Holiday Party Etiquette

Last year was the first time I went to an actual Christmas party put on by my employer since my Northeastern co-op days. Back in those days, I was young and excited about the open bar and about impressing my date. This time I was worried about if our son was doing ok at home with the sitter and when we should leave so we could get home at a decent hour.

So here are my tips for how to handle a holiday party at work, or offsite:

Booze: Let’s not call it booze while we’re at the party, but you get my drift.  Handle your alcohol with care.  Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it comes with no consequences.  Don’t go up to the bar too many times, especially as a new hire, but do use the time in line and at the bar wisely.  Strike up a conversation with a co-worker and get to know them better.

Conversations/Mingling: This goes hand in hand with the above statement.  Holiday parties and luncheons give employees an opportunity to shake off their work personas, to a degree, and allow for open dialogue about who they are, their interests outside of work as well as an opportunity to talk shop and converse about something work related

Get to know people: Have I beaten this topic to death?  Here is a cartoon to lighten the mood…

Seating arrangements: Typically seats aren’t pre determined but there are those instances where they are.  Whatever the situation take advantage to learn more about those around you regardless of whether they are people you work with daily or those that you simply pass in the hall way.

Attire: Read the scene and dress for the occasion, I’ll leave it at that.

For the ladies, here are some fun examples of what you can wear to your upcoming holiday party, or luncheon!

        

Let’s not leave out the gentlemen though…

        

Enjoy!

 

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Marketing to a New Industry

As I always say, at the end of the day…marketing is marketing.  And good marketers know how to adapt to customer needs and how to provide them with the right knowledge about their brand, in the way that the customer chooses to gain that knowledge.

So in reality, it’s all about adapting to new marketing techniques, new customer demands, new technologies, and new ways of thinking.  Hence why working in a new industry has not been daunting to me in my past, nor do I see it as a hindrance for my future. If I as a marketer need to be able to adapt to all of what I mentioned above then I better be able to adapt to new industries and figure out the best way to reach the customers in those industries.

I come in to any new role the same way.  Learn the ropes from self education as well as gaining knowledge from internal personnel that know the industry, the customers, and can give me an insight in to challenges and opportunities.  From there, I can get a better sense for how to go about my marketing initiatives, how, when, and where to execute them and what kinds of metrics to set.

So don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone, because I’d bet…you’d only become a better marketer for it!

P.S. I’m looking for some good, and free, online courses.  So far I’ve earmarked some time for additional education on email marketing and Google Analytics but I’d love your tips!

Nobody Cares if You are Busy

I took that line from an interviewer, and agree with it to a point.  Yes, busy to one person is not busy to another.  But unfortunately, with how “connected” and “on” we always are, we’re always busy because everyone can get a hold of you in a million different ways.  I suppose one would say that the way you separate yourself from the rest is to tune out the noise, which means you should probably become a master delegator of tasks in order to surpass all those do-ers and instead lead the pack.  I suppose also, that you should be good at prioritizing what is noise and what is a priority…but that can be very subjective.

As someone who I worked for once said, “I notice that you’re always planning and strategizing. It seems like a waste of time.” It would be one thing if all of it was useless planning and no good was coming out of it.  But when the opposite was true, I couldn’t not take offense to the statement.  Planning, meetings, thinking, all take time.  But apparently that’s not time that is viewed as useful, no matter how effective.

What are your thoughts on this?

Golf & Business

We can’t deny that a lot of business gets done and many relationships are cemented on the golf course.  But as someone who doesn’t golf what can I do to achieve the same success’?  And more importantly, what is the appeal of conducting business on the golf course?

Let’s go backwards and do some research.

What is the appeal of conducting business on the golf course?

  1. Time.  You have a heck of a lot of time to get to know one another during a round of golf & work on building a relationship.

From everything I’ve thought and read, that is the key to the appeal.  It’s not so much about being sleazy and closing a deal, or going into the game with that being the goal, but rather about building a relationship that will lead to a closed deal

What can I do to achieve the same success’ as those that golf?

  1. Make time.  Conversations and relationships can be built through honest conversations and making time for your key customers or accounts.  Dinner, ball game, or a walking meeting if they’re in the fitness business.

Do you agree with the above? How important do you think golf is to business?

As a total aside:

I wish this was an actual website and not just a dummy site…golfandbusiness.com

Washington University is actually offering a course on golf and business!

Legal Services Marketing

Something I haven’t looked at before is legal services marketing.  It might be a tough service to market but I’ve learned that there are a couple of areas that all law firms try to focus on, getting their name out there as well as getting their lawyers names out there.  You want to be in a conversation and have the other party say, “Oh, I know of your firm.”  But how do you get there other than through successful cases?

Well, not having played in this space before I took to the web and found the following tips:

  • “Without a plan a law firm’s or individual lawyer’s marketing and business development efforts are generally serendipity or haphazard at best. By preparing a road map that seeks the clients you prefer and a practice niche you enjoy, your personal and professional life will become much more satisfying.” LegalMarketingBlog.com
  • “The best source of new business is existing clients, either through new matters or referrals to new clients. ” LegalMarketingBlog.com
  • Here are also Legal Marketing Blog’s top 10 tips for successful marketing:
    • Visit your client
    • Entertain your client
    • Seek client feedback often
    • Offer to make a proposal
    • Communicate often
    • Talk it up with more speeches
    • Write articles of interest
    • Wake a reporter to lunch
    • Networking with super connectors
    • Be active in organizations
  • Join the LMA to be in the know on new marketing practices

And because at the end of the day marketing is marketing, here are my own quick tips:

  • Pay attention to SEO
  • Have a well functioning, and mobile responsive, website
  • Gather and write testimonials
  • Create thought leaders
  • Be present on the right social channels
  • Be consistent
  • Communicate with your customers

Here are some additional resources:

New Beginnings

“If you’re not scared to do something new, then you’re not trying hard enough.” That’s my loose re-quoting of Steven Colbert on starting in his new gig on the Late Show.

I happen to agree.  Being somewhat scared means that you are not only worried about starting in a new environment but also that you want to make sure you live up to expectations.  But, you have to make sure you don’t show these concerns, but rather exude the confidence you showed in your interview process.

Here are my 5 tips for your first month:

  • Come prepared to dive right in – Expectations might the set high so be ready to get down and dirt
  • Use your street smarts – Your gut feeling about someone or something may be the right feeling
  • Speak up – Depending on the role you were brought in for, your insight is probably needed so don’t sit and observe too long
  • Sit & Observe – To the point above, it is important to sit back and see how things function
  • Small wins – Get some quick wins in under your belt.  Clean up or create a process, fix something that is broken, make a creative contribution

Good luck!

Shadow Day

The concept of shadowing someone within a department before accepting a job.  Have you ever seen anyone do that?  I did at my last job.  A candidate who was offered a job asked to shadow someone in the department he would be working in before accepting the job. I have never seen that done, nor considered it, but I think it’s a genius thing to do. This way you get a really good feel for not only your job, but also the company and the lay of the land.

Would you ever consider doing something like this before accepting a job?

Readin’ Up

A little while ago I decided to take a night off from walking on the treadmill and reading my book club book and instead follow some sage advice and leaf through more business books. I decided to pull out four books that cover a variety of topics.

1. Leading Out Loud, Inspiring Change Through Authentic Communication

*Another similar book you may want to check out is: Leading Out Loud: A Guide for Engaging Others in Creating the Future

2. The First 90 Days

3. The Culture Code, An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do

4. Consumed-Rethinking Business in the Era of Mindful Spending

Below are some quotes from each book. I have numbered the quotes according to the number next to each book above. But I do encourage you to leaf through your own versions and learn a few things you may not have known in the past or had not thought about.

“Mindful consumption will flourish if consumers embrace it en masse. If enough of us change the way we buy, businesses will have no choice but to adapt. As the Internet has taught us, when tens of thousands of people band together to work toward a common end, it quickly gets the attention of corporations….The shift toward mindfulness maybe gradual. For most of us-including those who aspire toward mindful consumption-there is a wide gap between how we would like to consume and how we actually do consume…but consumer habits, however and grain, can be influenced by various means-a fact of which marketers are increasingly aware. “-4

The change that is now required for success in many institutions is no longer merely incremental, it is discontinuous, radical, frightening to those who participate. And fields as diverse as economics, medicine, biological and physical research, social and political structures,and certainly business, we are not simply being asked to do better than our predecessors, we are being asked to do different. Leaders are faced with inspiring followers to take the same kind of risk; to jump this chasm with them…experiencing conviction of what changes required calls for personal reflection-not merely reading good management books. An authentic vision for progress doesn’t just appear out of the ether, nor does it [come] from what others believe to be important. Your passion about what you want to change the gross from the foundation of values that have been formed by your life experience.”-1

“Communication that moves committed action includes both passion and reason. Both are necessary general trust infection from others, so that the mind is as fully engaged as the heart. Accordingly, writing is imperative to communicating authentically. Writing reveals fuzzy thinking, exposes slurred distinctions: it clarifies. That’s why it is so difficult. And it takes time, more time to write them to make a few notes…Any leadership message you construct will be the basis for most communication you have about your plan to change things for the better. Others can help, but finally, it is your own values, your own commitment to an issue that will determine the power of the message to you, and therefore to others. Whatever response you want from others must happen to you first.”-1

Method: structured interviews with the organization. Uses: identifying shared and divergent perceptions of opportunities and problems. You can interview people at the same level in different departments or bore down through multiple levels. Whichever dimension you choose, ask everybody the same questions and look for similarities and differences... Useful for: most useful for managers leading groups of people from different functional back rooms. Can be useful at lower levels if the unit is experiencing significant problems….Your learning priorities and strategies will inevitably shift… As you start to interact with your new boss, or to figure out where to get some early wins, or to build supportive coalitions, it will be critical for you to gain additional insights…What is your learning agenda, based on what you know now compose a list of questions to guide your early inquiry. If you have begun to form hypotheses about what is going on, what are they and how will you test them? How might you increase the efficiency of your learning process? What are some ways you might extract more actionable insights for your investment of time and energy?”-2

Poke around any of these books and you are sure to learn a few new things!

The First 90 Days, Cont.

I wrote a blog post before the end of the year about the importance of the first 90 days and how to try and sustain your momentum after you pass those first critical three months.  How do you keep standing out and making changes and not take on baggage that will just weigh you down?

Luckily, I found an article on LinkedIn.  Granted, it once again mainly focuses on the first 90 days, but if you haven’t done the suggested things in your first 90 days, then they can be implemented later on, right?!

My First 90 Days: How to Crush it at Your New Job

1. Remember names: this one is a hard one for me.  But I did hear, and have to agree, that when we don’t remember someone’s name it’s because we subconsciously weren’t listening or didn’t find it important to remember that name. So listen up, even repeat it if you need to.

2. Ask Questions. But ask the right questions.

3. Learn your company’s org structure.

4. Deliver a quick win.

Leadership Lessons from Jack Welch

I can take no credit for the below tips as they came from an article by Jack and Suzy Welch that I saw on LinkedIn titled, 10 Leadership Lessons You Don’t Want to Learn the Hard Way.  I’m sure it’s too late on some of these for some of us but let’s recap and learn something together.

1. You company’s values and your values must be compatible.

2. Differentiation breads meritocracy. Sameness breeds mediocrity.

3. In a performance culture, actions have to have consequences – positive or negative.

4. Creating an environment of candor and trust is a must.

5. Attracting, developing and retaining world-class talent is your never-ending job.

6. You must distinguish between coachable development needs in your people and fatal flaws.

7. Simple, consistent, focused communications travel faster and are understood better by the organization.

8. There is nothing more developmental and illuminating than dealing with adversity.

9. Over time, you have to develop a real generosity gene – and love to see each person on your team earn raises, get promotions and grow personally.

10. Continuous learning is critical for success – make it a priority.