Wednesday, September 30, 2009

GrowSmartBiz Conference: Takeaway #1

So yesterday I attended Network Solutions' GrowSmartBiz conference. And now I have the hard task of figuring out where to start as I blog about it. The fact is, despite not being a "small business," I left with a lot of "takeaways." So here goes with my first one...

"I'd rather work with a passionate amateur vs. a bored professional." -- Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine and author of The Long Tail and Free

OK, that quote may not be word-for-word what he said, but it's pretty dang close.

And I think his point has a lot of merit. It reminds us that when we're going to work with someone -- be it forging a business partnership, hiring a new employee, or creating an event -- we need to look beyond resumes. Why?

Because even someone is the smartest person in the world (or the room), if they're not passionate about what they're doing, they may very well be ineffective... or, at least, less effective.

And just because a resume or a person's experience may not match every criteria you're seeking doesn't meant they aren't the perfect person for the job. Because someone who's passionate -- and eager to learn -- will easily outperform the person who's become complacent.

(Just a few reasons why I so enjoy working on projects with Shashi Bellamkonda from NetSol; Mayra Ruiz; and Bob London of London Ink.)

What do you think? Can passion overcome experience?

-- Robin

Monday, September 28, 2009

socStardom4 w/ Jibber Jobber Creater Jason Alba

So I could sit here and write a nice recap of the socStardom4 event, but I've already done so. I just didn't post it here. It's over at the Network Solutions blog. So curious what socStardom 4 was all about? Then read my recap.

Interested in staying "in the loop" on future socStardom events? Become a Facebook fan. Or send me your contact information.

Friday, September 25, 2009

September Lunch Recap: Handling Communications Surrounding Controversial Projects

So for our September lunch, we were lucky enough to have Michael E. Newman from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Michael is NIST's Senior Communications Officer and served for six years as Communications Director for the agency's technical investigation of the collapse of three World Trade Center buildings on 9/11. Needless to say, he had a lot to share... so much so, that we even allowed him to break our "no PowerPoint" rule so that he could show some graphics. (Big thanks to the D.C. location of the Greene Turtle for helping us make this happen!)

So what did I learn:
  • For a high-profile, long-term project like the WTC investigation, it's important to have one point of contact for the media. (It helps prevent confusion.)
  • Whenever possible, it also helps to have one primary expert or project leader handle the majority of the media interviews.
  • As a PR/PA/Comms professional, you have to make sure you or someone from your team is a member of any task force supervising the project so that you can provide input on strategy and plans. (i.e., Communicating what your company / org is doing can not be an afterthought.)

Michael also had some great advice on how to deal with those who may (very publicly) oppose your work:
  • Be respectful and respond to their correspondence, but realize you don't have to get into an active debate. (It's too easy for those of us in the communications realm to feel like we have to respond to every media query, every letter, every invitation. Sure, we do need to respond. But responding vs. debating are two very different things.)
  • Don't condemn or criticize those who oppose you. (i.e., avoid "we're right and you're wrong" debate.) Instead, address opponents' claims directly and without judgment.
  • If you do respond to the opponents' claims, do so with the right goal in mind: to provide balance for others who already have heard the opposing viewpoint. Don't respond intending to convince the opponents to see things your way.

So there's my take on our latest lunch. Did you attend? What did you learn from Michael? Let us know.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Job Opening: NIH Information Development Specialist

Wanna work with Joe? Now's your chance.

Joe just sent me information about an Information Development Specialist position in the OCPL/News Media Branch.

Link to more info for all candidates.
Link to more info for status candidates.

-- Robin

Thursday, September 10, 2009

NON-CCG EVENT: socStardom 4 with Jason Alba

Don't miss this opportunity to hear social media superstar Jason Alba talk about how to use social media to grow your business!

Jason will talk about how he's used social media to grow his business, and share examples of success stories with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, blogging, Yahoo Groups, etc.

DATE: Tuesday, September 22
TIME: 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus, 9605 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850

Read more about why you don't want to miss this opportunity to chat with Social Media Superstar Jason Alba

(Psst... if you don't know who Jason is, here's the quick version: Jason is the creator of JibberJobber -- an online tool that can be used to manage job searches... and your entire career. He is also the author of I'm on Facebook -- Now What?? and I'm on Linked In -- Now What??)

Let us know if you're planning on attending. (We want to make sure we have enough food!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

September Lunch: Handling Communications Surrounding Controversial Projects

WHEN: September 22, 12-1:30 p.m.
WHERE: The Greene Turtle, 601 F Street, NW, Washington, DC
METRO STOP: Gallery Place-Chinatown on the Red Line


MORE INFORMATION: After the collapse of three buildings at the World Trade Center in NYC on 9/11 (the Twin Towers and WTC 7), the National Institute of Standards and Technology was tasked with the technical investigation to determine what caused the structures to fall. And NIST Senior Communications Officer Michael E. Newman was tasked with handling the communications around this investigation, an undertaking he describes as "a unique experience in public affairs."

During September's lunch, Michael will talk about this long-term, 6-year project, from the process of keeping the public informed to the challenges of dealing with the "9/11 Truthers," who attacked Michael for merely doing his job.

RSVP required.