I am not going to tell you my age however I will tell you that the article, Baby Boomers and Social Media, held a lot of interest for me as it asks the question “When will baby boomers and social media become synonymous?”
I love social media! My sister, 7 years my senior, doesn’t even own a computer. People are shocked when they ask for her email address and she admits that she doesn’t have one. Most of us can’t even imagine our day to day world without a computer, email, Facebook, Twitter and anything else we are addicted to on the World Wide Web. Have you ever tried to “unplug” during vacation, for a single day or even for a single meal? I don’t know about you but I tried and failed. It was hard as hell.
Baby Boomer or not, this article will shed some light on the Pew Internet Project’s research related to social media. Give it a browse and let us know what you think.
Thanks for reading~
To get the most out of attending a professional conference, you’ve got to do your pre-work. I know that you’re busy. I know that you barely have time to think about the clothes you’re going to pack let alone think about doing extra work before your airplane even leaves the ground. But if you knew that by putting in a few minutes spread across each week leading up to your conference could help you make connections that will be of lasting benefit to you personally and professionally for years , would you be interested? If so, read on.
You can use LinkedIn and Twitter to break the ice with other conference attendees and get to know them a little bit. It only takes a few minutes at a time to check these two platforms and contribute to the conversations.
Doing your pre-work on LinkedIn
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you need to create one now. For me, LinkedIn has been the most useful social media platform for building my professional network. It’s easy, it’s unobtrusive, and you don’t have to log into it every day to update your status. (well, you could if you wanted too!)
Once you are on LinkedIn, join groups associated with whoever is hosting the conference. Usually the conference is put on by a professional group, and industry leader, or a group of industry leaders. To find these groups, enter keyword into the Search box, and make sure the drop down says Groups before you click the search button.
Once you are in the group, look for discussions about the conference and join in. If there isn’t a discussion about the conference, start one! Great discussion starters are:
Can anyone recommend a good hotel near the conference location?
I’m flying in to [conference city] the night before the conference. What’s the best place in town for good [your favorite food]?
Are there any speakers at [conference] that I shouldn’t miss seeing?
When people respond to you, send them a connection notice with a customized message thanking them for their response and asking a follow up question. Keep the conversations moving. Once you get to know people, you can suggest meeting up at the conference.
Doing your pre-work on Twitter
Most conferences now designate a Twitter hash tag that everyone can use to share information and talk about the conference. Find out what your conferences hash tag is. You can often find it right on the main conference page. If you don’t see it there, go to Twitter and do a search on the conference names and acronyms. For example, I’m attending ASTD International Conference and Exposition in May 2012. The hash tag is #ASTD2012. If I didn’t know that, I might go to Twitter and search on ASTD, ASTDICE, conference, Denver, etc. If anyone is tweeting about this conference, their tweet is likely to show up in a search on at least one of those terms. Only search on one term at a time.
Once you’ve found the hash tag, it’s time to start tweeting. You can start slow if you want, retweet something first. When you get a bit braver, reply to a tweet. And finally, start tweeting yourself. Tweet about a speaker you like, or tweet that you’re going to the conference. If you need ideas, do a search on the hashtag #conference and see what kind of things other people are saying about their conferences. When you feel ready, start tweeting directly to people, such as:
@KellyPhillipsNC see you in the Expo at #ASTD2012!
One important thing you MUST do is to have a clear face shot of yourself on your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Even the attendees that you don’t connect with online will be lurking and watching the conversations and Twitter stream. They’ll see your name and picture go by, and if they see you at the conference it will be much easier to start up a conversation with them because you’ll be familiar to them.
I encourage you to give it a try. Just a small amount of time and attention to pre-conference social media can turn your conference experience into a networking boosting adventure!
|Photo courtesy of Fotocromo|
I want to talk about shoes for a minute. I know RFN is not a fashion blog, it’s a blog on networking, making connections, professionalism, social media and more. I’m sorry – for me it’s all about the shoes. I LOVE SHOES. I recently went on a four night trip and brought eight pairs of shoes. This is perfectly normal I might add. I am certainly not going to wear the same outfit in the evening that I did during the day so why would anyone assume that I would wear the same shoes?
So, what does my obsession with shoes have to do with anything RFN stands for? I will tell you.It’s all about being You. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about professionalism, networking, social gatherings or job interviews – be yourself. I talked a lot about being inside your comfort zone in my past blog posts. This can mean many things. I recently had dinner with a great group of people including Jim Knight of Hard Rock International. We talked about so many great topics that night, however one thing that Jim said really struck me. He said (and I’m paraphrasing so please forgive me Jim if I misquote you)…. “When employees can spend less time and energy worrying about covering their tattoos, or removing their piercings, or trying to simply fit in – then they can spend more time providing great customer service by just being themselves.” And it’s so true. In order to be yourself on the inside you need to feel like yourself on the outside.
I often think about those “makeover” shows. Sure the person looks amazing when they are done with the transformation. However are they really comfortable? And by comfortable I don’t mean sweat pants and t-shirts. I mean whatever defines your style. Have you ever noticed men at a wedding, business meeting or funeral and they are wearing a suit and tie? You can tell immediately which men are business men and that is their normal attire and which men dug the suit and tie out of the back of the closet for the occasion. The men who are used to being in a suit and tie would feel uncomfortable without one. That’s how I feel about high heels. I love shoes and I am most comfortable and confident in heels. Maybe this is because I’m only 5’2” – I don’t know. My point is, always give yourself the advantage by putting yourself inside your comfort zone as often as you can — and this includes your attire. If you are going to a meeting or event that you are nervous about from the start then whatever you do, DO NOT wear something that you don’t feel your best in. That is not the time to wear a shirt for the first time or try a new style or break in a new pair of shoes. If you must wear something new I highly suggest wearing it around your hotel room for a bit. Get a feel for the way it moves. Is there anything annoying you…a label…a button that is bulging… a hemline that is too short? I don’t know how many times I have worn something that probably looked OK to everyone else, but to me I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb.
When you are so focused on how you look or how others may think you look, you rob yourself of being able to relax, converse and show your true colors.For me, its all about the shoes. As I stated before, some men feel comfortable and confident in ties – I feel the same way about high heels. So to give myself that edge of staying inside my comfort zone, I wear heels as often as I can. If I’m going to a function that is formal then I certainly rock the stilettos. A business meeting would call for a nice pair of sensible heels that are either closed toe or peep toe. For a casual event, even if I wear jeans, I will wear heels. I have some great pairs of casual style heels for jeans and I also have some very casual boots with heels.
Let’s say heels are not your thing. Wear what is! If you always wear flats – You can find great dressy flats for formal events, business casual flats for dress slack or skirts to a business meeting and I have seen a ton of cute flats that would go great with casual jeans. The thing is to keep it fun, professional and comfortable.
By having such a vast collection of shoes I can always manage, no matter what the event, to find something that makes me feel like I’m presenting my very best self both inside and out.
If you found this blog helpful, I encourage you to sign up for our email list, send us a note, or comment on our Facebook page. Share with your tweeps on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google + by simply clicking the links at the top of this post. ALSO — If you have any comments or suggestions for future posts that you would be interested in hearing about please leave your comments below.
There is a pretty clear distinction in most people’s minds between introversion and extroversion. If someone asked you “are you an introvert or an extrovert” you would probably be able to reply without much hesitation. However, if someone asked you if you are “shy” or an “introvert” would you be able to reply as quickly and with certainty? Shy and introvert are two terms that people use interchangeably however they are quite different.
Join our mailing list to receive the latest updates and news from RFN!