Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess


Luck
February 28, 2009, 7:06 pm
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Thoughts

Luck has nothing to do with anything. EVER. This is my personal opinion, but I don’t feel that you ever have a moment of luck.

Luck is when opportunity meets preparedness.

You make your own luck by how much you prepare for the moments in your life.

Are you prepared for the inevitable moments of your future? Don’t let them catch you by surprise. They sneak up on you quicker than you’d like them to.

Here’s something to consider: a significant number of lottery winners lose their winnings within the first 5 years, and actually end up worse than they were before. Is that luck? Let’s break it down – was winning the lottery an opportunity? Absolutely. Were these people prepared for it? 9 times out of 10, no way.

My thoughts on that situation are this: if you cannot manage your money when you’re making $30,000, what makes you think you’ll be able to manage it when you’ve suddenly got $3,000,000. Prepare yourself by not spending every dime you have, live below your means, and make sure you will have a way to provide for yourself if something unexpected were to happen.

This is the importance of preparation. When you consider the inevitabilities of your future – finding and losing a job, getting married, having children, buying homes – you need to prepare for these situations now. That way, when they come up in your life, you’ve prepared yourself with the resources you will need to deal with those situations.

There is an old fable about an ant and a grasshopper. Read it.

Now is the time to build your network – now when you may not have a need. Because when you need it the most, if you’ve sown into it, it will be there for you. If you wait until you need it to build it, you will be disappointed in the results.

Your “luck” will come when you prepare yourself for the situations of your future. Get started today and don’t be caught off-guard!

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Central Ohio PRSA and Brian Solis
February 24, 2009, 1:16 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Public Relations

#SolisOHThis past Thursday, I was able to join the Central OH PRSA for a luncheon with special guest speaker Brian Solis. For those who don’t know who Brian is, check out his blogs at PR 2.0 as well as bub.licio.us. Brian discussed the role that social media is currently playing and will continue to play in the future of public relations. Some take-away points I got from Brian’s talk:

  • “Experience” in social media for PR is not merely owning a Twitter account or a Facebook fan page; it’s taking the influence you develop from these media and relating it to your employer, clients, etc.
  • You are the brand you represent. 
  • Influence is taking the ability you have to inspire action and being able to measure it.
  • Don’t fall prey to “bandwagon marketing” – you don’t have to be everywhere, just where your target audience is.
  • Believability and trustworthiness are what govern social media.

I’m thankful I was able to attend this luncheon and meet Brian. In taking my own advice, I made sure to introduce myself to Brian following his presentation and we talked briefly about his @micropr and new @microjobs projects. (stay tuned this week for a post on these!) I handed him one of my cards and he looked at it and said “Oh I know who you are!” – referring to my @researchgoddess Twitter name – which made me smile. It was a real pleasure to have met Brian and I hope he heads back this way again soon.

CentralOHPRSAFollowing the luncheon I was able to grab a few quick moments with some PR students who also attended the luncheon. Students from Ohio University, Ohio Dominican University, and Ohio Northern University came to the luncheon – some made about a 2 hour drive to attend. I always enjoy talking with students who understand the importance of taking advantage of opportunities like this and make the effort to attend the events. I saw them being proactive about introducing themselves to some of the other PR professionals in the room – good networking.

Thank you to the Central OH PRSA for putting on this luncheon! I look forward to attending future events. This coming Wednesday will be my own very first opportunity to serve my local chapter, the Cincinnati PRSA, at our networking happy hour at BlackFinn. I’ve been asked to speak about the importance of networking in this economy. If you’re in Cincinnati on Wednesday, I hope you will come by!



Next Tweetup – MARCH 2nd
February 18, 2009, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Tweetups

cincytweetup-logoYou’re gonna want to register FAST for this Cincy Telecommuter Tweetup!

The next #CincyTweetup is going to be on March 2nd. Why only 2 weeks after the last one, you may ask? Well, here’s why: when we ordered lunch at the February Tweetup, we were given 10 free lunches from Chipotle. S-o-o-o-o-o…..

THE FIRST 10 REGISTRANTS FOR THE MARCH TWEETUP GET A FREE CHIPOTLE LUNCH!!!

(ok, the first 9 – hey, it’s my party; I get a free lunch :))

Just make sure you show up to the Tweetup before 11am or you forfeit to the next person on the list 🙂 The rest of the spots will open up once the first 10 are filled. See you then!

Join other Cincinnati area telecommuters for a day of working in a collaborative environment. We’ll meet at Crossroads Community Church – the church graciously offers free wifi and coffee during the week for the local community. The idea here is to have folks who work in many different job functions working together in an open environment. The expectation is that creative juices will flow and new friendships will be forged. Hope to see you there!

Register to attend the CincyTweetup here.

When: Monday, March 2nd

Where: Crossroads Community Church
3500 Madison Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45209



This One Goes Out To The One(s) I Love
February 14, 2009, 5:30 pm
Filed under: Networking/Social Media

February 14th. It’s just another day on the calendar to me, but there are certain folks (ahem, Hallmark) who feel like we need to have a(nother) holiday to show those who are important to us just how much we care. It just so happens to be my best friend’s birthday as well, and she is turning 30 this year, so I’ll be hanging out with her at a Pat Buzzard concert in Columbus tonight. Many of your poor suckers are going to be strapped with buying up boxes of chocolate, expensive jewelry, bouquets of roses, and spending absurd amounts of money on fancy dinners, entertainment, and God only know what else. Good luck to ya! 🙂

However, not to be completely excluded from the fun and merriment, I’ve decided to make a February 14th dedication post to some of the folks who’ve shown me some love along my career path. Some folks you may know, others you may not, but these are some of the people to whom I owe lots-a-love!

  1. Christy Sibert: Christy is my sister-in-law, and she’s the catalyst for my career in internet research. She called me up when I was living in Tampa, 1 1/2 years after graduating from U of FL still waiting tables, and asked me if I’d be interested in doing something called “internet research” for the recruiting company she was with at the time.
  2. Bruce Sibert and Jeff Joiner: Bruce (my brother) gets love because he’s family – naturally – but also because he opened the door for me to a group of wonderfully intelligent people who’ve helped educate me on good business sense and thought process. One of these people is Jeff Joiner, and I owe all of my quotable quotes to him. Whenever you hear some profound thought come out of my mouth, chances are I heard it first from Jeff. He has been a financial advisor as well as a great help for me in getting over my fear of public speaking.
  3. Jon and Melissa Bartos: The Bartos’ own Jonathan Scott International, the place where I cut my teeth on internet research. I owe them love for taking a chance and moving me up from Florida to Cincinnati to work for them.
  4. Heidi Bolinger: Heidi is the first internet researcher I met in my new job, and she helped explain to me exactly what an internet researcher does. She also worked with me to help bring an internet researcher networking group back to life and get us some training through our franchise system. I owe her love for being a friend all these years and being my first connection to the world of internet research.
  5. Tom and Amy Johnston: Tom and Amy own SearchPath International, the second place I worked doing internet research. I owe them love for giving me my first opportunity to work remotely, and for opening their home to me when I would go to Cleveland for office visits.
  6. Joel Cheesman: he grows tired of this, but I owe MUCH love to Joel for inspiring me to blog. He took time out of his busy schedule during one of my trips to Cleveland to meet with me and show me the ropes. Much of the rest of my career is owed to him and I am forever grateful.
  7. Jim Stroud: Jim gets a lot of love coming from me because he took me under his wing as a young researcher and showed me the benefits of networking within our industry. He mentored me early on in my career and introduced me to many other fantastic folks in the recruiting world, such as Shally Steckerl, Donato DiOrio, Rob McIntosh, Dave Manaster, Suzy Tonini (my camping buddy), and many others, all of whom get a love shout-out as well. Even though Jim has leaned more toward social media these days, we have remained fast friends and I always appreciate his wisdom and guidance.
  8. Leslie O’Connor: Leslie is the mastermind behind SourceCon, and successful in her own right with her business, SearchWizards. Leslie gave me my first opportunity at conference presentation at the first SourceCon. She’s also given me the opportunity to edit an industry newsletter-turned-blog, The Source. Leslie gets love for living by Florence Luscomb‘s saying, “There is no end to what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.”
  9. Daniele Joudene and Nikole Hunt: Daniele and Nikole are colleagues of mine at Waggener Edstrom, my current place of employment. They both get tons of love because they took a chance on hiring me for the role of sourcing strategist, even though I didn’t exactly fit the description of what they were looking for.I feel like I’ve found a home at Waggener and am grateful to have been given the opportunity.
  10. David Almacy, Rob Curran, and Mark Martin: David, Rob, and Mark are also Waggener Edstrom colleagues. Mark is my official Waggener mentor, and I met David for the first time when he gave a presentation to the Cincinnati PRSA. Rob interviewed me when I was looking to work at Waggener. They each get love because they have both helped me become interested and involved in other parts of the company outside of Staffing. They’ve encouraged me to pursue building internal relationships with coworkers in different locations and have made working at Waggener extra rewarding for me.
  11. Daniel Johnson, Jr.: DJJ gets the final love shout-out because he introduced me to Twitter. ‘Nuff said 🙂

Please let someone who helped you in your career know you appreciate them today!



The Value of a Strategic Researcher: Information Juggling
February 12, 2009, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Research

This post by Tac Anderson discusses something that I hear all the time: “There’s just too much information available.” Quoting Stowe Boyd – “There is not too much information; people just don’t know how to manage it” – Tac discusses the value of a person who is able to handle this task. He uses the analogy of being able to juggle multiple objects of all shapes and sizes.

For a researcher, this proves to be one of our greatest value-add’s to our organizations. With the rise of information available to us though many different media, there is an increasing need to manage it down to digestible levels. As researchers, we are neck-deep in our industry’s information every day. But there’s so much out there that it could literally be a 24/7 job just to take it all in. As a result, one of the most important things we as researchers can do is sift through what’s out there and only return the stuff relevant to our objective or our manager’s needs. We use tools like RSS feed readers and email subscriptions (though this is becoming archaic), sophisticated CRMs, bookmarking resources, and web-based organizational tools to help us make sense of everything that’s coming at us.

In this way, we are those jugglers, and we have to determine what’s noise and what’s signal. We are not just merely data harvesters as some would like to believe of us – we provide much more than that. Our value-add is making the exponentially growing amount of information manageable, relevant, and accessible to our teams in addition to finding great candidates for our positions.



Networking Events Are For… Networking!
February 11, 2009, 12:00 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media

I really love attending meetups, tweetups, SMBs, and other various networking events. I work from home and it gets lonely sometimes, so I take advantage of as many of these as I possibly can. When I attend these events, I typically have a few people in mind that I’d like to meet, and in particular I like to introduce myself to the speakers. As I am the only person representing Waggener Edstrom at these events in the Midwest, I need to make sure that I represent the company well and make the connections necessary to do my job properly.

Oftentimes at these events that were designed for networking, there are people huddled together talking to the same folks they were talking to at the last 3 events. We’re all guilty of doing this from time to time – networking in a brand new environment can be scary. However, to me, that seems to negate the purpose of networking, which is to introduce new people and new ideas. Wiktionary defines networking as “the act of meeting new people in a business or social context.” However, a lot of folks don’t use these events for that.

Imagine this: you’re a brand new person to a networking event. You walk in and see small groups of people standing around talking to each other. You’re a little nervous, as this is your first time with this particular group of people, but you start to mingle. Most of what you get are quick glances, but no one really welcomes you to the event. After about 30 minutes of awkwardly standing to the outside of circles of people who already seem comfortable with each other, and grabbing a glass of water or a cheese cracker, you decide to leave, having concluded that you failed in your attempt to meet new people, and thinking perhaps this isn’t the right organization for you.

How many people have been here? This was a scenario that actually happened to me awhile ago. Let’s face it; for most of us networking is a bit intimidating. You’re putting yourself out there meeting new people, not knowing if you’ll have anything in common or how the conversation will flow. So here, I present a few ideas on how to make your networking experience a better, more productive one. These ideas can apply to both the brand new person, or the seasoned networker.

  • Know what your purpose is for attending the event. Networking events come in all shapes and sizes. Some are more professional in nature; others are more ‘happy hour’-like. Before you attend an event, decide why you are going. Is it to learn a new skill? Is it to meet a prominent person in your industry? Or is it simply to mingle with others who share a similar interest?
  • Prepare ahead of time. If your goal is to meet a specific person at an event, prepare ahead of time and let them know that you are looking forward to meeting them. Eventbrite.com is a fantastic tool for organizing events, and quite often there is a visible guest list for events where you can see who else will be attending. Before you go to your event, take a look at who else will be there. If you see someone whom you’ve wanted to meet, be proactive and reach out to them. Let them know that you are interested in speaking with them about <insert topic here> and that you hope to grab a few minutes with them at the event.
  • For seasoned networkers, mingle. When you only talk to the same people at every event you attend, you’re not really ‘networking’ – you’re hanging out with your friends. That can be accomplished with organizing happy hours after the events. If you are a regular networker, try to make yourself available to people you’ve never met before. If you notice a new person who looks a little lost, go introduce yourself to them, learn a little about them, and then dig around in your brain to see who you know at the event who would be a good connection for them. The same applies if you’ve brought a guest with you. You’d be surprised how much people appreciate this kind of ‘professional matchmaking’. Plus, you’ll meet new people and you just never know what can happen from making a new acquaintance!
  • Always – ALWAYS – attempt to introduce yourself to the speaker. It amazes me sometimes how few people will approach a speaker after an event to introduce themselves. Sometimes, it may seem like the presenter is larger than life and you may convince yourself that you have nothing important to say to them. But as someone who’s given presentations before, I can tell you that the role of speaker can be a lonely one. You’re up there all by yourself, wondering if what you’re saying is of any value to the people attending, and you want some sort of validation that you spent your time productively when you are finished presenting. I am more nervous when I don’t have crowd interaction. Most people who’ve done presentations would agree that it’s calming when people come up both before and after their presentations to introduce themselves. So you see – the new folks at a networking event are not the only ones who could be a little nervous 🙂

A few additional quick pointers for making your networking experience a productive and happy one:

  • For presentations, pick a seat where you can see the speaker clearly. Sitting in a seat where you have to strain to see what’s going on can be distracting.
  • Don’t get bummed if you don’t get to talk to everyone there that you wanted to – it’s hard sometimes to get to everyone you want to at large events (see above for preparing ahead of time)
  • In that same breath, don’t take it personally if someone you wanted to meet isn’t able to talk to you. You can always contact them after the event and make arrangements to have a phone call or meet up another time. They may have had a specific objective or a time constraint that had to be adhered to.
  • Thank the event sponsors – they’re the reason for the event taking place to begin with!

After having shared all of these things, let me admit that I’ve made all these mistakes which is why I feel comfortable bringing them up at this point. I’ve certainly been guilty of huddling. I’ve sat with my back to the speaker at many events and gotten nothing out of the message presented. I’ve gotten upset because someone I wanted to talk to didn’t have an opportunity to speak with me. I’ve given those sideways glances to new people and not acknowledged them when they join groups who are already talking. Face it – ALL of us have done at least one or two of these things, because we were all new to networking at some point. And I’m sure we will continue to make mistakes. However, it’s good to know these productive networking tips to try and make each event as beneficial as possible. Hope this helps, and Happy Networking!



The Emperor’s New Clothes
February 9, 2009, 12:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

One thing that I’ve noticed while having been in a funk for the past few days is how quickly we (yes, I am included in this) jump on a fan bandwagon for someone or something simply because everyone else is doing so. It’s a practice that can get out of hand really fast, especially with how quickly news, rumors, and so forth spread today. Yesterday’s unknown is today’s shining star is tomorrow’s old cast-off. Popularity is fleeting and most people who possess it are simply flashes in the pan. Here are some of my thoughts on the matter.

One of my favorite stories as a young kid was The Emperor’s New Clothes, a story written by Hans Christian Andersen. For those of you who don’t know the story, here is a short version of it:

An emperor of a prosperous city hires two tailors, who turn out to be swindlers, who promise him the finest suit of clothes from the most beautiful cloth. This cloth, they tell him, is invisible to anyone who was either stupid or unfit for his position. The Emperor cannot see the (non-existent) cloth, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing stupid; his ministers do the same. When the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they “dress” him in mime. The Emperor then goes on a procession through the capital showing off his new “clothes” (though he is actually naked) while the people applaud and compliment them, not wanting to appear stupid or unfit themselves. During the course of the procession, a small child cries out, “But he has nothing on!” The crowd finally realizes the child is telling the truth and laugh at the shamed Emperor.

There are lots of Emperors in every industry – parading around our worlds with fake garments on and telling us that if we don’t see them, we’re idiots. Translation: if we don’t read, listen to, or agree with what they have to say, or jump on their fan bandwagon, then we’re obviously not part of some secret inner circle and we’re morons. I call BS to that – a person is only a “big deal” when we make them into one. And I honestly wonder why we make some folks such a big deal in the first place…

I am drawn to certain bloggers, social media people, PR professionals, researchers, etc. not necessarily because they are “emperors” or because they’ve become big deals in their respective industries. I won’t name them because you need to form your own opinions on those whom you follow, but some of these people are popular while many aren’t. And in fact, some of my favorite bloggers have very few subscribers and are relative unknowns. Why do I like them? Because they’re genuine and they have something to say, even if not many people are paying attention yet. They don’t elevate themselves to a point where they’ve completely lost touch with their target audience. They’re real with the things they talk about, and while they don’t go around poo-pooing everyone who doesn’t agree with them, they are honest about what they think and aren’t always the most “PC”. Simply put – they can be grumpy jerks sometimes. Most of what they write is thoughtful and interesting, but every once in awhile, they have bad days just like you and me. They’re human and they’re not afraid to let it show.

We make popular people popular. We do this by promoting them to others. I would like to challenge you: the next time you consider re-tweeting a link to an article, think about whether you’re re-tweeting it because you found it interesting and informative, or because it’s from some big-shot popular blogger and you want to appear intellectual yourself by re-tweeting it. (did you even read it to begin with?) I challenge you to read unpopular or unknown blogs and promote the writings of someone who isn’t well-known but has some good things to say. I challenge you to un-subscribe to a popular website that you never read but you keep on your blogroll because it makes you look more entrenched in your industry. And most of all, I challenge you to see through the invisible threads of the emperors in your industry and choose not to go along with what everyone else thinks to avoid ruffling any feathers. Don’t fall prey to the opinions and pressure of the masses and become sheeple.

“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” ~Epictetus