Monday, December 30, 2013

How to Find Your Voice

At the approach of every new year, we look at our lives with special scrutiny to identify the things we think we must change in order to improve our lot in some way. We resolve to lose weight, learn a foreign language, or take up exercise as a way to prove our merit and grit. This year I resolve to honor my standards and stay true to my voice.

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I was asked to speak on the subject of, "Finding Your Voice" and it has been the most difficult, but pleasurable, presentation to prepare for as I realized about halfway through preparations for it that I wasn't honoring my own voice during its creation. I stopped everything - threw on the brakes - and approached my talk differently, more authentically, as I reminded myself to practice what I preach...which is more difficult sometimes than I care to admit.

How does one find his or her voice? Once found, does it change? How does one stay committed to honoring one's voice?

When I thought about times in my journey when I'd truly been *in* my voice, I realized they were represented by the most powerful, life-propelling moments...from the time when I bombed on stage in kindergarten (they cued the wrong music!) to the time when I really made my voice heard and changed the direction of a meeting (when student members were changing an association from the ground up), my life is made up of times when I've either honored my values or not. 

For me, poetry and music are a gateway into truth. My gut responds to poetry in a way that insists I come clean with my intentions and progress. I lose my voice when I venture too far away from the raw language of poetry. Result? When I need to get stronger, a good book of poetry is better for me than the latest issue of Harvard Business Review.

What keeps you honest with yourself? How do you find your voice when you've taken a wrong turn? When did you recognize you'd found your voice?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Power of Networking

This week’s Association Chat was focused on the topic: networking. It's an important topic for associations because people associate them with the ability to make connections to other specific types of people. What happens when you add social media to the mix? Does technology help or hinder an association's role in connecting people? 

We talked about those types of things and more during the chat. 

Association Chat takes place every Tuesday at 2 pm ET

Here is the list of questions I asked and some of my own answers. How would you answer these questions?
1.       Why do you think networking is consistently named as one of the top reasons for joining an association?
a.       It is people’s connections that lead to job opportunities, answers to problems, or developing relationships that may help in the future.
2.       How does your organization foster networking?
a.       Aptify uses Yammer and Lync to keep everyone in all the offices connected.
b.      Aptify also has an online users group for the users of the software so they can communicate with one another.
c.       They also hold in-person meetings with “networking events” to help get people together.
3.       How can associations bring more value to networking as a benefit in the age of social media?
a.       Associations can provide more ways to connect. I like it when I have easy ways to connect to people at meetings…like through apps or LinkedIn connections.
4.       What was the most valuable networking event you ever attended?
a.       I once crashed an invitation-only party that led to me running into an acquaintance who introduced me to a person who later offered me a job!
b.      For sheer bragging rights, the White House Correspondents Garden Brunch was another favorite networking event. Lots of celebs!
5.       Where do you do most of your networking?
a.       Online
6.       What are your best tips for networking?
a.       Smile
b.      Ask questions
7.       Where should people network in the association industry?
a.       Online with #assnchat or using private online communities, with ASAE events, and at their state SAE events.
8.       Describe a networking event in which you would like to participate!
9.       What is the most interesting thing you’ve ever received as a result of networking?
a.       A pair of shoes from a couple I met. It’s a long story.

10.   Quick! Name three people you would like to have coffee with to discuss your professional life.