A few weeks ago, I came across Robin Sharma’s blog post on 60 Tips for a Stunningly Great Life I want to share a few that can be effective in driving happiness and success.
Smile at strangers.
Most people who walk around the city these days have music blasting in their ears or cell phones glued to their faces; no one has time for simple human interaction anymore. I used to be guilty of this, as well. Then a few years ago, while I was walking to work with my head down and my iPod drowning out all ambient noise, I experienced a life-altering moment. I looked up briefly at a crosswalk and saw an older woman looking directly at me. I looked down at first, not wanting to make eye contact. But then she smiled at me with such sincerity, it was as if the random coincidence of our paths crossing had somehow made her genuinely happy. Although this all transpired in the span of a few seconds, it spoke volumes to me about not only the power of human connections, but the ability to find happiness in the most mundane places.
Eat less food.
The post-lunch food coma is the number one killer of afternoon productivity. I’ve fallen victim to its powers myself, especially if the lunch involves any sort of burrito. Instead of stuffing yourself with every last morsel of food on your plate, drink some more water while you’re eating. You’ll fill up quicker, be less dehydrated, and more alert when 3:30 rolls around.
Pursue your dreams.
Last year I got fed up with my life, so I sold my car and traveled to New Zealand, Australia and Thailand for 10 months with my girlfriend. We skydived over mountains and lakes, hiked on glaciers, and took every Lord of the Rings tour they could throw at us (those were mostly for me).
Instead of staying in a dead-end job where I made decent money, I took a chance and traveled the world. Now I’m in graduate school studying something I actually enjoy, and I’m working at a company full of smart, amazing people who not only appreciate my work, but also let me do fun things like write blogs and design cartoon ultracapacitors.
Metis is growing. We’re coming up on six years old and going strong. Not only are we sustaining our 90 percent client referral rate driven by our stellar service and concrete results, but we’re looking for fun, talented people who have entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for fast-paced PR. We are committed to conducting the right interviews that bring the right people in the door.
Our awesome editor and writer, Rebecca Joyner, recently pointed out a great article from Malcolm Gladwell's new book, What The Dog Saw. “The New-Boy Network,” which was originally published in The New Yorker, highlights what job interviews really tell us about people, how to pose questions differently to get more out of the interview, and ultimately, get the interviewee thinking about answers she didn’t prepare for before the meeting.
The days of looking someone in the eye, introducing oneself, giving a firm handshake and getting the job are gone. But many people, sometimes including me, remain stuck on those traditional techniques. These measures get a hire in the door, but often a few months later, the organization or the person realize that it isn’t the right fit. Instead, that person might have just been a good interviewer in the traditional sense, and not the person who truly fits into the organization.
Here are a few questions we’re considering as part of our quest to bring the ultimate employees into our Boston PR firm:
- Is the candidate trainable? Is he willing to bring his experience but also learn new techniques?
- How proactive was she in pursuing the job? Does she truly want to work in this environment and why?
- Will the candidate really fit in with the team and the role for which we need him? Pick your top five attributes: Is he a good writer? Deadline-oriented? Proactive? Curious? Organized?
- How does the person behave in different settings with various people interviewing her? Is her performance consistent?
As 2010 comes to a close, the little elves of Metis are busy wrapping up and reflecting on the past year and preparing for 2011. With a successful year under our belt, we are especially grateful for our ongoing, new and past relationships with each and every special person with whom we are in contact daily – and that’s a lot of people.
So in the season of spreading goodwill to all, we bestow our virtual gifts of thanks and best wishes for 2011.
- For our clients, we wish you a year of connecting closely with your customers and partners, and increased awareness and industry buzz, which, as we know, will only increase sales and ROI.
- For the media, we wish you a year of plentiful sources and eager eyes. May your 2011 be filled with articles rich with journalistic integrity and may your readers share your articles, Tweet them and like them on Facebook.
- For the analysts, we wish you a year of groundbreaking research and valuable counsel with vendors, media and clients.
- For our blogger buddies, we wish you a year of meaningful content, increased linkbacks and a following that exceeds all your expectations.
- For our partners, we wish you a year of impressed customers, decreased competition and overall efficient operations. You deserve it.
Cheers to 2010. We listened, we learned, we taught, and we made great inroads to improve Metis and the businesses of our clients, partners and media/analyst/blogger counterparts. Here’s to an even better year ahead.
And in our grand tradition here at Metis, here's our contribution to the viral, commercial spirit of sharing holiday cheer online.
It’s not often my morning commute reminds me of my childhood, but today was different. I saw a fellow MBTA commuter with several letters in her hand, including an envelope with crayon text that was clearly for Santa. “It’s been years since I wrote one of those,” I thought to myself.
With feelings of nostalgia mixing with the smell of fresh baked cookies here at Metis, I thought there was no time better to grab a snack and a glass of milk and write jolly old Saint Nick my Christmas wish list on behalf of PR professionals everywhere.
- An up-to-date masthead on every publication’s website: I understand why publications hesitate to do this, but it’s a win-win for reporters and PR folks. Reporters will see fewer pitches that are not relevant to them while PR pros will spend less time figuring out who the proper contact is. (For what it’s worth, CRN.com is excellent at this).
- Clients with a green technology angle: Anyone who has paid attention to the news over the past several years knows that it is good to be green. There’s a lot of ink used to cover green topics, and it’s a dream to pitch green technologies/initiatives.
- Office furniture that doesn't require assembly: I think this is my inner intern talking.
- A commitment to valuable and targeted content: In the age of the Internet, content is king, and any content created by companies (blogs, whitepapers and videos are just a few examples) gives us more ammunition to do our job effectively.
- A dog in the office every day: When Metis’ four-legged friend comes walking through that front door on Friday mornings, she brings a positive and excited attitude that rubs off on all of us.
That is just one humble intern’s holiday wish list. What professional gifts would you like to unwrap?
"Always in motion is the future."
This quote is one of my favorites and yes, it's from Yoda. Preparing for the unknown is always a waste of time – how do you plan when you don’t know what you don’t know? Instead we keep our heads and hearts open for the future but spend a lot of time reviewing metrics and goals and focusing on what we do, how we do it and why. Last week, we came together to review 2010 and learn from the past year so we can boldly go - just kidding, no more sci fi movie quotes...so we can head into 2011 armed with the knowledge and lessons of countless hours working together.
One of the most productive tasks involved the creation of a “no” list and a “yes” list. We asked ourselves what we want to accept and what we want to avoid in the coming year. In developing these lists, we mapped out a strategy that illuminates our path in 2011, so here are a few highlights of what makes our "yes" list.
- Creating superheroes: This is one of the reasons why clients and former clients refer their colleagues and partners to us. We make internal teams look good. Really good. Whether our client contact is a marketing vice president or a CEO, the work we do – building integrated media programs, securing coverage, generating leads and creating lasting connections with customers – makes that person shine and understand his value.
- Taking off the tuxedos: Often, PR companies and the clients who bring them in put on their fanciest clothes and their fanciest PowerPoints for introductory meetings. Everyone looks pretty and clean, but no one learns much about each other. We don’t operate that way. Because we are a goals-based agency, it’s essential for us to talk in realistic terms with clients from day one. We find out what resources they have and what goals they want to reach, and then we make that work.
- Passion-driven work: In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about the hedgehog concept, which refers to the sweet spot amidst the earning potential, skill set and passion of an organization. We work where those elements meet. We hire professionals who are fervent about the power of words and mastering their craft. We trust in that passion – which has fueled six years of successful results for Metis clients – and we look forward to seeing where it takes us in the year ahead.
My kids constantly bombard me with the question, “Where is my…?” And, of course, I am supposed to immediately locate the toy, book or other item. As a mom, I am much like an IT administrator who is expected to know where every bit of data is stored. But the pressure on the IT administrator might be even greater; he better be able to retrieve that data instantly, or he faces problems bigger than any child’s tantrum.
However, in today’s virtual world, locating that data is sometimes easier said than done. Previously, IT could physically point to a server or a location where the data might be located. Now, it’s out in cyber space. Without virtualization mapping, management and other solutions, IT plays a guessing game at where information is located within their network. Working with data center clients such as FalconStor, Embotics, VM6 Software and Correlsense, I have a solid grasp of the various technologies available to solve virtualization challenges. The increased adoption of server, storage and desktop virtualization technologies, management tools and transaction tracking solutions for mapping these environments are propelled by IT managers who want to make their work lives easier. I know a toy-tracking or mapping solution would make my home life easier!
By living and breathing the aspects of the virtual and data center worlds of my clients and within the realm of public relations, I have insight into how these solutions work together, how ideas build off of each other and how to find the right answer and the right contact for a journalist covering this space. With this versatility, knowledgebase and focus on the data center industry, I and the data center team at Metis provide a creative, innovative approach for each client.
Creativity is essential for both online media relations and motherhood. Turning simple household items such as bottle caps, paper towel rolls and fabric scraps into a rainy day craft project to building a pitch based on industry tidbit or turning an opportunity for one client into something for every client is key to PR success. Where others might see nothing in these items, moms see a great rainy day craft. Where other firms might see no “hook,” Metis sees opportunity, because our team is schooled in the building the narrative first.
As we wrap up 2010, the Metis team and I are discussing what lies ahead in 2011 for the virtual world – what new technologies and topics will be big and the creative ideas we can hatch from these trends. I don’t see an inventive solution coming out to help moms manage their home “data,” but IT administrators will be better off. It looks like 2011 will bring plenty of new virtual product offerings.
What are your thoughts on the next big trends in virtualization? What is important to your company in 2011?
Most people spent Thanksgiving creating memories to add to family photo albums, taking advantage of Black Friday deals (though IBM believes Cyber Monday was a bigger hit this year), and catching up with friends. Unfortunately, my time off was marred by a cold that deprived me of my voice for close to three days.
In between naps and bowls of soup, I thought of the irony of a public relations professional losing his voice. After all, PR firms are charged with creating and maintaining a voice for their clients. Though many aspects of public relations require speaking, there are still ways we can shape a client’s voice without actually using our own:
- Talk via social media- Finding discussions to join on LinkedIn is a great way to get your client’s thoughts in front of professionals, while an active week of tweeting and retweeting interesting articles can garner a follow Friday (#ff) mention. And don’t forget about Facebook; every video posted to a client’s Facebook page represents a chance to be shared.
- Content creation- If your vocal cords are shot, exercise your fingers by creating content. With a decline in editorial opportunities over the years, contributed articles are a substitute method of getting clients into target publications. Also, adding posts to the company blog is a great way to improve the site from a search engine optimization (SEO) standpoint.
- Read the news- This isn’t to say you should ignore industry news when healthy. Rather, take the time you normally would have spent pitching reporters via telephone to enhance your understanding of who follows your industry and what they cover. Find new reporters with whom to forge relationships, identify trends that are gaining momentum, and determine if there are new avenues for inclusion in specific publications. And if you haven’t already, set up a Google Reader account as a way to aggregate search results from across the Web for all your key terms.
There are lots of ways to effectively articulate a client’s message. What other methods do you use that might become even more valuable when your ability to speak is non-existent?