Monthly Archives: October 2013

Seven Tips to Quit Your Job Like Grace Kelly

When people mention Grace Kelly, most people think about her Hollywood beauty, charm, and the real life fairy tale story. When I think of Grace Kelly, I think about how graceful she was both on and off camera. As I finish my last day at work, I began thinking what advice would I share with other professionals looking to leave their current gig. Grace kellySome people fantasy about how they will announce their resignation. Some have made videos.  Here is my running list how you can leave your job with the grace like Grace Kelly:

  1. No Matter What, Give Two Weeks Notice. It is easy to daydream how you will throw deuces in the air with pyrotechnics in the background when you give your notice to your boss. While fun and let’s be honest, hilarious, don’t. Two weeks is important to help your coworkers out who will need to pick up the slack now that you have moved on.
  2. Ask for Feedback. While annual performance reviews are great, use this time to meet with people who worked with you to ask for feedback. This is the time to get unfiltered, honest information about yourself as an employee, boss, or leader. Don’t miss out.
  3. Set up Time with Mentors. If you have worked with any leaders in your organization that have had an impact on your work or professional career, set up time to chat. Use this time to convey your gratitude about lessons learned. Also, makes sure to convey that you want to keep in touch and makes sure to deliver on that promise.
  4. Don’t Share too Much About Your Next Gig. When my friend and client asked about my next place of employment, I shared that I wasn’t announcing publicly. It is not that I did not trust her, but rather I want to wait a few months to get into the job and make sure it’s a fit. By the time you update your Linkedin profile no one will care.
  5. Write Thank You Notes. Tell the people or staff that you worked with how much you appreciated their work. Preferably hand written, but whatever the medium, makes sure to convey your gratitude. You never know if you will work with these folks again or if your connection will lead to another gig.
  6. Be Gracious When People Are Not. Resignations sometimes bring the ugly out of people. Be gracious even if it hurts. Some people just are jerks.
  7. Make Sure to Connect with Key Contacts. If you haven’t connected with key contacts via social make sure to do that! Also, share you contact information and connect in a few weeks to share your new business contact.
  8. Bonus:  Make sure to grab samples from your previous gig before heading out the door.
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10 Reasons Why Teaching Made Me a Better Leader

Back in 2002, I took the opportunity to become a part-time SAT and ACT teacher. I thought teaching would only last while I was in grad school, but it turned into a ten year career teaching a range of students in multiple states and cities. I think a lot about how teaching has impacted me personally, but also how being a teacher made me a better leader.

1)    Made Me Empathic

Empathy, ability to understand and share the feelings of another, is a requirement for anyone who teaches or leads people. Teaching students of a variety of abilities and backgrounds is challenging, but I always tried to see their point of view and how they interpret information. The same holds true for leading people. Be empathic and see their point of view, even in trying circumstance. Be human and understand not everyone is out to get you or give you a bad grade.

2)    Taught Me to be Dynamic

You know what is harder than presenting to your corporate board? Teaching high school students SAT for three hours after school. I use to call it the “Rachel Live Show for Three Hours.” But, three hours teaching high school kids about math and reading comprehension prepared me for how to engage with an audience when they obviously rather be doing something else. It also prepared me for many meetings with stakeholders who didn’t want to meet with me, but I was able to find common ground and move projects forwarded.

3)    No Two Kids Learn the Same, And Neither Will Your Team

You learn pretty quickly that no two kids learn or communicate the same. This holds true for teams. What works for one employee may not work for the others. I learned how to adapt and be nimble, both skills that were invaluable in the workplace. I had to learn how to manage by not what works best for me, but what works best for my team. Added meetings to my calendar, yes. A little more supervision that I would like, yes. Did it yield better results, hell yes.

4)    Patience is Benevolence

Before teaching, I would say I wasn’t a patient person. After teaching, I have patience of a saint. Some kids need more time to think and come up with answers on their own. I had one student ask if I every got tired waiting for students to answer questions that I already knew the answer to. My response was no. It doesn’t help me to give you the answer, otherwise you will never learn.

It was a great lesson that I used in the workplace, sometime it better for people to figure things out on their own then telling them the answer. Patience leads to better working relationship because you will never be known as the “know it all” but rather the collaborator and developer. I think helping is much more fulfilling and a sign of a better leader than being the alleged smartest person in the room.

5)    You Know When You Hit the Aha! Moment

This is the best moment, ever. When your student who has been struggling, who finally gets the concept, smiles and tells you the correct answer. Best. Moment. Ever. That moment makes you feel like a rockstar and helps boost the kid’s confidence. Aha moments happen in the workplace too when junior members are recognized for their good work and finally understand the advice you have been telling them all along. Huzzah!

6)    Encouraging Others is Your Greatest Gift

Teaching others to be confident in their knowledge and skills is your responsibility as a leader and a teacher.  I think both terms can be interchangeable in the workplace. In order to instill confidence you have to provide encouragement and opportunities for students to grow. The same is for the workplace, give your team members opportunities to grow and be empowered. They will make mistakes, but will learn from those mistakes and be better employees.

7)    Learn How to Manage Expectations

Do you think I can improve 500 points a week from the SAT?” I use to get this question from parents and students. It would blow my mind on how they both should be able to answer this, but I manage expectations. Gaining 500 points a week before the test is not likely. Did my students like to hear this, no. Did their parents, no. Did they respect me for being honest, yup. Learn to manage expectations both with your team and stakeholders. No one likes to get unexpected bad news, but they can deal with it better if you are straightforward and manage their expectations ahead of it.

8)    Tough Love is a Necessity, but Kindness and Grace are Pre-Reqs

Some of my students thought I was a bit too stern in the beginning of a course. But, by the end of our course, they knew that I enjoyed teaching AND being their teacher. While it is great to be well liked, sometimes you have to be the hard-ass. Sometimes kicking some ass and taking some names has to happen. People and students need structure. Students and employees do better when there are clear expectations and instructions.  Even when delivering feedback to my team that will be less than ideal, I always remember to try to be kind and gracious. Everyone comes to work not looking to be ripped apart. I always think about my students who were academically not up to the challenge. I didn’t dwell on their weaknesses; I built them up so that they could get academically stronger. Do the same with your team. Be gracious and kind. It will come back to you in more productive and happier employees.

9)   Your Kids’ “Thank Yous” is the Greatest Reward

The best reward for me wasn’t how great the kids did on their tests, but when they thanked me for helping them to be better. Kids generally were appreciative, but a few of the kiddos were impacted by my teaching and general approach. Best reward in teaching is giving students the confidence to believe in themselves. I took this to the workplace and when my team or colleagues thank me for my advice or guidance it is the best reward a leader can get. It means I did something right to play it forward for someone else in their career. Your greatest gift as a leader is the legacy of your work and the employees who work for you are successful after you leave.

10) Know When You Can Be Sarcastic and Give the Kids Hell

I have been known to be very sarcastic with my students. Frankly the more sarcastic I was, the better they did. But, I think humor is a great way to be human and break the ice with people alike. But, only when the time is right. In work, I have been able to ease certain situations or perhaps make my point known through the use of sarcasm. Give them hell when you know it won’t burn your relationship. As I use to tell my students, “I only give you hell because I know you can take it :)”

At some point, probably for training, I had to calculate how many classes I taught over the course of my teaching. Back in 2009, I calculated roughly, give or take a few kids, I taught more than two hundred classes and probably almost a thousand students. Those students had a tremendous impact on me and my work.

What would your impact be?

Rachel DiCaro Metscher has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review.

Eight Easy Ways to Curate Content

Written by guest blogger, 

Increasingly, social media marketers are responsible for curating content for blogs, social media accounts, and other digital mediums. This can be an overwhelming task without some help. Utilizing one of the many online tools available for content curation certainly lessens the pressure of finding content on your own. If you are looking for an easy way to curate web content for your marketing campaign, try one of these eight easy ways.

1) Pocket

Pocket, as its name suggests, is the virtual equivalent of putting something in your pocket for later. With just the click of a button, Pocket saves a digital item or article for later viewing on your phone, tablet or computer. You don’t even need an internet connection.

2) Pinterest

Not just a place to find recipes and DIY project, the virtual bulletin board Pinterest is a great way to find content and an even better way to organize it. Just be careful while you are combing the pages to not get sucked into a funny meme board and lose your way.

3) Family Features

If you are looking for full article content to supplement your original content, services like Family Features can help. family-feature--e1375032954731They offer both automated solutions and a la carte options for your blog or website. They also offer Spanish language translation if you have Spanish speaking readers.

4) Pearltrees

Pearltrees is a place to collect and organize online content in a natural way. Just like the name suggests, Pearltrees allows users to organize online data into “trees” in a similar way to Pinterest’s boards. Rachel Metscher PearltreeUsers can invite others to collaborate on a tree or users can split the tree into sections to share.

5) Stumblupon

Stumbleupon is a service that recommends pages based on your interests. You can thumbs up or thumbs down to content Stumbleupon suggests. Users can also bookmark and curate favorites. Many sites across the web have a “Stumble It” button for users to bookmark content. Stumbleupon learns from bookmarks to make better suggestions for content.

6) Twitter

Twitter may surprise you as a mention on this list, but with certain features it can be a great curation tool. Plus, you are probably already using Twitter anyway. You can use the “favorites” features to save worthwhile tweets or tweets you want to read later. You can also build Twitter lists of related accounts which is a curation tool on its own.

7) Faveous

Can’t remember which social network you found that article or video you wanted to use for a blog? With Faveous, you can collect all those favorite items in one place across social platforms. faveous--e1375037012419Faveous automatically saves any of your likes, tweets, favorites, etc. into one place for easier viewing later. For example, if you find an article on your mobile phone, but don’t want to read it on the small screen, you can later log onto Faveous to read it on your computer’s larger screen.

8 ) Paper.li

Paper.li allows you to create your own online newspaper by curating articles and content from your favorite sites. It’s an excellent way to share a large amount of content in one place and a unique way to present it.

Original article appeared on Social Media Strategies Summit blog.

Wendy Parish is a communication consultant and owner of Wendy Parish Consulting. She helps clients get the word out in a variety of mediums. You can find her writing smeared all over the internet at a variety of sites including Marketing Dive, DIY Insanity, and of course her tweets @ParishWendy. Her career has taken her to the U.K. and all over the U.S, but she now resides in Iowa and couldn’t be happier.

Five Reasons Why Marketers Don’t Build a Content Marketing Strategy

After reading Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’ B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report, I was stunned to learn that forty-four percent of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy.

My next question was, so what are the other 56 percent of marketers and communicators doing? Are they creating disparate pieces of content that potentially will yield nothing?

But why does this happen?

If you have been involved in any content marketing activities such as a blog or whitepaper, you know that everyone has an opinion on how it should get done. The conversation is usually more tactical: Where will we post? Who will write it? Too many times the conversation is focused on the wrong things. It is not about distribution. It’s really about what can you do for your intended reader. But, too few times do practitioners step back ask four questions:

1)   Is this piece of content coherent with a bigger strategy or a one-off?

2)   Will this piece be of value or is it noise?

3)   Is this a topic of interest to our audience or do we (being the marketing team) want to push a specific message or campaign.

4)   Does this tell a brand story?

If it is so simple, what is stopping marketers to ask the right questions?

1)   Lack of Vision. Some marketers are caught up in the day-to-day and don’t think about the end game. Think about the above four questions. With the pieces you create, what’s the end goal? What do you want to achieve through publishing this content? Beyond the dread “distribute our thought leadership,” what action do you want if someone is to read this?

2)   Time. My all time favorite excuse. Sales is waiting for this whitepaper. Insert other excuse here. You need to put in the time before jumping on the content bandwagon.

3)   Not enough buy-in. Some of your internal stakeholders just want “collateral” and are not concerned about the outcomes. They just don’t get it, right? Marketers need to be strategic otherwise your department will constantly be asked to create “marketing things” that are not necessarily building a coherent or consistent brand story.

4)   No internal marketing. Don E. Schultz talked about this at length at Content Marketing World last month. Marketers create copious amounts of content, but then neglect to educate their internal stakeholders as to why it is important or how it will help them better achieve their goals. According to Mr. Schultz, you need to focus on internal marketing first, then outside. Tell your story from the inside. Remember, your employees are your first line of brand advocacy.

5)   Reactive versus proactive. Content Marketing is a marathon not a sprint. You need to be methodical and build the right foundation before jumping into creating tangible, engaging content.

Great deck from Joe Pulizzi on how to get started for those looking for building block,

Final thoughts?

To me, few marketers truly understand the importance of having a strategy that helps build tactics. It like a scaffold: you need an overarching goal that helps create objectives. Objectives then support strategies that then are supported by tactics.

What would you add?

 

 

Rachel DiCaro Metscher, director of advocacy and communications for Hobsons, has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review. Currently, Rachel is responsible for Hobsons’ external communication programs, which include public relations, brand, website, and social media.

What Five Personal Brand Nuggets I Learned from Warren Buffet

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity along with several hundred other Georgetown students to hear from Warren Buffet about the economy, investing, and general observation from a man that has seen many changes in his eighty-three years. While other students asked questions about finance and economics, I was more impressed with Mr. Buffet’s effortless and simple wisdom that is applicable beyond the financial market.  What I learned from the conversation far exceeded my expectations. In his brief conversation, Warren Buffets casual conversation prompted me to not only apply his advice to economics, but also to how I manage my personal brand.

1)   In speaking about his philanthropy works, it is evident Warrant Buffet is very passionate about making an impact in the world. In short, he summarized his interests as, “every human life has equal value.”

How it impacts personal brand: Every person you interact has value. You may not know what it is, but always treat people with kindness and respect. Say thank you regardless how big or small the contribution. How can a thank you pay off? Mark Goulston wrote an article for Harvard Business Review back in February on how to give a meaningful ‘thank you’. My favorite part of the article was research by Adam Grant and Francesca Gino that showed saying thank you not only results in reciprocal generosity — where the thanked person is more likely to help the thanker — but also stimulates pro-social behavior in general. In other words, saying “thanks” increases the likelihood your employee will not only help you, but also help someone else.

2)   He also talked about his inability to control anything from the grave.

How it impacts personal brand: A given, you cannot control everything that comes your way. Don’t try too. What you can control is your reaction. As I written before, maintaining your personal brand online can be tricky when you let your emotions rule your social media content. It about managing what you can, and not worrying about what you cannot. As I wrote previously about managing your personal brand online, your digital footprint lives permanently online, therefore think before your type.

3)   When asked about what we can expect from the economy and society, he was succinct, “humans will continue to behave as they have some for every other economic cycle. When people are scared they want to leave at the same time” This reference is regarding people leaving the stock market.

How it impacts personal brand: Whether you work in B-to-C or B-to-B it is still about people. Behind that B2B business is people, so treat them like humans rather than just another target market. In everything we do, at the end of the day, it about connecting people to others, a product or a feeling. Jay Baer’s recent book, Youtility, is all about providing value to people in terms of helping them. One of the key themes that underline this concept of utility is would clients would actual pay for your content. Think about that. Would people be willing to pay for your content? People will only pay for something if it is of value. Nothing will change this human behavior.

4)   “Nobody does it alone. We sit in the shade that others have planted.”

How it impacts personal brand: By far, one of my favorite sound bites from Mr. Buffet. This is so important to personal brand because you do not get where youWhat Five Personal Brand Nuggets I Learned from Warren Buffet Rachel Metscher are today in business or in life without help. Period. Remember to find your allies and learn from your haters. Those interactions will pave the way to creating the trees that you will enjoy and share. Harvard Business Review covered the topic of finding career sponsors and I think Mr. Buffet was right. Those who help you along the way pave the path for future success.

5)   His philosophy on investing. Simply, “find opportunity.”

How it impacts personal brand: There is opportunity in everything you do. Don’t forget that. Even the most mundane activity could lead to something great down the road. Entrepreneur.com writer wrote a great post how to look for new business ideas in everyday life that I think could be applied to the concept of opportunity.

Bonus: “You don’t need to be the smartest. Just learn how to ignore.”

How it impacts personal brand: This is all about focus and learning to drown out the noise. There will always be distractions or shiny objects, but truly successful individuals learn to have laser focus. Don’t listen to the noise. It is meant to be distracting.

At the end of the day, Mr. Buffet advice while it is intended for more financial outcomes provided more application to everyday life. Who can argue with someone who has this successful? What would you add?

Rachel DiCaro Metscher, director of advocacy and communications for Hobsons, has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review. Currently, Rachel is responsible for Hobsons’ external communication programs, which include public relations, brand, website, and social media.