Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Non-CCG EVENT: Social Media & Consumer Protection: Finding a Balance

Social media is a way of life and here to stay. Whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn or twitter, businesses value these tools as a way to reach consumers and build trust, as well as increase their brand presence in a crowded marketplace. However, companies are grappling with how to best use these social media tools, while at the same time take into consideration the ethical and legal issues around consumer protection and privacy.

Three well-respected panelists in the social media and consumer protection areas will address the rise of social media tools and discuss the important issues in order to continue its growth and widespread adoption as a business tool. Attendees will gain a perspective on what their idea of social media is; the business, legal and ethical issues associated with making social media tools available to consumers; privacy-related considerations; and thoughts on best practices and behaviors to help ensure continued growth.

Moderator: Gerard M. Stegmaier, Attorney, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

WHEN: December 1, 2009, from 7:30-9:30 a.m.
WHERE: The Tower Club, 8000 Towers Crescent Drive, Vienna, VA

COST: Member: $ 45.00; Non-Member: $ 75.00; $10 more at the door

Walk-ins will be accepted on a space-available basis.

Register at www.nvtc.org/events

Monday, November 23, 2009

Five Speechwriting Tips from one of our November CCG Lunch Speakers

Jeff Porro, a successful speech writer and author of the story for the movie The Great Debaters, has a five step program for turning interesting executives into inspiring speakers. Here, he provides us with a few tips:
  1. Make the speech personal but not confessional.
  2. Use stories, not statistics.
  3. Find a theme and stick to it.
  4. Repeat yourself repeatedly.
  5. Give conflict a chance.
You can learn more about these or ask follow-up questions about Jeff’s talk by emailing him at jeff@porrollc.com or by posting your questions here. Also, make sure you're reading his blog, Tough Talk for Hard Times.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Job Opening: Senior Web Content Editor/Designer

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) seeks an experienced Web Content Editor and Designer to create and manage content across the agency’s various Web platforms. Responsibilities include visual design, usability testing, and identifying and creating content that effectively communicates the agency’s work to the Congress and the public.

This individual will work closely with all CBO stakeholders to continually harvest new content for all sites and to present CBO’s information and analysis in new and different ways to reach broad audiences across various platforms. The individual will work with CBO staff and others who are responsible for developing the sites and will develop and manage processes and schedules to update and refresh site content.

Qualifications: Candidates should have at least five years’ experience writing, editing, and designing content for Web sites, the ability to understand overall site identity and strategy as they relate to organizational mission, and an understanding of Web publishing software and other multimedia materials. Knowledge and understanding of current economic and public policy issues related to CBO’s mission are required, and familiarity with the legislative process is preferred. Superior project management and communication skills, strong initiative, proven experience meeting deadlines, and the ability to work with all levels of staff and the public also are required. Applicants should be committed to a customer service and team-oriented work environment.

Salary & Benefits: Salary is competitive and will be commensurate with experience, education, and other qualifications. CBO offers an excellent benefits package and an attractive work environment.

How to Apply: Please submit the following items using CBO's job application system:
  • Cover Letter
  • Résumé
  • Salary History
  • Contact Information for Three References
Find out more.

Friday, November 13, 2009

November Lunch Recap: Speechwriting

So if you missed yesterday's lunch, you definitely missed out!! Our speakers rocked... and I've heard nothing but rave reviews since the minute the program ended. (Heck, we practically had to kick people out because so many were hanging around chatting afterward!) As for me? I had every intention of tweeting via my Blackberry during the lunch, but got so caught up in the presentations that I forgot to do so.

First, our speakers:
Some of the highlights:
  • Always start with a bang... but make sure it's an appropriate one. (Your "bang" can be a joke, an anecdote, or a quotation)
  • Write for the ear... meaning short, simple, clear sentences. Also, use active voice.
  • Practice the rule of 3... all great speeches do. (This means using examples or phrases in groups of three.)
  • Repetition... it works. (Think about one of the most famous speeches in history: Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech.)
  • Write your beginning and your ending first.
  • Support each of your points with examples and stories.
  • Remember that the point of a speech is not to convey information. If you want to convey information, send a memo or writer a letter. A good speech is not someone reading a white paper or a person reading off a PowerPoint. A good speech is one that moves the audience to action!
  • Tell stories, not stats! No matter how dry the subject, you can always find a good story. (And people remember stories much better than they do stats.)
  • Research, research, research! Research should include interviewing the person who will be delivering the speech, but it also means doing independent research. (Newspapers can be your best friends, especially if they've done interviews or profiles with the person for whom you're writing the speech.) Internet is a speechwriter's best friend.
  • Learn about your audience and who it is. This is crucial.
  • A practical piece of advice: when you're printing out the speech, only include writing on the top 2/3 of the page. (If someone's reading off a speech at the bottom third of a page, he/she can't easily look up and connect with the audience.)
And this doesn't even delve into the mere entertainment factor from our speakers... like how Jeff compared speechwriting to making a stew. (You had to be there...)

I'd be remiss if I finished this post without a shout out to the folks running and working at The Darlington House in Dupont Circle. This was our first time here since the restaurant had opened up under this name. (It used to be Childe Harold.) The food was delicious... and affordable. The service was impeccable. The private room was gorgeous and truly private. They did a spectacular job! If you're hosting a private event, talk to them.

Looking for more perspective on our lunch? Check out a blog post on Denise Graveline's The Eloquent Woman blog.

Oh, one last thing. Jeff gave us a great quote about how marketing is like shaving... but you'll need to come back to the blog next week to read more about that.

-- Robin

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pimp This Job: PR, Marketing Manager with Qiagen

PR, Marketing Manager for Qiagen's Corporate Marketing & Strategy Department in Hilden, Germany, or Germantown, USA. The PR Marketing Manager will:
  • Manage all Life Science marketing related PR activities
  • Manage the creation and active distribution of all company information for the trade press including conferences and tradeshows
  • Build and maintain strong trade journalist network in Europe, the US and Asia to leverage PR placements
  • Support the maintenance of overall PR infrastructure
Position requirements:
  • Proven communications background in biotechnology or related fields
  • 2 to 4 years of related industry experience
  • Excellent verbal and written communication and organizational skills
  • Team player
  • University degree in related fields
  • Occasional overnight travel required (10% travel)
Additional details and information on how to apply.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Twitter-LinkedIn Connection

I've seen a lot of tweets today about how you can now feed your Twitter updates into your LinkedIn profile. (Here's the Reuters piece on it.) And a lot of people sound excited about this new development.

I'm not.

I also don't like that you can link your Twitter and your Facebook account. (Is it blasphemy to say that?)

Here's the thing... Yes, I often post very similar updates to one, two, or even all three sites. But I also often post Twitter updates that, to me, aren't "Facebook worthy." And I post Facebook updates that never make it onto Twitter. Ditto, LinkedIn.

For me, the three outlets -- and their uses -- are distinct, though sometimes overlapping. That said, in many cases, I'm friends with someone on Facebook, connected to that same person on LinkedIn and follow his/her tweets on Twitter. And especially in the Facebook-Twitter connection, having the same updates to both locations can be overwhelming.

I think one reason I feel this way is because Twitter seems like a much more "now" phenomenon. I may tweet updates from an event I'm attending. Or post random updates about what I'm doing or something I just read. In contrast, I look to Facebook status updates to promote events, post random thoughts, etc. I think of Facebook status updates as being a little less frequent because it's not as easy to stay up-to-date on new posts. (New tweets pop up in the bottom right corner of my screen. I can read them, click on them, ignore them, etc., while continuing with what I'm doing.) So when people link their Twitter and Facebook status updates, I often find that my "status updates" on Facebook become overrun with one person's updates at the expense of everyone else. And it's frustrating.

What say you? (Oh, and by the way, if you want to follow me on Twitter, it's @rferrier. As to Facebook and LinkedIn, I have to have some noticeable connection to you to connect on LinkedIn. And Facebook, well, that's for people I really know.)

-- Robin

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Climbing the Corporate Ladder... or Paying Your Dues... or the Importance of Work-Life Balance

So I just read an extremely interesting article -- Climbing the corporate ladder — uphill both ways -- from Jennifer Nycz Conner (@JenConner on Twitter), a reporter for the Washington Business Journal.

The article explores generational issues, and discusses how "younger" workers expect to achieve work-life balance at their jobs and how many older executives find themselves "frustrated by what they see as a youthful sense of entitlement." Conner also wrote: "Many senior-level women argue that they toughed it out and succeeded. Shouldn’t the younger ones have the mettle to do the same thing?"

Which is to say, her article got me to thinking, and here are some of my thoughts:

1. I think it's admirable that today's senior-level women toughed it out and succeeded and struggled to balance careers and families. Kudos to them... 100%. Without them, women wouldn't be as prevalent in the workplace as they are today. These pioneers definitely paved the way for me and those coming up behind me. But why would they want their struggles to be for nothing? I think it's a little bit selfish to have an attitude of "everyone else should have to fight as I did to accomplish the same things." Isn't every generation supposed to want to make life easier for the next? Aren't we supposed to want to leave things better than we found them?

2. Paying dues: Don't confuse what I said above, though. I still believe 100% in the importance of paying your dues and earning privileges. But there's a difference between earning the privilege of working on the more prestigious projects and earning the privilege of having a life out of work. We all DESERVE a life outside of work. We all DESERVE work-life balance. (And, if we're being honest with ourselves, we all work better when we have that work-life balance.)

3. Flex time: If an employee can work on flex time -- can leave at 4 p.m. to make their exercise class or take their kid to soccer practice and then log on later that night to finish their work and meet any deadlines -- then why do we care when it's done? There's too much focus on how long someone works vs. how well they work or whether they do their job and do it well. The focus should always be on the end product, not on how long it took someone to get there. And shouldn't there be some reward for being productive?

I'm blessed right now with a boss who understands all this and who I think would agree with my sentiments. She judges me by the value of my work, not by the hours I sit in front of the computer. (Though I will admit that, right now, I definitely work beyond my official "work day," it's just that often that work is at home.) But I've also had many who haven't. And I've encountered more than one (older) co-worker who has issue with bosses that give leniency to the younger workers... or, in some cases, to any workers.

So my point? Pay your dues. Work hard. Do your job and do it well. And if you're a boss? Well, think about making your employees' work life better than your own.