Productivity tips from the experts

For the past several evenings, I have been watching way too many videos, but it’s okay. They are an investment in myself. I recently blogged about the importance of investing in yourself, and one of the things I recommended was finding free webinars.

Capture_PeakWorkPerformanceThe Peak Work Performance Summit is a series of video talks with some of the top productivity names in the industry. It’s a wealth of “research-based insights and actionable tips for elevating your performance,” according to the email I received from Ron Friedman, author of “The Best Place to Work,” and organizer of the Summit. Unfortunately, the videos are no longer available for free, but you can purchase access.

Here are just a few of the takeaways I had –

Gretchen Rubin on Changing Your Habits noted, “Nothing is more exhausting than the task that is never started.” After watching her session, I wrote the introduction for a book idea I have. I’d been talking about writing the introduction for three months. I also developed a writing schedule. She also suggested developing some fun habits, including running down stairs because it’s energizing. I did it at work, and people commented on how much energy I had!

Christine Carter, who wrote, “The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work,” talked about the “better than nothing workout.” Her point is that more is not necessarily better, especially if you don’t even start. I’m on a Fitbit quest, but there are days that 10,000 steps seem daunting. After listening to Carter, I gave myself permission to just walk 2,500 steps that day. Once I started, I was good. That day, I reached 7,700 steps. I was short a bit, but at least I moved.

Greg McKeown spoke about “the undisciplined pursuit of more.” The antidote, he said, “is the disciplined pursuit of less but better.” For example, when an opportunity presents itself, is it a great opportunity, or a just a good opportunity?

I have always been a list maker, and in the last few years, I’ve become even more intense about my lists. I feel vindicated now thanks to David Allen who said, “Don’t use your head as an office.” He said that writing things helps us stay clear and focused. He is the author of “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity.”

One of the ways, I have developed my skills is by volunteering through groups to which I belong. Dorie Clark, author of “Reinventing You,” recommended doing just that — volunteering in areas of interest where you want to take your career. “It can help you pivot,” she noted. She also recommended creating a networking plan and being strategic about who to spend time with and who you want to learn from.

Carrie Wilkerson, who wrote the “Barefoot Executive,” recommended picking one person and intentionally following them through the year, whether you invest with them or not. Currently, I personally pay a monthly fee to be part of an inner circle in which I get tips on earning positive media coverage. You could also follow a person’s blog or buy their book. The key, Wilkerson said, is to listen and not try to be on all the lists (of course, that’s easier said than done after participating in this summit!)

An underlying theme was the importance of developing and implementing routines. Doing so makes execution as effortless as possible, McKeown said. Turns out our mothers were right to line up our clothes for the week.

My takeaways were many, and I’ve put them on a master list so I don’t lose sight of them. Some of the items are action items, and I’ve assigned due dates to ensure that I follow through. Mostly though, I came away inspired.

Blog goals for 2016

Five hundred eighty-three – eight-four, if you count this one – blog posts since my first one back in September 2009. At that time I had just been elected president of NFPW, and I wanted a way to communicate with our national members on a regular basis.

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The journey of my blog is taking a new bend (Photo by Cynthia Price).

At that time, I committed to posting twice a week. I don’t know what I was thinking. I had a full-time job, traveled frequently, and was president of a national communications group. Posting twice a week? But I did it – for several years. Last year I decided once a week would be enough.

For 2016 I’m planning to only post twice a month. It’s not because I don’t still enjoying writing the posts. In fact, I get a lot of benefit from the blog. I research topics that may be of interest to you, my readers, and to me. Then I write, edit and find artwork. It’s truly a labor of love.

But I realize that if I am to pursue my other passions – coaching, authoring books – that I need to find and make time in my schedule. I’m not willing to give up book club or volleyball. I am willing to scale back some on the blog.

I hope you will understand and continue to read, and even share it with others. As I pursue my other pursuits, I hope to eventually make the business more viable. So if you know anyone who is seeking a speaker please refer them to my speakers’ page. If you know someone who seeks a coach, please tell them about me, and what you have learned from these posts.

I plan to post around the first and fifteenth of each month. If I’m at a conference and have multiple topics, I may post more frequently. As always, I enjoy hearing from you, whether in person, on Twitter (@PriceCynthia) or when you post a comment.

I’m looking forward to 2016!

Invest in Your Success

This is the time of year when many people begin to think about their New Year’s resolutions. This also is a good time of year to think about your career and what you hope to achieve in the coming year.

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An investment in yourself is an investment in your future (Photo by Cynthia Price).

Whether you set goals at work or not, I find it helpful to set personal career goals. Not only do I write them down, but I measure them.

Some of my goals involve an outlay of funds, and I budget accordingly. I’m always surprised when I hear someone say they want to attend a conference or join a group but because their boss won’t pay they don’t do it. If it’s important to you and/or your career, you are worth the personal investment. Of course, you can often find low-cost or no-cost opportunities (except your time).

One of my goals last year was to schedule time on my calendar to participate in a half dozen webinars on subjects I wanted to learn more about. A few of them, I had identified previously because they were available to me on-demand through one of my memberships. One of the webinar series I learned about through a tweet. It was offered by Shonali Burke and the topic was “Social PR Launchpad,” a free mini-training to help unleash my inner Social PR superhero.

The webinar was scheduled Friday through Sunday so I had to make a weekend commitment. The numbers definitely dropped from Friday, and those who didn’t join in on Saturday and Sunday missed out. I learned a lot and was inspired, too. She gave us homework (it was easy!) and helped me reframe some thinking I was doing. It was worth the investment of my time.

For 2016 I have identified the conferences I would like to attend – one for work and one to help with my mystery writing. I’ve allotted the requisite number of days off and have calculated the cost to attend. By the time the conference rolls around, I’ll have the funds saved.

As I move into 2016, I’m working to identify speaking opportunities, with the intent that such opportunities could lead to additional paid engagements and/or clients who would like to use my coaching services. This year I built out my website to include information about the training I offer. Before the year is out, I will have reached out to several organizations to offer my services. My goal is to secure three speaking opportunities so if you or someone you know has a need for a speaker with my skill set, please have them contact me.

In addition to participating in or attending webinars and conferences, here are some additional ideas to help you reach your career goals –

  • Work with a career coach.
  • Read industry and leadership books. One on my list is “Mavericks at Work by Taylor and LaBarre.
  • Update your Linkedin profile.
  • Schedule coffees with influencers (link to prior blog).
  • Join professional groups (I get a lot from VaPC.org and NFPW.org).
  • Volunteer in a field that interests you.

 

 

 

 

 

Top 15 Communiques of 2015

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I need goals to be on the road to success, which includes reviewing blog posts from 2015. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

Developing my goals for next year involves reviewing my goals for this year and whether I met my metrics or not. With respect to this blog, I posted each week as I had committed to do. I was curious, though, to see which posts had the most viewers. I pulled stats from WordPress.

In case you missed out on the top blogs, below are links to them and a few thoughts.

With Whom Do You Eat Lunch: This was the most popular blog, and following its publication I had lots of invitations to lunch, including from my mum!

5 Things to Do When Asking for Advice: I wrote this when I realized that some people don’t know how to go about asking for advice. I hope it provided guidance for some.

Modern Rolodex: Call me old-fashioned, but I miss my Rolodex. Then a reporter at a conference provided me with a tip that has revolutionized how I file names in my Outlook address book. Apparently, I was not alone in missing the Rolodex.

5 Things to Do If You Are Job Hunting: Throughout the year, I coached a few people on job searches. I finally realized it might make a good blog post. Apparently others thought so, too, since it was the fourth most popular blog this year.

Just Do Something: When you have a big project or are writing a book sometimes it’s simply about doing something — anything. If you are doing something, you are moving forward and not standing still.

6 Ways to Learn: The idea for this blog was sparked when a blog follower said her company didn’t pay for her to attend conferences but she wanted to keep growing. I provide six suggestions in the post.

Handling High Visibility Environments, aka a Crisis: Jim Vance has handled his share of crises, and he provided great advice on how to do so.

Summer Reading List: I finished two of the three books I said I was going to read. The third one, “All the Light We Cannot See,” I will read during winter break. I postponed my reading of it because my book club postponed its discussion of it until the new year.

Finding Your Slow: Our lives are busy, and this post provides five ways to slow your pace. Have you tried coloring?

How Not To Give a Good Presentation: I wrote this post after sitting through two really bad presentations. The first tip – don’t read your slides – should be made into a law, according to one reader. I couldn’t agree more!

Have You Done Your Post-Conference Homework: Just because you’re back in the office from a conference, doesn’t mean there isn’t follow-up work. This post explores ways to enhance your conference experience.

Being Mindful About Unplugging: I’m still working on this, and ironically an app called Calm is helping me.

Newspapers Are Not Dead: In this blog post a newspaper publisher notes why newspapers are relevant. He made several good points, including that newspapers can’t be boring.

What I Wish I Knew When I Was New: I was asked to give a presentation about my new role, and I took some highlights from the presentation to create this post.

Speaker Checklist for Presentations: Whether you are giving your first presentation or your hundredth, it’s good to have a checklist so you don’t miss anything.

Going into 2016 if you have suggestions for topics or would like to see more on a particular subject, please let me know. If you had a favorite blog, please let me know by posting in the comment section. And if any of these blogs were among your favorites, feel free to share with your friends and followers.

Emoji named word of the year

I’m not surprised that “emoji” is Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year, although technically it’s a pictograph.

Just the other week the iPhone released a new set of emojis. Those on Android are still waiting. I love my Android phone, but I want the new spider emoji since it’s the mascot of a school I support.

I am alarmed that emojis are becoming commonplace. I often find it a challenge to follow text messages from my younger friends because I can’t figure out what the emoji is, let alone the meaning.

But don’t worry, there is help. USA Today recently ran a piece with a video highlighting some of the rules of emoji use. You should know, too, that emojis look different on different phones and operating systems. If you want to know about a symbol or how it looks, you can check the Emojipedia, a reference guide to all things emoji.

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Addressing 24/7 media needs

The 2015 Business Wire Media Survey results lead to an interesting question for both journalists and PR practitioners. Business Wire asks, “Is your media relations programming changing fast enough to meet the needs of today’s 24/7 media?”

I know I’m trying to keep current of the changes, but if you are like me with daily and long-range deadlines, as well as last-minute requests and lots of one-offs, it’s often a challenge to unearth the latest trends, let alone respond to them. That’s why I sign up for numerous distribution lists and receive reports such as the Business Wire Media Survey of nearly 400 journalists worldwide.

The survey uncovered key trends related to the future of reporting. They include:

  • The increased need for web and multimedia knowledge by today’s reporters.
  • The desire for social media shares, not social media pitches.
  • The future of reporting tools such as interactive multimedia content and livestream services.
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Source: 2015 Business Wire Media Survey

At my organization, we created an online newsroom to better provide content to reporters and editors. We also devote considerable time to our social media presence, and are both sharing and pitching with shares significantly outweighing pitches. When a reporters writes about us, we share the reporter’s story and include the appropriate tags. We also think differently about how we pitch stories. One radio station now routinely requests photos and videos. Yes, you read that correctly, a radio station wants images, specifically for its website.

Pressure on reporters also is greater. When I was a reporter, it was a good day when I had the relevant sources and made my deadlines. Today, reporters’ stories are evaluated on a variety of additional metrics, including

  • Number of page views,
  • Unique visits to the story,
  • Social media activity such as likes, tweets, sharing and emailing, and
  • Comments left on the individual article.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the information reporters want from a press release. Reporters want

  • Breaking news
  • Interesting story angles
  • Supporting facts
  • Company background information.

If you are the one writing the release, you want to be sure to include the relevant information reporters not only seek, but expect. This also includes multimedia. Photographs (82.8%) remained the preferred item, but graphics (48.4%), video files (38.1%) and infographics (35.8%) also are in demand.

Are you ready to meet the needs of today’s 24/7 media?

 

Sending a note of thanks

Is there anyone who doesn’t appreciate a “Thank you for a job well done?” or “Thank you for your time.”

Hearing those words can make the completion of a tough project all the more rewarding. The words can mean the difference between getting a job or getting passed over.

But spoken words are fleeting. Why not take a few moments and write a thank you to a colleague who did an exceptional job? Have you considered writing and sending a thank you note to a conference organizer or a speaker to thank them for their time and efforts?

Thank you notes are a simple way to express your appreciation.

During this season of Thanksgiving why not take a few moments and make a list of individuals whom you should thank. And then write them a short note. If that’s too much, send an email or even a tweet.

It’s the thanks that counts.

Who will you thank? I hope you will share in the comments section.