Webfind of the Week – Unclutterer.com

April 15, 2008

OK, here’s the webfind of the week folks.  A huge part of professional development is gaining the ability to be organized.  Here is a website that focuses on just that! 




 A huge thank you goes out to Erin from Unclutterer for giving me permission to provide you with a link to this amazing blog.


Personal Branding – The Business Card

April 14, 2008

Your business card says a lot about you, usually literally.  Most people have business cards that reflect who their employer is and what they do there and that’s fine, but typically you have little to no control over the content of those cards.  They usually consist of the same design that everyone else in your company has with the same logo, color scheme, and format.  These are fine when you’re networking for your company and trying to bring in business for someone else.  This post, however, deals with the personal brand.

This is when you need to decide if you want to establish yourself as an entity outside of your employer or if you want to be known as “that guy/girl who works for…”  First thing’s first:  you are not stabbing your employer in the back if you have a separate business card for just yourself.  If you are getting paid to network for your employer you should probably make sure you are doing that first, but you can carry both cards.  Don’t make a production out of handing people you meet each card individually though.  In your business card case arrange your cards so that first is your company card and your personal card is right underneath it and go every other one.  Then all you have to do is say “here are my cards” instead of “here is my card.”  So let’s talk a little bit more about your personal card.

If you are going to have a personal business card, the content should be slightly different from the content of the one you receive from your employer.  The good news: your name doesn’t change!  Where you would normally put your title, don’t.  Instead of a title, put what you want to be known for, for instance, my personal business card, in the title slot, says Marketing and Public Relations Professional.  A company derived title only says what you do, not who you are.  Remember we’re trying to establish you as you, not you as an employee of…

So, what else?  It’s for you to decide what personal information you decide to hand out to new contacts.  A very easy place to start is your e-mail address.  I would suggest a web based e-mail for this, my personal preference is Gmail.  If you are creating a new e-mail account, remember that your username is a reflection of who you are.  You don’t want the CEO of a Fortune 500 company to know you as  hotstud55@_____.com.

Next, you’ll want to include a phone number if you are comfortable doing so.  I wouldn’t recommend your house phone so much as I would a cellular phone for obvious reasons.  It’s entirely up to your discression, but I did not include my address on mine.  If you are comfortable doing so, go for it, but the first time I meet someone is not when I want them to know where I live.

Do you have a website, blog or social media profile that you’re particularly proud of?  Stick that on the bottom (or top whatever your preference may be).  It’s a great way to increase traffic to your site.

As far as paper goes, you probably want middle of the line.  Your business card can speak volumes about your credibility.  Sixteen pound copier paper as a business card say something all on it’s own.  I have met a few people who have business cards that almost feel like they are credit cards; high gloss shiny plastic makes a statement, but it might be over the top for your personality (and your budget).  A simple gloss or matte paper business card will do just fine. 

As far as design goes, you can use a pre-fabricated design or you can create one on your own if you’re design savvy.  Just make sure that the design is simple and doesn’t distract the eye away from the important part: you! 


Personal Branding – The Beginning

April 13, 2008

My next few posts, at least, are going to be about the fine art of personal branding.  If you want to establish yourself as the absolute go-to for your particular field, you’re going to have to sell yourself as the absolute best in your field.  Business cards, resumes, blogs, websites, portfolios:  all these things are going to enter in to your personal brand.  Before I get too far into this, I want to hear some of your ideas on personal branding. 

What do you think is the single most important aspect of developing a personal brand?  Let the comments fly!



Follow Up or Fail

April 10, 2008

This is a principle that I live by.  In a recent presentation I attended given by Linda Watson and Susan Bridgman it was stated that your networking is only as good as your follow-up and that is true.

There’s a decent chance that I’m not someone you care if you ever meet (my feelings aren’t hurt), but other people feel the same way that I do.  I can meet ten people in one night and if they don’t follow up, I don’t care that I met them at all and I won’t remember them the next time I see them.  Now, that’s only a theory, because in reality I follow up consistently so if there is ANY mutual desire, a connection is usually made, thus grows two networks. 

Here are some easy rules to follow:

  • After you receive someone’s business card, take the time to look at it before you put it away.  You might even want to jot down a note or two on the back of it so you remember who they are, but do this out of their eye site.
  • Follow up with a general e-mail or phone call between one and three days later “It was nice to meet you..”,  “I’m glad we had a chance to talk…”
  • Follow up on specific inquiries at most three to five business days later.
  • Add the person to your personal contact list and keep in touch even if it is just a hello once a month or information relevant to the discussion you had with them.

You have to do this for yourself, there is no reminder.  In Pete Luongo’s book Ten Truths About Leadership he states that inspiration is the responsibility of others, motivation is your responsibility alone.

Step Away from the Cola

April 1, 2008

As I sit here with a small bucket of my favorite carbonated beverage, I want for you all to know that it just doesn’t have to be this way.  I will admit that I am a caffeine addict.  I start my morning with a rather large cup of coffee.  Later on in the morning I quickly consume a bottle of green tea believing that the antioxidants will some how protect me from the rest of the crap I put in my body.  The rest of the day is made up of coffee or any number of soda varieties.

I have long considered breaking the cycle, but wasn’t sure exactly how.  Now, I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy lately and I don’t get much sleep, so I am not going to be partaking in this particular journey anytime soon.  There’s hope for everyone else though.

 If you want to cut down on the caffeine, check out this article from WebMD on how to eliminate a vice from your life.

MySpace is passe

March 25, 2008

I think it started with Xanga. That web based diary with a few templates to choose from and a whole lot of surveys.  Then the evolution began, Live Journal, Diaryland, Diary-x, there were so many to choose from that no choice was ever obvious.  Then the royal family rose to power.  MySpace and Facebook began to dominate social networking scene, thus began Web 2.0.

Civilians and celebrities alike were buying in to the craze; posting pictures, information, and blogs galore.  Musical artists were even shunning their Napster-hating roots and posting studio cut versions of their own music to be listened to or posted on others’ MySpace pages making them nearly public domain.

MySpace, in particular, has been the source of multiple scandals.  It has been blamed for murders, abductions, bad press, and prom date stealing abound.  Even with all of this, the popularity of this social networking site has continued to grow.

The problem herein, is that it is only a social networking site.  For professional purposes it is a little lacking.  If you are interested in professional online networking, check out LinkedIn.  With an emphasis on education and credentials, this networking site allows you to showcase, not only how incredibly good looking your friends are, but how good looking your resume is.  Check it out.

Web Find of the Week

February 19, 2008

I’m going to try to do this at least once a week.  I am going to post something random and interesting that I have found floating around the internet.  Doesn’t sound too exciting to some of you I’m sure, but anytime I find something I always feel the need to share it.

 This Week’s web find comes to us from an Improvisational actors group called Improv Everywhere.  The gist?  Grand Central Station, 200+ people….not moving.

 Watch and find out.