Monday, May 19, 2014

What I Learn From My NYU Students

I teach for a lot of reasons. At the top of the list is because I genuinely enjoy it. I like my students. I like educating. I like encouraging people to think.

I also teach because I like learning. Anyone who has ever taught, and taught well, will tell you that teaching forces you to know more about a subject than you would otherwise. It keeps you at the top of your game.

But that is only part of what I learn. I also learn what my students teach me.

I tell them that going in. That I expect that I will learn from them. For starters it's a graduate class in digital marketing. The subject matter is a work in progress with new tools and new approaches occurring every day. It's impossible to know every single detail, but we need to try. Sharing what we find is our best hope to stay ahead of the changes. 

But there is more to what I learn than that.

The majority of my students are internationalThe global perspective they bring from sharing something as simple as how in Taiwan 7-11 is a much bigger part of the community than simply a place to buy a Slurpee enriches my classroom. It also forces me to slow it down and think more carefully how I might explain a concept since for many English is not their first language. I can't assume because something is widely understood in the US, it is in the rest of the world. They teach me how to present better in the classroom. The bonus is it hones my skills for when I am working with my outside clients.

I've learned that just because one generation is inherently more comfortable with technology, does not mean with that comes an understanding of how to use all these new tools strategically.  Generations need not be divided by technological advance but rather help each other as we learn this new stuff by getting our hands dirty - together.

Most importantly they teach me by offering  what Arianna Huffington calls "third metric" moments in which I can define my success not by power or how much money I am making (trust me - adjuncts are not highly compensated employees) but in having changed someone's way of looking at something.

When a student tells me I "inspired" them or thanks me for "seeing their potential" or "encouraging" them I am keenly aware of the ability we all have to make a difference in someone's life. 

I will never forget the student who this semester when I asked the class what they got out of their midterm presentation in which they were required to present themselves as a brand in three minutes, said the one thing she did not expect was that the experience would make her fall in love with who she was again.  

Moments like that make me downright teary eyed and others just make me smile. Like the email I got yesterday from a student who just finished the semester with me and "had to share" how she experienced first hand the power of connection that social media affords us when she shared a picture on Instagram of her favorite bakery.

What I learn from my students - it's why I teach.

ps. You don't have to be an NYU graduate degree student to  have me teach you. Your Digital You - the blueprint - a workshop designed to improve your digital profile returns with two dates in June - 6/12 and 6/24. Use the code EARLYbird for a special discount.

pps. My workshops can be customized and brought in-house to your company or organization. Email me for more information.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

10 Plus Reasons You Need A Digital Presence

Friday night I spoke at a career conference. This week I have a new business call. Neither of which would have happened without my digital presence. 

The conference happened because of a Facebook connection who had been following me. It was because she liked what I shared and how I presented myself that I received the invitation to speak.

The second was the result of a Google search for digital profiles that brought up a Forbes article I had written. They liked what they read enough to research a bit more about me  - online - after which they reached out in an email.

That's enough to convince me that the time I spend on my digital self is worthwhile. But perhaps you are not as easily convinced. For you, I offer ten more reasons.

  • You are your own brand. Jobs will come and go but the brand that stays with you forever is you. Today the way you, as a brand, show up online is as important as the way you show up in person.
  • Your online footprint is a reflection of who you are, what you've done and what you'd like to do.
  • If you don’t tell the story you want people to find - Google will.
  • 94% of recruiters use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts.
  • Prospective clients, employers and business opportunities are searching for you - online - in advance of a meeting just as they do with any major purchase.
  • The lack of a digital presence sends a signal you may have something to hide.
  • Traditional resumes are a formality. They don’t engage - they bore. 
  • Sharing is the new currency in a digital world. Your digital presence allows you to share your views and relevant content with like minded people and to position yourself as an expert and influencer. It's an opportunity to grow your business and expand your networks.
  • The line is increasingly blurred between professional you and personal you. You may run your company - but your company's brand presence alone is not enough.
  • First impressions still count. The difference is now they happen on line.
The reality is - no matter who you are - business professional  to entrepreneur - CEO to salesperson - your digital you opens doors, creates new connections and keeps you marketable and relevant. It deserves your time.