Apps to Keep You Sane!

James Marable

James Marable, Manager, Social Media (Executive & College Recruitment) @Macy’s Inc.
Twitter: @JMarable
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/james-marable/4/29a/93

Imagine living in a world without multiple deadlines, no crazy travel schedules, no back-to-back (to back) meetings, or a world where you don’t have to rush from work to your kid’s band practice because you forgot it was your turn to pick him or her up! Now imagine living in a world where your spontaneous ideas weren’t forgotten as fast as you came up with them, or a hard drive crash erases the presentation that you’ve been working over a month on because your hard drive crashed! Well keep dreaming because most of those things are still going to happen, but there are some great tools to help minimize all of this stress.

We live in a nonstop world—it’s almost a full-time job to keep up with everything going on. With the advent of the smartphone, we are armed with a device that allows us to be creative, informed, entertained, and productive. Although smartphones have great power, they can easily become another distraction without the right set of apps to keep you on track.

The first app that I recommend is Todoist, a productivity tool which allows one to detail project tasks in a very meticulous manner through a simple and direct interface. I was introduced to this program in 2013, and I can’t remember how I got by before it. I sometimes liken myself to the “absent-minded professor,” because I’m constantly working on something (whether it’s for my role as a social media manager or for one of the countless external activities I’m involved with) and it’s easy for me to forget a step or two (or three). It allows me to separate all of my projects, then break down individual tasks, and even share responsibilities/tasks with individuals I may be partnering with. The app is accessible on almost every device/platform you can think of; iOS, android, PC, Mac, Gmail, and Outlook, so you can access your lists whether you have your phone or not. Tasks can be flagged with “priority levels,” allowing one to decide what needs to be done and in what order. It’s very flexible—it allows one to mesh their own approach to productivity. If you want to gain greater control over defining what needs to be done Todoist is worth a look.

So you’re running a little late for a flight and after doing lap after lap of the parking lot, lugging all your (and/or someone else’s) bags, and making a mad dash to the terminal only to find out your flight has been delayed. Ever happen to you? Yeah, me too.

tripcaseTripCase is a great app for iOS and android devices (there’s a web version too), that lays out an overview of a full trip itinerary in chronological order, detailing flight information, hotel addresses, car rental reservation numbers, and more. It strips out all of the unnecessary information in those ridiculously long confirmation e-mails and just gives you the pertinent facts. TripCase also updates flight status in real time so you aren’t that guy racing through the airport (unless you’re really, really late)!

Inspiration strikes at a moment’s notice; when it hits, you want to be able to capture it completely to expand upon later, and Evernote is the app to facilitate this. One could evernotesimply write off Evernote as just a note taking app and question why one shouldn’t use the notepad on their phone. My pushback to that thinking is based on its flexibility and connectedness. Evernote lets you create all kinds of notes; text, photo, voice, and video, and gives you access to them on all of your devices (PC, Mac, android phone/tablet, iPhone/iPad/iPod). No matter where you capture your thought, it becomes accessible on any device that has the app. The interface is totally user friendly and everything is searchable via keywords and tags. All your notes are stored within digital notebooks that live in your personal cloud, so you don’t have to worry about your notes dying with a malfunctioning/lost device or misplaced piece of paper. Whether you’re in a team meeting and forgot paper and pen to capture everyone’s ideas, or you’re on an evening jog and the solution to world peace comes to you, Evernote allows you to compose your thoughts and store them in an archive you will always have access to no matter where you are.

These are just three of the apps that I use to bring a little order to my life from home to work to play and back again; give them a whirl and see if they don’t increase your productivity!

Lastly, here are a few other apps that I’d recommend you take a look at: FeedlyPocketCudaSign, and Google Drive —they are great time savers and make life on the go that much more bearable.

James Marable is the social media manager at Macy’s Executive Recruitment & College Relations. Macy’s is sponsoring the 2015 Conference TECHbar in the Expo Hall.

 

 

Be Gentle When Networking With Introverts

Chris Carlson

Christopher Carlson, Director of Talent Acquisition and Diversity, Tennessee Valley Authority
Twitter: @cciCarlson
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ccicrc
Blogs from Christopher Carlson

The 2015 NACE Conference is just around the corner and we all know what that means—networking, best practices, learning, and fun. To prepare last year, I wrote a blog about survival tips for the introverts attending the conference. Another introvert appreciated my comments and asked me to present in a peer-to-peer session on introverts. I had to say yes to support my fellow introverts—remember, we can still be outgoing and friendly.

This year, in preparation for the conference, I wanted to share tips on how extroverts can get the most out of us methodical, introspective, and often brilliant introverts (you know I’m smiling as I write this). So here are some networking tips for our extrovert friends:

  • Pauses are not responses: Don’t assume that when an introvert pauses in the conversation that he/she has nothing to say. We like to marinate on a topic and formulate a response in our heads before speaking. Extroverts are known to “think out loud.” Allow an introvert a moment to process a response internally.
  • Approach “gently:” If you have ever driven through Maryland, the state welcomes you on their sign with a nice slogan of “Please drive gently.” In a similar fashion, approach introverts gently with a simple “Hello, how are you?” This approach is a great way to allow an introvert to become comfortable. Don’t jump right in and pretend to be his or her best friend. We introverts do warm up, but it takes us a minute to get comfortable and to feel safe. Once comfortable, you can’t get some of us to stop talking—trust me, I have friends that would pay someone to shut me up at times.
  • Don’t take offense: If you ever see an introvert, a true introvert, in a large crowd of people where everyone is networking, you will notice one of two scenarios: The introvert is probably drinking to help become comfortable with all the noise and people, or the introvert will become exhausted quickly and will want to run out of the room.

If we seem to be distant or look like we want to run away as fast as we can, trust me, we like you and we want to spend time talking to you, but we’re overwhelmed by the surroundings. Try walking with us to a quieter spot or move the conversation to where there are fewer people. You will see that we are going to be more inclined to engage when not surrounded. (When I lived in Los Angeles, my friends would invite me to all sorts of parties. They had a bet to see who could get me to actually show up. It was rare, but I did show up to a few gatherings.)

These are just three tips for you extroverts out there on how to optimize your networking with us. Suzanne Helbig from UC, Irvine and I will be sharing more about the great insights you can gain from introverts at the conference, I hope you join us in a peer-to-peer session on Wednesday, June 3.

Presentation Skills for Aspiring Leaders—Step 3: Takeaways

Sue Keever WattsSue Keever Watts
Senior Director at ROI Communication
Blog: http://keevergroup.wordpress.com/
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/sue-keever-watts/0/aa/b60
Twitter: @SueKeever
Blogs from Sue Keever Watts.

The third element in any presentation is “your story.” Your story is your message. Whether you’re giving a PowerPoint presentation or presenting without any props or aids at all, think of your message as a coherent story.

You want the audience to keep their eyes on you (not on your slides or props). Because we read from left to right, stand to the left (audience’s left) of the screen. Your slides simply keep you on track. The shorter the better.  Too much data and your audience will get overloaded and ultimately disconnect. Don’t anticipate your next slide. Look at the slide as though you’re seeing it for the first time along with the audience. Slides exist to queue you. They’re not the storyteller. You are. Use your voice to drive home your point.

Don’t read your slides verbatim. Reading puts people to sleep and completely kills all interest in your topic. It undermines your credibility and is the fastest way to drive people from the room.

If presenting a quote, look at the slide together and say something like, “Read the words of a great leader.” If you’re presenting findings or statistics, don’t try to fit everything into one slide. Select one statistic per slide and be creative. For example, instead of showing a bar chart of your intern conversion rates over the past five years, show one slide that says “Conversion rates up 75 percent.”

End with a quote, a story, a challenge, or a call to action. If you want to keep people’s attention, make eye contact. If you want to make your story relevant, then use the word “you.” Incorporate statements such as “Have you ever” or “I believe you’ll find” or “What do you think about?”  Your presentation isn’t all about you—it’s all about your audience.

Remember, if your body language or your voice gets in the way of your overall message, you’ll lose your audience. Delivery can make or break your presentation, so spend as much time on your voice and your nonverbal communication as you do your slide deck.

Sue Keever Watts will deliver Presentation Skills for Aspiring Leaders on Wednesday, June 3, at NACE15. She has been helping leaders develop their presentation skills for more than 25 years.

If you missed part 1 or part 2, you can read them on the NACE Blog.

Presentation Skills for Aspiring Leaders—Step 2: Delivery

Sue Keever WattsSue Keever Watts
Senior Director at ROI Communication
Blog: http://keevergroup.wordpress.com/
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/sue-keever-watts/0/aa/b60
Twitter: @SueKeever
Blogs from Sue Keever Watts.

There are three things that matter when you’re presenting. Here’s a hint—one of the three is not your PowerPoint deck. The three things include your nonverbal communication, your voice, and your message. Your body language (nonverbal communication) and voice dramatically impact whether your audience believes what you have to say. Simply put, the way you deliver your message is what people use to judge your level of expertise, intelligence, and trustworthiness. We’ve all watched presentations where we couldn’t get past the speaker’s irritating voice, her pacing, or his lack of eye contact.

Let’s start with the most important of the three, which is nonverbal communication. By this I mean your posture, your body language, and your overall presence. Although difficult, the best way to stand in front of an audience is with your arms at your side. Clasping your hands together is a natural response to fear. In essence, you’re covering or protecting yourself. And, when you clasp your hands, you look nervous (which, of course, you are). When you look nervous, you appear less confident and that impacts your credibility.

You can use your hands to make a point or to point at something, but when not in use, they should be at your side. Also, when you move, move with purpose. Don’t rock back and forth, and don’t wander aimlessly. Walk over to one side of your audience, make eye contact with someone in the audience, make your point, pause, and then walk to another side of the room and do the same thing. Making eye contact with individuals in your audience creates intimacy. Finally, don’t talk at your audience, talk to them. Think of your presentation as a conversation. How would you deliver this information to one person over a cup of coffee? A good presenter is able to close the gap between herself and her audience.

The second most important element in your presentation is your voice. By voice, I mean your cadence, how you punctuate your sentences, and whether or not you pause. Have you ever listened to a presentation and the speaker’s voice never changed? It didn’t speed up or slow down. It didn’t rise or fall. It was flat, it was frenetic, or it was extremely loud throughout the entire presentation. More than likely, you lost interest.

Effective presenters raise their voices to accentuate a point. They lower their voices to almost a whisper to draw in their audience. Pausing is one of the most effective tools in the presenter’s arsenal. Every time you pause, you give the audience time to fully absorb what you’ve said. It is truly the only way that you can effectively get your message across. Oftentimes people give too much information. They give it too quickly. They don’t pause. And, then they wonder why no one was able to remember what they said. Pause often, and pause after you’ve made an important point. Finally, use your voice to punctuate your sentences. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate a little emotion by raising your voice (or lowering your voice), using your arms, or simply pausing to let the full impact of your message reach the audience.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about takeaways. If you have any suggestions or related stories, please e-mail me at swatts@roico.com.

Read Step 1 on the NACE Blog. Also, see Step 3.

Presentation Skills for Aspiring Leaders—Step 1: Prep Work

Sue Keever WattsSue Keever Watts
Senior Director at ROI Communication
Blog: http://keevergroup.wordpress.com/
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/sue-keever-watts/0/aa/b60
Twitter: @SueKeever
Blogs from Sue Keever Watts.

All great presenters have one thing in common: they give, they don’t take. In fact, the best way to give a truly memorable presentation is to turn the tables and shift the focus away from you and onto your audience. In this three-part series, we’ll cover the essential elements of a powerful presentation—prep work, delivery, and takeaways. Anyone can be a great presenter, I promise. It just takes practice. Here are some tips for getting started:

  1. See yourself as a present-er. I know it’s cheesy, but if you think of your presentation as a gift, then you’re much more likely to capture the attention of your audience.
  2. Step away from the computer. Never build your presentation with a PowerPoint template. Your presentation isn’t your PowerPoint deck. The presentation is you—your brain, your ideas, your perspective, and your knowledge. Firm up your ideas before you put them into a template.
  3. Know your audience. Who are they and what information do they need? A presentation isn’t about holding people captive for an hour. It’s an opportunity to captivate, inspire, inform, transform, or educate.
  4. Identify one big idea. What do you want your audience to take away? Focus on no more than two-to-three key points, but find a repeating theme (one big idea) that pulls it all together.
  5. Use stories to engage your audience. Look for opportunities to incorporate brief stories into your presentation. Don’t be afraid to make it personal—use, perhaps, a story that influenced your viewpoint or position on the subject.
  6. Nail the opening. Audiences are easily distracted. You have to capture their attention quickly. Open with a surprising fact, a related story, or a question. Engage your audience from the get-go. Never open with an apology, excuse, or long-winded review of your accomplishments.
  7. PowerPoint isn’t the problem: bullet points are. Most PowerPoint presentations could give themselves. They’re packed with too many words, far too many ideas, and way too many instructions. If you use PowerPoint, think of the meaning of each slide. What idea are you trying to get across? Find an appropriate photo or graphic as the background and create one sentence that captures the essence of your message. Just one sentence per slide.
  8. Visualize. As you prepare to give your presentation, ask yourself what you would say if technology failed and it was just you and the audience. Then, visualize each slide along with the key message you’re trying to convey. Practice. Practice. Practice.
  9. Know when to stop. Your audience has an attention span of about 18 minutes. If you have an hour to speak, be sure to create opportunities for audience participation, discussion, and/or brainstorming. If you want your audience to retain the information you’ve presented, they have to participate.
  10. Prepare for objections or questions in advance. Determine whether you’re going to take questions during, between sections, or after your presentation. Always repeat the question. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll get back to you.”

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how to deliver an effective presentation. If you have any suggestions or related stories, please e-mail them to me at swatts@roico.com.

Sue Keever Watts will deliver Presentation Skills for Aspiring Leaders on Wednesday, June 3, at NACE15. She has been helping leaders develop their presentation skills for more than 25 years.

Read: Step 2 and Step 3

What to Expect at NACE15 if You’re a First-Timer

Debbie BolesDebbie Boles, Assistant Director, University of Oklahoma Career Services
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/dboles/
Twitter: @breboles

In 2014, I attended my first NACE Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Although I have been working in higher education for 20+ years, it was my first year as a NACE member. As I prepare to attend the 2015 NACE Conference & Expo, I thought it might be nice to share some things that helped me at last year’s conference.

Remember: The conference will be what you make of it. If you take the opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, and gather ideas to bring back to the office, then that is what will happen.

Preparation: Promotional Materials, Maps, and Apps

When conference information is sent through the mail, I keep it handy to help me get organized. The registration information booklet for the 2015 NACE Conference & Expo includes a folded handout that provides key information regarding keynote speakers, great ideas in 15-minute SMARTtalks sessions, and new events that capture the latest innovations. It is important to read the brochures, access the online resources, and research the large variety of concurrent sessions.

Then, download the NACE15 Conference app to your phone. (You’ll find it in your app store. Search for NACE15.)

I learn as much as I can prior to the event in order to decide what I want to attend and to help me build a roadmap for my journey.

Determine which sessions are important for you to attend. Get to know the conference layout (there’s a conference map in the program and on the NACE15 app) so you can find your way around between sessions, but also because a session may change locations or be cancelled. Check the app often for updates. Each time you leave your room, check that you’re carrying your schedule, room key, and name tag. Do not leave your room without your map and your app.

Remember, be flexible and prepared, and have a backup plan.

Participation: Divide and Conquer

If this is your first NACE Conference, plan to attend the newcomers’ session and try to arrive early. If you are traveling with other newcomers or experienced conference attendees, divide up to meet new people.

If you are traveling with other staff from your office, divide the sessions and attend different sessions. Determine what is most important for you to attend, then spread out and cover more ground. Be prepared to report back to your group. Do not try to do everything.

Are you competitive?  Do you like to participate and win prizes?  Be your own private investigator.  Search within your conference information to find interesting challenges that take you outside your comfort zone.  If you are nervous, you will find comfort in numbers because you are not the only one that is doing something for the first time.  Take a chance, learn from others, and have fun while doing it.

Resources: What to Bring, Where to Go, What to Know

What is your learning style? Do you prefer to read about something or would you like to be able to see it, access it, and learn by doing?

Throughout the conference, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to see the latest career-related products and services in the Expo Hall. Take advantage of this! Pick up a brochure, watch a demonstration, or meet the people that work behind the scenes. The Expo Hall provides an interesting environment that combines rows of vendors with chances to win prizes, as well as a place to get a snack or eat a meal.

When attending sessions, ask questions. Introduce yourself to the presenters and other participants. Ask for a business card, website, or e-mail address, and when you return home, be sure you use this information to keep in touch.

Other Tips for First-Timers

Bring an umbrella, light jacket, and sunscreen. Remember phone chargers, medication, and comfortable shoes.

And finally, have some fun! Find a balance between doing everything and wishing you would have done more. Take a break every once in a while to meet new people. Think about what makes you more comfortable and then do something nice for someone else.

Make the most of your time and remember to drink lots of water. Hope to see you there.

Who to Meet at NACE15

Marc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva UniversityMarc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva University
Twitter: @MarcGoldmanNYC
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/marcjgoldman
Blogs from Marc Goldman

Hello, intrepid NACE Blog readers. It’s been quite a busy academic year for me, but after some friendly reminding on the part of Claudia Allen, I’m back and ready to write or, more appropriately noted, type. I cannot believe it’s been almost a year since our last NACE conference in San Antonio, TX. Yee haw! I am still having trouble getting the hayDan Black and Fred Burke, NACE14 and sawdust out of my boots. And the vivid memory of Fred Burke and Dan Black all cowboy-like lingers, for better or worse. It is now time to turn our attention to the West Coast and our return to Anaheim. I recall celebrating NACE’s big 50th anniversary the last time we met in Anaheim. Members dressed to the nines in tuxes and gowns for the red carpet soiree, and much fun was had by all. Once again, we will find ourselves facing the moral dilemma of attending another training or information session versus “networking” poolside in the California sun. Regardless of how you spend your time at the conference, it is always important to keep in mind whom you should try to meet while there. Feel free to reference my blog post from last year regarding this topic. But if you prefer only to look toward the future and not relive the past, then read on here about the key people to find and connect with at NACE15!

One of your awesome conference co-chairs is a great friend and colleague of mine, Brian Guerrero, currently at UCLA. I have known him since he was a wee lad of 12 or Brian Guererroso, when he applied to be a career counselor at the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development. Brian is one of the classiest cats around, quite informed and educated in our field and genuinely caring and supportive toward others in his circle and Caroline Cunninghambeyond. I know if his clarity of vision and infectious enthusiasm are involved in this year’s conference, then we are in for a treat. Say hi to him, thank him, and have him introduce you to his co-chair, Caroline Cunningham, and members of the conference committee!

When you first arrive at the conference center, you will be greeted by many wonderful NACE staffers, sporting polos in one color or another. Which one will it be when you get there? Only the fates can decide! Anyway, if you ever have thought to yourself, “Self, I Cecelia Naderreally want to volunteer my time and be more involved in NACE,” then you need to track down Cecelia Nader! Cecelia is the volunteer guru, as I like to call her, and can certainly steer you in various directions toward using your strengths and taking on exciting challenges, all in the name of good will for the professional association. And don’t worry, you will never be a bother. If she can put up with me, she can handle most people with ease.

Atrudy wonderful Marriott employee should be on your go-to list. How many Marriotts have I stayed in due to NACE conferences? Man, I should have become a Marriott Rewards member years ago! How great have these stays been? Of course, they have varied from location to location, but mostly, the staffs have handled our throngs and accompanying needs, whims, and complaints incredibly well. You might even learn something about the hospitality industry or make a new connection for your school or recruiting staff. The possibilities are…to quote the “Chief” herself, Trudy Steinfeld…limitless!

O. Ray AngleWhether you are a NACE newbie yourself or a member of the Academy of Fellows (That’s you now, O. Ray Angle Shawn VanDerzieland Shawn VanDerziel!), please welcome and embrace first-time conference attendees. The annual conference can be overwhelming and confusing at times. There are so many names and faces, and people try their best to avoid that awkward squinting and staring at the print on name badges to acquaint themselves. Be the good Samaritan, introduce yourself, and offer a helping hand to the rookies.

Marc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva University

Me! Yes, you can read my blog post from last year to learn about me, but I will once again offer up my openness to meeting new colleagues. Feel free to say hi, ask about my work with the Leadership Advancement Program committee this year, or note how I have chilled a bit on my ribbon obsession! I look forward to seeing you all in Anaheim in June! Oh yeah, make sure to encourage me to keep the blogging momentum going. Claudia Allen would really appreciate it. (Editor’s note: Yes, she would.)