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Communications

Want Better Networking? Skip the Networking Groups

By | Communications | One Comment

I visibly cringe when someone invites me to something called a networking group. I’ve been to these gatherings, where there’s one representative of each kind of industry, where you’re expected to share your “elevator speech” and share leads. It’s formulaic, and it might very well work for those who rely on cold calls to build business when all other efforts fail, but it’s really not my style.

What I find much more valuable, is attending events that interest me, and that attract like-minded people. The people I have met at nonprofit events, or through volunteering in my community, or at educational opportunities like lectures, films, and panel discussions are far more interesting and likely to result in real work relationships than those brought together in a manufactured networking environment.

I know it’s hard for those just starting out to dive into unknown groups and start introducing themselves. But if you’re there for a mission, or to listen and learn, with the opportunity to share ideas afterward, it’s a much more authentic relationship-building experience that results.

If you’re looking for a networking alternative, feel free to ask me what I’m attending next.

Rubbernecking in the Wake of the #MeToo Movement

By | Communications, Social Media | No Comments

I used to think a person finds out who their true friends are during a divorce. I was wrong. The real friends stick around after you’ve met someone new and start dating and are happy and in love again. I was surprised at the people who were more interested in the falling apart of my life than the building back up. I thought about the way we share our lives on social media, though, and became less surprised.

There’s a perception that people create these carefully crafted, happy looking lives with great vacations and beautiful families. Everything, as seen in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts looks just perfect. To me, that’s sharing only the shareable — not sharing what the user considers private. So yes, to some, that might look manufactured. And so, when a person’s life undeniably falls apart, we’re curious. Did we miss some clue in the photos on the Instagram account? Why were those last vacation photos all solo selfies?

We’re in the beginning of a movement that is going to have a lot of those online images crumbling. The #metoo movement, and today’s recognition of the Silence Breakers as the Person of the Year in Time Magazine is huge and will have an ongoing impact. It is only a matter of time before our colleagues, friends, friends’ husbands and partners lose their jobs or are called out publicly for sexual abuse or harassment.

I hope that we can refrain, as a culture, from social rubbernecking as peoples lives crumble around us. No, of course no one’s life is perfect, even if their social media would otherwise indicate. Victims will share what they wish and we should be respectful of that. Families of abusers are often collateral damage in these situations. Let’s let them be.

Let’s Talk About the Word Bitch

By | Communications | One Comment

When I was in sixth grade, Sister Edwardine, a tiny, ancient nun, got wind of some of the boys calling the girls “bitch.” Our teacher calmly gathered us and explained the origin of the word and why it was an insult when used, and why, exactly one should think twice before saying it. You could have heard a pin drop as this diminutive Dominican said, “if you call someone’s mother a bitch, you’re saying that woman is having sex with everyone in town.”

How we held it together, I’ll never know.

I don’t use the word bitch. I don’t swear much, but I’m not a prude, either. I just don’t use words that demean women. Funny how I just have a policy like that; odd little quirk of mine, being a woman and all. It was interesting to me, when only five years ago, in 2012 network television loosened the reigns and allowed “bitch” to slide. Suddenly, everyone from Betty White to Tina Fey was dropping the B-word.

Is normalizing a word the right approach? Do we “take it back” when we try to alter the meaning, and make it empowering? Does it make it hurt any less when someone uses it in a hurtful way, like when a man calls his wife a bitch in front of their children? I don’t think it does.

The sentiment is a bad one and in the upswing of women standing up to harassment, I think one small thing we can do is stop using words that demean women, even to be funny, even as a word of empowerment, even when it’s women using it with other women.

 

A major fail on Twitter this week began when user Nutella asked people to “name a bitch badder than Taylor Swift.” The backfire resulted in tweets like:

 

 

 

 

 

I think we need to use better words to describe the women we admire. Do you really want to call Malala a bad bitch? I certainly don’t.

When network television adopted the word, so did the workplace. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the word bitch in an office setting. NOT OK. It’s normalized so much that a middle school student casually used it in my presence to describe her own behavior. ALSO NOT OK.

You won’t hear the word “bitch” from me. I invite you to reconsider its use, yourself.

5 Reasons Not to Be a LinkedIn Hater

By | Communications, Social Media | 2 Comments

 

 

I was in a client meeting not long ago when the use of LinkedIn was mentioned.

“I hate LinkedIn,” a meeting participant said. Here’s why I think that’s a mistake:

1. Search plays a big role in the management of your reputation. When someone googles your name, (particularly if your name is unusual) your LinkedIn profile does appear.

Whether you like it or not, if you have created even an incomplete profile, it will show up in search engine results. If you have no profile at all, you are only frustrating the person who is trying to locate you (and what if they have a really great business deal or offer to extend to you; what then?)

2. Recommendations are third-party endorsements that say that you are who you say you are. Think about it; you wouldn’t hire someone to do plumbing or painting at your home without a referral from someone else, right? It speaks highly of you and your business to have a few recommendations from clients and colleagues visible in your searchable profile. (They’re also good to read if/when you’re having a really bad day.)

3. Avoid that awkward blind-date scenario by allowing a new business contact (with whom you’re meeting for the first time in person) to see you and know a bit about you beforehand. It’s a courtesy in today’s business world, and expected. A fully completed profile should have a photo of you so if you’re meeting for coffee, your contact will know who to look for.

4. Maybe it’s not you (maybe it is), but someone in your company is responsible for website traffic. Give them a leg up by listing the company website and going the extra mile by giving it the right name instead of accepting the default settings of “My Company” and/or “My Blog.”

5. LinkedIn is easy; it’s people you know (not those you don’t or those you used to know, long ago). It’s not scary and does not have the privacy issues that Facebook often faces. No one plays games like Candy Crush or posts quizzes on LinkedIn. It is a social network designed for online business networking; that’s it. Its simplicity and clarity of mission make it an important component of your overall social media strategy, whether that strategy is personal or on behalf of your brand or company.

LinkedIn has stood the test of time and consistently added smart upgrades to remain current but true to its original purpose. Don’t hate LinkedIn; it’s there for you to use to succeed. See you there.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/marijeanoldham

 

Whoops! I’m Two People on Facebook

By | Communications | 5 Comments

Do you have two profiles on Facebook? If you do, your intention was probably to have a “professional” profile and a “personal” one.

Guess what? This is what you’ve done instead: you have given others reason to have the following reactions:

  1. In a search, they are unsure which one of you to connect with — are you friends or professional contacts? Whose decision is that?
  2. Hey! I thought we were friends! Why now are you shifting me over to your “business” self?
  3. What are you up to personally that you feel like you need a totally different profile to protect your “private” self?
  4. You really don’t understand Facebook, do you?

None of the reactions others have to you and your dual Facebook personalities are positive, are they? Furthermore, why on earth do you want to complicate your life by having to manage two different profiles?

You’re also making yourself vulnerable by violating Facebook’s terms of service — you know, that thing you clicked YES to and never actually read? Here’s a section:

See that part about not creating more than one account? If you end up having a hacking problem or other security breach, you’re going to have a really tough time getting anyone at Facebook to help you if you’ve violated any of these items. Just sayin’.

How to Stop Being Two People on Facebook

You’re going to have to deactivate one of your personalities. More than likely, its the newer one, the one you decided to create for a more “professional” appearance. Log in to that account.

Go to Account –> Account Settings –> Deactivate Account.

Now, I understand that you still have this conflict; that there are parts of your life you want to share with friends but not necessarily colleagues or business prospects. The way to manage that is with lists.

This will help: How to Create Lists, Save Some Privacy on Facebook in Five Easy Steps.

Really! Do it today!

Read this, too: My friend Michelle (Golden) Rivers has a great post on this topic as well — Managing Your “Private Life on Facebook While Developing Business.