Monday, January 21, 2013

What’s the Best Way to Make A First Impression? Learn How at PRONet’s event this month!

You always hear the classic line that “You have one shot to make a lasting impression.” It’s so true! There are many instances when you meet with a potential client, a future employer, or meet someone at a networking event, and their first impression is what sticks! When I started out in PR, many of my clients told me, “You are so good at what you do, but you come off as a very young person.” It hit me hard, but I took it to heart.

As we enter a new year, it’s important for all of us to be reminded about the importance of making that first impression. Next Tuesday, the PRONet committee is hosting an event called, “How to Make a Lasting Impression,” and it will feature three speakers who are experts in their field. Robin Fisher, CEO of Polished, the Image and Style Consultants (@PlishedImage); Denise Graveline (@dontgetcaught), communications consultant and speaker trainer; and Kate Perrin (@PRof_Solutions), CEO of PRofessional Solutions LLC; will discuss the etiquette in job searching, what you should and shouldn’t say during an interview, tips on enhancing your speaking skills, and perfect apparel for interviews and more.

Although this event is geared toward young professionals, anyone is invited to attend! Being in PR for more than 12 years, I’ve seen people who are seasoned professionals who need advice on how to polish their image and tips on face-to-face networking. Even if you aren’t in PR, you can still attend this event. It’s open to PRSA/WWPR members and non-members.

One of the things that many people forget about is their online personality. I’ve seen friends and acquaintances who have posted photos and tweets online that shouldn’t be posted, especially if you are looking for a job. Employers are researching your online personality before bringing someone in for an interview. So, be careful what you post because it is public information.

So, if you are looking for a new perspective on how to present yourself, sign-up for this event! Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

When will athletes learn to just tell the truth??

This week has been filled with lots of twists and turns, and as a sports fan, I’m trying to process everything. I’m still in shock! From Lance Armstrong finally admitting to doping in cycling to Manti Te'o making up the story about his dead girlfriend, the last three days has been filled with stories of how we can’t trust athletes. Not only have we seen cheating in sports, but the ethical behavior by these two athletes is extremely disconcerting.

As many of you have read and heard, Armstrong for 13 years has been denying that he ever doped. His teammates would come forward and Armstrong fought back saying they were vindictive, lying and he spread rumors about them. Armstrong knowingly spread lies, which is slander, and I hope he gets sued and loses all of his money. It’s one thing to cheat, but to ruin peoples’ lives because they were trying to be ethical and tell the truth is just plain wrong. I could have forgiven him at some point for doping, but I won’t forgive him for this.

There are some who say that he raised more than $400 million for cancer and because of this they will forgive him. Is this the right message we should send to our children and future athletes. Is it okay for you to cheat, lie and defame others if you raise millions for cancer or another cause, so you can be forgiven. I’m all about cancer research and finding a cure. I lost my mom almost 23 years ago to cancer, had family members with breast cancer, friends with lung cancer, and relatives fighting other forms of cancer.

I’m truly sad for those that work for Live Strong because they are fighting for something that sucks and doing some incredible work. But, it’s brand is damaged because of Armstrong’s selfish acts. Will the brand recover? I hope so because the organization is raising awareness about this horrible disease. Armstrong should walk away because that will be the only way it will recover.

Then, we have a great story with Manti Te'o losing his girlfriend and grandmother within the same year. But, today, we learned that the girlfriend was completely made up. Seriously? As a college football fan, I’m truly saddened that he had to make up this story. Losing your grandmother is a sad story and people would sympathize with you, but you had to add a made-up girlfriend?

Where are your ethics? You seriously should have thought about the consequences of lying to the public and to the children who looked up to you. You had a great season at Norte Dame, and now your season is forever tarnished. Now, parents, aunts and uncles have to explain that another sports figure didn’t tell the truth. You really need to think about the unintended consequences before committing any of these actions.

When will this unethical behavior end? We’ve seen it with Tiger, Kobe, A-Rod, Clemons, and Barry Bonds to name a few. We all know that cheating in some form happens all the time, but when you are confronted about it, you lie and try to cover it up. If you come out and tell the truth, people will forgive you after awhile.
But, how are we, as sports fans, supposed to explain to youth that you screwed up. These kids admire your ability as an athlete and aspire to become you. Then, you decide to throw it all away by cheating, lying and defaming others.

I’m baffled by athletes, politicians, and others who think that you will never get caught. But, we have seen this so many times when one’s past catches up with you. When will you learn? You may think that you are above the law, but you are not only hurting yourself, your career, and your fans, but you are making other athletes look bad and causing the entire sporting industry to lose its credibility.

It’s truly a sad week in sports. You should be spending time focusing on being the best athlete without cheating and protecting your sport and other athletes around you. Let’s hope one day athletes will learn that telling the truth, even if it hurts or damages your reputation, will help not only help your brand and sports career long term, but the sport itself.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Answering the good ole question--What are your weaknesses?

Chatting with one of my co-workers last week, we started talking about interview questions and our favorite ones. We both love asking the question “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” When I was at my last job, we interviewed a number of people, and I used to ask this question. I always wanted to hear what folks said.  A few tried to spin a weakness to a positive, which is something they always say to do, and some mentioned they were a perfectionist or their personality. I always believe that admitting your weaknesses is a sign of strength and reflection.

For me, I have a couple of them and they have changed over the years. I continually try to work on them all the time. One is taking on too much. At my last job as well as in my personal life, I used to do too much. I would over schedule myself and do more than others because I knew I could get it done and do it well. However, I wanted to push back, but it was so hard for me. Then, I started to push back; my old boss was okay with it and found someone else to do it. It felt great.  

In my current job, I’ve really tried hard not to take on too much, and it’s been great. In my personal life, I’ve stated to take more time for myself and it’s been lovely. Reading more, listening to music and just saying no to things has been rewarding.

Another weakness of mine is asking for help. I’ve been living on my own for six years now, and I’ve become independent in so many ways. My stubbornness has gotten the best of me sometimes, too. The last six months have been trying and given me time to be reflective. I’m the first person to say that things in life happen for a reason, but when it hits me personally, then I start to question why? There were times that I didn’t want to ask for help, but I had to and it made me realize that my family and friends are there for me no matter what. Subconsciously I knew it, but asking for help is a different story. I’m also that person who asks my friends if they need help or advice. The last six months have taught me that I need to follow my own advice.

As we enter 2013, we are all either making resolutions and breaking them or just not creating them at all. Two years ago, I made a commitment to read one book a month, and I did it. I loved reading and making time was hard, but it was truly rewarding. One of the books I read was “The Five Love Languages.” I learned that my top love language is quality time. I can definitely see that, so I try to spend time with my friends and family.

I read “The Happiness Project,” which was fantastic because Gretchen made 11 different resolutions. She concentrated on one each month, and at the end of the year, she combined all of them in the 12th month. Not sure if I can do 11 this year, but I’m going to make four. The key is to make them specific, manageable and realistic.

Privately, I’m going to set specific goals for each one, but I wanted to share with you the overall goals.

 a.) I’m going to make an effort to blog four to six times a month. Yes, I’ve been busy, but I need to create more time writing.

b.) Getting in Shape—Although this is a common one for folks, I’m truly committed to getting in shape and working out again. I haven’t been able to get to the gym lately, but I’m going to get back in that saddle again.

c.) Becoming more knowledgeable and religious—I’m not the most religious person in terms of praying, and I’m making that change this year. I have religious people all around me (dad, brothers, family members, and friends), and it’s time to take that jump. No one is pressuring me to do this, but the last few months have taught me the power of prayer and belief.

d.) Going Technology-free for 24 hours. I’m going to pick one day a month to go a full day without using any technology (TV, Computer, Cell phone, playing games on my iPad, etc.). Realistically, it’s going to be over the weekend. This will probably be the hardest one for me because I only have a cell phone to call people. I’m thinking more in terms of not playing Words with Friends or other apps on the phone or other forms of technology. This also means no Twitter or Facebook. Football seas will be the hardest because of football. Let’s see how this goes from now until September.

I’ve thought about adding more, but I know that I don’t want to push myself too much. Let me know if you want to join me with any of these four resolutions. Last year, I wanted to explore a new place each month, and that didn’t happen. Hoping that #4 will help me to do this!

So, what are your weaknesses, and how will you work on improving them this year?