Not Letting Your Skills Atrophy : 5 Ways To Stay Sharp In Your Everyday #PR

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Right now, I contract as a Marketing Associate for a Real Estate Development Co. in Dallas. It’s not my targeted vocation; however, I’m learning some interesting topics, strategies and just taking everything in as a valuable learning experience. This role is a lot of project management, campaign marketing, some social media, website building, editing, etc.

But so my skills don’t atrophy for lack of use, because I’m not writing press materials, or dealing with a lot of social media etc — I read the news daily, I write daily, I engage in social media daily, any opportunity I have to assist someone in pr or social media strategy I make myself available …RIGHT.

My targeted vocation here in Dallas, is in the arena of community relations + social media marketing + communications + PR, and when those opportunities present themselves I want to be ready to take on whatever I need to do in the new role. I want to make sure that I am prepared.

Here are 5 Ways I’ve Been Able to Keep My Skills Sharp

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i Came. i ‘Wined’. i Networked. i Am Excited About What’s To Come.

Network After Work Dallas

Network After Work Dallas

Last evening I attended my first official networking event here in Dallas, TX, with the Network After Work Group at the Concrete Cowboy. It was great! I loved the format, per the above photo where each individual had Color-Coded Name Badges to identify their said industry — this made it efficient for me to navigate and connect with the right industry people — or non industry people.

Networking for me is about quality over quantity, rapport over business/job leads, helping — being a resource over soliciting for… That’s my strategy — my objective is to foster new professional connections in my new city, and hopefully make some wonderful friendships and mentor-ships along with way. I met some interesting people, had some meaningful conversations — and I didn’t hand my business card out like it was a marketing flyer; unless I was asked, or I asked if they would like my business card, because at this point; we were 3 to 5 minutes into the conversation, and I felt like I wanted to get to know this person more.

Networking Tips That Worked For Me Last Night:

    • Smile, and say “Hi.” [Even if you don’t interact after saying hi, people respond to friendly faces — it says you’re approachable — and people will approach you] Sidenote: I did see someone I knew, her name is @BrightGirlMedia, check her out, she’s authentic, helpful, and so far she’s stellar 🙂 In addition, a young lady I met in the restroom, invited me to come and interact with her and her co-workers, her name was Twee, she worked in sales.
    • Fake It, Until You Make It [I didn’t know anyone else, but I wasn’t going to walk around like a deer in headlights making it obvious, or become a wall flower hanging around the only person that I did know — I came to play! Be Confident!]
    • Enter With The Intent To Brand Yourself with a conversation stimulant [ex. I am two-weeks new to Dallas, and I have hit the ground running with networking, people are amazed, impressed with the initiative, and they understand I am driven]
    • Find Your Commonality [Dallas, Texas is football country — I met a Giants Fan (we lost this past Sunday to them, so he jokingly rubbed it in), I met a Cowboys fan and a Green Bay Packers fan!]
    • Be Interested In People [I truly enjoy hearing a person’s goals and aspirations — I think it’s because I’m able to somehow understand and draw from my similarities, with having goals and aspirations. And by listening to others, I learn more about them, and possibly learning more about myself too.]
    • Follow up with new contacts within 24-48 hours!
business cards I received, with my notes to remember them by. #BusinessExposure

business cards I received, with my notes to remember them by. #BusinessExposure

Networking: Will you be in the 80 percent?

The role of networking plays a huge part in a person’s job search. Only two percent of today’s jobs are landed by utilizing online applications, while as much as 80 percent of today’s jobs are landed through networking. Being an accomplished and sincere networker can cut through the piles of job listings, decreasing your time to find that perfect opportunity by tenfold, not to mention the fact that the job you want may not be advertised at all.

Networking works simply because people do business primarily with people they know and like. It affords an opportunity to become acquainted in a no-pressure environment. In any social situation, chances are somebody in that room is within two degrees of knowing your next boss.

Over the last decade, the face-to-face fundamentals have been significantly enhanced with social media and by leveraging a personal marketing plan. That magic combination of personal interaction, implementing your personal marketing strategy and social media channels has made networking a science of establishing and maintaining a group of social and professional ambassadors.

To that end, here are some of those networking fundamentals to master to make the most effective use of the opportunities that come along in your job search:

Make a good impression during networking events

  1. Be authentic, considerate and sincere.
  2. Emit confidence.
  3. Be able to recite a 30-second introduction about yourself.
  4. Have a concise and effective personal business card to hand out.
  5. Improve your communication skills by role-playing with colleagues as practice beforehand.

Take advantage of a possible networking opportunity

  1. Be sure that your target(s) are the ones that will actually be able to help you.
  2. Have specific employer names and career goals established.
  3. Focus on building relationships.
  4. Always ask what you can do for others; networking is a give-and-take.
  5. Ask for advice, not a job.

Follow up after an event

  1. Prioritize your contacts in order of who can help you and who you can help.
  2. Tap into your strongest connections first.
  3. Map out what your specific communication will be with each contact on your priority list (phone call, email, social media, meeting, etc.).
  4. Schedule time with your most important contacts on an ongoing, regular basis.
  5. Make connecting a priority/habit and continually evaluate what avenues are working.

Article written by Rick Sears, an award-winning, globally recognized executive recruiter and career coach who leads Sterling Partners, one of the largest independent search firms in the nation. He is also CEO and president of Career Masters International, an organization dedicated to providing professional career readiness services to corporations and colleges.

Wine + Networking = Always the Perfect Mix | Networking GOLD Wine Tips

blogs.cornell.edu tasting

“Wine is the most civilizing thing in the world.” – Ernest Hemingway

  • WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE DRINK WINE?
  • YOU’RE AT THE WINE EVENT: REMEMBER THE 4 “S”s
  • WHAT TO TALK ABOUT?
  • SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE

I’d like to preface this post to my beautiful black people… Here we go… (DEATH TO MOSCATO!!) …LOL!! It is so much more to enjoyingNo Moscato wine than Moscato. Why do most African-Americans love Moscato? Because the African-American taste index skews toward sweeter drinks PERIOD. It’s true, I’m not making this up – I learned a great deal about consumers and their preferences working at a former PR agency with a high-profile client.

I want to show you how to make a lasting impression when you’re networking at a wine event, not just at an event where wine will be served, but specifically at a wine event. Wine Tastings, Wine Tours, Grand Opening events — where wine will be served, art galleries (this is my favorite) and Wine Bars.

WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE INDULGE IN WINE?

A Men’s Magazine article says by drinking wine it says that “You’re mature and discerning, and you’re likely an organized professional.”

Great! This is what you want while networking – people who are mature and discerning – these people are also decision makers with any said company, and are ripe in networking contacts – get it ripe? HA! I crack myself up. So keep a keen eye.

YOU’RE AT THE WINE EVENT: REMEMBER THE FOUR “S”s or 5 “S”

SWIRL: Release the aromas of the wine

SNIFF: Short and long sniff’s; savor, what do you smell?

SIP: Coat your palate completely, do the flavors match the aroma (Your palate is composed of a series of taste buds, tongue, and the most important sensor of all: your nose.)

SPIT: There are lots of wine to taste, and your tasting faculties will be reduced if you don’t spit (NOTE: Only if you’re at a tasting; however, it’s not my preference)

WHAT TO TALK ABOUT? This Is Your Networking Segue

  • When you’re interacting, First ask your networking target what their palate is? (NOTE: If you remember nothing else: people respond by you being genuinely interested in them.
  • Respond by disclosing your palate and what you smell.
  • Tell a wine joke.

Joke 1. What did the grape say after the elephant sat on it? Nothing, it just let out a little whine! **my fav joke

Joke 2. A woman was sipping on a glass of wine, while sitting on the patio with her husband, and she says, “I love you so much; I don’t know how I could ever live without you.”

Her husband asks, “Is that you or the wine talking?”

She replies, “It’s me…talking to the wine.”

You’re not starring on Russell Simmons Def Comedy Jam, but it’s appropriate and most people indulging in wine will laugh – it’s all in the delivery!

SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE

I’m not a wine expert, and you may not be either, so here are a few cheat tips to help you at your event.

“Chardonnay is the World’s Most Popular White Wine.”

“Pinot Grigio is the most Popular White Wine produced in Italy.”

“The Popular Wine maker Kendall-Jackson’s CEO was featured on CBS’s UnderCover Boss. It’s a great back-story, have you seen it?” (NOTE: make sure you’ve watched the episode)

“Majority of consumers drink their reds too warm and their white wines too cold.” Proper temps allow the wines to show their freshness

Red’s should be served between 65° – 68°
Whites should be served between 48° – 53°

Review or “ASK” the server in the company of your networking parties “…the rating points of the wine.” If it is rated in the 89 – 91 point range – 10 times out of 10 the wine is magnificent!

Now that you’re ready! Check out your local MeetUp.com Wine Groups, Google: Wine Tasting (in said city), Find your next Art Gallery Event (w/ a bar), Find your local wine bar – Make Networking fun, because it can be. Also. Please remember to drink in moderation and slow your pace down, networking inebriated has the opposite effect of what you’re there for.

Now that you have your wine networking arsenal – have your business cards ready! Remember to smile and have fun!

Let me know how it turns out!

5 Rockstar Ways to Build Your Brand and Presence on #LinkedIn

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There are over 5 million LinkedIn users in the United States  — a more interesting  fact would be finding out how many are effectively penetrating  the benefits  from the social networking  site.  It’s an unverifiable fact, but because I just know, there are still a great deal of LinkedIn users that remain idle on the site, because they have no idea how to effectively use LinkedIn.

Furthermore, there are users who only post or make updates to their profiles when they actually need to find a job. We’ll just call those people  #notwinning.  The key is to cultivate those cyberspace relationships and remain active so people can remember you, not necessarily top-of-mind ‘remember you’, but the cerebral cortex ‘remember you’ and then you’ll be #winning as Charlie Sheen would say.

I’ve placed together my top 5 effective ways to become a Rockstar — and all one has to do it Read and Repeat:

1 Completely fill out Your LinkedIn Profile

Recruiters, prospects and your network will pay no attention to your profile if  it’s 40% done 50% done, and even 60% done.  Complete your profile, so people can take you seriously. That means completing your LinkedIn interests, skills and expertise — Make sure you keep an upbeat and positive persona throughout your summary (no one likes to read a mundane and un-inspiring profile) Make sure it’s an honest representation of you. In addition, you want the LinkedIn algorithm to find you in searches by your keywords so fill out everything.

2. Stand Out With an Unconventional (But Professional) Headline

I am honestly tired of seeing the “seeking New opportunity headline” Ugh ok already! Your headline should stand out, but not overtly. Do what best suits you, but also make it intriguing enough to make someone want to view your profile. Make it convey who you are — are you passionate or driven; you can even insert some humor if that’s your personality. The point is to make yourself stand out from the rest.

Sab LinkedIn Headline

3. Join Groups that speak to your interests

Little known fact — not only are prospects able to see what types of groups you are a part of, but your 2nd and 3rd degree connections increase when you are joining these groups — you and Joe Shmoe Executive may not have any mutual connections, but you and Joe Shmoe Executive have a Social Media Marketing, and Digital Marketing  group in common. Eureka!! Instant 2nd degree connection.

Also by joining these groups you benefit from the breadth of information that comes from the members in these groups — increasing your skills and knowledge of the field.

4. Interact within the LinkedIn Groups

Like, Comment, Post/Share, Converse — Read and REPEAT.  Like and Post articles that genuinely interest you. People begin to see you as someone who is abreast to what’s going on in the field.

When you comment and engage in conversation regarding these posts — people immediately associate you as someone who is adept in the field and therefore someone who they should be following and should connect with. Become the expert.

5. Stay Active 

Hootsuite should be one of your best friends. Why? Because you can schedule your LinkedIn posts — and now with the auto-schedule,  it will schedule your posts at the opportune (optimal) times for you.

Don’t just post on your page, make sure you post in the applicable groups with a comment or description about the post on why you decided to post it- — what you think about it  — maybe even incite a discussion among comrades.

I hope I have inspired you to become you own Rockstar on LinkedIn. I aim to have you amongst the #winning in the social media space! If you have questions please don’t hesitate to ask me.

– Sabrina