting more challenging to fit in these "nurturing" activities among all my daily work and personal life obligations.
  • Helping a colleague formulate an idea for potential media coverage
  • Suggested two people meet each other because I think they can be mutually beneficial to each other

Thursday, July 16, 2009

DAY 12: Nurturing My Professional Network

Today's accomplishments:
  • Forwarded two media opps onto to colleagues
  • Helped a colleague get her membership accepted for a listserv that she was having problems joining
  • Forwarded relevant article to a colleague. (She probably wouldn't have seen it otherwise.)
FYI: I'm out of the office tomorrow, so no updates -- and no "nurturing" activity -- until next week.

Resume Advice... and Survey Info

I love the Washington Business Journal and the reporters I work with there, but I have to point out something funny from yesterday's daily email. They recently posted to the site an article titled, Survey: Resume typos can hurt applicant, based on a survey by Accountemps. (Sorry to those of you who can't see the article because it requires a subscription.)

I was amused because I just assumed it was common knowledge that typos and grammatical mistakes on resumes were a bad idea. It hardly seems like news...

But maybe I'm wrong.

Or maybe the news is that only 76% of executives said one or two typos would remove applicants from consideration for a job. (I would have thought the number would be higher.)

So what about you? Do you throw out a resume at the first sign of a typo? And what resume advice do you have?

My number one piece of advice: Show results of your work, not just a list of your job responsibilities.

DAY 9-11: Nurturning My Professional Network

DAY 9 (Monday):
  • Arranged coffee with a new acquaintance who's looking to transition from his current position into communications. Wants my advice on how to go about doing so. (And yes, I am going to cheat a little bit here and count this now, when I arrange it, and later, when I actually have the coffee. Sorry!)
DAY 10 (Tuesday):
  • Provided a list of job search resources to a colleague for a friend
  • Acted as a liaison for someone looking to connect with our biotech department for career opportunities (Does this count? Not sure. It's not officially in my job description, but they called me looking to connect b/c I'm with Hopkins and I'm the most visible name on the MCC web site)
  • Forwarded blog link to a colleague who may want to start following this blog and commenting on it to raise his profile

DAY 11 (Wednesday):
  • Took over planning the CCG / WWPR joint August happy hour -- even though it was assigned to one of my CCG colleagues -- because he just didn't have the time to do it. (Details forthcoming.)
  • Forwarded media query to non-MCC JHU colleague

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Call for Speakers: Social Media for Government Conference

Call for Speakers: Social Media for Government Conference
December 7-10
Washington, DC

Looking for speakers to share best practices and successful case studies on the use of social media in government.

December 7-10, 2009 in Washington, DC

Organized by the Advanced Learning Institute.

Interested? Please contact Amy Gerstein at amy.gerstein@aliconferences.com or 773-695-9400, x20.

Speaker referrals are welcome and most appreciated!

Monday, July 13, 2009

DAY 8 (last Friday): Nurturing My Professional Network

Introduced two people. One was potentially looking for a new firm to do some work. The other was a colleague who does fantastic work in that specific niche area. The two are going to meet and chat in a few weeks.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Resumes: Questions about Do's and Don'ts...

So one of my neighbors sent me his resume recently to forward on to a contact I had a company in which he was interested in working. I was happy to do so. However, when I looked at his resume, I had some concerns... things that I thought needed improvement. I made suggestions on those items where -- forgive me -- but I knew I was right. On other items, though, I wasn't sure whether my opinion was right... or just my opinion. So I'm writing now to the blogosphere to get some other opinions on these issues:

The OBJECTIVE statement at the top
I've never been a fan. I think this needs to go. How often does it say something that makes an employer decide to hire someone? I know when I was hiring people, I barely read an "Objectives" statement. I think it just takes up room. I tweeted this morning about this to see what the Twitterverse would say on this issue. So far, I've gotten one result:
  • @dariasteigman @rferrier I don't like obj statements, but think sometimes they're needed for keywords, robot searches.
Computer Skills
I've always included a list of all my computer skills, including the mundane ones like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. But recently I heard someone say you shouldn't do that anymore. That certain skills -- like Microsoft Office -- were expected. Is that true? Are certain computer skills "givens" now? And if so, which ones?

This issue I think I'm right about, but I'll still ask. The typical "References available upon request" line. My response: Of course references are available upon request. You have to have references -- even if, truth be told, I think they're worthless. (Because only an idiot would use someone who would give them a bad referral.) Why even say that?

OK. So there are my current resume questions. Post your answers. Or your own resume questions that I or others might be able to answer.

(By the way, a total aside, but when you're writing "Do's and Don'ts" is it: "Do's and Don'ts" or "Dos and Don'ts" or "Do's and Don't's". Anyone know?)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

DAYS 5-7: Nurturing My Professional Network

Seriously? Blogging every day? How do people find the time... even if they have the great ideas? So you're getting three updates in one post.

  • Helped to promote a colleague's self-published art book
  • Alerted a non-JHU MC colleague to a new blog he should be following and commenting on as it relates to his area of expertise and he'd like to raise his public profile

  • Had lunch with a colleague who recently went out on his own and made some suggestions as to potential clients. I told him I'd follow up with a few who benefit from his services and have already followed up with one of them.

  • Sent a media query to a non-MC based JHU colleague.
  • Wrote a LinkedIn recommendation for a colleague. (I actually think it might have been the first LinkedIn recommendation I've ever written.)
  • This isn't my nurturing my professional network, but I had two people today nurture their networks by doing something totally unselfish for me. And I think I was more aware of it because of this challenge to myself. Pretty cool!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

DAY 4 Report: One Day Late...

So I didn't get around to posting my DAY 4 report yesterday. Short version... I did two things for my network:
  • Sent a colleague (not on my campus) a media query. Not sure if he followed up with it or not, but it had the potential for big exposure for him.
  • Sent a reporter information about an organization with which I have no affiliation. (I have a colleague / friend who is doing some pro bono work for the organization and I thought I'd help her out because the organization has such a great mission and I know the reporter who covers the appropriate beat.)
More later on Day 5...

Monday, July 6, 2009

From the Influential Marketing Blog: 10 Stunning (And Useful) Stats About Twitter

Rohit Bhargava -- who graced JHU with his presence at one of the first socStardom events we hosted -- has a great blog, the Influential Marketing Blog. You should read it. I became especially interested in today's post about a recent Twitter report from social media analytics provider named Sysomos. You need to go to his blog to read the whole thing, but here are a few of the stats Rohit pointed out that got me thinking...

[note: bolded text is quoted directly from Rohit's blog.]

1. 21% of Twitter accounts are empty placeholders. These are the percentage of Twitter accounts that have never posted a single tweet.They may either be registered simply to hold a username for later use, or be experimental accounts started up but never used. I disagree on the idea that these are all "inactive" accounts. (Or maybe I just disagree with the definition of active. Or don't understand what they mean by placeholder.) I know of many people who are on Twitter because they're interested in following certain people or certain issues. For example, I have a neighbor who found out a sports columnist he likes tweets. He wants to get the tweets. So he wants me to set him up with a Twitter account so he can follow people, even if he doesn't ever plan to send out a tweet. So how many of those 21% are "active" in terms of following the conversations, even if they don't ever tweet themselves.

2. Nearly 94% of all Twitter accounts have less than 100 followers. Personal note: I currently have 186 (@rferrier). Yay! I'm above average!

3. Tuesday is the most active Twitter day. One of the most useful data points from the report is that it clears up the common question of which day of the week is the best day to tweet something. Sysomos found that Tuesday stood out as the most popular day for tweets and retweets, followed by Wednesday and then Friday. It's interesting that the assumption here seems to be that if Tuesday is the most active day, it's the best day to tweet. I'd argue you're better off tweeting on Wed. or Thurs. There's less competition for your followers' eyes on those days because, according to the report, you're followers are getting fewer tweets from others.

Just my thoughts. Go to Rohit's blog and read what he said. Post a comment there. Or post one here. Either way, keep the conversation going.

July lunch: Voice of America

Voice of America: A Look Inside U.S. International Journalism
Tuesday, July 21, noon-1:30 p.m.

Did you know that there is a U.S. government agency charged with providing news overseas? That agency is Voice of America, which broadcasts in 45 languages and reaches 138 million people each week with approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming!

While VOA is well known around the world, this multimedia powerhouse is virtually unknown in the U.S. Our July lunch will change that!

Come learn more about VOA's journalistic mission, and how they promote it both domestically and internationally. Plus, take a tour of the VOA facilities.

  • Steve Redisch, Executive Editor, Voice of America
  • Joan Mower, Director, VOA Public Relations
  • Language Service broadcaster TBA
Location: VOA, 330 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC

RSVP required

Thursday, July 2, 2009

DAY 3: Nurturing my Professional Network

Day 3. 8:30 a.m.
  • Came across a query from someone who is working on a documentary about Artomatic and looking for sources to interview. Happen to know someone -- a recent connection via a neighbor -- who is involved with the event. Sent her an email this morning so she can contact the filmmaker and potentially be in the documentary.
The good news? So far, everything I've done are things I would have done regardless of the challenge. Does that make this challenge any less worthy? No. After all, it's only Day 3. There's no guarantee it will be quite so easy to continue at this pace...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

DAY 2: Nurturing My Professional Network

Day 2. Day 1 made it look so easy. I had four items on my list!

Then I started wondering... what counts as "doing something for someone." Does it count if it benefits me as well? And relates back to my day job? Or does it only count if it's more selfless. (And this made me think about the Friends episode where Phoebe and Joey are debating the idea of the "selfless" good deed...)

Regardless, here's what I've got so far that falls within the more "selfless" category:
  • Coordinated a visit for some South Korean students to JHU's School of Advanced International Studies. One of my on-site corporate partners asked if we could help make this happen. Technically, it's not something that directly benefits me... but I made it happen. Everything was confirmed this morning. Yay!
I think that's a good start for Day 2.