Embracing Change

I used to not like change. But then a new boss came to town and shared his philosophy: “If you aren’t changing, you’re standing still.”

The philosophy was not unique to him, but when he said it, it finally resonated with me and now I fully embrace change.

The problem with change, isn’t the change. It’s making sure that it can happen, and in a way that is beneficial. My company has undergone significant change in the short time I’ve been with it – from a name change to a new website to a new brand. As president of the National Federation of Press Women, I’ve seen change. In fact, my presidency was a change – I didn’t go through the ranks to become president. I ran on a platform of change.

If you aren’t comfortable with change, what do you do?

I’m the type that has to read a book. I just finished Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. In the book, they share how our minds are ruled by two different systems – the rational mind and the emotional mind – that compete for control.

The book works on many levels. I found insights to help me professionally but while reading it I also set behavioral goals to help me with my fitness efforts. As the authors noted, “If you are leading a change effort, you need to remove the ambiguity from your vision of change.”

In the end, change works when people have clear direction, ample motivation and a supportive environment.

Are you ready to make a change?

Time to schedule some R&R, Professional Development

Almost 40 percent of adults didn’t plan to use all of their vacation days in 2010, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports. I suspect the same will hold true in 2011.

Research shows that simply anticipating time off significantly improves a person’s mood. I always like to have days scheduled throughout the year. I plan them early in January.

If you haven’t already done so, now is the perfect time to plan some days off. It’s time to register for the 2011 NFPW conference in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Omaha, Neb.

The conference is Sept. 8-10. A Nebraska pre-tour is scheduled Sept. 4-6. An Iowa post-tour is scheduled Sept. 11-13. Registration details are posted to the NFPW website.

Once you’re registered, you might want to save the dates for your affiliate meetings. And mark your calendar for Sept. 20-22, 2012, for the NFPW conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Don’t you feel better already?

Need Help? Hire an Intern

As a manager, I have made it a point to hire interns One reason is that the internships that I held helped me land a full-time job, and I want to be able to help communications students. The other reason isn’t so altruistic. Frankly, I just need help in the office.

Interns require care and feeding. You can’t just turn them loose and expect them to perform. It’s not fair to them and you won’t get what you need.

So how should you get started and how do you manage interns?

1)      Hire them just as you would any other position. My interns submit a resume and then I select the top candidates to interview. I’m looking for professional resumes with no mistakes. I’m looking for communicators. I’m looking for individuals who are willing to tackle new areas.

2)      Once I’ve hired them, we set up a schedule and I outline expectations. I don’t expect that they will produce the work of a seasoned professional. I do expect that their work will be thorough and on time. I review dress codes, office protocol and business etiquette. Don’t assume they know any of this. It takes a bit of time, but it will greatly benefit them in their careers, and you won’t have to spend as much time correcting.

I once had an intern who refused to follow the dress code so by day three, she was no longer employed. I also am a realist. I know that during mid-terms, interns will be focused on studying so I often recommend they cut back their hours that week.

3)      Provide them with several assignments and expectations for the work. Always include deadlines. Then touch base with them. Some interns are hesitant to ask questions initially so take the time early and often to check that they are on track. If they are, the conversation won’t take long. If they aren’t, you can resolve any problems early before too much time and effort is lost.

4)      Make them a part of your team. Include them in planning processes and team meetings. They will bring a unique perspective and one that is often invaluable.

5)      Always acknowledge their work. They did the work; they deserve the credit.

6)      At the end of the semester, offer to review their resume and tweak it as needed. Provide them with a reference if they did good work for you. If they were really good, hire them!

5 Tips for Finding a Job in the Digital Era

I admit that I sometimes miss the days of sending my resume and cover letter by snail mail. For the position I hold now, I did everything online. My well-designed resume doesn’t look as professional when all of the graphical elements are removed and it’s simply a bunch of words. And as someone who hires staff, I always check a candidate’s digital footprint.

So what do you do to get noticed in this digital era? Below are five suggestions:

1)      On LinkedIn use your professional headline to highlight your expertise. Don’t simply state the job you have. Rather, use key words that emphasize your experience.

2)      Share your expertise on LinkedIn by answering questions posted by others. Start discussions. You want employers to know you are current with trends and issues within your field.

3)      Brand yourself by including URLs in your email signature. Include your LinkedIn URL, your blog, your website – anything that brands you and provides others with more information about your experience.

4)      Compare your resume to your online profiles and eliminate any discrepancies. Employment dates and titles should match. At a prior company my title changed a few times and I had not updated it on my resume. Now it is. It wasn’t dishonest, but it was careless, and employers don’t want either.

5)       Update your status. When you attend a conference or attend training, let others know. Whenever you update, a message is sent to your network so it will remind your connections of your qualifications.

What do you do to stay visible? And have any of you found a job through a social media site?

Communication Quotes Inspire

I’ve been writing talking points and speeches quite frequently these past few weeks, and I often look to great orators for inspiration.

I thought I would share a few that resonated with me or made me chuckle. See if you can recall who said it.

1)      “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

2)      “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.”

3)      “We must become the change we want to see.”

4)      “I’d rather bathe lepers than be interviewed by the press.”

5)      “Next week there can’t be any crisis. My schedule is already full.”

6)      “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”

7)      “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

Answers: 1) P.T. Barnum 2) John F. Kennedy 3) Ghandi 4) Mother Teresa 5) Henry Kissinger 6) Henry Ford 7) Nelson Mandela

Do you have a famous communicator or a famous quote to share?

Expressing Your Social Media Voice

 What is your social media voice?

Amy Wood co-anchors News Channel 7 at 5, 6 and 11 and solo anchors the interactive “News Channel 7 at Ten on Your CW.” She also has a strong media voice, and talked on the subject during Media Women of South Carolina’s “Social Media Smarts” conference.

If you like writing, a blog is the way to go. Both Blogger and WordPress are free sites and are easy to integrate with other social media platforms. (My blog is hosted on WordPress.) If you are blogging for your job, she recommends being transparent by taking people behind the scenes. “Share valuable and useful industry knowledge,” Amy says.

Videos are another great way to have a social media voice. Today’s smart phones make it even easier to capture video. And YouTube is a central channel for posting videos. One popular way to use video is to create demos, Amy says.

A third way to share your social media voice is through audio. Podcasts are the most common way, but now there are apps for smart phones, including audioBoo. It’s also easy to share audio clips on iTunes. These audio posts can then be shared on Facebook and other social networks.

To make your voice even stronger, consider pictures. Amy suggests posting images of customers or products and services.

How do you speak on social media?

Brainstorming Increases Good Ideas

During the NFPW board meeting, we looked at postcards that had quotes on them about ideas. The premise was to reflect on the quotes, discuss them and use them to inspire us as we worked on NFPW business.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” We took that to mean that NFPW needs to continue to grow and expand.

We also decided that ideas connect us to the past and the future. We came up with that after reading what Friedrich Von Schlegel said: “Ideas are infinite, original and lively divine thoughts.”

Bill Moyers said, “Ideas are great arrows, but there has to be a bow.” That one resonated with us and we referenced it throughout a brainstorming session. We realized that ideas need a catalyst.

Our brainstorming on membership resulted in lots of ideas, but only a few good ones. That’s okay because Linus Pauling said, “The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.”

We’ll keep thinking of ways to better connect with members and to make membership a valuable resource. I hope you will share your ideas. After all, the more we have, the more likely we’ll have a good one.