First of all, if you’re a subscriber, switch your feed to www.rachelmesterline.com. This is where new content will be posted from now on. (It will show up in an RSS feed, but does not show up on the site yet because I don’t have much content yet).
Second, please check out !gnite, mid-Michigan’s first social media conference. Here are some details:
!gnite, mid-Michigan’s first social media conference, will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22, at the H Hotel and Conference Center in Midland.
The event, co-hosted by Social Media Club Great Lakes Bay and The Midland Daily News, will teach professionals about the latest social media and Internet trends and provide strategies to help them reach audiences and build their social networks. You can enter for a chance win a free ticket if you go to the next networking event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 30 at Oscar’s Bar & Grill at 140 E. Main in Midland.
There will be sessions for professionals at all skill levels, from beginner through advanced. Session topics include:
Tickets cost $75 for professionals and $50 for students. Businesses may receive a discount for purchasing three tickets for their employees. Lunch is provided.
To purchase tickets, visit creatingconversation.eventbrite.com, or contact Dave Dauer at (989) 839-4221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn about other Social Media Club Great Lakes Bay events by visiting facebook.com/SMCGreatLakes.]]>
These two blog posts echo my own thoughts about work-life balance and blogging.
I typically work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Afterward, I try to catch a fitness class to keep myself in shape (and sane). My evenings are spent managing Vision Mid Michigan, planning events for Social Media Club – Great Lakes Bay and writing freelance articles for magazines. I also manage to fit in some freelance PR work sometimes. I’m also a 2012 bride-to-be. Blogging has obviously fallen to the wayside.
I love what I do, but there’s more to life than just work. Through managing all of these responsibilities, I’ve learned a few things to help me balance everything and avoid burnout.
1. Say no. It’s easier said than done. But, when something comes up that I know I can’t handle right now, I simply refer the project to someone else. This has actually helped me build great working relationships with other freelancers.
2. Think outside the job. Reading fiction on my Kindle has become a great way to refresh my mind. Sometimes I even read a few chapters while eating my lunch. I’ve downloaded several business books, but lately fiction wins every time.
3. Break a sweat. Working out after a busy day is one of my favorite ways to relieve stress. I personally love Pure Barre (disclaimer: I do some PR for the local studio…but I’d promote it even if I didn’t).
4. Go out with friends…And, don’t discuss work. I recently had a coworker and her husband over for dinner, beers and Wii mini-golf. I laughed so hard that night that my face hurt.
5. Disconnect. You really don’t need to be accessible at all times of the day, even though most of us feel like we should. This is sounds really simple, but I don’t think many people do it these days. Give it a try.
What do you do to balance your career with your personal life?]]>
Here are 10 ways to help you catch mistakes before they affect your career:
Small, simple details are the easiest to miss. And, they may affect your credibility more than one big, unexpected mistake. Detail-orientation is an acquired skill. By paying close attention to the work you do, the things your produce will be more thorough. The devil is in the details.]]>
Forget the resolutions. Set specific goals and outline the steps you need to take achieve them.
MindTools offers a SMART mnemonic device to help you set goals that is helpful when setting goals:
Goals that follow these guidelines are more precise. Measureability will help you know exactly when your goal is achieved. Time-bound will give you a deadline.
I also think that your goals need to be realistic. If you have a goal that may be a bit more difficult to achieve without prior planning, consider setting smaller goals that could lead to the bigger one.
For example, if you are a PR student interested in working at Edelman someday, set smaller goals that can help you achieve that one. Your smaller goals might include:
These smaller goals don’t seem like much. But, together they could help you achieve your larger goal.
I’ll be posting my goals soon, but I’m interested in knowing what your goals are for next year.
What do you plan to #AchieveIn2011?
**Image by iDream_in_Infrared]]>
Distractions are imminent. As soon as I log onto Facebook to do research, I come across a slew of updates from friends and family. My Twitter feed is non-stop.
I manage to avoid some distraction by:
So, how do you manage social media distractions at work? And, do you think it’s appropriate to read/tweet about things not related to your job during the day?]]>
Working at an agency can be hectic. Inevitably, you will have tight deadlines.
Despite the pressures to get the job done quickly, it’s important to do it right the first time too.
Here are my top 10 tips for meeting impossible deadlines:
1. Get the right input. Whether you get the assignment directly from the client or from a co-worker, be sure to get all the details. Often, the person giving you the information will be in a hurry and may miss some important points – such as the angle of the news release, the focus of the direct mail piece or the audience of the marketing e-mail.
2. Compare to previous, already approved pieces. Since I’m still fairly new to B2B, there are many terms I don’t understand or “rules” that I don’t know. Check out items that have already been sent to the client to proofread for small details – such as whether a product name is italicized or if all web addresses are in bold.
3. Revise, cut, proofread and repeat. You’re delusional if you think everything is perfect on the first draft. It never is…
4. Under promise and over deliver. Don’t agree to meet a deadline that you don’t think you’ll be able to meet, especially if that means the work might not be of the best quality. Rushed projects often result in errors that would have otherwise been caught.
5. Have an outsider take a look. Sometimes we know too much about a project and that affects our judgement. I often ask our secretary or a friend to take a look at what I’ve written. They can point out holes in the writing or design of a piece because their point of view isn’t clouded by knowledge of the client or project.
6. Save your previous drafts. Save changes in a new document. Sometimes people will say, “I think I liked it how you had it in the second version.” It works best if you save by numbering your drafts in the file name so you can refer to previous versions if needed.
7. Work efficiently. Turn of the distractions (Facebook, cell phones, etc.) and flip your productivity switch – whether that means playing soft jazz or working from home (if your office allows it). I recently spent a morning working from home so I could rehearse a presentation without interruption. I was more productive than I’d been all week.
8. Don’t give in to “writer’s block.” The beauty of technology is that we have “Backspace.” Don’t waste your time waiting for inspiration. Just start writing. You can always click “Delete” if the words don’t come out correctly.
9. Problem-solve with others. Sometimes I go to Lindsay Allen, frustrated that I can’t find the perfect word or annoyed that copy isn’t flowing. We go back and forth with suggestions until we settle on a solution.
10. Delegate. If you know you won’t be able to do something, pass it on to someone else as soon as you can. Don’t hold onto the project, hoping that time will magically slow down. It won’t. If you pass it on early enough, the other person will be able to make the most of their time to get the job done right (now).
What tips would you offer to accurately and efficiently complete a task on a tight deadline?]]>
But, over the past year, I’ve also learned that there’s a lot I can offer. As members of Gen Y, we bring many great things to the workplace.
Intuitive web skills. Once a coworker asked me how I figured something out on a website. Honestly, I’m not sure. It’s intuitive. We grew up using the web, therefore we have the advantage of being able to dig up information and figure out how web tools work – quickly, efficiently and with little instruction.
Social media understanding. I joined Facebook before I left for college, started my first professional blog in February 2008 and have been tweeting since September 2008. I don’t even want to know how many hours I’ve spent using social media. But, the time you have spent using social media has given you knowledge you are expected to have as a member of Gen Y.
Fresh perspective. I refer to it as “shaking things up.” As a new hire, you have the opportunity to question the traditional ways. I recently created a presentation for a conference I spoke at. Instead of following our branded template, I used fun pictures from Flickr and included very little copy on the slides. Don’t be afraid challenge the traditions and suggest new, different ways to do things in your job.
Peer understanding. If a client’s audience is in their 20’s, you’ll be able to offer valuable insight on the account. For example, we were recently brainstorming giveaways for college students for a project. I immediately nixed several ideas based on personal experience. Free t-shirts are never the right size, cheap canvas bags get tossed and ink pens are pretty generic (though useful). I thought students would like shot glasses, but that might promote the wrong idea…
What do you think we bring to the table as members of Gen Y?]]>
I really want to thank Kristen Pelkki (who, did I mention, is a young PR pro seeking a job?) and Ryan Battishill (who designs everything for us) for helping me get this chapter off the ground.
Additionally, thank you to Dave Murray and the rest of iDetroit (including Brandon Chesnutt). Dave encouraged me to start this chapter after we met at Future Midwest, and later at (PR)Evolution.
I’m sure after the event, I’ll have a blog post with tips for other people looking to start a local chapter.
If you have started a chapter, or currently are in one, what would your tips be for me and others starting one?]]>
What would you suggest to a young professional creating a PowerPoint presentation? As a young professional, what kind of trip-ups have you experienced with presentations and how would you prevent them?]]>
Lying on LinkedIn is a bad idea. If you elaborate on your resume and cover letter, only the employers you apply with will see it (still, it’s a bad idea). But, LinkedIn is open to not only employers, but also previous coworkers.
Someone once tried to tell me that your resume experience is all about how you spin it. You should make the best of each and every experience, even if it does not relate to PR. But, you should not blatantly lie.
As a young professional, how do you make your experiences look great? Should you list projects, such as events, that you did not contribute much to (or had just a minor involvement)?
As an employer, how do you combat inaccurate claims?]]>