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Pages tagged "Professional Development"


A reminder of why it all matters

by Lauren Van Schepen
follow me on Twitter: @lvanschepen

In December a childhood friend of mine signed a major record deal. Another friend, previously unhappy in a PR gig, took a director position in a presidential campaign last month. Someone in my professional network is getting ready to move to West Africa to do economic development work

And I'm sitting here at my desk, answering another email about conference registration.

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Showcase Yourself: The Dos and Don'ts of Presenting at Conferences

mic.jpgHave you ever seen a request for conference proposals and thought, “Hey, I should do that,” only to find a million excuses to miss the deadline? I’m a terrible public speaker. They wouldn’t accept me anyway. What could I teach a group of experienced professionals?

You’re not the only one. Presenting at conferences or seminars can be a daunting task, particularly for young professionals who may be addressing a more experienced audience.  But, fortunately, there are brave souls who have gone before us and – despite being younger and less experienced than some of their peers – presented at a professional conference.

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Changing ain’t easy

bank.jpgChange. It’s a word that carries a lot of connotations these days, many of them political. And while we can certainly learn a lot about change in the context of politics (Change is not instantaneous! Change can’t happen on campaign slogans and good vibes alone! Change is actually kinda hard to achieve sometimes!), I’m going to focus on change that affects all of us on a much more intimate (hubba hubba) level—professional change.

A good friend shared this blog by Eklund Consulting with me recently, and it was seriously one of the raddest, most feel-good things I’ve read in a long time. That may sound a little weird since the thesis is essentially “change blows,” but don’t let the downer message fool you. If you look at it the right way, the main point of the blog is actually a much more powerful upper than ten cups of coffee or [insert illicit substance here] could ever be: change is hard.

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Confessions of a new board chair

Can I be honest? Sometimes a new leadership opportunity doesn’t feel like a thrilling adventure, or a great next step in your career path. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a long-awaited chance to use your skills.

Sometimes it feels just, well, scary.

Maybe it’s unexpected. Maybe you don’t feel prepared. But there you find yourself and you have a choice. Say no, or face your fears and accept the challenge.

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Tell Me What You Really Think: 360 Degree Assessments for Professional Growth

One of my favorite personal brand definitions is that it's what people say about you when you're not in the room. Of course, that raises the question: how can you get a good measure of your brand when people's most honest assessments take place when you're not around? Well, the most straightforward way is to go ahead and ask them.

I recently underwent a 360°Reach assessment that does exactly that. For one of these assessments, you ask the people in your life—friends, family, coworkers, classmates—to anonymously fill out a short survey. Questions include what attributes they most associate with you, what they perceive your strengths and weaknesses to be, and projective questions like what household appliance you'd be and why. (Interestingly, those last questions can be the most insightful.)

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YNPN Twin Cities Insider: Catching up on turning it up (to 11)

You're busy. You probably miss a lot of events and opportunities for professional and leadership development. If one of those missed opportunities was our last Insider event—Turn It Up To 11: Finding the Next Setting in Your Leadership Path—you've got some homework to do.

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Strengthening Your Work and Reputation During Times of Change

The last year or so has been a whirlwind of activity and constant change. On November 14, 2010, my life changed dramatically when the most precious baby girl entered my life.

Being a dad has created a whole new set of responsibilities and experiences. I wouldn’t alter any of it, but all of this change had an impact on my personal and professional lives. I have a great supervisor at work and many great peers and role models to learn from. Change is still hard to deal with.

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Mapping Your Professional Development

I’ve been exploring various creativity techniques lately, and one of those is mind mapping. It’s getting a lot of play these days as a way to exponentially increase not only the number of ideas you bring to a concept but also the connections between ideas that breed even MORE ideas. You start with one thing in the middle of the map—a goal or the name of a project, for example—and then start branching out with activities, concepts, or themes you associate with it. Ideally, by the end you will have not only numerous branches, but also a web of connections that lead to even more associations. It’s a great way to brainstorm that gets away from making a list on a flip chart.

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A mini-guide for getting realistic about your aspirations

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Complete my master’s degree, teach myself Spanish, stop biting my nails.These are all goals of mine. One I am currently pursuing (Spanish). One I have failed at miserably time and time again (nails). And one I have penciled in my five-year plan (master’s degree). 

Most of us have visions for our future. According to Psychology Today, whether personal or professional, goals are important to keep us feeling focused, productive and happy. However, as the Facebook updates continue to pop up on our smartphones, to-do lists get longer and weekend plans are made, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or distracted.

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Demystifying Board Service: Part 3

If you’ve been following this three-part series on board service (check out part 1 and part 2), you know that finding the right board to serve on is a nuanced adventure. Besides your time, talents and desires, you have to consider the purpose of the board and the organization’s needs and wants. Before making that final decision on whether or not to join the board, you should also take a closer look at the organization’s size, funding and culture.

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