Tag Archives: Body of Work

Story differentiates your body of work

In today’s world of work, which is characterized by abundance, instability, and ingenuity, professionals have to find ways to differentiate themselves from the many others out there who possess the same or similar skills. How does one rise to the top of a mountain of great communicators, strong work ethics, and innovative, effective, responsible workers (these words all come from LinkedIn’s top ten most overused buzzwords of 2013)?

In oder to differentiate yourself and maximize your competitive advantage, you have to tell your story. Pamela Slim, author of Body of Work: Finding the thread that ties your story together, uses story herself to illustrate the resonance an engaging story can have. She tells the story of her father and John Legend among others, and shares her advice via stories of her own experiences as a career coach.  What story does is place your body of work:”…everything you create, contribute, affect, and impact. For individuals, it is the personal legacy you leave at the end of your life, including all the tangible and intangible things you have created” (Source) into a unique context.

Slim’s book is a great starting point for discovering how to tell your story, but you can also draw much inspiration from the remarkable examples of professional stories on Slideshare.net. One such story is Matt Henshaw’s “How to Rock the Perfect LinkedIn Profile”:

Henshaw’s deck is of course a beautiful example of clean, minimalist design. It’s also one of the best examples of a professional story I’ve seen since David Crandall’s “Anti-Resume Manifesto.” Henshaw tells the story of being “this close” to achieving his dream–being a professional musician–losing a major record contract, redefining himself as a college graduate and computer science sustainability research assistant (phew!), finding his way back to his passion, and articulating a successful plan to pursue this passion as career.

It’s so difficult to tell our own stories at times, especially through a visual medium. Finding the right way to begin a story that for us has very fuzzy beginnings can stop most of us from sharing that story with others (no one tells you to think about how working at a local grocery store is the start of you becoming a teacher 20 years later). Matt’s deck is both inspirational and useful. It shows us that a story can compel viewers, contextualize “failure”, and that careful attention to every version of your story on the web can make a difference. If you want to maximize your competitive advantage, create a body of work and then tell your story.

 

 

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Data Display of the Day: How to choose the right job

The Professional Communication and Presentation reboot has entered the lesson-building phase; we’ve secured our new course textbook, developed assignments, and rubrics. Now, it’s time to craft lessons to help our students meet the objectives we’ve developed for the course. One of my primary tasks in creating lessons is drawing from and integrating strong sources related to our core outcomes. Today’s data display, courtesy of Daily Infographic and visual.ly, features a very important topic, how to find a job that will help you grow into your career. While this infographic features information you already think about when applying for a job, it puts the most important aspects that lead to career bliss first.

For me, the most of important of these are those that lead to a positive work environment–opportunities, people, and management. From my perspective, a strong leader develops his or her staff, creating worthwhile opportunities for growth, innovation, and fair acknowledgement of above and beyond effort. A strong leader further motivates those he or she leads to actualize their best selves. So, for me, when my students ask me how to choose a target market for their Professional Personal Project, my answer will be look to the leadership.

 

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What’s your key to a job that grows your body of work?

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Slideshare User to Follow: Placester

Are you a blogger, freelancer, or new start up? Looking for free sources to help you as you get your body of work off the ground? Check out today’s Slideshare User to Follow, the first in a new series to join Slideshare of the Day and Data Display of the Day on Tweak Your Slides.

I ran across Placester while perusing Slideshare presentations on my dashboard. The company, whose main focus is assisting real estate professionals in marketing themselves and growing their businesses through web hosting, custom sites, and infoproduct, has several infographic and presentation resources budding freelancers can use to grow their brand. I particularly found their latest offering, “The Content Wranglers Guide to Ebook Marketing” to be particularly useful, as I have been advised my several folks that creating infoproducts, specifically an e-book based on Tweak Your Slides is a great way to market my brand and also reach new readers (while at the same time eradicating bullet-riddled death by PowerPoint visuals and presentations). The infographic not only provides the why of self-published e-books but also a succinct how-to. Check out the deck below and all of Placester’s decks at http://www.slideshare.net/Placester.

 

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Current Reads to Grow My BoW

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The month of March continues to be one of the busiest for most in my circle (including my amazing sister who just came back from a trip to London and was recently accepted to my alma mater, the University of Florida). This week’s posts have been short and sweet, but I am happy to say next week will be packed with articles on course development (designing the instruction sheets for the PCP reboot), the first installment in the Ideate content development series, and a post on the design process for my first slidedoc. I think part of what has made 2014 so fruitful has been the drive and commitment by my colleagues, family, and friends to grow their body of work. That kind of commitment is contagious! I am working to expand my BoW by taking on three new books (in addition to inhaling the second book in the Sword of Truth series). This month, I am reading Words that Work by Dr. Frank Luntz, Creative Workshop by David Sherwin, and Cook This, Not That! by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding. Four very different books, four ways to tap into areas of potential growth in this the year of the Body of Work.

Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind

I’ve always been a big fan of science fiction (I’ve devoured most sci-fi shows and am on my second viewing of the Dr. Who reboot), but good fantasy from my perspective was hard to come by outside of LOTR. I picked up the first installment of Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series after realizing it was the basis for a fantasy series I’d sampled a few years before, Legend of the Seeker, a mostly forgettable but entertaining show featuring several folks from the film adaptations of LOTR. I have enjoyed immersing myself into Goodkind’s world. I cannot help but see Joseph Campbell’s Hero Cycle in Richard Cypher’s journey from simple forest guide to Seeker, wizard, and lord. Reading and becoming invested in this story is teaching me more about crafting stories and integrating them into presentations, as well as bringing to life Duarte’s idea that conflict is a constant in a great story.

Words that Work by Frank Luntz

The name Dr. Frank Luntz is familiar to me from reading Alex’s blog, in particular her review of Win, so when I ran across Words that Work while perusing the bargain books at Barnes and Noble (yes, I love a bargain!), I of course bought it immediately. I am looking forward to learning more about the impact words have on decision making. I teach my students that language and the ability to use it well can have immediate and lasting impact. Learning the right words to create resonance can help me not only teach others but also achieve my own professional goals. I am particularly intrigued by the use of real case studies of working words in action.

Creative Workshop by David Sherwin

Another area I’d like to grow is my design skills. While I have found a way to design pretty much anything and everything I need in Keynote (so intimidated by Photoshop, even after completing a Lynda course on the subject), I have reached the point where I know I need to learn to use the tools of the design trade, and I’d like to learn by designing new types of deliverables. Creative Workshop is an application-based, skill building book. It contains 80 exercises broken up into seven categories. The purpose of the book is to help designers push and challenge their creative skills, to tackle the spectrum of design (from branding to video) in order to grow creativity through practice. I’ve owned the book for a few years, but felt intimidated by the projects. After completing Ideate, for which I created several icons and visualizations, I realized that innovation and growth as a designer will only come from challenge, so it’s time to tackle Sherwin’s challenges!

Cook This, Not That! Easy and Awesome 350-Calorie Meals by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding

As I mentioned previously, I have been perfecting a few of my own homemade recipes, in particular my mojo marinade. If you know me well enough, you know I love to cook. In my home, we create a menu for each week’s dinners. Trying out new recipes and cooking for and with my significant other is the highlight of my day. I don’t usually buy cookbooks anymore because, let’s face it, I can Pinterest pretty much anything, but I loved the first book from this duo, Eat This, Not That!, so I picked this book up on my B & N bargain book trip. As soon as I opened the book, I was hooked. Not only were the recipes easy and yummy, the book is so well-designed! My favorite sections are the preambles to each category. For instance, the salad section contains a “salad matrix,” a visual breakdown of salad bases, vegetables, toppings, and dressings one can create hundreds of combinations with. Each section is color coded, includes call outs, variations, and visual representations. I can’t wait to plan this week’s menu using Cook This, Not That!

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Blissfully Growing My Body of Work

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I know I’ve said it already, but Pamela Slim’s book Body of Work is amazing–a real life changer. I finished the book last night and it’s helped me continue the introspective task of examining my own body of work and identifying the thread that holds that body of work together. My two months off classroom teaching have already been incredibly productive. Not only have I created the structure for the new Professional Communication and Presentation class, I’ve also been working on the following this month:

  • Becoming the faculty advisor for the Full Sail Student Book Club
  • Advising students as they prepare their Strategic Business Planning final projects and Sports Marketing final projects
  • Advising the International Student Office on their recruitment materials
  • Reworking an executive’s resume and executive bio
  • Advising collegiate DECA students on their presentations
  • Signing up for leadership training at my institution
  • Volunteering to be an online learning platform “super user”
  • Finalizing my application to the Doctorate of Education in Higher Education at the University of Central Florida
  • Perfecting my homemade mojo and homemade tortilla recipes

One area of work I am particularly proud of is the resurgence of some good ol’ faculty collaboration in the Liberal Studies department!

Finalizing the Brown Bag Extravaganza for Liberal Studies

  • I pitched the Liberal Studies Round Table initiative to my superiors in 2013. Initially, my vision for this was as a forum for collaboration, a place where faculty from different departments in the Liberal Studies family could come together and share best practices. The RT had a rough start and faculty yearned for a more informal forum in which to meet and collaborate. This year, I’ve collaborated with faculty from Digital Literacy and Creative Writing to rebrand and revamp the initiative. After scouring faculty for topics and interests, we are one meeting away from finalizing our first session, a more informal meet up where faculty can share best practices and challenges we all face. Our first focus will be GoTo Training. I cannot wait to collaborate with other faculty and have meaningful conversations about how we use this tool and how we can use it more effectively! Here is the flyer I created this week to market the event:

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Professional Communication and Presentation Reboot: Opportunities

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Pamela Slim’s Body of Work is amazing; I am only 60 pages in, but I understand why professionals I look up to like Garr Reynolds and Nancy Duarte recommend this book. I cannot wait to integrate its ideas into the course and share Slim’s insights with students! Today, I’ll be working on creating the assignments for the month after finishing Slim’s book. I’m hoping to get down to designing lessons this week and next. Previously, in discussing the upcoming PCP reboot, I covered the challenges the team faces:

  • Challenge #1: The lack of synchronous communication
  • Challenge #2: Understanding and engaging in presentation as a process
  • Challenge #3: Streamlining content
  • Challenge #4: Universalizing the experience for multiple degree programs
  • Challenge #5: Emphasizing the first P in Professional Communication and Presentation

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Now, I’d like to talk about how we are working to turn each challenge into an opportunity for growth and what tools/concepts we’re using to tackle those challenges.

Opportunity #1: Google Hangouts to add synchronicity

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Without synchronous communication with both instructors and classmates, students never really get an understanding of how important rapport and connection are in the presenter/audience relationship. Presenting like you are having a conversation is a real challenge when your conversation is with a little green dot or camera. In order to add a bit more synchronicity to the course (in addition to weekly GoTo Trainings), students will now meet for two Google Hangouts in small teams. The purpose of these Google Hangouts is three fold. Firstly, students will be able to engage in self-analysis of their progress on the major course project, considering their strengths and areas of growth. Secondly, students will have a chance to communicate live with their peers, collaborating on project revisions and improvements. Finally, through this medium, students will have a chance to practice delivery and execution while completing fun improv exercises.

Opportunity #2: Using self-analysis and peer-analysis to reinforce process

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Currently, students engage in a bit of self-reflection in weeks 1 and 4 of PCP. First, they consider their goals, challenges, and pitch topics for a persuasive presentation. Then, in week 4, they complete a revision worksheet that includes a reflection on advice portion. Students consider the feedback they’ve received, the amount of time they’ve devoted to the project, and the time they’ll need to finalize the presentation. Peer analysis comes in the form of asynchronous discussion response posts. In the reboot, this will change a bit to include self-analysis and peer-analysis in the Google Hangout sessions. Another way we are working to make asynchronous discussions richer and more collaborative is to ask students to now videotape their responses to one another on discussion boards as opposed to asking them to write these responses out. From Alex Rister’s experience in public speaking online, videotaped responses generate stronger and more applicable feedback. Finally, self and peer analysis will help reinforce that presenting involves a systematic process of creating, designing, critiquing, and delivering.

Opportunity #3: Placing more emphasis on GoTo Training lessons

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Weekly GoTo Training lessons are currently used to reinforce the week’s lesson and activity concepts as well as cover some of the pitfalls of completing work in the course. This, however, means that they are not really used to their greatest potential–as a means of recreating the much more effective live class session, where in students are engaged in activities that reinforce what they learn via the course text and brief class lectures. In the new iteration of PCP, these live sessions will be the primary mode of instruction, with video and text lessons serving as supplements. Whereas currently students would teach themselves what a brand mantra is by studying an article by Megan Mars and watching a video on the subject, students will now learn this concept in a live class session where they can ask questions, get immediate feedback for their mantras, and collaborate with others to better understand and apply this technique. Without attending or watching the archive of a GoTo session, students will not be able to learn the concept as successfully.

Opportunity #4: Focusing on what students want to learn

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It’s been a difficult though enlightening transition from gen ed class for business students only to gen ed class for a variety of business, creative, and technical programs. Our challenge in teaching this many different types of students how to present online in one month was finding common ground, either skills-based or thematic, that would allow all students to engage with the content, their classmates, and the place of their new skills set in their professional futures. Currently, while a persuasive presentation on a non-industry related subject helps students apply their skills to a persuasive presentation delivered with visuals, the students didn’t always seem to see how this skill would fit into their careers. This made the PCP team cringe–what could be more important than learning how to effectively communicate and present your vision to others!? What we had to acknowledge was that finding a subject all students want to learn more about and also focusing their major project on something that would be immediately relevant was more important than learning presentation skills in general. What is the goal of each of our students in earning a degree? To propel themselves to professional success! This desire to grow professionally became our common ground. This leads us to the the most exciting opportunity of this reboot–the Professional Persona Project!

Opportunity #5: The Professional Persona Project

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Pamela Slim believes that a body of work is baed on the connective thread between a professional’s experiences (Source). It’s not about distinct experiences working in a vacuum; it’s about the big themes that connect all of the work you do or will do. The Professional Persona Project is an opportunity for students to consider their development and growth as professionals so far, where they see themselves going as future professionals, and how they can better communicate their unique skills as professionals in a specific field to a target audience (individual, company, or specific facet of their industry).  In this project, students will be analyzing their skills, assets, qualities, and abilities as a professional (assets). They will then consider their aspirations and goals as professionals. Finally, they will analyze the market realities in their chosen field. They will then present this information through a set of visuals and an elevator pitch. The Professional Persona Project is a showcase of what students have learned so far; work they’ve done in and out of school; and their qualities and skills (work ethic, technical abilities, communication/presenting skills, teamwork, etc.). The goal is for them to recognize their own strengths and to highlight those strengths by presenting them in an engaging, professional, and visually-driven way.

Tune in next week to learn more about the new course structure!

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