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Tag Archives: Goals

Tips on how stand out as a professional

Bridget B. No Comments

Recently I had a conversation with some friends about the importance of networking. Now I am not referring to ‘social’ networking on Facebook and LinkedIn, but rather actual mingling with real people in a physical setting, exchanging business cards and such. Networking provides a great opportunity for us to form connections with others in our industry, form potential business partnerships or just get our name out there.

At this point I would like to make a disclaimer: I am horrible at networking. Something about walking up to complete strangers, and starting a random conversation, just does not happen naturally for me.  

Disclaimer aside, I do encourage you all to brush up on your networking skills, if you are not already good at it. The thing about networking though, it does not only take place at a fancy “Networking event”, it can happen ANYWHERE. Remember, it’s all about building relationships. It can happen in public transport, the grocery, the bank or whilst sitting at the hairdresser or barber. You can meet people everywhere!

Question is, do we start rambling on about ourselves or our businesses every time we meet a new person? You can, but that may come off a bit presumptuous. Here are a few tips on how you can make the most of those planned or unplanned networking opportunities and stand out as a professional.

1. Prepare your elevator speech

We’ve all heard about it (well at least I hope that we’ve all heard). They say (I really don’t know who “they” is) that you should have a prepared statement about yourself which you should be able to say in the time it takes to ride between floors in an elevator. How arbitrary right?

The point is that you need to be able to introduce yourself to someone, getting in all the salient points, in a very short time frame. You do not want to exhaust them with a long history about how you got into your line of work. This is what I came up with for myself:

Hello, I’m Bridget. I am currently a graduate student but I also offer independent services in Integrated Marketing Communication.

It’s not perfect, but it’s short, to the point and accurate. Your elevator speech is something that you can practice and tweak until you think you’ve got it right.

2. Get a business card and take it with you everywhere

If you meet someone whom you think will make a good connection, present them with your business card. How about giving it to them right after you deliver your elevator speech? Say something simple like “Let’s keep in touch” or “I’d like to chat with you some more”. Presenting someone with your card usually prompts them to also present you with theirs (once they have one).

Many people do not realize that it is quite simple to make your own business card. Before you go pulling out the arts and craft supplies, this is not a DIY project 🙂 . There are many online services that allow you to create a professional looking business card by simply entering your personal information onto a generalized template. Vistaprint is where I had mine done.

Make sure that your business card is representative of you or your business.

3. Dress the part

If you are self-employed or a small business owner, you are always on the job. Not literally, but you have to accept that you may meet a potential client or business partner in any setting. Therefore, it is important to always look your best. Of course “your best” is subjective, but the idea here is simply to present yourself in such a manner that will not detract from what you have to offer.

4. Watch what you say on social media

I don’t know about you, but when I meet someone that I am interested in connecting with I head to the Internet. Sometimes I start with a simple Google search and then I click on every open social media account that comes up. If you don’t do it, you better believe that someone has done it to you.

People always want to know more. They want to see what you say online, they want to see what kind of photos you post, they even want to see who else you are connected with. Make sure that your online behavior can’t come back to haunt you.

This is all I have for now, but as I continue to navigate the waters of my professional life, I’ll be sure to update this post with any other tips that I think may come in handy.

Share some of your own tips in the comments section below.

Toodles! 🙂

Plot your PR

Bridget B. No Comments

Photo courtesy: Spectrum

If you are anything like me, Saturday is the day you use to do all of your “running around”. Whether you’re going to the grocery store, getting your hair done (at the barber or hairdresser 🙂 ), doing errands or just some pleasure shopping. By the time you get into your car, I am sure you already have a plan in your head; do my hair, head to the grocery store (list in hand), pick up the package at John’s, then run into the mall for a pair of shoes. I am also certain that you’ve also plotted your driving route before coming out of the driveway. You don’t sit in the car, start driving and then try to figure out what you’re doing and where you’re going!

Sometimes we find ourselves stumped in front of the keyboards of our computers, trying to think of a witty Facebook status, LinkedIn post or tweet for Twitter. We may even have to scroll back in time to make sure that we’re not repeating any posts. In much the same way we plan out our Saturday movements, we also need a plan for our business’s PR.

You want to make sure that your Public Relations activities are in line with the overall business goals. There should always be a point to each activity. Based on the business goals, you can then formulate your PR plan. What do you hope to achieve? Who do you want to target? What actions do you want to drive? Having a plan will help you to answer these questions.

Your PR plan should contain these four (4) elements goals, objectives, strategies and tactics. Some people are probably thinking Terminology! EEEK! So let’s talk about these elements using layman terms.

  • Goals – What do you want? What’s your golden trophy? A goal can be aligned to your company’s vision. An example of a goal: ‘Be the most sought after provider of gel ink pens’ (I once sold gel ink pens as a teenager to my school friends). The thing about goals is that they are hard to measure; how can we determine that we are the most sought after provider of gel ink pens?
  • Objectives – To be able to measure success or determine if we’re any closer to achieving our goal, we identify objectives. A measurable objective would be to sell twice as many gel ink pens by the end of the 2nd quarter. 
  • Strategies – We’ve gotten to the “What”. What will help us to achieve these objectives and in turn meet our goal? If more people were aware that we sold gel ink pens at a reduced cost, that can lead to more sales. The strategy can therefore be to increase awareness about our brand and product.
  • Tactics – Now we get to the heavy lifting. How do we increase awareness about our brand? Maybe we start an advertising campaign; get some stellar artwork designed, print and put up posters around the neighborhood, take out a couple newspaper ads,  give out free samples of our gel ink pens to passersby, hand out flyers, hit social media.

In the end we will be able to determine the success of our PR campaign based on the objectives we set for ourself. We know that we need to sell twice as many pens. And there we have it…. measurement!

I came across this awesome guide for setting measurable PR objectives on the website for the Institute for Public Relations (they have GREAT content by the way). Although the document is a bit long (14 pages), and quite black and white, it is informative and I believe, very helpful for PR practitioners.

Click here to check it out.

Go forth and plot your PR!

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About Blog

I blog about communication and marketing strategies for small businesses, consultants and non-profits. I am specifically interested in how digital communication can be used to improve organizational reputation and growth of the business.

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