Monday, January 8, 2018

January 2018 Networking

Start the new year out right with being intentional on your networking strategy. Here are some events to get you started:

Archbold Business Connections - 1st & 3rd Tuesdays, 7:00 am @ Community Health Professionals Building
Bryan Area Networking Club (BANC) - Wednesdays, 7:00 am @ Williams County Public Library, West Annex, Bryan
Boomers Resource Network - Thursdays, 11:30 am @ Uncle John's Restaurant, Toledo
Defiance Premier Networking  - 1st & 3rd Wednesdays, 11:30 am @ Kissners
Net Sense - Wednesdays, 7:00 am @ Fulton County Administration Building, Wauseon
Seneca Networking Professionals Meeting - 1st and 3rd Thursdays, 7:30 am @ Community Hospice Care, Tiffin
So Now Sylvania Dinner - 1st Wednesday of the Month, 6:15 - 8:00 pm @ Chandler Café
So Now Maumee Lunch - 2nd Thursday of the Month, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm @ Brandywine Country Club
So Now Lima Dinner - Second Tuesday of the Month, 5:30 - 7:15 pm @ The Met
So Now Findlay Dinner - Fourth Tuesday of the Month, 5:30 - 7:15 pm @ Gillig Winery
8 - WEN West, 11:30a  Grapeleaf
8 - West Unity Chamber, 7p @West Unity Library
9 - Findlay Chamber Fresh Brewed Business, 8a @ Marathon Center for Performing Arts
9 - Monroe County Chamber, Koffee Klub 7:45 AM @ Monroe Bank & Trust (10 Washington St.) RSVP 1/8/18
9 - Maumee Chamber Luncheon, 11:30a @ The Pinnacle
10 - Bowling Green Chamber Breakfast, Briefing & Brew 8a @ Kathren's Insurance
11 - Bryan Chamber Business After Hours, 5p @ Andres O'Neil & Lowe
12 - Paulding Chamber Friends Friday2Friday Chili Cookoff, 11a-1p @ Branch Community Church
12 - Montpelier Chamber of Commerce meeting, 8:00 am @ Chamber office
17 - WEN Coffee 8a @ SIP/Cricket West
18 - Holland Springfield Chamber Net 90 Connect, 7:30a @ Burger King on Airport Hwy
22 - WEN Lunch Bunch, 11:30a @ LaScolla 
23 - Chamber Partnership - 5 Levels of Leadership, 9a-3p @Staybridge Suites
24 - Toledo Chamber Annual Meeting, 11:30a @ Premier 
24 - North Baltimore Chamber Meeting, noon @ Hancock Wood Electric
31 - Rossford Business Association meeting, NECA/IBEW @ noon

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Digital Literacy is a Vital Skill

According to research funded by Capital One: 
  • "More than 8 in 10 middle-skill jobs (82%) require digital skills, a 4% increase since 2014.
  • Digitally intensive middle-skill jobs pay more than non-digital middle-skill jobs.
  • Digital skills provide a career pathway into middle- and high-skill jobs"
So we see that having these skills is crucial in today's job marketing. Aren't people today basically computer literate? Not as much as you think. A recent article from Teachaway points out the difference between digital skills and digital literacy:

"Our students are tech-savvy digital natives. They know their way around a tablet, smartphone and laptop better than most. More often than not, they know how to do a voice search on an iPad, share selfies on Instagram, play a video game and send a GIF...But what they lack is the knowledge of how to use these digital tools and technologies to communicate and achieve their learning goals."

An example of digital skill vs. digital literacy:

"Tweeting, posting to Facebook, uploading a video to YouTube, adding to a Snapchat story and posting a photo to Instagram.
The ability to navigate social media safely, in order to:
  • Protect their reputation by determining what private content is safe/appropriate to share.
  • Recognize bots.
  • Spot bias, prejudice and hate propaganda.
  • Identify cyberstalking and harassment."

Through a partnership with LISC (Toledo Local Initiatives Support Corporation) CTS Toledo will offer Digital Literacy and IT Customer Support programs in 2018.

Digital Literacy – This 6 week program is designed for those with little computer knowledge. Topics cover the basics of computers, operating systems, Internet, email, social media and Microsoft Office. Tentative start date: 1/22/18

IT Customer Support – This 10 week program is designed for those interested in an entry level help desk position. Topics include customer service, problem solving, general IT concepts, computer anatomy, and internet safety. Tentative start date: 4/23/18

For details contact Tami Norris,  Comment below on your thoughts on the importance of digital literacy in today's workforce. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Business Networking Skills Can Start Early

This is a portion of a great article from networking guru Debby Peters ( Working with junior and senior high youth in a variety of capacities (church youth group, scouting, etc). I can see that some youth possess these skills while others could definitely benefit from developing them. Here are Debby's 3 suggestions for helping youth in your life begin to develop their networking skills.

"Shaking Hands – even many adults get this wrong.  Explain to your kids that they just have to remember “web-to-web” and their handshake will be perfect.  Then show them the skin between the thumb and trigger finger and note that this must connect with the other person’s skin in the same area.  Eliminating the weak, cold fish technique is your contribution to mankind!

Eye Contact – explain that those who are not able to make eye contact with the person they are meeting, may mistakenly send a message that they are shifty or not telling the truth.  Help them to practice with you by asking them to set down their phone and work on the next item.

Conversing – Again many adults feel awkward when meeting new folks.  The easiest way to smooth that awkward time is to have a set of questions in your back pocket that will get the conversation started.  For children, depending on their age, it might be something like, “What do you like about what you do?”  Or “If you have one piece of advice that someone should have given you, what would it be?”  Of course, the question could be as simple as, “Tell me how you know my dad or mom?”, if that is the way the person entered his or her life.  And of course, you can show your child how to research someone on LinkedIn for little hints about what this new person might be interested in.  This is if your child knows in advance a specific person they will be meeting."

To the conversing point I would add help them learn to talk about themselves. It is likely that if they asked the adult a question as stated above, that adult will reciprocate with a question back. Help your youth develop a few answers they can go to that help them relay why they like youth group, what they learn from being a boy/girl scout, what they plan to do after high school, etc. This may seem common sense, but shy youth may draw a blank when asked (yes, I've been there, done that) while talkative youth may have trouble with going overboard and need guidance on how to summarize.

This also presents a great opportunity to talk about their social media profiles. If you are going to show a youth the right way to use LinkedIn, this can naturally lead to a discussion on how employers and college admission departments will look to social media to find out about the character of a person. What seems funny at 14, may come back to haunt them at 18.

Starting these skills early will help them become second nature for your youth and will help them immensely during college and/or job interviews!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Potato Chip Plan

The Potato Chip Plan: Maintaining a good networking mindset can be difficult in the best of times. If you are concerned about making payroll, or you need to pay the utilities, or maybe you had to make a cash outlay for some large project, suddenly you slip into survival mode. Without a plan, your networking turns into prospecting. All those relationships you’ve built so carefully over time start looking like sales opportunities. Don't follow the 'Potato Chip Plan'.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Moving Toward Inbox Zero

I’ve taught computer applications for, let’s say, many years. Part of my repertoire has included Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes and Gmail. During these classes it is not unusual for the conversation to turn to getting organized within these programs. During these times I’ve given information on various strategies including the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, Merlin Mann's Inbox Zero and David Allen’s Getting Things Done. But I recently became aware of the hypocrisy of my teaching as I noticed my inbox had…are you ready? 14,000 emails.  Time to practice what I preach and get this thing under control!  It didn’t happen overnight, it took about a week, but I am happy to report as of Thursday morning, I was sitting at 112 emails in the inbox. Here are some observations along the way

1. Set up a system of folders:  Who are your most important clients? Pressing projects? Your staff members? Who do you report to? The main point is to build a system of folders and use them. Manually move existing emails there and then set up rules within the email system to assist with incoming emails. You do need to remember to check these as well, and should apply grooming rules to keep them from becoming virtual “junk drawers.”  I have created a folder called "Notes" which is where I store emails I need for future reference.

2. Task Lists: some of your emails will require action…turn them into tasks. Don’t just leave the email in your inbox and think “I’ll get to this later”…you probably won’t! In some of the organization systems mention is made of a “Follow Up” folder. This is a good idea. It is used to store emails that will take you more than 5-10 minutes to follow up on. Make sure to schedule time daily to work through these.

3. Don’t check email constantly.  I have attention problems, sometimes when working on a project I welcome a distracting email. This is a TRAP! Set aside time to check email whether it be a couple times a day, at the top of the hour, etc. that is up to you.  Also a little gem I’ve picked up along the way. If you answer an email immediately you may be setting up an expectation in that sender that you, in the future, won’t be able to live up to.

4. It is okay to check email first thing in the morning: Some organizational systems warn against this but personally I do check email first thing. Sometimes I have to adjust my agenda for the day because of this, but I would rather know that first thing in the morning instead of being halfway into a project and get derailed.

5. If you have an overrun inbox, tackle it in waves: My 14,000 emails were weighing me down, but the thought of going through them was even more imposing.  I set aside time each day over the period of a week to work on reducing the total. I now make an effort each day to make sure my inbox stays tidy.

6. Don’t forget about archives, junk mail folders, etc: When I check email on my mobile devices I noticed they were archiving, not deleting. I’ve modified a setting on the phone to change that, but did need to go into All Mail to get rid of those emails I thought I had previously deleted.  Remember too that you probably have email going to a junk or spam folder as well as your sent items. You should regularly look at those areas as well.

7. Your email system is not a storage system: If you get an important document via email, save it to your file system or if you have access, save it to the cloud. Those files will take up room quickly in your inbox. If the content of the email important, you can often save emails as well, and should save it in the same location as the document.

What’s the outcome of all this? I’m doing a better job of staying on top of my emails and responding to my coworkers and customers. I also feel a little lighter…it’s not as daunting logging into my email first thing. I know the items in my inbox need attention and I take care of it.

Share your successes (and troubles) in the comment area below!


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