Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Secret to Community Leadership

Many people have asked me how did get this or that opportunity over the years. My answer is always the same: #volunteer. Sometimes people ask about volunteer opportunities and others just blow off what I just said like I am being "extra" or flippant. But, it's the truth. Volunteering is how I access information about opportunities both paid and otherwise, connect with new people, develop relationships with old acquaintances, and express my care about the things I am most passionate about in the community.  Through volunteering (directly or indirectly), I have received jobs, clients, real friends, business partners, furniture, my home, event tickets, and a couple trips. I am not saying that anyone should begin volunteering to see what tangibles he or she can accumulate, but I am saying that the shift in mindset one takes to be a doer...a part of a team no matter what his or her credentials might be, can help shape a leader that is respected and valued within the community at large or within segments that can deem valuable in the future.

At times in my life (take now for instance), I really can't volunteer anywhere on a consistent basis. But, there has never been an extended amount of time in which I cannot volunteer in some capacity.  So, what prompted me to go on this tangent about volunteerism? I received a wonderful email this morning from a Washtenaw County representative boasting of a new volunteer database. Here is an excerpt from that email:

This virtual Volunteer Center will connect people interested in volunteering with local nonprofits that rely on volunteers to achieve their mission. More than 65 agencies have listed more than 160 needs and counting on the new site. The site will accommodate individuals as well as groups, and will be provided at no cost. We're very excited to help people do what they love. For others.  It's just one more way United Way of Washtenaw County is filling a need in our community.

How it works:The new Volunteer Center website makes it easy for people to find opportunities to serve. At the newVolunteerWashtenaw.org, volunteers can: ·         Search the volunteer needs by scrolling through the full list or you can narrow it down to suit your preferences;  key word search, interest area categories (such as education or senior citizens), by court-ordered appropriate, activity type (such as construction or mentoring), one-time needs, ongoing needs, group opportunities, distance, date, and more.·         Explore agencies that are doing amazing work in our community, from human services to animals to the environment to the arts. Learn more about what they do, where they're located and what needs they have. ·         Easily sign-up for volunteer opportunities online.
·         Become a fan of agencies or update interests in their profiles to receive notifications of new volunteer needs.
·         Invite and register a group for a volunteer opportunity.
·         Log  volunteer hours to keep track of work for school or civic resume
·         Share opportunities via email or social media at the click of a button.
·         See other nonprofit needs: in-kind donations, advocacy and employment
·         Browse Community Events that are happening in Washtenaw County.
 It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s free! And to add to the fun and celebration of the launch, enter to win a Zingerman’s Gift Card now through Oct 1! Read more about the launch contest online.

If you happen to live beyond Washtenaw County in Michigan, please feel free to check out some of the spots I have used before:

1. www.volunteermatch.org
2. www.volunteerspot.com
3. www.meetup.com

Les Go and Do!!


Monday, June 9, 2014

Who is Your Hero?

Who's your favorite hero? Is it Superman? Or, someone more like Clark Kent (faithful and hardworking). For all the names you just rattled off inside your head, I know one that probably didn't come up: your own. It'd be pretty silly, in fact. 

Imagine you are at a networking event and the introductory question for the ice breaker exercise was "name a hero". Can you imagine the reaction you would receive if you answered, "me, I am my hero."? If we are on the same page right now, think about your online communication. Who is the hero every morning on your Facebook post? Are your connections sinking and drowning in a stream of self-praise on Linked In? Who is the real winner of your so-called customer appreciation? If your fans are not the true heroes for most of your online communication, you might be losing fans and customers at the same time. 


Make-fans-the-hero-on-social-media-quote-pure-michigan

No worries, however. It is very easy to slip into a "me" focus as you try to express your unique value. If the hero in your social media is not your followers, it is an easy fix. 

1. Be specific Choose one thing about your clients or followers that you want to highlight as hero-like. 

2. Create a need for a hero Heroes must have a task where their abilities can shine. Followers can answer trivia, offer suggestions, vote a new design up or down. I'm not talking formal surveys here--just quick real time responses. 

3.One hero at a time Choose one person or organization to highlight at a time. Hope this helps you shed some light on your true heroes! 

Have a greatly week, 

The Educated Emotion 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Educated Emotion Reader Response to Facebook Networking

A couple weeks ago, I posted a podcast of an interview performed by Christy Haussler:

The Educated Emotion: Les Go Social Podcast Interview - The Secret Ingre...: Photo By Dwight Burdette [ CC-BY-3.0 ],  via Wikimedia Commons I was recently interviewed by Christy Haussler, of Brick and Mortar Rep...
I received a few reader responses, both on the blog and on other social media. One, in particular, was about ways to begin utilizing Facebook as a professional networking tool - even before you create a page. View the reader response, and my reply, below:



henry brown

1 week ago  -  Shared publicly
Very great podcast and information, it was very helpful with some insight that I needed. Tell me.... What are some of the best ways, that you think of course. How Facebook can be used as a "Social Utility "?

 
 · 
Reply
Hi Henry.
Thank you for listening to the podcast! There are dozens of simple ways in which Facebook can be used as a social utility for businesses. Here's a couple tips to get started:
*Manage the About section
 of your personal profile page to showcase what you would like to show up. It can be work history or projects, favorite music or books, or feeds from other social media like Instagram or Pinterest. Just make sure to "manage sections" so that what you want to show up in people's newsfeeds or when people come to your page is at the top of the list
*Be the news source
 for things that directly coincide with your skills. Verify all information before you post it and don't just post things you will receive a benefit from and people will start to see you as a source. For instance, if you are a promoter for local art events...it will help you in the long run by building community around that group of people. That means creating a special list in your settings composed of your friends that are interested in art (use the graph search to help with this), a list of local businesses that showcase art under Interests.
*Join Groups
there are millions of Facebook groups, both personal and professional. Each member can join up to 6000 of those groups. Professionally, 3-5 is a good number of groups to start with:) Take a few minutes each week to interact with the groups so that you can network with other professionals in your area(s) of expertise, learn about live networking events, build rapport, and make it such that if you have information to share it will be welcomed. Check out this link to access what groups you are already a member of, what groups your friends are members of, and suggested groups to join:https://www.facebook.com/browsegroups/?category=membership
*Use your Photo Albums
to capture each event, create a photo album with a simple name and add contributors of people that might be taking pictures at the event. Send them a message that you have added them as a contributor and welcome any pictures they would like to share with proper photo credit. This also allows new connections to see archived photos and the owner to make the album portable by sharing the link in email and such.
*Once you have optimized your personal profile and have something to sell or a community that has been developed (not just on Facebook), create a brand page.

Thanks again for listening and responding.
Peace and Prosperity,
                              Leslie 

Please chime (in the comments below) with ways that you have optimized your professional Facebook presence.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Secret Love Triangle - Art, Community, and Small Biz

Ann Arbor, Michigan has made it to the top of many lists as the best place to live for women, bicyclists, and even dating. Recently, Ann Arbor has made it to the top of a not-so-noble list: The Laziest Cities list. 

My first reaction was that of disbelief. But, then I read how the list was derived. For instance, locals like to begin their day at an average time of 8:17 a.m., which is later than most cities in the United States. My guess is that Ann Arbor's appearance on this list is a byproduct for some of the other lists it has topped. Locals like to carpool, bike, walk, and jog to work. Also, there is a lot of support for the arts.


Between 2004 and 2005 I witnessed thousands of people lose their jobs and careers after a major pharmaceutical company left town. The estimated loss to the local arts community was nearly $400,000. This is a combination of the loss in funding directly given by the company as well as the decrease in highly paid professionals with time and money to support the arts (such as scientists). 

The first years after the company's closing were the worst. Not to mention other cutbacks across the state. By the end of 2011, our community suffered the loss of Borders as well as a few other community favorites, decreases in funding for performance and theatre arts, art education budget cuts, and more.

As a supporter of local arts, I started to see bigger pushes for small businesses and individuals to contribute - rather than the old model of big corporations doing the heavy lifting. 

Last year, our community welcomed three new small bookstores to the area in 2013: Literati, Bookbound, and Blackstone. They have added just the right mix to the literary community. Through my business, I have worked with each of them on at least one event and continue to be surprised at the unique value each brings to our city.

Displaying photo(162).JPG
Local Poet Frances Kai-Hwa Wang at Open Mic
April is National Poetry Month. For some folks, I suppose that means absolutely nothing. But, for me it means a whole bunch. I have been writing poetry since I was nine years old and it has been a way for me to sort out my emotions and experiences for all these <radio edit> years. For many years, I worked hard at keeping my writer life separate from my professional life. In fact, I have used several pseudonyms, including Les Go. As I worked through my business model, however, I decided that I didn't want to keep these worlds separate any longer. So, in November, Les Go Social became an event sponsor for Bookbound's Monthly Open Mic and Share. Now, I am a small start up with limited resources, but this new merge is giving me faith that there is a model for my ideal love triangle of art, community, and small business.

Below, is an excerpt from the Bookbound Newsletter explaining how it all works:



What: 
Ann Arbor's new Bookbound Open Mic & Share poetry series

When:
The 2nd Thursday of every month at 7pm.

Where: 
Bookbound -- 1729 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor -- in the Courtyard Shops. 

Who:
The General Poetry Community: Poets, Aspiring Poets, Published Poets, New Poets, Experienced Poets, Readers of Poetry, Poetry Lovers, Poetry Enthusiasts, Writers and Poetry Community Supporters.

How:
The event structure is simple: 3 to 5 open mic poets read for about 5 minutes each, then we hear from the featured poet for 20 minutes, followed by time for book signing and conversation. 

Why: 
As a poet, community member, and small business owner specializing in marketing publicity for writers and poets, I saw two distinct needs in our community:
1. Safe venues for poets to hone their craft of presenting, hear their work come from their lips, especially poets who were not connected to a formal program or were a little shy.
2. Places for poets without big book deals or followings to share their work before an audience and extend a low-risk opportunity for bookstores to sell their work.


How does it all work?
I have come a long way since I shared my first poem publicly at a poetry slam. It was such an unsettling experience, I ended up in bed for a day. I couldn't get the cadence of my voice to work like an instrument that wowed audiences...in fact, I couldn't even remember the words! I pulled out my paper and then couldn't keep my place reading on the page. I was so nervous. Eventually, I got (a little) better and even placed in a slam competition. However, I have found that I prefer the nurturing audience that an open mic can provide, without competition. 

So, when I contacted Megan and Peter from Bookbound I explained the cafe open mic model, but with a twist. It would begin with around 3 people sharing poetry in front of the group.  If they did not have original poetry, poetry lovers in the audience or staff members could share a favorite poem recited or read from the poetry books on the store shelves. Next, the featured, published poet would have 20 minutes to read and discuss their work, followed by 20 minutes for people to buy, sign, browse and socialize. The books the author sold would be available that night and on the shelves on a consignment basis that Megan and Peter constructed to be mutually favorable for all parties.

And that, folks, is how the Bookbound Open Mic & Share Series was born!

If you would like to be an open mic poet, please email: info[at]bookboundbookstore.com

If you would like to be considered for the featured poet spot, please email Leslie[at]LesGo4It.com


Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Peace,

Les

Monday, April 21, 2014

Les Go Social Podcast Interview - The Secret Ingredient

Skyline-view-of-Ann-Arbor-Michigan-Business-and-Campus-District
Photo By Dwight Burdette [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I was recently interviewed by Christy Haussler, of Brick and Mortar Reporter, for my first podcast ever. The notes are posted on her page, but to hear what I think is the single-most ingredient to a successful social media marketing plan, listen here and post it in the comments (and there just may be a little reward in store for doing so):




Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What Success Looks Like on a Monday

RECAP FROM LAST WEEK'S POST ON REFLECTION:
The important thing is to incorporate what we see going on behind us into our decision making, while maintaining our focus and speed moving ahead. That is the beauty of taking time to reflect on your business performance even when you are doing okay --you can focus on your strengths and build up your weaknesses.

Get over it, people. Monday morning, with all its tricks and detours, comes each and every week. And, as an entrepreneur, I can attest to how Mondays never get better. Even with an alternative schedule, Monday morning still finds me.


All Who Wander Are Not Lost

I am a wanderer. I don't even expect my to do list to be touched Monday morning. Not that it doesn't; I just don't beat myself up about spending a couple hours reading and "listening" online. In my parallel universe, where I live as a writer, it is important to wander to find future readers and build community. Performance and Change Facilitator, Deb Nystrom, believes that the time people spend on Monday morning can actually be a healthy part of productivity. "Some people are in learning mode, others need time for reviewing what's going on in the world..." 

Success is Showing Up

Any time you step out with your best foot, you are showing up. Whether your best foot be represented by appearance, effort, or preparation (or all of the above), make sure you BRING IT and much of your job will be done. Sometimes, especially on a Monday, showing up is all you can muster.  I went to a career conference recently, and the keynote presenter, Jocelyn Giangarde, began with a quote that I live by: "Eighty percent of success is showing up." Sometimes, that's what success looks like on a Monday.

Much Success this Week,

The Educated Emotion

Monday, February 24, 2014

Take Time to Reflect

Whitney Houston-Reflection on the mirror-Putting make up on-Light bulb-Curly hair-Golden dress.jpg
This February marks two years since Whitney Houston died and fans are still mourning.

We start each day looking at our reflection in the mirror. That reflection is powerful. In a glance, we make an assessment of our appearance and what we have to offer, what we may be able to change right now (like tucking in a shirt or smoothing a collick), what we may be able to enhance now (such as lip colour or adding jewelry), and what we can improve upon over time (such as weight loss or reducing acne).  Later, we drive to our destination using the reflection in the rear view mirrors to help us make decisions on how to move forward and stay safe.

This month marks two years since Whitney Houston's untimely death. So many positive interviews, quotes, and contributions have been unearthed since her death that I can't help but wonder what would have happened if her last days had been brightened with some of the encouragement, compassion, and perspective on her life that was shared after her death. Unfortunately, death tends to be when our contributions, accomplishments and talents are celebrated. Similarly, in business, some of my most heartfelt advice has come from former business owners, small business owners after product failure...

The important thing is to incorporate what we see going on behind us into our decision making, while maintaining our focus and speed moving ahead. That is the beauty of taking time to reflect on your business performance even when you are doing okay --you can focus on your strengths and build up your weaknesses.

Wanna know more?

Good. Because I have more to share next week:)

Peace,

The Educated Emotion