Monthly Archives: August 2012

Back to school anxiety isn’t just for kids: Why parents panic at school time.

I’ve heard the term back to school blues for years, and remember the small feeling of impending doom somewhere deep in my core as the first day of school approached each year.

As a parent, I see it in my oldest daughter, who starts second grade today, too.

What I never expected – and can’t find much help for online, either – is that I would still have back to school anxiety myself, more than a decade after finishing my last college courses and approaching twenty years since high school graduation. I’m filing this post under “Career” because what isn’t more impactful to your career than your stress levels? Striking the right work / family balance is a critical component of job advancement and personal growth – so being aware of your stress triggers and how to manage them is critical.

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Is your job description holding you back? Or are YOU holding you back?

Thanks, @willsansbury, for a killer tweet this morning:

“If a job description doesn’t let you deliver the max value you can to your company, the job description is wrong. Period. Tear down silos!”

My current role – and really, the past couple roles I have been in @ BMC Software, are testaments that Will’s advice is on the up and up. I regularly hear friends and peers / coworkers talking about how stuck they feel in their roles. And maybe they truly are – maybe their front line managers aren’t paying close enough attention to the strengths and weaknesses of their direct reports and paving the way for people to grow.

But it’s often not that simple. Many employees are afraid to operate outside of the narrow confines of a job description, or take the initiative to try something new on their own.

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Know your audience: How I build “micro-personas” to make my presentations and emails more effective

If you want to get my attention, just tell a potty joke or compliment my creativity. It’s really that simple – doesn’t matter what you want to tell me, sell me, or convince me, there is one simple way to capture my heart and my mind. Okay, so I’m not quite that shallow – but truth be told, it’s absolutely true that I am more interested in how what you are saying applies to me (and what I get out of it) than any other angle.

Most people are like that, matter of fact. What’s in it for you? Much has been written by many other smarty-pants-es about how and why to build buyer personas. I’m a fan of Ardath Albee’s work in this area, among others – she’s shown me how to effectively apply the buyer persona methodology to B2B and technology. At the core of buyer personas is getting to what’s on your buyer’s mind – essentially, framing your content plan and the ensuing content you create around the things that are top of mind to the audience you seek to attract and engage.

Tonight I was building a powerpoint deck (eek!) to share the work my team has done recently on buyer personas with a diverse group of people from product marketing, public relations, program marketing, etc. I started with the obvious angle – the state of content, why it needs fixed, how personas will get us there, blah blah blah blah blah.

And then I thought back to the reason we created personas (personi?) to begin with – to make sure the content we are creating addresses the needs of our desired audience – hence, attracting them and ideally (if our content actually delivers effectively) helping them make good decisions (i.e. CHOOSE US!)

So why would I lead my pitch to a room full of non-content-strategists with my own stupid list of reasons why I think personas matter? My initial crack at the presentation I was building essentially told them why I cared, why I thought it should matter to them, and what the company – not them – got out of the whole deal. Really. Bad. Approach.  Read More…

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