Traditions: Life advice with cookies on the side

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This week the eight of us got the chance to meet some top execs in the company. CEO John Benbrook and COO & CFO Tom Schubert joined us for lunch at our weekly Traditions class.

After rushing to grab sandwiches and salad, we all sat around the boardroom table ready to share about ourselves.

John Benbrook and Tom Schubert both shared their entire careers – from college to PBP – and we got the chance to ask them any questions we wanted.

They talked about the biggest challenges they face working in the company, their affinity for soccer and basketball, and also their biggest joys in life. One thing they both expressed was that they love working with the great people here at PBP.

We appreciated the casual atmosphere of the lunch and the fact that both the CEO and CFO were very open and receptive to us. We’ve found that at PBP, people don’t need to put on a facade, they are themselves.

So what were the main take-aways from the day? Besides stealing a mountain of cookies for our department, we all received great, useful words of wisdom from both execs. Here’s some advice that resonated with us:

  • Don’t miss out on opportunities. You never know what direction life is going to take you and you want to live it without any regrets.
  • Focus early in life. You’re never too young to start making a plan and taking initiative. Your choices are up to you and it’s never too early to get a head start on where you want end up.
  • Strive for excellence, not perfection. Try to be great! But if you try to be perfect, you’ll always fail and be unhappy.
  • Define what makes you happy. Happiness is extremely important, and you should define what makes you happy so that you can strive for the things that you enjoy.
  • Enjoy life’s journey. There are so many great stages in life. Embrace them as they come and try to stay positive through life’s trials.

Know Your Strengths

 

Last week Nicole Riegl, John Falcetta and the eight of us played Pictionary, made fun of Anthony Panvini’s signature and founded an even better Starbucks in less than two hours.

Just kidding, sort of.

What we did do was share our top five strengths using Tom Rath’s #1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller, Strengths Finder. Similar to Swift’s line of thinking, the book and quiz argue that focusing on what you naturally excel in is more productive than dwelling on skills requiring improvement. In other words, you wouldn’t put your best pitcher out in left field the same way you wouldn’t put an editor in IT because they need to polish their tech skills.

Instead, we play with the skills we’ve naturally been gifted and work at them everyday.

And then we form a team with others who have complimentary strengths.

 So here are PBP’s 2015 Interns Top Strengths –  

Drum Roll…. 

Amanda: 1. achiever 2. learner 3. relator 4. futuristic 5. maximizer

Anthony: 1. competition 2. adaptability 3. focus 4. includer 5.self-assurance

Caroline: 1. woo 2. ideation 3. adaptability 4. input 5. strategic

Christina: 1. includer 2. futuristic 3. positivity 4. strategic 5. achiever

Eugena: 1. responsibility 2. belief 3. relator 4. intellection 5. individualization

Jake: 1. achiever 2. analytical 3. context 4. harmony 5. learner

Kevin: 1. achiever 2. futuristic 3. postivity 4. focus 5. strategic

Paige: 1. achiever 2. activator 3. competition 4. maximizer 5. futuristic

Share/comment your strengths with us!

Twitter Contest Summer 2015

PBP Interns 2015 are bringing back last year’s Twitter contest!

Phoebe the bear is back, and we’ve added a new weekly twist. The prize is a $25 Wegmans gift card at the end of the summer! Check out the following guidelines below in order to find out how you can maximize your points:

Twitter Hashtag Schedule (Follow us @PBPInterns):

Weekly Contest: #whatsinthekitchen
What: Keep an eye out on the kitchens for what the contest of the week will be!
You: Can be the first to tweet us the answer to win the weekly contest! 3 points

Monday: #mancrushmonday #WOmancrushmonday
What: PBP Interns will feature a PBP employee each week; who will be the next crush?
You: Can tweet us nominations throughout the week for who you think the next featured employee should be! 1 point

Tuesday: #tiptuesday
What: A useful lifehack for the week, or tips to make all of our lives easier
You: Can tweet us a picture of yourself putting our tip into practice! Let’s see how useful these lifehacks are. 1 point

Wednesday: #whereisitwednesday
What: We heard this was everyone’s favorite last year, and Phoebe the bear is back! What new places will she pop up in this year?
You: Can be the first person on Wednesdays to find Phoebe the bear and tweet us a picture of you with her! 2 points

Thursday: #throughthebuildingthursday
What: Do you really know the building as well as you think you do? Figure out the location of the mysterious picture that will contain a clue.
You: Can be the first person to figure out the place the picture was taken in and tweet us the answer! 2 points

Friday: #fashionfriday
What: How do PBP employees take advantage of dressing down on Friday? Keep an eye out for pictures of the employees that impressed us the most with their runway-worthy outfits throughout the day.
You: Can tweet us pictures of employees’ outfits that grabbed your attention, and we’ll re-tweet them! 1 point (and if your outfit gets tweeted, 3 points!)

We encourage everyone to participate in these hashtags! If you don’t have a Twitter, hurry and make an account so that you can be in the running for a $25 Wegmans gift card. If you miss out on the hashtags one week, no worries! You can catch up on your points by interacting with our tweets (replying, re-tweeting, and favoriting each worth .5 point).

Jumping Right In! PBP’s Eight New Interns

With two weeks down for some and a week for others, we are beginning to feel situated here at PBP! We are all working in different divisions of PBP and learning so much!

Aside from our different departments, the eight of us will be working together to post weekly blogs as well as daily tweets! Make sure you stay updated on this blog for new posts by each intern and follow @PBPInterns on Twitter for daily updates and fun office challenges!

Last week, we had our first PBP Traditions meeting, a weekly two hour orientation class that all interns take part in. After playing a couple of ice breaker games, we were able to learn so much about each other. Now it’s time for you to learn a little bit about us…

 

Amanda Abrom (PBP Editorial)delaware      

Hometown: Lancaster, Pennsylvania

School: University of Delaware

Major(s)/Minor: Economics and English with a Dance minor

Fun Fact: She choreographs musicals at her school!

 

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Anthony Panvini (PBP Editorial)

Hometown: South Philadelphia

School: Saint Joseph’s University

Major(s)/Minor: English (Journalism) and Communications

Fun Fact: He has 22 pairs of basketball shoes!

 

Caroline Dorey-Stein (PBP Executive Education/Conferences)

Hometown: Narberth, Pennsylvaniafm

School: She recently graduated from Franklin and Marshall College

Major(s)/Minor: English Literature

Fun Fact: She is a milk connoisseur!

 

 

Christina Gould (PBP Publication Product Marketing)

Hometown: Newtown, ConnecticutHaverford_logo

School: Haverford College

Major(s)/Minor: Economics

Fun Fact: She studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark for a semester!

 

Eugena Lee (PBP Media Division)upenn

Hometown: Philadelphia

School: University of Pennsylvania

Major(s)/Minor: Marketing and OPIM with a minor in Fine Arts.

Fun Fact: She used to be a competitive ballroom dancer!

 

Jake Eastman (PBP Analytics)penn state

Hometown: Schwenksville, Pennsylvania

School: He recently graduated from Penn State

Major(s)/Minor: Management Information Systems

Fun Fact: He loves to go see live music!

 

 Kevin McCarthy (PBP Audio Conferences)gettysburg

Hometown: Yardley, Pennsylvania

School: Gettysburg College

Major(s)/Minor: Organization and Management Studies

Fun Fact: He started a laundry service at Gettysburg!

 

Paige Preston (PBP Gifts and Incentives)elizabethtown

Hometown: Birchrunville, Pennsylvania

School: Elizabethtown College

Major(s)/Minor: Corporate Communications with a Business Administration minor

Fun Fact: She studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland for 4 months!

 

 

My Proposal for A New Product: A Certificate in Gender Perspective

I was asked to research and propose a new product for the Executive Education Department of the company: a women’s leadership certificate program. And so I did, sort of.

What does women's leadership mean today?

Women’s leadership used to be out of the ordinary, but has it become out dated? Have we reached the point where both genders view each other equally?

I dug up tons of scholarly articles, picked through fields of data, weeded relevance out of the jungle of online information, and my proposal was finally coming together.

But as I was scripting my presentation, I kept writing it, and re-writing it. Editing it, and re-editing it. Six drafts later, I realized I wasn’t bothered by how I wrote it, it was what I wrote. It was missing something. Women’s leaderships programs, courses, and seminars that promote women to feel more professional and empowered have been successful for quite some time, but the sociology of the workplace is changing.

It’s no longer about getting women the opportunity for success, it’s about properly channeling the tributaries of success in a diverse work environment.

Women’s leadership initiatives are paradoxical by nature. Women are hard-working and results focused. Women are naturally driven to succeed. So it’s naive to think that women as a general category need leadership training. Leadership consultants Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman found that women outscored men on 15 of 16 leadership competencies. The researchers evaluated the judgments of 7,280 professionals about the female and male leaders they work with, and women excelled not only at the strengths commonly attributed to them (i.e. collaboration and communication) but many other measures traditionally attributed to men (i.e. initiative and technical/professional expertise). Women have what it takes, and they are bringing home the bacon. Over 40% of all American households have women as the primary breadwinner.

Women are also most likely to been seen rocking the latest fashion trend: a cap and gown. 60% of the world’s university graduates are women, and they’ve earned their way to the top of some of the most prestigious positions in the world. Their current repertoire includes the chair of the US Federal Reserve, the head of the IMF, the chancellor of Germany, the President of Brazil, the CEO of General motors, IBM, Xerox, PepsiCo, Lockheed Martin, and the COO of Facebook to name a few.

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Women are still only earning, on average, 84 cents to every male dollar.

Women, as a sexual category, don’t need special help. But, the statistics are still real. According to a study done by the Pew Research center, women earn 84 percent of what men earn. That means it takes women approximately 40 extra days to earn what a man earns in a year for doing the same job. Young women (aged 25-34) continue to be the front runners in trying to close the wage gap–earning about 93 cents for every male dollar–but we have yet to see a 1:1 ratio. Most importantly, though, the majority of both parties say that something needs to be done about it, a crucial fact that lead to the plot twist in my PBI certificate proposal.

I proposed a certification that discusses gender related issues in the workforce, how they affect management, and professional development. A program that would focus on overall leadership techniques and what works best for both sides, hard facts and statistics about oppression, but strategies for adapting and educating others on the issues. It should talk about realistic and possible scenarios that you might see in the office, with concrete examples and success stories from the top.  And here’s the plot twist: it should be marketed to women AND men.

Women’s leadership conferences and certificates have been proven very effective in getting women together to learn and be inspired to make positive professional change for themselves, and intern the rest of their female counter parts, by changing the standards of what it means to be a woman in the workforce. BUT they often leave out a very critical part of the solution: there are 3.4 billion men out there in the world. They should be included in this fight for equality, because this kind of female exclusiveness isn’t allowing them that option. There are not many men that would willingly sign themselves up for a women’s leadership course. He might say to himself, “I don’t want to educate myself on how to be a better female leader. That doesn’t make sense. Why would I sign up for this certificate?”

I’ll tell you why. We change the focus. We created a gender based leadership course to discuss the ideas of feminism AND the changing themes of masculinity.

Picture2The idea of the working woman is changing, but so is the idea of the working man. In the 1960s, 50-60% of American jobs were a form of manufacturing and mining. Today those two sectors constitute less than 10% of our economy. This means that the old idea of having strong build could get you a well-paying job—and thus be a man and support your family—doesn’t exist anymore. Being a working man has less to do with exercising your muscles and everything to do with exercising your brain. Measurements of manliness are now better described in units of intellect, and emotional competence. Dads are picking up more responsibility around the house in general, and are taking a more active role in raising their children. There has been a jump in the number of men working as stay at home dads— it’s now 21 percent, compared to 5 percent just 25 years ago—warping the demographics of the private and public spheres.

The idea of what it means to be a man is being redefined. So, what does that definition say now? The up and coming trend? Sensitivity as a form of masculinity. Feminism as a form of masculinity. This is due to a number of factors, which could range from the changed way that men are portrayed in their romantic relationships in movies, to viral spoken word poetry that challenges the correlation between masculinity and the number of women you sleep with; we’ve seen our president, our commander in chief, cry when he talked about the school shooting in Connecticut. It’s becoming cool for men to care, and genuinely care about sensitive subjects, and women are making the case that they are a topic worth caring about. (It also could also be partially due to the fact that men are starting to care about women’s equality because women find it attractive when they do.)

Take a look at this Upworthy video of reformist male high schoolers. Pretty incredible stuff. Is this door being opened due to the steady demise of homophobia? Or because of the availability for open dialogue on social media?  It’s hard to say, but we can say that there is a hopeful light shining from the rising male generation. And there is credit owed to some very progressive grown-ups who have cleared the way for this light. Jackson Katz being one of them. He is a promoter of what he calls the male feminist movement, saying that society is constantly confusing and generalizing gender issues with women’s issues, the way people confuse race issues with black issues. Men need to know that women don’t want to be called bossy before it can effectively be banned.

Part of the reason why the wage gap still exists and women feel hindered in the workplace is due to an overarching social psychology that is delaying progress—whether it be consciously or subconsciously. Stereotypes still exist about gender and gender roles, which then effect our expectations and in turn influence the way we look at things. Here’s an example: Back in the 70s and 80s, women made up only 5% of all musicians in professional orchestras around the country, which made orchestral committees concerned that there was a bias in the selection process. So, they created a blind auditioning process. They put up a screen so that the judges were picking the best contestants solely based on what they heard, not what they saw—this increased the odds that women would get passed the preliminary round by 50%. Today, around 25% of orchestras are women. So the first thing that needs to change is perspective. Shelley Correll, a sociology professor at Stanford University, talks about how we think we’ve advanced, and we think that our brains have evolved, but then again maybe not…

 

So we need to start helping ourselves overcome these ingrained biases. In the case of the orchestra, there was a very literal solution in that they put up a screen so they couldn’t tell the difference, but for the rest of us, when that physical kind of alteration isn’t possible, the only thing to do is increase awareness and education about the issue, so we can consciously correct our subconscious tendencies.

A few weeks ago, some of the other interns and I watched a women’s leadership webinar and we all hands down agreed that it was awful. The instructor talked about how women should be more confident and assertive, but did so in a tone that implied women are naturally less confident and in need of specialized help. She oversimplified the issue, and talked in somewhat of a degrading manner. Gender differences shouldn’t be looked at as a disability, but a means for adaptability. Here are some of the responses from the other interns:

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As the tectonics of social norms shift, the way we educate people about them should also cause a rumble. We should be promoting critical reflection, getting comfortable with the fact that some things just aren’t that simple, and posing questions that don’t necessarily have answers. Why is it that women say sorry far too often? Or how can men best approach their bosses to request paternity leave? But it should also explain that there is no perfect scenario—both men and women need to figure out what they want, and their best individualized solution.

Companies that have a progressive mindset about gender balance in the workplace have been proven to have a more competitive edge. Executives need to focus on better managing the differences in gender based leadership styles, such as negotiation techniques or career path needs, rather than ignoring them. This certificate program aims to tie together ideas with context, and theory with statistics, because it’s time for women’s rights to have a multivariable perspective. The next step in the fight for gender equality is universal awareness paired with heterogeneous networking. As strong and independent as we are, ladies, it’s time to include the boys.

Nailed it! How to Interview Effectively

How you handle yourself in an interview is crucial in scoring your dream job.  Your accolades and resume speak a great deal about you, but you yourself need to wow the interviewer if you want to get hired.  Interviewers want to have a conversation with a relaxed and confident candidate.  In order to be that candidate, there are several things you can do to prepare yourself.  Assuming you have already written a solid cover letter, here are some tips to help you impress in your interview. interview

Prior to the Interview

  • Do your homework!

These words that Mom used to yell at you in middle school still apply today!  It is vital to conduct research on your interviewer, the company and the industry, its products, and its competitors.  You must know about the company history, values, and mission statement.  Make sure to find out where the company stands in the industry and think of some ways in which it can move past its competitors.  Look up where your interviewer(s) went to college and what his/her interests are (it never hurts to have some conversation starters.)  Also, write up some potential interview questions and respond to them out loud in a mirror.  Speak clearly with a good pace, and look confident and enthusiastic as you speak.

  • Tailor your Resume to the Company and Interviewer(s)

An interviewer is looking for a specific set of characteristics in his/her potential hires.  Catering your resume to his/her needs is of utmost importance to having a successful interview.  Use some similar verbiage that the company uses in its mission statement.  Take a look at the adjectives listed in the job requirements and show in your resume how you display those traits .  Center your document around things that add value to their organization.  The activities that your interviewer participates in speak a lot about what they value.  Cater your resume to show that what you have done can be related to his/her experiences and that you have some similar interests.

At the Interview

  • Dress Niceimage

Make sure you confirm the dress code before you head out to the interview.  Once you receive this information, make sure to dress accordingly.  Look fashionable, but not too flashy.  If you are a man applying for a job with a business attire, wear a conservative suit with a nice tie, shirt, and professional shoes.  You can always be safe by going with a clean shave.  For women, a conservative suit will also be acceptable.  Some jewelry is fine, but nothing too extravagant.  In both cases, cologne/perfume should be kept to a minimum; you do not want the interviewer to smell you before the conversation even begins.

  • Be Prudent!

Today, it is completely unacceptable to be late for an interview given the resources we have (barring any serious emergencies.)  First impressions are crucial to landing the job, so make sure you show up on time (a.k.a. be at least fifteen minutes early.)  This will show your potential employer that you pay attention to detail and have respect for their time.

  • Be Genuine

Do not try to be someone you are not.  Employers can see right through it and do not hire people who appear to be fake.  Instead, prove to the interviewer that your personality and strengths will  be a perfect fit for this position.  Not being afraid to be yourself demonstrates a great deal of confidence.  Differentiate yourself from the competition with your uniqueness and ability to accomplish goals.

  • Be Remembered

Being genuine does not mean you cannot be interesting! Make sure to prove to your employer that you have that “it” factor.  Demonstrate how you can use your past experiences to take this company to the next level.  The interviewees that get called back are the ones that make lasting impressions.  Tell a story that shows your unique set of skills and how they can be applied to the company.  If you are being interviewed by multiple people, make sure to connect someone in the room.  Find a common thread you share with that person and grab their attention.  Once you do, run with it.  Make great eye contact with that person, and convey to them that you are truly a great fit for the position.  If you can sell that person, chances are he/she can sell you to the others (if you have not done so already.)

  • Ask the RIGHT Questions 

Questions are another opportunity to prove your commitment and worth to your potential employer.  Make sure you choose yours carefully to put yourself in the best position to get the job.  Here are some solid examples:

      • What do you like most about this job/company?

Fairly simple question, but it is important to get some real insight into the atmosphere fostered within the organization.

      • Is there anything you dislike about this job/company?

It might be the case that the organizational culture is not the right fit for you; it is better to find out now rather than later.

      • Is there a chance for mobility within the company?

Chances are you will want the opportunity to grow within the organization.  Make sure it affords you the ability to develop your skills and further your career.

      • How is the work/life balance here?

If you plan on staying with this company for a long time, it is important that they respect you not only as an employee, but also as a person with a life outside of work.  Make sure they have sufficient support systems in place to help you manage your work life and personal life.

      • How do I compare to other candidates?

This lets you know where you stand, but it also shows a competitive edge and drive to do all things necessary to get this job.

      • What is the next step in this process?

Asking this puts your foot in the door with the company.  It shows initiative and as a result, makes you a more attractive candidate.

Post Interview

  • Follow Up

Send an email later that day thanking the interviewer for his/her time and consideration.  A week later, send a handwritten note that is a more in-depth letter of appreciation.  Show the interviewer that you took something away from the conversation and restate your desire to join his/her team.

 

With these tips, you will put yourself in the ideal spot to get your dream job!  Good luck!

Social Media in the Office

Social media. Normally, one wouldn’t automatically connect social media and the office. When someone says “Twitter,” the first word that comes to your head might be hashtag or Justin Beiber. We decided to work on changing that this summer … at least at PBP.

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PBP Intern Twitter Page

During our first Traditions class, the interns talked about improving PBP’s social media presence. At the time, the PBP Twitter page had four followers (and two of them were current interns).

From the beginning, our main goal was to have 50 followers by the end of the summer. That meant we had to somehow get 46 people to find our page and like it enough to stay.

After setting our goal, we had to determine who our audience would be. We came up with two questions:

Who could we connect most with? Other interns our age.

Who could we reach out to most easily? PBP employees.

At this point, we had a great foundation. We knew exactly who we wanted to target, and we had a few tricks up our sleeves.

Since the beginning of the summer – about nine weeks ago – we have maintained a social media schedule that looks something like this:

  1. #ManagingMondays – On Mondays, each intern tweets about a musician or song that keeps him or her focused throughout the day. Most of the time, we will add a YouTube video of the song, so that our followers can easily click and enjoy the songs that keep us going.
  2. #TriviaTuesday – On Tuesdays, we post trivia questions related to PBP. Then, PBP employees can answer the questions, and the first person to answer correctly gets a prize!
  3. #WhereIsItWednesday – PBP has a new mascot! Her name is Phoebe and she’s a polar bear. Every Wednesday, we hide Phoebe, and it’s up to the employees to find her. She’s been hiding in some pretty strange places lately.
  4. #ThrowbackThursday – Who knew PBP employees were so cute when they were kids? We do now. On Thursdays, the staff has a chance to match baby pictures to current employees.
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#ThrowbackThursday picture, Phoebe the PBP Polar Bear and a PBP employee’s tweet to win #WhereIsItWednesday

This Twitter schedule has really helped us build an engaged audience. In the past nine weeks, we have gained 51 followers, bringing our total to 55!

PBP employees are interacting with our Twitter daily and winning prizes. Other interns from around the country are reading our blog posts and keeping up with everything we’re learning.

More than that, the employees are learning more about the company and each other, and the interns have gotten the chance to meet individuals from all different departments and levels.

Throughout the summer, we’ve also gotten recognition from unexpected people, like musicians and large organizations.

All-in-all, the interns have exceeded their own expectations, and we hope the fun will continue after our internship is over.

The summer isn’t over yet! Keep following our Twitter page and checking out our blogs! 

Leadership: Off the water and in the office

F&M medalsAnyone who’s participated on a sports team knows that leadership influences a win, and wins come in different ways. In my own experience, I’ve been on soccer and softball teams throughout my childhood, but nothing quite matched the dynamic of Franklin and Marshall College’s rowing team.

We had our victories, our relapses, our challenges and battles. We grew together as a young program, and our coach, Rob Weber, taught us an essential lesson I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life: lateral leadership.

To those unfamiliar with the sport, on the water coxswains give commands, but on land we function like a bee hive. Rigging and derigging, loading the trailers with slings and bow numbers, sorting through nuts and bolts both metric and standard, carrying boats back and forth — Hands on, up over heads — and UP! The calls I used as a coxswain won’t soon be forgotten.

rowing trailer

Our men and women’s team captains were essential, there’s no doubting that. But the responsibilities for a team of 60+ that breaks up into 4s and 8s can’t always be managed by just two people, and so our coach tried showing us a new way of thinking in terms of leadership.

 

Lateral Leadership:

  • When you see a task that needs to be handled, a responsibility that opens itself, it is your role as a team member to see that it is taken care of. This could mean taking direct control. This could mean bringing it to another’s attention. But what this doesn’t mean is letting it go untouched.
  • When you do take control, and own up to the responsibility that’s presented itself, be ready for conflict. Be ready to discuss openly your role on the team, and others’ roles who could also take charge. All in all, from the resolution of this conflict will come the proper division, and respect for everyone’s capabilities. All it takes is communication, trust, and willingness to open up.

Easier said than done? I’ve asked employees, managers, and our CEO of PBP for their take on leadership as well to try and find what it really takes to be a leader.

Ed Satell, CEO: Don’t be cynical. Focus on the positive by maximizing the values in yourself and others. It takes time to be a leader — you need to be a follower first. Ego is a good thing, but don’t let it shadow the wants and needs of others. You have to be able to take the rotten tomatoes when people throw them. But most of all: Be authentic. At the same time, accept the superficiality in people, it can be a good thing, but know when to focus on the real. Make an environment to address real thoughts.

Nicole Riegel, Executive EducationA leader needs to build credibility and trust with his/her team so that the team will become followers for his/her vision.  Due to credibility and trust the team is willing to take some risks and the leader is allowed a few mistakes. A leader should maximizes people’s strengths for the greater good.

Curt Brown, Editorial: A good leader needs to have a clear vision who leads by example rather than by dictating others.

Tim Walls, PGI/PBC: Set priorities by looking at the big picture rather than getting caught up in the day to day. Know your long term goals, and stay on task.

Cheryl Jordan, Product Marketing: A good leader needs to be a good listener who pays attention to people’s individual needs.

Dannie Evans, Media: You yourself as a leader need passion. Saturate yourself in it, and let it drip onto your employees. Have that passion translate into something everyone can take on as their own.

Jess White, Editorial: True leaders motivate and inspire others to do their best work. They listen to everyone’s ideas, and they’re open to trying different suggestions to improve things for the group as a whole. 

There were many others who gave insight into leadership for me, and it’s clear PBP is a place full of potential for the future of this business and beyond. I thank Rob Weber, Ed Satell, and PBP’s Traditions program most of all for these lessons on forming a constructive team.

 

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9 Ways to Make Networking Work for You

Many people become anxious and uncomfortable at the thought of networking.   Pitching yourself to a group of strangers is daunting, at best.

These 9 simple guidelines can help you overcome your apprehension and then you can start looking forward to your next networking event!networking-image

  1. Dress up, but be subtle. It’s common advice to “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”  That being said, there is a difference between being classy and being flashy. You don’t want to be the person wearing neon yellow in a sea of black suits.  You can’t go wrong with black, navy, grey, or beige.  Just remember, the focal point should be what you’re saying, not what you’re wearing.
  1. Stay away from complimenting others’ outfits or appearances.  You may want to “break the ice” immediately by complimenting someone’s great style or accessory choices, but avoid doing this or you could spend the entire time talking about fashion instead of making a more valuable connection.
  1. Put effort into your nametag. A lot of research has been done on what your handwriting says about you.  In fact, a whole new term has been dedicated to the subject (“graphology”).  According to Visual.ly, your handwriting can reveal over 5,000 personality traits!  For example, if you connect your letters (like I do), “you are logical, systematic, and make decisions carefully.”  While you don’t need to memorize the entire webpage or change your writing, just make sure you write your name legibly – your penmanship says a lot about you.
  1. Do your research. See if the list of event attendees is available ahead of time.  It’s extremely easy to research people online – maybe someone else at the event went to your alma mater or shares your enthusiasm for online Scrabble.  This can be a great conversation starter and can help you prepare questions ahead of time.
  1. Prepare your “Elevator Pitch.” This is generally a 30-90 second statement in which you identify who you are, what you have to offer, and what you are looking for. You can pitch yourself, an idea or both.  Check out this video for an example.
  1. Offer help.  It’s often tempting to talk about yourself the entire time, but networking is a two-way street.  Ask questions, and see if there is anything you can do for the other person, even if that means connecting him or her with someone else in your network.

Keith-Ferrazzi-Quote-about-Networking-OkDork

  1. Remember names. This can be overwhelming, especially when you’re meeting a lot of new people all at once.  Try this: for example, when Ashley introduces herself , say “hi Ashley,” and as you are shaking her hand, picture the word “Ashley” in red letters on her forehead.  Trust me, it works! (Whatever you do, please don’t do this!)
  1. Stay positive.  Whether you’re attending a networking event in search of a job or for some other reason, be cognizant of what you say.  Like your mother probably used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!”  Word travels quickly, so never speak poorly about a person or company.
  1. Follow up.  After the event is over, connect with the people you spoke to.  You can reach out in any number of ways, from e-mail to LinkedIn.  Start off by reintroducing yourself, and then touch on something you spoke about at the event.  Finally, make sure to suggest a way to keep in touch by asking a question, offering help or advice, introducing a third party, or even asking permission to send that person a link to your blog.  You never know where a relationship will lead.

Now that you have the know-how to succeed, get out there and start networking!

Still don’t know how to begin a conversation?  Talk about PBP’s interns and our great blog!

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Talking the Talk (And Getting People to Listen)

Are you saying what you think you’re saying? And how could you say it better?

One of the most important things to do on your road toward professional success is find your voice. Didn’t know it was lost? Take a minute to think about how your coworkers think of you. Are you dependable? Intelligent? Pushy? Passive?

Having a strong sense of who you are and how you want to project yourself is crucial in improving the way people perceive you. This is applicable to every aspect of workplace relationships: first impression interviews, lunchtime conversations, important meetings with executives, and effectively answering emails. Here’s some advice from the experts on how to harness the power of perception through polished communication.

You’re no knock off, be your original self:

PBP’s founder Ed Satell advocates for the underrated value of authenticity. What you say should reflect what you do, and what you do should reflect what you say. He firmly believes that hard work and mental perseverance can inspire success, and he communicates that through the actions he takes in his business practices.

Authenticity is otherwise described as being able to “stand in your own truth,” and your voice should affirm whatever it is that you hold true. Julian Treasure, author of Sound Business, talks about how authenticity is a necessary and foundational cornerstone if you want to be taken seriously in the office and have your opinions heard. If people view you as authentic on a one dimensional, daytoday level—for example when answering questions like, how was your lunch? Or what is your favorite hobby?—you are inadvertently building credibility towards multidimensional responses. If you are consistently honest and genuine, your opinions will be perceived as such when you argue for significant, risk oriented change such as capital asset additions, or sustainable infrastructure investment, or adding pretzel M&Ms to the break room vending machine.

Once upon a time, storytelling changed everything:

This next piece of advice can only be taken with the first part in mind. [If not taken with the proper dose of authenticity, side effects may include gossip, lying, excuses, judging, exaggeration, and dogmatism]. If people can believe in you and what you say, what follows is getting them to support you and what you say. Storytelling is a very powerful medium in the business world that helps us connect with one another both intellectually and interpersonally. Geoffrey Berwind is considered a professional storytelling consultant. Some of his clients include Historic Philadelphia Inc, The Kennedy Space Center, UNUM Global IT Leaders. Berwind meets with executives to teach them how to better market themselves and their products through the art of a well-crafted story. He has based his life’s work on the fact that storytelling has everything to do with the power of influence, and this skill has become exponentially more valuable in the business world; maybe more so than your Excel or PowerPoint skills:

When we share our own real-life stories or the stories of others our audiences feel that they get to know us as authentic people – people who have lives outside the corporate setting, people who have struggled with problems and who have figured out how to overcome them. There’s a well-known marketing axiom that “people buy from people they know, like and trust.” Great leaders recognize that human connections need to go before concepts and strategies: connect first with your prospects, your audiences – then get down to business. I’ve seen increased attention being paid by companies to the mastery of these so-called “soft skills.”

These attachments and connections are then stored in our long term, rather than short term, memories. A story is up to twenty-two times more memorable than facts alone. They can be deepening and persuasive. They can be 140 characters, or they can be 540 pages. Learning how to craft them in the most powerful and effective way possible takes time and practice. Dannie Evans, a coworker in the PBP Media division, promotes professional development and learning by reading fiction, as it will teach them you how to tell stories. He suggests that storytelling is an important skill to have when crafting marketing copy, an incredibly valuable skill to have when marketing yourself to future employers.

Your voice box is a tool box:

The final element of the communication equation is your actual voice, your sound. Sometimes the genius of what we are saying is overshadowed by the unwanted idiosyncrasies of the way we say it. Your vocal register, timber, prosody, pace and pitch may be saying one thing while your words are trying to say another, which can get confusing for your listener. Like all problems, awareness is the first step towards a cure, and most people are unaware of their talking troubles (even if they are very apparent to everyone around them). Watch the video below, and Mr. Berwind will explain what all of these terms mean, how they affect your speech, and why we should focus on fixing them.

Take a little bit of time to study yourself. How do you communicate? Are you sending the same message that your coworkers are receiving? Hopefully if we all focus a bit more on what kind of voice we are producing, we can also be a bit more attentive to the voices that are trying to speak to us. Listening, after all, is just as important.