Monthly Archives: April 2011

Happy Easter/Passover & Other Brain Droppings

On Tuesday, May 3rd I will be presenting “Brand New YOU: Sell Yourself for Career Success” to alumni at William Paterson University. Why? In today’s transformational job market, you MUST know how to package (and SELL) YOURSELF for career and professional success.

Tuesday, May 10th I am presenting an entirely new program on “Critical Thinking for Career Success” to the staff at NY Hospital Queens. According to noted English philosopher Bertrand Russell: “Many people would die sooner than think; in fact, they do.”

I prefer to think of critical thinking like Albert Einstein who famously stated: “Problems cannot be solved by thinking within the framework in which they were created.”

On Wednesday, May 11th I begin teaching a course on Brand Identity at Baruch College Continuing and Professional Studies. Speaking of which, I was in New York City going to Baruch and I walked by the following:

Is it me, or are the rats in NYC getting bigger and bigger?

I’ve been having A LOT of conversations with business owners and entrepreneurs about whether people should spend their invaluable time trying to build a brand ONLINE. The most common argument for NOT investing the effort goes something like: “Well, how much business are YOU getting from all your efforts.”

As someone who spent most of his career in various marketing roles, I understand the point completely about seeing a tangible return on your TIME investment. However, it’s a bit like the CHICKEN & EGG argument, or a classic CATCH-22. you have to build a brand presence online to compliment your in-person brand, and then results i.e. new client acquisition will follow.

I suggest you begin by building your Linked In profile then leveraging the Groups and Discussion function. Build a Twitter presence, develop a blog, use Facebook for your business and career pursuits, and integrate them with each other for your online brand as well as tying them into your offline personal branding efforts. As a job seeker or business owner the first question you always should be asking is: “HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT ME?”

Have a GREAT Easter weekend.

Are You Ready to be RIF'd?

Today’s blog was inspired by conversations I had with three people this week who were all blind-sided when their employment was terminated.

For those keeping score at home, the latest acronym for heartless employee terminations is RIF, short for (yet another) “reduction in force.”

The following is a list of tell-tale signs that you should be concerned about your short term employment safety. CAVEAT: there is no such thing as job security.

– How “NECESSARY” are you?
– Could a college graduate perform (a large portion of) your work?
– Can parts of your job be delegated to others?
– How aggressively/successfully have you promoted yourself across your organization?
– Are you working with any of the “Rising Stars” in your company? Are you one of them?
– How is your relationship with your boss?
– How is your bosses reputation? Her relationship with her boss?
– How expansive is your professional network?
– Are you active in your industry associations?
– what are you doing to be recognized as a subject matter expert in your chosen field?
– Have you been published?
– Have you served on panel discussions? Have you spoken at industry events?
– Is your work day monopolized by “busy” work?
– Do you CONSTANTLY update your skills?
– How connected/plugged into the office rumor mill are you?
– Is your employer changing their business model?
– Do you frequently offer to help on cross-functional teams or take on additional roles and responsibilities?
– Has your Team / Department budget been frozen (again?)
– Has there been a recent round of layoffs?
– How was your last performance review?

Even if your job is safe, the best time to explore other opportunities is when you ARE employed. It doesn’t mean you should plan on leaving your job TODAY. However, it never hurts to know what your “VALUE” is.

The average American worker changes jobs 8-9 times throughout their career. You should ALWAYS be developing a core set of transferable skills for your personal career contingency plan.

What do you think?

If All The World's A Stage DON'T Get Kicked Off

I attended a presentation earlier this week that happened to be so bad, it made me walk out well before the speaker was finished. Even though he was talking on a topic I have spent most of my career doing, I assumed there would be a few nuggets of useful information. Turns out you should NEVER assume…I and many others in attendance were extremely disappointed.

The speaker started a half hour late and spent the allotted time providing a bare minimum of remotely useful information. Further, he made a few bragging claims about how successful he was. I wanted to scream: “Gee, that is great for you! Why are you here again?”

I found out later that I was not alone in my early exodus. Approximately half of the people in attendance followed me to the exit doors.

Normally, I would let this sort of thing slide by EXCEPT…I am noticing that more and more presentations that I attend are about as exciting as watching paint dry!

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. You see, I make my living as a professional presenter. I’ve spoken to hundreds of High School students, military personnel, inmates (yes, convicts!) mid-career changers, senior executives…even SALESPEOPLE. While I may not be trained in the performing arts and as such most definitely no great Thespian, I DO know how to keep an audience focused, in touch with me and interested in what I have to say.

So I find this trend of awful presenting to be quite alarming. It is NOT enough to be a subject matter expert or well versed on the topic you present on. You have to be engaging. You have to provide PRACTICAL advice customized to your audience so they can take away your advice and recommendations and implement them that same day to use in their job, at work, on their business, with their patients..etc. A great tip is practice voice modality. Your tone should not be reminiscent of watching dust accumulate on venetian blinds. If you do a lot of public speaking, why not take a public speaking course. Better yet, enroll in an acting class.

If you are developing a program start out by asking: “what am I going to convey?” Why should someone leave their job and devote their precious time to come hear you speak? What new knowledge are you going to provide? What can they learn from you that they can’t learn anywhere else? It may sound simple, but the garbage being passed off as expert commentary is alarming.

It is a disgusting trend where presenters divulge the BARE MINIMUM of “FREE” information as a loss leader. There is NO transparency. It is crystal clear that their intent is ONLY to hook attendees into paying for their consulting service.

In my opinion, there is going to be a huge backlash if this trend continues.If all the world is a stage, many of these imposters are going to get the proverbial hook.

What do you think?