Public speaking infront of a group of critical strangers is universally mans’ greatest fear. Personally, I used to share echo this sentiment. I’ll admit it’s something I’ve avoided when possible. I’m not completely frightened per say — in the past I just didn’t feel comfortable speaking in front of a group of people whom I don’t know. My public speaking nerves take over.
Part of my apprehension is value based. If I didn’t have much to contribute, (translation: who cares what some dumbass like me has to say?) why potentially embarrass myself in front of a group of strangers? The risk-reward didn’t seem to check out… Much like how terrified I was starting this blog.
I firmly believe in not talking for the sake of talking – only speak when you truly have something to ‘say.’
The issue is vulnerability — we struggle to step outside the comfort and safety of our daily routines to which we can control.
I’ve come to realise I’m in a somewhat unique situation (narcissistic rant coming). I’ve accomplished my goal of startimg a career the social media landscape — making the transformation from full-time amateur athlete / student to working at a upstart tech company.
The last few months have been pretty amazing. I went from being a lost puppy without direction to fulltime employment doing what I love. I also graduated, finally putting an end to my six year arts degree marathon.
How did I pull off the transformation from intern to HootSuite employee status? A few things come to mind which i will lay out below.
Great response to 5Run this weekend. Despite my nightly activities, I managed to hammer out three amazing 5Runs: around UBC, the west end / sea wall and along the beach from tower to Kits and Granville Island. I only managed to get caught in one hail storm in the process.
My legs are absolutely killing me after going three days in a row; small price to pay for happiness. Each high-five gives me energy to keep running, even if my calves feel like they’re going to fall off.
A few failed fives to report. Not going to lie, they are discouraging, not to mention embarrassing if lots of people are watching (saw a couple of people point and giggle at me at kits beach on Sunday). Their loss.
Conversion rate on fives has got to be about 90% thus far. Who would have thought? The people who leave me hanging are usually staring straight at the ground the whole time. It is a shame because these are the ones who need it most!
The laughs, the smiles, the eye contact, the subtle acknowledgment of similarity make it the best feeling in the world. I can’t describe the feeling, you simply have to experience it. Go for a run, jog or walk, and high five one person. If you’re nervous, think from their perspective. How awesome would it be to have a random person smile and ask for a high-five while you are struggling? It is empowering. They will love it.
Nerves always creep in as I approach runners. I am an introvert at heart, I have silence that voice in my head all the time.
I came across a blog post yesterday that injected some serious happiness into my day. It literally gave me shivers as I read it. Check it out, a fellow runner (lets call her Jane) wrote about some random dude she high-fived on Kits beach. Wonder who it was? Awesome.
School is starting to wind down. After a brutal week, I managed to get through the last two term papers of my illustrious UBC career. Classes end next week. One final separates me from freedom. My amateur hour undergrad is almost over. What happens next? That right there is a loaded question.
Soon I will be free from the burden of painful lectures, trivial exams and papers that I can barely get through reading in order to edit.
The so called freedom brings a future of uncertainty. The ability to use school as a scapegoat or excuse for why you haven’t accomplished anything yet is gone.
My amateur hour is almost up; the big bad real world beckons. This is great because now I can focus on the things that matter. Leading the charge is my internship at HootSuite.
The terms of my internship are 24 hours or three days a week. I will say that I look forward to every day I get to spend at work; I love it.
Work days I wake up giddy, much like a crew of pre-pubescent girls at a Justin Bieber concert. Days on campus have been brutal compared to days at the office.
The relief of classes ending means I can spend more time learning (wow that’s ironic). I plan on showing up to work every day, whether they like it or not. Why? I love it.
I have some exciting things on the go, my co-workers are awesome and I want to make the most of the opportunity.
At the end of the day I want what everyone else wants: fulfillment. I have a voice (perhaps a quiet one), I feel like I have something unique to contribute. I want to share. Basically I want to put myself in a situation to help people and inspire change.
Anyone miss being in school?
Life has been super busy since I started interning at HootSuite. I am working Monday –Wednesday-Friday. Mondays and Wednesdays I head straight from the office (love saying this) to practice at UBC. These end up being pretty long and exhausting days The Renaissance Man wouldn’t have it any other way.
The scheduling works out pretty well given that all my classes are on Tuesday and Thursday. I’ve been able to manage everything pretty well… Up until midterm season kicks around. Case in point was last week when a midterm came up. It was brutal getting home from work / practice at 7:30 then having to eat something and head to the library.
As I invest more time and energy into work, the burden of school lurks in the background, like this guy. I am stoked to be graduating at the end of April, but I wish it was over now. School feels like an unnecessary weight on my burly shoulders at this point.
The blog has taken a bit of a hit as well. My ambitions were to post three times per week. This is clearly a bit of a stretch at this point. Bi-weekly posts will suffice for the time being.
Midterm season is over; term paper season is in full swing. Time to see if my blogging prowess transfers to writing research papers.
No excuses, play like a champion.
The other day I shared some of the new age self-education options that are out there. This will be a primer on my trip to Toronto next week for Social Media Week.
Hilarious hipster video was put out by the organizers of Social Media Week.
Social Media Week is a global event that takes place in several host cities from February 13-17. It consists of dozens of presentations, speakers and conferences on all things pertaining to technology, communications and social media. After the great experience I had attending a couple of events at Social Media Week Vancouver in September, I figured what better excuse to skip a week of class than go to Social Media Week Toronto (SMWTO).
My primary concern with investing time and money into an event like this is the added value. I have no doubt the content will be great and I will learn some useful skills. The other part of the value in my opinion is the relationship building.
I plan on using my newfound networking prowess to meet some movers and build some connections. For those concerned about my past business card fiascos, worry not, they are in production as I type. No longer will this guy be answering business card inquiries with embarrassing excuses.
The budget is another huge concern. I am a student with no income. However, with careful planning and frugal spending, I can make it work. The major expenses are: the event itself, accommodation and transportation.
The majority of events at SWMTO are free, friends were gracious enough to let me crash on a pull-out bed in their apartment and my flights are booked on Aeroplan miles. So far so good. Aside from a $61 service charge which Aeroplan was nice enough to sneak in to my ticket transaction, I will not have spent a dime upon my arrival.
Food is another concern. I enjoy eating good high quality food. Most of the events at SMWTO provide “light snacks and refreshments” before and after the entertainment. Not sure what that means, but I plan on taking full advantage of any complementary food; getting appie happy as much as possible. Perhaps even schmooze my way to a few lunch or dinner meetings.
I look forward to the coming week in Toronto. Aside from SMWTO, I am excited to re-connect with some good friends.
No doubt there will be some great stories for the blog as I continue to experiment with networking.
If anyone is in Toronto next week, drop me a line so we can meetup!
This is a 500 word pitch on why you SHOULD get LinkedIn. Don’t be intimidated and don’t feel inadequate.
LinkedIn is a social networking site where you build connections (friends) and expand your network. I was late to the LinkedIn game, but am quickly realizing how valuable a medium it is for all aspects of relationships and networking.
It does not matter if you haven’t had a corporate job. My employment history consists of installing new driveways or lawns, and yelling at disengaged teenagers on a field. Doesn’t stop me (wait, can I call myself a blogger now?). I’m not granting permission to pepper your LinkedIn account with your Safeway shelf stocker job. Casually leave that part out of the equation for now.
Work the student angle. In the case where your vocation is non-existent, make sure the rest of your profile is stellar. Your profile picture should be a gorgeous headshot with the pearly whites on fine display. Think of the rest of your profile as a work in progress. Add one thing every time you log on, whether it is a new ‘skill’ or a new group. Try and log on once a day.
For the summary section, find a way to differentiate yourself from the riffraff; tell a story, display your autonomy and uniqueness. Complete the remainder of your profile in stages.
LinkedIn differentiates people by category (2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc), denoting the degrees of separation between you and another person. When someone is a 2nd degree connection, it means at least one mutual friend. 2nd degree connections can be added by anyone. Extend the olive branch with a personal message.
LinkedIn does have a “get introduced by a friend” feature, where you can be connected to a second degree connection through a friend. This can be beneficial for scouting contacts and surveying potential business opportunities. It prompts you to send a quick message to your mutual connection, asking for an intro. This is like someone vouching for you. Be courteous and don’t outright ask for favours. The mutual friend must accept your intro request before the invitation is sent out to the scouted connection.
Don’t get caught up in adding everyone you may know as a connection. Unlike Facebook, absolute number of connections is arbitrary. I could have 1000 connections. It is useless if you haven’t built up a rapport and trust with each connection at one point or another. What good is having a connection that wouldn’t vouch for you? Meaningful connections where mutual benefit can be established are what make LinkedIn unique.
The average Canadian spends eight minutes per visit on LinkedIn, Facebook is triple. It does not require the real-time active interactions that Facebook or Twitter demand.
It will be interesting to see where LinkedIn fits into the greater landscape of social media. Some question the staying power. The fact that it does not command real-time interaction means less daily visits. Less visits cripples ad revenue and sponsored pages: two key revenue streams that fuel social media platforms. LinkedIn is going to have to get creative.
Perhaps you don’t need an account now, but in my opinion, you will at some point. Why not gradually familiarize yourself now, so you are not flustered registering later when someone asks for your LinkedIn info. Almost as faux-paw as a business card slip up.
Here is a good guide.
What do you think about LinkedIn? Can I call myself a blogger?
The other day I talked about the transition I am making from amateur athletics to a more career centered approach in social media. Today, I’m going to talk a bit about the cold reality of the application process.
The most important part of my self-education for a career in social media is an internship. While the idea of working for free is not something that I am particularly thrilled about, I am happy to do it in order to gain relevant experience and learn more about the field that I am passionate about and would eventually pursue a career in. That, and the fact that I have no formal education in marketing or social media and extremely limited applicable experience. Not exactly in a power position here.
Where does one find internship postings? Searches on Craigslist, Twitter and Monster gave me some decent leads as a starting point.
Next, I had to spruce up my resume. The fact that I had to scramble to even find it on my computer probably tells you the current state of said resume. The hectic training schedule associated with being an amateur athlete makes regular employment a bit tricky. While most of my friends went to school during the winter and worked in the summer, I took part-time classes at UBC year round in order to be able to balance school with the travel and training for Field Hockey. This is also part of the reason why I’ve only worked as a coach or in manual labour. Is that a cop-out? Nevertheless, I feel this is a common issue that many athletes face.
So with my resume freshly updated, it was time to start thinking about a cover letter. Much to my chagrin, my sister was kind enough to assure me that you need an entirely separate cover letter for each job you apply for. Cover letter’s are meant as an opportunity to make the ultimate creative pitch to an employer. AKA blow as much smoke as possible, but keep it to one page. Seems like a cocktail of corporate buzzword mumbo-jumbo with a dash of neuroticism is the recipe for success.
As a way to use my self-proclaimed social media prowess in order to write the best cover letter, I turned to Quora (awesome site) and Twitter. Quora is like the Google effect on steroids. You type a specific question and industry professionals answer. The Quora search gave me some great tips and info from supposed “experts”. Susan the ‘Career Counsellor’ got the highest rating from users for her spiel on cover letter secrets; she must be legit. Good enough for me. Armed with a template draft for a cover letter, I started applying for internships.
Then… I randomly found an awesome website through the UBC AMS Society. Apparently they have an internship coordinator for students… Who knew? I met with the coordinator and sent her my resume and a cover letter. She goes over your info and applies to internships on your behalf. Highly recommend this for students. Also recommend you follow @YouTern on twitter. They post internships to places all over North America daily.
Few moves made. Couple of developments in the works. The wheels are in motion as they say.
Any good resources for internships or writing cover letters? Holler.
The transition from a full time amateur athlete playing Field Hockey (guys do play field hockey) for Canada into a more career centered approach is tough!
As my never ending undergrad degree is finally coming to a close in April (victory lap… Van Wilder… all that), it’s frightening to think what my next move is and how I am going to make a living and find a career. I’ll be graduating with a “useless” Bachelor of Arts degree… Add me to the list of all my friends with these arts degrees that have no idea what to do next.
Social media could be my saviour. I’ve been Facebooking for a while. But other channels of social media have sparked my interest over the last year. Initially, I took a liking to twitter: saw a few friends on it and thought it would be fun to try.
I’m often reluctant to tweet things because it’s hard to convey your intentions; especially for those that may not know me very well. The nature of an audience reading one tailored message in black text is such that delivery, body language (wait you can’t see my smug smirk?) and the emotional valence of your message is lost. Having no immediate reply or validation for your tweet is somewhat daunting. Is this funny? Nope. Should I delete the tweet? Is Bill Simmons going to retweet me if say something funny? These are three questions that cross my mind daily. But… This is what makes it fun.
My interest in social media moved from twitter to just about everything else. My dabbling has extended to LinkedIn, Hootsuite this tumblr page and a few other random social media apps and sites. Judging by the reaction I got last weekend from a girl I told that I was on Pinterest, I’ve determined that I am just about the only guy in Vancouver using it.
How can social media promote or determine my career? Wouldn’t it be sweet if I could create an awesome website or app, market it and live the dream? Not very realistic given my current situation. I wouldn’t know where to start.
Social media marketing, building and developing a brand online is something that draws my curiosity. How do you declare yourself an expert in social media marketing? The lack of formal education out there makes it a bit tricky. Having reached out to a couple of people I see as experts in the field, it has become clear that real world experience sprinkled with self-education is the key.
I am now looking for an internship in social media marketing. I’ve started participating in several online webinars, listening to podcasts and reading e-books. I am making plans to go to Social Media Week -Toronto in February. I also started reading a great book on the subject by David Meerman Scott called ‘The NEW RULES of MARKETING & PR’. Looks like my undergrad classes are on the back burner for now.
Any tips or suggestions for my self-education? Lets hear it!