Last day as IPP, last day in #PRSSA

Terms for the incoming National Committee for 2014-15 start June 1, so today is my last day as PRSSA Immediate Past President and my last day in PRSSA. It's truly bittersweet and it's still surprising it is all over! It's a very strange feeling so I had to write about it. I've been in PRSSA since 2009 and have changed so much and have so much to be grateful for thanks to this organization. It's not a club, it's a pre-professional organization! I've also had points taken off papers for always capitalizing Chapter without even thinking about it.

So many of my closest friends like Amy Bishop, Catherine Koonce, Tara Rosenbaum and Chris Piedmont I met through PRSSA and I have countless more friendships and connections through PRSSA as well. I know I have so much to thank PRSSA for, I really do.

I've already written about my experience on three National Committees, but I can't even describe what it's like to work with such talented people who just want to serve and give back. It's very rare to work with such people and I've been blessed.

Although it will be different to not be in PRSSA, I look forward to everything to come with PRSA and giving back there. I've already learned a lot by serving PRSA New York and serving the PRSA New Professionals Section; I know this will only grow.

I hope to still be involved in PRSSA in some ways in the future and will always be a resource as a past member, Chapter President and National President. This organization means a lot to me and it always will.

Thank you to all the people I had the chance to serve with and for all you did for me and the Society. It was truly an honor to get to know and serve with so many!

I know our PRSSA leaders now and in the future will continue to advance the profession and the future professional. Hope to see all of you in PRSA in the future or giving back in another way!

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Why I deleted my Klout account

We all talk trash about Klout all the time and I still honestly believe it is not a valid form of measurement. I've heard this repeated at almost every conference and have heard this sentiment from the top leaders in social media, PR and marketing. So I decided to do something about it.

I deleted my Klout account permanently because:

1. I refuse to be a number. What does that number even mean? Nothing. Real influence is based on what kind of audience you can move. Klout measures the wrong thing: It was and will not be a valid form of actual influence any time soon.

2. I talked trash about it, but still took free incentives. I did not feel good about this. I never valued it and only used it for free perks that were never that valuable for me. I don't need a bunch of free stuff. I wanted to be more ethical about saying one thing and actually following another.

3. I never actually used it. I think what they're trying to do with their scheduling platform and content is okay, but I was not about to actually use it either.

So it's all gone now (or at least it will be in their 48 hour account deletion process) and it's one less thing I have to "worry" about and claim.

My good friend, Ben Butler, also has the same sentiments and is deleting his account as well.

Where Klout misses the mark is its ability to measure the "real" quality of created content. It presents a shallow evaluation of the influence of individuals and brands and isn't something that anyone should be rating performance by. There are other more effective ways that take a more qualitative approach. 

Klout is very tricky about deleting your account and it's not where you think it would be. I didn't really appreciate that, but I also don't like the platform either.

If you find you don't want your Klout account and want to delete your account too, here's how to do so:

1. Go to Settings > Privacy

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 10.38.03 AM2. Go through the "opt out" messaging

3. Select that you still want to go through with deleting your account even after their messaging that tempts you to keep it

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 10.39.21 AM4. DELETE

5. Enjoy your number-free life without Klout

 

Tech + PR News: Things To Know This Week

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Stories to know this week:

1. The winner of the Progressions prompt was about other options for PR students outside of agencies and the winner Gemrick Curtom had an inspiring response

2. Brands are finding that influencer marketing strategies are more effective than huge PR stunts. 

3. Of course, some brands tried some RTM for Cinco de Mayo. 

4. How do you know a PR pro when you see one? Prezly listed eight distinct traits high achievers in PR tend to have. 

5. HP will be investing $1 billion in cloud computing products and services over the next two years. 

6. NBC bought the rights to broadcast the summer and winter Olympic Games through 2032. 

7. Imgur helped raise $60,000 for a terminally ill cancer patient's family members 

8. Fingerprint sensors similar to ones for iPhone 5S coming to iPad Air, iPad Mini and iPhone 6

9. LinkedIn is partnering with Evernote so you can take a picture of a business card using Evernote's mobile app and connect to the person on LinkedIn, a la CardMunch. You'll also be able to enter comments and geo-tag the location where the card was scanned.

10. MEMI debuted an iPhone-compatible smartbracelet aimed at women who tend to carry their mobile phones in their handbag. It discreetly vibrates when you receive incoming calls, texts and calendar events.

“We’re a generation of idiots, smart phones and dumb people.”

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 12.40.26 PMI've been sitting here in shock and reflection for about five minutes from this video by Gary Turk called Look Up. I've never wanted as many people to watch a video as I've wanted everyone I know to watch this one. We can all relate to this and we are ALL guilty of walking around, looking at our phones, sitting at home watching a screen and missing every day opportunities and sights.

"When you’re too busy looking down, you don’t see the chances you miss So look up from your phones, shut down those displays We have a finite existence, a set number of days Don’t waste your life getting caught in the net because when the end comes, nothing’s worse than regret"

Watch and listen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dLU6fk9QY

 

I never actually did that TIME study of how much time I've wasted on Facebook, because I don't want to know. I'm sure the number would be so scary to me. I literally waste so much time on social media every day, and what's it all for?

What is the time for that we spent staring at these screens every single day? Children think it's the norm to watch screens all day instead of playing outside and appreciating the world. It's so scary and sad.

Obviously I know I'm sitting here typing all this on my screen, but I think it's important to share this message as another wake up call for our society. Do we really have "friends" if we only connect with them online? We are missing valuable every day interaction.

The more we connect with our smartphones and gadgets, the more isolated we are making ourselves, making conversations and face-to-face interactions practically obsolete.

Put down the phone, walk away from the screen. You don't know the moments you're missing right now.

 

Full text:

Look Up

I have 422 friends yet I am lonely I speak to all of them everyday yet none of them really know me The problem I have sits in the space in-between Looking into their eyes or at a name on a screen

I took a step back and opened my eyes I looked round and realised This media we call social is anything but when we open our computers and it’s our doors we shut

All this technology we have it’s just an illusion Community, companionship, a sense of inclusion When you step away from this device of delusion You awaken to see a world of confusion

A world where we’re slaves to the technology we mastered Where information gets sold by some rich, greedy bastard A world of self-interest, self-image, self-promotion Where we all share our best bits but leave out the emotion

We’re at our most happy with an experience we share But is it the same if no one is there? Be there for your friends and they’ll be there too But no one will be if a group message will do

We edit and exaggerate, crave adulation We pretend not to notice the social isolation We put our words into order till our lives are glistening We don’t even know if anyone is listening

Being alone isn’t the problem let me just emphasise If you read a book, paint a picture, or do some exercise You’re being productive and present not reserved and reclused You’re being awake and attentive and putting your time to good use

So when you’re in public and you start to feel alone Put your hands behind your head, step away from the phone You don’t need to stare at your menu or at your contact list Just talk to one another, learn to co-exist

I can’t stand to hear the silence of a busy commuter train When no one wants to talk for the fear of looking insane We’re becoming unsocial, it no longer satisfies To engage with one another and look into someone’s eyes.

We’re surrounded by children who since they were born Have watched us living like robots and think it’s the norm It’s not very likely you’ll make world’s greatest Dad If you can’t entertain a child without using an iPad

When I was a child I’d never be home I’d be out with my friends, on our bikes we’d roam I’d wear holes in my trainers and graze up my knees Or build our own clubhouse high up in the trees

Now the park is so quiet it gives me a chill See no children outside and the swings hanging still There’s no skipping, no hopscotch, no church and no steeple We’re a generation of idiots, smart phones and dumb people

So look up from your phone, shut down the display Take in your surroundings, make the most of today Just one real connection is all it can take To show you the difference that being there can make

Be there in the moment as she gives you the look That you remember forever as when love overtook The time she first held your hand or first kissed your lips The time you first disagreed but still loved her to bits

The time you don’t have to tell hundreds of what you’ve just done Because you want to share this moment with just this one. The time you sell your computer so you can buy a ring For the girl of your dreams who is now the real thing

The time you want to start a family and the moment when You first hold your little girl and get to fall in love again The time she keeps you up at nights and all you want is rest And the time you wipe away the tears as your baby flees the nest

The time your baby girl returns with a boy for you to hold And the time he calls you Grandad and makes you feel real old The time you take in all you’ve made when you’re giving life attention And how you’re real glad you didn’t waste it by looking down at some invention

The time you hold your wife’s hand, sit down beside her bed. You tell her that you love her, lay a kiss upon her head. She then whispers to you quietly as her heart gives a final beat That she’s lucky she got stopped by that lost boy in the street

But none of these times ever happened. You never had any of this When you’re too busy looking down, you don’t see the chances you miss

So look up from your phones, shut down those displays We have a finite existence, a set number of days Don’t waste your life getting caught in the net because when the end comes, nothing’s worse than regret

I am guilty too of being part of this machine this digital world we are heard but not seen where we type as we talk and read as we chat where we spend hours together without making eye-contact

So don’t give in to a life where you follow the hype Give people your love, don’t give them your “like” Disconnect from the need to be heard and defined Go out into the world, leave distractions behind

Look up from your phone, shut down the display Stop watching this video, live life the real way.

Problems with Traditional Blogger Outreach: The Shift to Influencer Marketing

InfluencersThere are numerous problems with blogger outreach programs and reaching out to bloggers blindly to cover your brand or new campaign.

  1. Finding them on a blogger database often yields inaccurate data.
  2. You want free promotion, but bloggers need and want to get paid.
  3. The blogger you find may not match your brand voice.
  4. The bloggers you target may already cover a competitor.
  5. The bloggers you find and email may not drive a large audience.
  6. Your product or campaign may not fit with their audience.
  7. The response rate from blind blogger outreach is low.

The solution: Work with influencers who can move an audience. Influencers with a targeted audience CAN increase the amount of unique viewers for your content.

What is the definition of an influencer?

  • Anyone who can consistently move an audience of 1,000+ people to wherever they create content
  • Should have a following (Twitter/newsletter/Facebook/Instagram) of 5,000-50,000 people.

For targeted influencer marketing and working with influencers, you have to find and recruit an influencer with the right amount of followers that has the actual ability to move the audience to your brand’s blog or site.

What makes a person a good influencer?

  • An outstanding content creator in their medium with a deep, targeted expertise
  • Has a targeted audience that is willing to read/follow them wherever they create content
  • One that creates content that is primarily in service of the reader and not their own self-interest or agenda.
  • Employed in the industry you’re hoping to target, but may not be a professional blogger

What kinds of content do influencers create?

  • Blog posts, essays, editorials, how-tos
  • Infographics, quizzes, tutorials
  • Videos, curation

This part really depends on what the brand needs. The most important thing is to try to find influencers who have the audience that can create the content the brand’s audience desires with a voice that will fit with the brand.

What are next steps for me?

The next time someone brings up a blogger ambassador program or blogger outreach strategy, bring up the problems you are seeing with this approach and then talk about working with actual influencers who will move the right audience to your client.

Have questions about how to work with influencers or where to start? Contact info@movablemedia.com.


See my original post at Business2Community.

3 Helpful Workflow Tools I Discovered This Week [free apps]

I hate creating new accounts for more tools, but I love it when they're effective and useful. I do like to try new things and the three tools I discovered this week have already helped our team with workflow and project management: 1. Trello

To-do lists are very helpful, and it's even more helpful when it's a collaborative, virtual to-do list. Trello is a project management app that helps you "keep track of everything, from the big picture to the minute details." Free website and app to use.

  • Add team members to various boards
  • Can add pictures and comments to projects
  • Unlimited boards (can be private or shared)
  • Very visual
  • Keeps me organized

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 1.51.54 PM

2. Alfred

Yes I know Alfred may look like the evil Doris hat from the Meet the Robinsons movie. In reality, Alfred is a VERY helpful and resourceful "productivity application for Mac OS X, which aims to save you time in searching your local computer and the web." Download this FREE app from the website, not the App Store. 

  • Can find anything I'm looking for
  • Searches web automatically
  • Does calculations easily
  • Completes system commands
  • Basically anything you want

open_applications_files

3. Skitch

I take so many screenshots, it's not even funny. Skitch, by Evernote, enables me to make better screenshots so I can share them, mark it up with text and images and send it over to someone. It also saves your Skitches to Evernote, which I use daily, so I can find past ones easily.

  • Takes better screenshots
  • Easily annotate with images, text and shapes
  • Saves to Evernote
  • Download screenshots in multiple formats
  • Can capture entire windows
  • Crosshair feature for sizing
  • Share easily anywhere

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 2.03.31 PM

Tech + Digital + PR News: 10 Things To Know This Week

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Stories to know this week:

1. Apple released iOS 7.1.1 with a faster Touch ID response and other fixes.

2. BuzzFeed did a post on 21 social media hacks you should know across Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

3. I wrote a post for Heather Whaling's blog on how to transform online connections into real-world relationships. Especially important for us in PR and marketing!

4. Jay Baer's post on 4 ways to fix your Facebook problem had some good ideas and shared some honest commentary.

5. Kids attempted to operate Sony’s first Walkman. Many had never seen or heard of a cassette tape and took multiple attempts to make it work.

6. PR News' released 14 pieces of PR advice to read and heed from their Best PR Advice Book. My favorite: “If you come with a problem, come with two solutions.”

7. Eric Leist's presentation on Slideshare listed 40 free tools to help your marketing career, really found this valuable.

8. Netflix will increase monthly subscription prices by $1-2 in the next few months.

9. Interesting post from Shift Communications on how brands can leverage selfies across campaigns and promotions.

10. “PR Internships for All” campaign calls on the top 25 member agencies of the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) to hire and pay interns from diverse backgrounds. 

A Workplace Culture That Rewards Those Who Are Overworked Is Flawed

From PRSA's Issues and Trends email this morning, this post came in from Fast Company Why You Need to Stop Bragging About How Busy You Are. It's honestly my favorite post I've read in many months. The problem today:

"A work environment where logging in long hours and complaining about not having any time in the day is considered a status symbol and a sign of success."

o-BUSY-facebook

We're all busy. I volunteer for a few different organizations, work a full-time job and spend time at home with my family. It's a lot to do. We know we all have a lot to do.

The problem with the workplace, from my perspective, is when it becomes the norm for you to stay 2-3 hours extra a day. That should not be the norm and it should not be a measure of success.

I know there are always more things to do and sometimes there are client needs after hours, but it shouldn't be an everyday thing to where you're getting to work at 9 a.m. and staying until 7 p.m. or later. That's a problem.

From the article, Brigid Schulte's new book Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time, argues that a "workplace culture that rewards those who are overworked is flawed and she challenges managers, business owners and leaders to adopt a new attitude of work, one where performance rather than time, and a life outside of work rather than a life consisting of work is the norm."

According to Schulte, At Menlo Innovations staying late at the office is viewed as a sign of inefficiency and can result in dismissal. The company said, "if you cannot figure out how to do your job in 40 hours, we will fire you."

I know it may seem like extra initiative if you're putting in a lot of extra hours, but Schulte also says:

"...there’s such great evidence that working all of those hours really doesn’t get you where you want to go."

This is something that may have to start from the top down. I would always feel bad leaving first if everyone else was still working, but I also got to work an hour - 2 hours before everyone else. Changing this workplace culture of valuing busyness and hours starts with the boss and managers changing first.

“The culture is set by what the leadership does. If you work crazy hours, even if you [tell employees] to go home and be with their kids, no one will do that. They’re going to work how the boss works,” says Schulte.

I know this can vary per industry or based on what campaign is coming up, but it's still worth thinking about. Just a few suggestions:

  • Be more efficient with your time in your alloted 40-45 hours
  • Leave work at work
  • When you get home, don't complain about your day. Let it go.
  • Make an effort to not make this the norm when you start a new job
  • Talk to your boss or the hiring manager before you start about work hour expectations
  • Work smarter, not harder

Simple Formula for Your Résumé That Can Get You Hired Anywhere, via Google VP

10C3The New York Times just finished a two-part series on How to Get a Job at Google (part 1 and part 2). The posts covered ways to get hired at Google, the five hiring attributes they look for and advice for résumés and job hunting in general.

Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google (the guy in charge of hiring) had this to say about how you can write a good résumé:

“The key is to frame your strengths as: ‘I accomplished X, relative to Y, by doing Z.’ Most people would write a résumé like this: ‘Wrote editorials for The New York Times.’ Better would be to say: ‘Had 50 op-eds published compared to average of 6 by most op-ed writers as a result of providing deep insight into the following area for three years.’ Most people don’t put the right content on their résumés.”

Bock's best advice for job interviews:

“What you want to do is say: ‘Here’s the attribute I’m going to demonstrate; here’s the story demonstrating it; here’s how that story demonstrated that attribute.’ And here is how it can create value. Most people in an interview don’t make explicit their thought process behind how or why they did something and, even if they are able to come up with a compelling story, they are unable to explain their thought process.”

Tech + Digital + PR News: 10 Things To Know This Week

large-1 Stories to know this week:

1. Over the course of three months, Mazda posted images and videos on Instagram that plotted the course of a Mazda vehicle. Neat marketing on Instagram. 

2. PR agencies, like Weber Shandwick, have started using data tools to identify target audiences and study behavior.

3. Google debuted their modular phone concept at Project Ara Developer's Conference. Very exciting new phone that really innovates!

4. Joe Biden joined Instagram! His debut selfie with President Obama was just too precious.

5. Digiday spoke to HR execs from various agencies to gain insight into the hiring process — and to share some advice on how to get an agency job.

6. PR News found that 66% of PR professionals are not familiar with the Barcelona Principles, the standards and practices to guide the measurement and evaluation of public relations.

7. A small startup from Tel Aviv created a battery that can charge your phone from 0% to 100% in just 30 seconds.

8. 'Stuff PR parents say' - funny video from Hunter Public Relations from their bring your parents to work day!

9. Siri will be able to identify songs with the upcoming iOS 8 update.

10. Mullen Advertising created 'World's Toughest Job' video on YouTube on behalf of a client with a surprising ending! Would you apply for a job with unlimited work hours and no breaks?

Problems With Blogger Outreach + The Shift to Influencer Marketing

InfluencersThere are numerous problems with blogger outreach programs and reaching out to bloggers blindly to cover your brand or new campaign.

  1. Finding them on a blogger database often yields inaccurate data.
  2. You want free promotion, but bloggers need and want to get paid.
  3. The blogger you find may not match your brand voice.
  4. The bloggers you target may already cover a competitor.
  5. The bloggers you find and email may not drive a large audience.
  6. Your product or campaign may not fit with their audience.
  7. The response rate from blind blogger outreach is low.

The solution: Work with influencers who can move an audience. Influencers with a targeted audience CAN increase the amount of unique viewers for your content.

What is the definition of an influencer?

  • Anyone who can consistently move an audience of 1,000+ people to wherever they create content
  • Should have a following (Twitter/newsletter/Facebook/Instagram) of 5,000-50,000 people.

For targeted influencer marketing and working with influencers, you have to find and recruit an influencer with the right amount of followers that has the actual ability to move the audience to your brand’s blog or site.

What makes a person a good influencer?

  • An outstanding content creator in their medium with a deep, targeted expertise
  • Has a targeted audience that is willing to read/follow them wherever they create content
  • One that creates content that is primarily in service of the reader and not their own self-interest or agenda.
  • Employed in the industry you’re hoping to target, but may not be a professional blogger

What kinds of content do influencers create?

  • Blog posts, essays, editorials, how-tos
  • Infographics, quizzes, tutorials
  • Videos, curation

This part really depends on what the brand needs. The most important thing is to try to find influencers who have the audience that can create the content the brand’s audience desires with a voice that will fit with the brand.

What are next steps for me?

The next time someone brings up a blogger ambassador program or blogger outreach strategy, bring up the problems you are seeing with this approach and then talk about working with actual influencers who will move the right audience to your client.

Have questions about how to work with influencers or where to start? Contact info@movablemedia.com.

 

Celebrating Diversity: Highlights from "The Next America" report from Pew Research

There's no doubt America is changing. We're becoming majority non-white at the same time a record number of people are going gray. Pew Research's new book The Next America draws on research "to paint a data-rich portrait of the many ways our nation is changing and the challenges we face in the decades ahead."  As you'll see below, the older and younger generations tend to not think alike or vote alike, so how will America continue to modernize while sustaining its population and programs?

Some of the highlights from the report on how America is changing and what they mean:

1. By 2060, we will have almost as many Americans over age 85 as under age 5 (click to tweet). This is the result of longer life spans and lower birthrates. What does that mean?

+ sustainability of the earth’s resources - political and economic stress in the shorter term - small groups of working age adults will be hard-pressed to finance the retirements of larger groups of older ones.

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 3.07.17 PM

 

2. By 2060, the population of America will be only 43% white. In 1960, it was 85% white. We will be 13% black, 31% hispanic and 8% asian. What does that mean?

+ more multicultural families + a more diverse population + celebration of diversity, the new normal, in advertising and campaigns (see CokeCheerios and Honey Maid)

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 3.13.07 PM

 

3. Today, nearly 1/6 of newlyweds marry across racial or ethnic lines. What does that mean?

+ more diverse families + conversations around the fact that do our racial categories still make sense?

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 3.17.52 PM

 

4. Millennials today (aged 18-33) are the most racially and ethnically diverse generation America has ever seen (click to tweet). 4/10 are non-white!

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 3.19.23 PMOur generalizations:

  • Political and social liberal.
  • Social media wizards.
  • Highly educated.
  • Not very religious.
  • Slow to marry and have kids.
  • Saddled with college debt and lousy jobs.
  • Dogged optimists.
  • Believe their own best days are ahead – and so are America’s.

 

5. In the most recent elections, the young/old partisan voting gap has been the biggest since the voting age was lowered to 18 in 1972. We have a voting gap! I think it's a good thing.

  • 6/10 young voters supported Barack Obama in his re-election bid in 2012
  • 47% of 45 to 64 voters supported Obama
  • 44% of 65 and older supported Obama.
  • 6/10 white voters supported Republican candidate Mitt Romney
  • More than 9/10 black voters supported Obama.
  • Obama also captured more than 70% of the Asian-American and Hispanic vote

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 3.26.12 PM

 

6. Millenials represent a more liberal youth and are strong supporters of a more activist government. 68% of millennials favor same-sex marriage, compared with just 48% of Baby Boomers and just 38% of the Silent Generation. Almost 75% of millennials believe marijuana should be made legal. What does that mean?

+ shifts are being made toward equality + we will see a shift toward decriminalization of marijuana + politicians and local government leaders will begin to change stances - or + young voters HAVE to show up to vote to change things - or + there is a real generational gap on social issues Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 3.31.28 PM

7.  "The cost of programs for seniors will soon exceed half of the federal budget. This spending continues to crowd out budgeting for education, research and infrastructure – investments that would help build a better future for Millennials and their children."

  • 10,000 Baby Boomers will be going on Social Security and Medicare every single day between now and 2030.

So....

  • We are paying taxes to support a level of benefits for today's older people, something we don't have a realistic chance of receiving when we become old (at this rate).

 

In conclusion:

We have some issues and we have some things to talk about as a country. 50 million+ are living in multi-generational family households, their fortunes braided together.

"If Americans can bring to the public square the same genius for generational interdependence they bring to their family lives, the politics of these issues will become less toxic and the policy choices less forbidding."

We know America has changed and will continue to change, and next we have to make sure our policies, programs and attitudes reflect the same change so we all pave the way for a better America tomorrow.

*All stats and quotes from The Next America online report found here. Read the full report for more data.

Changing the workplace dress code

I hate getting dressed up. I never wear makeup. I'm terrible at doing my own hair. I'm not really a girly girl. You'll find me in yoga pants or basketball shorts and a sweatshirt at home. That being said, I've never seen the point in getting dressed up to go sit at a desk for most of the day. Dress pants, button up shirts and suits are so uncomfortable and who really wants to be dressed in that all day?

Following Arik Hanson's post PR Outfit of the Day: Agency Edition, it was good to see other casually dressed workers. After Arik posted it on his Facebook page, there were good comments from his colleagues and friends.

Adam Singer:

"Jeans & t-shirt or you are doing it wrong. Suits are so 80s, Slacks = trying too hard. Talent is what matters, clothes = irrelevant. Work in sweatpants for all I care, just do good work!"

Heather Whaling:

"My old agency used to require you to wear suits to all client meetings. That was a nightmare for me. Thankfully, they softened on that while I was there. When I first started Geben, being able to dress like myself was such a welcome change!"

 

I agree. It should be more about talent and the work you do than what you're wearing.

Granted, I work for a startup now and we're pretty casual. If I was going to a client meeting I would probably dress up a little more. Most of our clients and partners are more casual as well for meetings, so I may wear dark jeans, a shirt and a fashionable blazer or just a spring dress and a blazer.

It's a Thursday and this is what I wore to work (at least it's not a mirror shot):

IMG_2742IMG_2751

  • White tee
  • Print scarf
  • Jeans
  • Bright green flats

And it's comfortable. The more comfortable I am, the more I want to work. When I'm comfortable, I feel more myself and I'm definitely a happier person throughout the day.

Just a few things to keep in mind as spring and summer roll in and workplace dress codes are being revisited. I don't even know what business casual means anymore, but if you aren't sure what's appropriate it's always best to ask.

 

Dealing with the Southern Generalizations

iStock_000011372810XSmallOne of the first things people (usually) ask me when they meet me, "Where are you from?" As soon as I tell them North Carolina, they smile and say something along the lines of: I definitely knew you weren't from here because of that accent! I do have a strong southern accent (thanks Mom from Alabama), according to most people. I'm hoping it goes away one day!

There's really only one problem with having a southern accent: the generalizations that come along with it.

When people hear a southern accent, a few things might run through people's minds (according to people I've asked):

  • charming, friendly
  • sweet tea, fried chicken, biscuits
  • southern baptist or very religious
  • homophobic or anti-gay
  • republican
  • probably not very accepting of others
  • racist or scared of diversity

For example, one of my neighbors was having people over and she told me she didn't know if I would want to come. I asked her why and she said two of her gay friends were coming. I was shocked she would assume I had a problem with anyone gay. When we talked about it she revealed the sentiments above saying because I was southern, she thought I was anti-gay. Well you all know me by now, that couldn't be further from the truth.

I am thankful my views have opened conversations when people learn more about me. I'm happy to break down generalizations about being southern! Although I do try to be friendly and I LOVE sweet tea and biscuits, I'm not religious, I'm a democrat and I'm very accepting of everyone I meet (or at least I try to be). We're all different; there is no normal.

So, the next time you meet someone from the south, north, west... don't automatically assume they fit the regional stereotypes. Get to know the person before the assumptions begin.

 

Importance of Showing Appreciation

APPRECIATE  

Appreciation.

Noun. "The recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something."

We're all busy and we're all wrapped up in other things. It's always nice to take some time to appreciate a fellow teammate or co-worker. Even one call out can really make someone's day.

Ideas:

- Send out an actual letter to someone and it will guarantee make their day

- Leave a note at someone's desk that's encouraging

- Write a quick tweet for someone

- Take a minute to write on someone's Facebook wall or send them a message

- Send a quick text

- Make a five-minute phone call

All of these small touch points can do a lot to maintain a friendship and relationship. Remember to appreciate all the people in your life who do small things for you.

You also never know when someone needs an uplifting text or message! I always thought it was neat that the guys on our PRSSA National Committee took a few minutes to compliment each other each morning at events. It's a great way to start your day!

Sometimes women (unfortunately) tend to be better at tearing down than lifting up, and we need to do a better job. Instead of judging someone for something, offer your help or offer up a compliment or uplifting comment.

You will never be a worse person for taking a moment to recognize someone for the work they're doing and they help they're offering.

10 Minutes Without Your Phone = 1 Day of Clean Water [via UNICEF]

I came across this campaign this morning and it's something we can all do to give back. The UNICEF Tap Project:

For every 10 minutes you don’t touch your phone within our experience, sponsors and donors can fund one day of clean water for a child in need.

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 11.09.31 AM

Think about how much water you consume a day: shower, water fountain, coffee, water bottle, washing hands, etc.

The UNICEF Tap Project is a nationwide campaign that provides clean water and adequate sanitation to children around the world. You can go 10, 20, 30, 40 minutes without your phone to provide someone in need with clean water.

Take the challenge:

1. Visit uniceftapproject.org on your cellphone

2. Set your phone down

3. Step away from your device

4. Provide clean water

 

It's that simple! Please share this campaign and give back today.

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 11.19.09 AM

Addressing the professional vs. personal balance online

PersonalDo you ever feel like you're being too personal online? Ever feel like all you do is try to be professional with every social outlet? You have to find the balance. Recently at PRSSA National Assembly we heard the quote, "In a workplace interview, the hiring manager wants to make sure they can spend 8-10 hours a day with you and not hate you."

As I was interviewing, a common theme popped up toward the middle or end of the interview: the interviewer wanted to know more about me, my interests and my likes. Questions that popped up:

- What kind of music do you listen to?

- What do you like to do besides work?

- Do you work better in a quiet or loud environment?

- What are your ideal work hours?

- Are you open to going to get a drink after work with coworkers?

- What are some of your life plans outside of work?

- What's one thing outside of work you're really proud of?

- What makes you laugh and what funny sites do you like to visit? (I love dogshaming.com!)

 

All these questions in the interview were helping them learn more about me and how I would fit in their workplace culture.

Another thing you can do before the interview: show more personality online. I know my Twitter stream is filled with all kinds of scheduled content about the latest news in marketing and PR, but I've seen a lot of personality come out recently too. You don't have to have your professional game on 100% of the time!

Show love for your favorite sports team, talk about what you're doing this weekend, share a new favorite song you found, get involved with some political debate, start a conversation with your best friend, tweet about a show, etc. I have gladiator in a suit in my bio, so one interviewer asked me what I thought about the latest season! The point: show who you really are.

While I still don't think you should post pictures with the caption " SO DRUNK," I think it's more than okay to show a picture of you out at a bar with friends and it's okay to have some alcohol in your pictures. You can make the right decision here for you. Alcohol in a few photos isn't actually going to be a deal breaker (unless you have a drinking problem).

I have four tattoos and it's always great to see someone else with a tattoo because I can ask them about it and the story behind it. For me it's another mutual bonding point that starts a conversation.

So don't be afraid to show more personality in your interviews AND online. It really will help people get to know the real you.

Time for Digital Spring Cleaning!

Spring is finally here! The weather is finally warmer. As you start to clean up around the house and store away your winter items, take time to focus on your digital spring cleaning too.

To-Do List:

1. Clean up Twitter: what fresh value will you add this spring?

  • Organize followers into lists and update existing lists (this helps when you are following a lot of people and when you want to engage with certain people)
  • Unfollow people who are not adding value to your feed (manageflitter.com is a great tool)
  • Follow new people in areas you’ve found interesting lately or wanted to learn more about
  • Take a look at updating your bio AND your photo

Clean for Spring

2. Clearing up Facebook: who do you really know anymore?

  • Delete “friends” you don’t even know, don’t talk to, haven’t communicated with in over a year… etc.
  • Re-examine brands and pages you “like” on Facebook. Do you actually like them? Time to UNlike.
  • Clear out your inbox, delete old messages
  • Update your about section and check your privacy settings to see what you are sharing
  • Combine similar boards (all clothes into one, accessories and shoes into one, all cooking-related into one)

3. Reorganizing Pinterest: how can your boards be better arranged?

  • Delete boards you don’t actually pin to
  • Follow new people
  • Visit your "Explore Interests" section for pins tailored to you

4. Tackle your inbox: go through your inbox and ask yourself “what do I really need?”

  • Empty your trash and spam
  • Unsubscribe to things you delete every single day anyways
  • Go back and delete emails with large files, this will help your inbox run faster and you won't use up so much of your allotted GB
  • Organize your inbox into different folders and delete old folders you don’t use
  • Seriously though, take the time to go back through and delete a ton of emails

5. Revisit Google+: how can you use your profile?

  • Remember it’s tied to your Gmail anyways
  • How can you leverage Google+ to up SEO to your blog, Twitter or other site?
  • Update your info on Google+, add a new photo, change your cover

6. Examine your website: what new direction can you take your blog?

  • Examine your blog followers and what topics you have blogged about
  • Ask what else can you talk about or what new direction do you want to take your blog
  • Make plans to blog more
  • Update your blog/website info and add some new content

7. Clean your hardware: how can you safely clean your products?

  • Your laptop is filthy. Time to get some electronic-friendly wipes!
  • Clean up your laptop, desktop, iPad and iPhone.
  • Get new screen protectors
  • Buy yourself a new case

8. Clear your software: what digital items do you really need stored?

  • Look through your folders and start deleting items you don't need anymore
  • Clear out your downloads file
  • Download a software to help you clear out cached items
  • Delete your browsing history and cookies

 

Simplify.

#PRSSA: Leadership and Legacies

One of the first things Nick Lucido, the then Immediate Past President, told my first National Committee for 2011-2012 when I was the vice president of public relations was "this year will go by quickly and you only have one year to make a difference. That's all you get so you have to make the most of it." MemoriesThree years later and three National Committees later, it's been a crazy, fun, interesting, exciting ride. I didn't know I would have a chance to serve three National Committees and I'm extremely glad I did. Each of the Committees were extremely different from the one before and I got to work with many different leaders and personalities.

One of the things we talked about at this National Assembly in Charleston, SC (my last PRSSA event) was the impact we leave on people's lives. No matter if we meet someone for a minute or know someone for 10 years, we have a chance to make a real impact on someone. We literally touch lives in ways we may never know.

Whether you're a Chapter leader or a national leader in PRSSA, take every moment you can to make a difference and leave the Society better than it was before.

Part of leaving the Society better is having a good transition. Always make sure you have a few meetings with the person taking over after your time is over. It's important to talk to the new leader about what worked, what didn't work, what you wish would have happened and goals for the future. During the transition, it's a good time for the incoming leader to listen and ask questions. Make sure part of the legacy you leave is leaving a good transition so the success continues.

This applies to the real world as well. When you begin a new position, think about how much that transition means to you and how it develops you. As you rise through the ranks, always make sure you take time to help the new people transitioning as well. It's also very important to help others as you grow. Remember what it was like when you were a student or brand new professional and all the questions you had. Continue to take time to help others.

I still can't believe my time in PRSSA is almost over, but I believe I helped the Society grow and I hope I helped a few members grow as well. I hope a part of my legacy will be that I helped others and made a difference.

I can't wait to continue to make a difference and give back in PRSA and hope to help grow more leaders while I continue to grow and learn myself.

Thank you to everyone who made a difference in my five years with PRSSA! Too many to name, but I really do want to thank you all because you all made an impact on my life.

Thank You