Not Able To Attend A Conference

Every year there are countless conferences I want to attend and every year I have to pass up on almost all of them. It is disappointing but I find ways to follow along. If you find yourself in a similar situation to me, what might you do to still gain insight about the conference?

 

LinkedIn – Check LinkedIn events and see who is attending and begin to network with them. Some individuals you may know and others maybe not. But connecting in advance could lead to sharing of information and feedback on the conference and topics and maybe even the sharing of notes about valuable take aways.

Twitter – Find out the particular hashtag of the conference and follow along with what is being shared and follow along. See what is being shared and even participate in the conversation from your home or office. Good tools to follow a particular hashtag include:

Ustream – Some conferences, like the 140conf will use Ustream to play live video of the sessions so that everyone may see what is happening. You are able to listen to the sessions, just miss out on the in-person networking.

Facebook – Some conferences will create a Facebook Page for people to join and get upcoming information about a conference or seminar. What is also valuable about these Pages is that the conference hosts may also upload pieces of the conference after the fact in video form or transcripts or with reviews.

YouTube – Many conferences or conference attendees will take video and upload the content to YouTube to share with the masses. This is an excellent way to get information but also hear others opinions on topics that were discussed.

Blogs – Use Google and do a search for blogs from the conference name and see what others wrote about their experience. These posts may appear after the conference but they will be helpful in accumulating additional knowledge about events.

 
While all of these are good tools to use, it is helpful to follow a variety of channels to maximize the impact and knowledge of what is being discussed. Conversations even continue online after events or into the evenings. Knowing that we are all busy and following along all day is not realistic; pick and choose what makes sense for you. And chances are, you will network and meet new people along the way even though you are not there in person.

The 2011 Retention eBook

What??? Ben Eubanks let me contribute to yet another eBook?

Another amazing list of contributors (how I made the cut is beyond me). In all seriousness, Ben has great vision and passion for so many topics that this is just another incredible resource he as published. Hope you find this to be a useful tool to spark your thoughts and discussions within your own organization.

Below is an overview Ben prepared to provide an overview of this project:

As the economy turns around, up to 84% of employees across the US have said they are looking at the possibility of changing jobs.

That’s a lot of people.

We all know the numbers on employee turnover and the impact it has on the bottom line. So what’s our alternative? Retention. Keep the good people around (not by force, hopefully) and keep them on our team.

That’s where the free eBook titled “Where do you think you’re going? A guide to employee retention” comes in. It’s full of strategies and ideas for how to retain your best employees in turbulent economic times.

Special thanks to Shauna Moerke for helping me to promote the guide through the HR Carnival channel. I also want to thank the contributors for offering up some great, useful content: Tim Sackett, Heather Vogel, Benjamin McCall, Chris Ferdinandi, Paul Hebert, Laura Schroeder, Dave Ryan, Keith McIlvaine, Robin Schooling, and Stuart at 1.00 FTE. You can find links to each of these contributors’ websites within the guide.

As you would expect, a great introduction from Ben. Now, please click HERE to download the free eBook.

Me 2.0 – my review and thoughts

While on vacation I took the opportunity to read Dan Schwabel’s book, Me 2.0 and it left me with a really positive feeling and outlook.  Dan provides the reader with some great insight into personal branding through social media and social networking.

Although this book is geared towards Dan’s expertise of Generation-Y, or Millennials, other generations (like me a Generation-X guy) can pick some good insight out as well.

Below are a couple to areas I really enjoyed in the book, I am only highlighting a few as I don’t want this to be an essay!

Excellent points:

  • Social networking – excellent overview to numerous sites, why it is important to manage your brand and how best to effectively manage.
  • Security – great points on internet security and how to try to reduce your risk of being affected.
  • Social media – setting up your own web site, blogs, how to interact with others effectively to further push your message and brand into the market.
  • Passion – be passionate about you because that is really what it is all about!

Points I tend to disagree with (from an HR perspective):

  • Cover letter – most recruiters today tend to bypass the cover letter and head straight to the meat of the resume.  If you are contacting a recruiter directly via email then use the email body as your cover letter.  Also, highlight why the company will benefit from hiring you.
  • Résumé – Dan recommends including a lot on your resume and I have the opposite approach and recommendation.  Sure, your resume is the tool to get in the door but don’t oversell so that there isn’t much to add in a resume.  A resume is a sales tool to get in the door to sell your brand.

I firmly believe this is a great read and an excellent resource for anyone of any generation considering their personal brand.  Again, this book is geared towards Gen-Y / Millennials but anyone should be able to pick and choose the ideas that work best for their own personal goals.  The value of this book for anyone wanting to consider their personal brand is priceless and, yes, some information maybe review but there are plenty of new ideas to consider.

Worse case scenario, this is a topic that will stay in your mind in a very competitive world (regardless of your industry) and you will continue to refresh your mind and maybe even encounter some new ideas along the way.

Be Positive in Social Networking

It is so much easier to be happy and positive than it is to be glum and down.  Seriously, it takes more muscles to make a frown as opposed to a smile.

What I have noticed on social networking, especially on Twitter, is that I enjoy following and engaging with positive people over someone who is negative.  I want to stop following and block that negative person so fast but I still give them another chance to redeem themselves… this is my being positive and maybe I can help them (wishful thinking).

If you are now disillusioned with your industry, profession or peers then this is not the place for you (or me) to listen to your negativity towards every generality you can think of to expose your soured soul on the rest of us.

I asked a 30-year HR professional why he is so negative and, amongst other information, he gave me a quote from General Patton basically stating that tough and direct communication is better than any other approach.  While this may work in the military, this does not work in business.  (THIS IS MEANT WITH THE ABSOLUTE RESPECT FOR THE MILITARY AND I LOVE WHAT YOU DO FOR ALL OF US EACH AND EVERY DAY !!!)  In the military, you are trained to listen to your superior to execute a plan and to successfully achieve and live to the result.  In business, you need to question others.  If you go with what has worked for 30 years then way too many people will pass you by as you stay rigid in your ways.  The world and business has changed extensively so get off your high horse of “I am holier than thou” or “know-it-all” mentality and accept that things are better… like it or not.

I have connected with so many positive people on Twitter that it is completely contagious and impossible to not be inspired throughout the day.  This is almost better than coffee (I’m still mentally debating this comment).

There are too many people to individually acknowledge for daily injecting positive, inspiring, thought provoking, inspirational, interesting and educated micro-blogs to me and the rest of the community who choose to follow them.

I learn every single day and thank each of you for your positive influences.

Some simple rules/guidelines for me to follow and interact with everyone:

  • Watch your language – is swearing really necessary and it may be more negatively received by your followers
  • Be positive – you will reap rewards more from a positive influence rather than showering negativity down on everyone
  • Follow @unmarketing advise – take 5 minutes to engage, re-tweet, reply and interact with others without doing anything self serving
  • Don’t inundate me with your product/solution – work it throughout the day but don’t make it every single post
  • Let people know if they impact you – a simple thank you or reply to a great post will get someone to smile and make their day… pay it forward

Keep it positive and let’s grow this puppy into something that others can only be jealous of… but remember to welcome them to the party as well.

Twitter Growth and Inspiration

Lots of great ideas floating around Twitter these days.  JobAngels (#jobangels or @jobangels) was one of the first great HR ideas I saw.  The whole premise is to have everyone help one person get a job.  Fantastic.  Straight forward and an awesome goal.  If you are/were unemployed, wouldn’t you want this?!

Hash-tags always have been a great way to follow a topic.  When people travel, they create a hash tag.  When people want to discuss a movie or TV show (such as Lost at #lost), anyone can follow along and join in.

Now, for the HR community, The Red Recruiter started #followHR for everyone to have the chance to connect with others and grow the Twitter HR community (check out the explanation here http://theredrecruiter.com/our-blog/bid/16746/FollowHR-Explained).

Let’s all jump in, connect, help each other and interact.  After all, isn’t that what social networking is all about.

Better yet, let’s all continue to work to uncover ways to make these experiences better each day and how you may add value and positively impact others in the process.

HR in the office… professional advice

Need some HR help in your office to spice things up a bit?  Check this out and keep it professional!

 

Power of Relationships

As with anything in life, the relationship begins with first contact.  It is important to be professional in every step of business but especially in HR.  HR is most always that constant contact for every perspective employee to help guide them through an interview process and help to on-board properly.

 

Sometimes I have seen managers not have the same outlook.  Yes, everyone is busy as well they should be but that does not excuse you from being unresponsive.

 

Put yourself in the candidates shoes for a moment.  If a manager is unable to make time to meet with you, what will change when you are working under them?  Will they suddenly have time for you?  Will they completely change how they work?

 

Unfortunately the answer is no.  Hiring a new employee does take time but if you vest your time correctly then it is an easy process to engage.  Don’t rely on HR to magically make things happen if you are not around.  Candidates want to be woo’ed in some fashion.  Are you friendly, engaging and easy to speak with?  Are you providing a good team atmosphere?  Have you set reasonable or stretch expectations?  Did you allow adequate time for questions?  Are you being honest?

 

All are critical to candidates to feel wanted.  They want to know what to expect and what they will be responsible for on the team.

Make the time to make it happen professionally!

Employee Responsibility

What is the responsibility of an employee when branding their employer?  Obviously there is a need for every employee to brand their company especially if you are in a client facing which includes HR.  HR is always the face of the company when recruiting new employees, bottom line.  Just as important for your sales team to provide a strong company brand, it is equally important for each and every employee to have the same goal and objective.

Personal branding is the new buzz and everyone need to incorporate how to include this as part of their activities.  A consistent message, either for you personally or for your company is very important.

Send that message.  Make yourself seen.  Make your company seen.  Let it grow and stay in control.  Be responsive.  Be engaging.  Make it happen.

Forrest Gump HR

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get”

 

A profound quote from the movie Forrest Gump from Forrest’s mom which Forrest then lives his life by.

 

In today’s economic uncertainty and volatility, this quote continues to ring in my ears.  Companies lying off workers by the thousands.  Unemployment reaching an insane volume.  Household companies shutting their doors.  If you read the headlines, follow a blog or surf the web – none of this is news to you.

 

I have really tried to reflect on this time, what it means for my family and what does it mean for me professionally.  Should I expand my experience?  Should I go back to school or pursue other certifications?  Should I look to supplement my income?  What to do?

 

Family is first so I go from here…

 

Life will throw anything and everything at you.  How you handle these moments defines you and provides opportunities to grow.  Something I learned is that when something bad happens, take time (maximum of 1 day) and yell, scream, cry, whatever.  But only deal with it for one day.  Beginning the next day, be positive, grow and deal with this obstacle.

 

Did you loose your job?  Take that day and have a fit but tomorrow, begins your full time job of finding a new job.  The more you dwell on something you cannot control, the more out of control other factors in your live becomes.

 

Are there exceptions, always!  Gray is truly the way of the world but always work towards the positive.

 

Change is constant.  Once you accept this, you can eat more chocolate.