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Presentation Skills

Starfish, JobAngels and Making a Difference

Over the holidays, I took a sunset walk on the beach with my nieces and family friends. The South Carolina winds were cold enough to require my thickest fisherman’s sweater. But the sea was calm and the light was spectacular. With less than a week before the New Year, we set out with thoughts of good cheer and optimism.Starfish

This was a familiar beach to all of us, and we were looking forward to finding conch shells and sand dollars, stepping over jellyfish, and watching periwinkles dig deep back into the sand as the tides receded. Instead we found thousands of starfish washed up along the beach at the edges of the shore.

I began to throw the starfish back. One at a time, I pitched many of them back into the sea as far as I could toss them. (Truth be told, I don’t have a long reach with my pitching arm.) I threw the starfish back because someone told me to: I remembered reading a story many years ago, about a boy who encountered a similar situation of countless starfish along a beach and a grumpy elder who said, “you will never save them. The boy replied “but I made a difference to that one.”

So I threw many of the starfish back as far as I could hurl them. After watching me for about ten minutes, my niece Amelia, turned to me and said, “Aunt Chandlee, I think you are playing favorites—you’ve only tried to save one gray starfish. All of the others you’ve thrown have orange spots.” I have to admit that she was right. I was naturally drawn to save the orange ones because they looked more alive than the gray ones. So I started to throw back the gray starfish, too. I hope that I made a difference, but it’s quite possible they were all already dead—victim of extreme weather conditions or a change in tidal patterns. (The local paper reported that about 50,000 dead starfish also washed up on an Irish beach in November.)

I’ll never know if my “made a difference to one” starfish campaign worked, but I do think it provides a great metaphor for this month’s Career Collective theme of making the most of the New Year: What will happen if you could make a difference for another person?  A year ago on January 29, 2009, Mark Stelzner (@stelzner) asked a simple question on Twitter, “Was wondering what would happen if each of us could commit to helping one person find a job? Are you game?”  Three hours later his question had become the #JobAngels movement on Twitter, by November over 1,000 job seekers had secured new jobs as a result of the collective outreach. (To learn more about JobAngels and to sign up as a volunteer or job seeker in need of a little help from a friend, visit

While you may be reading this post in an effort to help yourself, I challenge you to seek out ways to help another person out along the way. It might lead to new opportunities for you as well, and it may just help make you feel better. As Sir Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

This is my thought for on2010, see what my colleagues had to say here:

Follow us on Twitter with our hashtag #careercollective and read these posts:

@KCCareerCoach, Career Chaos, “The Art of Being Gracious: Much Needed in Today’s Job Search,”

@MartinBuckland, Elite Resumes,  Career Trends and Transition 2010

@heathermundell, life@work, Kaizen and the Art of Your Job Search

@barbarasafani, Career Solvers, Looking Into the 2010 Careers Crystal Ball

@resumeservice, Resume Writing Blog, The Resume and Your Social Media Job Search Campaign

@kat_hansen,  Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters Tips Blog, New Year: Time to Assess Yourself and Your Career

@keppie_careers, Keppie Careers, Help for job seekers in a rut

@heatherhuhman,, Job seekers: 5 tips for making the most of 2010

@DawnBugni, The Write Solution, Ya, but

@ErinKennedyCPRW, Professional Resume Services, Advice to Job Seekers in 2010–learn Yoga?

@Chandlee, The Emerging Professional, Starfish, JobAngels, and Making a Difference

@ValueIntoWords, Career Trend, Is Your Job Search Strategy a Snore?

@debrawheatman, Resumes Done Write, Making the most of a new year

@walterakana, Threshold Consulting, Starting anew – tips for truly managing your career

@careersherpa, Hannah Morgan: Career Sherpa, The Year of the Tiger

@WorkWithIllness,, Dogs Can Do It, Can You?

@JobHuntOrg,, Lifelong Learning for Career Security

@AndyInNaples, Career Success, What Are You Getting Better At? Make This the Year You Become the Best You Can Be!

@GLHoffman, What Would Dad Say, A Flash of the Blindly Obvious

Building Your Personal Brand: 4 Tips to Tell Your Story

This is a guest post from Matt Wilson at

106351903_39a2eceae0Building your personal brand is all about getting the word out. It doesn't matter if you are the most talented personal on earth if nobody knows about it. If you want more people to hear about you, you need to start telling you story as often as possible. Make your story compelling enough and people might just tell their friends.

Start with a Problem

Great companies solve a problem in the eyes of the consumer. The bigger you make the problem sound the better story it makes. This is the story that people tell themselves every time they make a purchase and it's the one they tell their friends about your product or service. Great people should also solve a problem in the eyes of their employer. Figure out what a company lacks and offer that to them, whether you are an independent contractor or employee.

Tell Your Story Early and Often

Make up your story now and tell it to as many people as possible. If the story is well received than you have a much better chance of getting known. The more people you tell the story to the better--get feedback, learn how to answer tough questions, perfect your pitch and practice persuading those in doubt. The more people you tell your story to the better chance it has at spreading. You never know who you'll meet when you are out planting seeds. Each person you talk to has the potential to introduce you to someone, or tell your story to a friend. Every seed you plant has the ability to help spread that story.

You'll Never Get Discovered Hiding in your Basement

Want to meet your significant other? Get out there. Want to make a name for yourself? Get out there. In the old days, celebrity entrepreneurs were the only ones to launch a brand around their stardom. They controlled the big stage and because they had thousands of followers to tell their story to. Today, everyday people are launching brands easier than ever, growing their followings online and telling their story over and over. Better yet, this story has the ability to spread with the click of a button via social media.

Steal these Strategies to Tell Your Story

Start a blog: write good content and people will read. Write really good content and it'll go viral. Network on Twitter: every person you connect with on Twitter has the chance to hear your story. Tell it in 140 characters. Get on Camera: host a uStream chat, post your videos on your blog, or start your own show. Broadcast your story to the world! Connect on Facebook and LinkedIN or and make your profile tell a story!

mattwilsonAuthor Matt Wilson is co-founder of Under30CEO, challenging people to defy the 9-5, stop doing stuff you hate and get innovative. Wilson graduated from Bryant University after leading Bryant University to becoming the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization of the year and being named National Student Leader of the Year.

Are You Ready to Tell Your Story?

Tell me about yourself.

If you've ever attended an interviewing workshop, or found yourself head-to-head with this request in an actual interview--you may be well acquainted with the sweaty palms and heart palpitations that often accompany these four little words.

The natural inclination is to respond with the basics, "My name is ______________. I am interested in ___________. I majored in ___________." The same kind of information that you can find at the top of your resume; the same facts and "vital statistics" that your interviewer may have already received before you sat down for the interview.

But (and you likely know this already), you don't want to tell someone exactly what they already know. Instead, you need to engage your audience.

Answering this question well is a perpetual challenge: You need to engage the interest of your audience without going "off topic" (what brought you to the interview in the first place) or repeating the "known knowns."

Enter Narativ, a Manhattan-based company that focuses on the art of storytelling. Co-Founded by Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker and cultural anthropologist, Murray Nossel and his childhood friend, Paul Browde, a psychiatrist and executive coach, Narativ offers a one day seminar designed to help you tell your story with ease.Narativ_logo

I recently participated in the one day workshop myself, and I don't know that I'll ever tell stories the same way again. It was--quite simply--a transformative experience, and I highly recommend their methodology if ever you've found yourself tongue-tied or wanting to improve your ability to connect with an audience.

While the workshop wasn't designed to help participants answer job interview questions, several of the strategies shared spoke directly to the job search process. Here are two tips you may find'll have to attend the workshop to learn more:

1. When you tell a story, be specific in the details. For example, if you want to do marketing and you need to speak about your long-term interests in the field, provide details.

"My first promotion was ___________. The challenge was ______________ for our client. I remember cutting and pasting physical mock-ups with an orange pair of scissors and a glue stick. The project involved over 20 drafts and revisions. The end result was ____________."

Concrete details will help engage your reader more than if you simply said, "I developed my first flyer for a program at school when I was 12."

2. It's okay to pause, and it can actually help engage your audience--provided you can "restart" without missing a beat.

Many candidates "derail" when faced with an interview question they did not expect. (One of my favorite questions, "What is your second biggest weakness?") If you find yourself with a stumper, take a deep breath--pause, and don't be afraid to clarify the question.

For example, if you were asked a question about managing a large project at work and you don't have any experience with that in your internship experience but do have student government experience, you might say, "I have not worked with large-scale projects in my formal work experience, but I have managed significant projects in student government." Which experience would you like me to discuss?

For more information about Narativ, see their website, consider signing up for a workshop, or get tickets to see Narativ's co-founders, Murray Nossel and Paul Browde in their Off-Broadway production, "Two Men Talking."

Does Your Hobby Have A Home on Your Resume?

Cue the song that never ends for this post: There are a few debates about resumes that never end. The one I'll focus on today:

Do outside interests matter?


Call me evasive, but my answer generally comes with a bit of a shrug, "it depends."Trapeze_catch


In some fields, interests matter quite a lot to employers, and they actively seek to know them. Recruiters filling positions in corporate finance and investment banking often place a high value on sports--they often look for accomplished athletes who've demonstrated discipline, the ability to compete, and the ability to work with a team. Employers in high tech and engineering often look for musical talent and an interest in sound engineering: Did you know that there's a high correlation between musical ability and quantitative ability?

But what if your hobbies have nothing to do with the skills you use at work. Do they still matter?

I recently asked this question on LinkedIn, and sparked a heated debate. Here are highlights from some of the answers I received:


My philosophy is that if outside interests further the client's goals then I include it. If it/they do not, then no. With a 2-page resume now the "new norm" even for senior executives, every word becomes even more critical.  

Executive Coach

Generally, I believe they detract. In my experience, the "interests" section has a reputation among recruiters and hiring managers as being too "fluffy" or a space filler. In short, they are a turn-off. The exception, of course, would be if the interests truly add significant, easily identifiable value in matching the resume to the job description. However, even in that case, I would would suggest building it into another section of the resume.

Marketing Manager


Personal interests show that you are well-rounded and are great conversation boosters. It's another way to connect with your interviewer.

Technology Director


Interests are no longer represented on the resume. During the interview the candidate can direct conversation to their highlight interests.

  Professional Development Consultant

I received over 20 responses to this question, with similar sentiments expressed throughout. My take-away? It's up to the you--as a job seeker to decide how and when to incorporate interests in your resume. There's no right way or wrong way; incorporating interests is a matter of personal preference. As you conduct your job search, seek out opinions from others who can help you. After all your resume isn't merely a summary of your past experience; a great resume also showcases your fit and expertise for the role you've got your sights on next.

And with that, I'm giving the last word to a senior career consultant from Denver, who answered my question with another question:

Rather than debating the merits of including...outside interests on a resume, it seems to me that [job seekers] ought to be using networks associated with those interests to facilitate connections with the organizations that [they] want to work for. That might be the best use of those ancillary interests.


I'd love to hear your take on this. Have your interests ever helped or hurt you in the job search? Share your thoughts, and let me know if you have any other questions "up for debate."


Making the Most of a Social Media Resume

Recently, a CBS piece on innovative job hunting strategies caught my eye. I asked one of the segment's featured participants, Robert "Bobby" Hoppey, to share tips with us. A native of Setauket, NY, Bobby is a recent graduate of Elon University  in North Carolina. He is seeking full-time work in New York (leads are welcome). Here is his story--and his suggestions for how you can create your own social Bobby_hoppey resume.

I am one of the country’s many job hunting 22-year-olds and my background to date lies largely in public relations and social media.  I am an open book when approaching career prospects, but I ultimately want to do work that is creative, relevant and (with any luck) located in my favorite city in the world--Manhattan.

It recently occurred to me that the concept of a resume is deceptively simple. Don’t get me wrong: It is an essential document to market oneself and will never go out of style.
However, when looking over bullet points summarizing some of the accomplishments I am most passionate about, I felt there was a certain spark missing. 

I wanted to provide prospective employers with a window into who I am, as well as capture the elusive “way to stand out” in today’s undeniably competitive market. Like most of my peers, I am well versed in Facebook. I also worked as a social media communications intern for General Motors. So, making greater use of social media seemed a logical next step for my job search. I chose to create a social media resume on

The Visual CV site serves as a colorful and interactive supplement to my traditional materials.  Created fairly recently, my page has already opened doors for informational interviews with established professionals and was featured on a national segment for CBS Evening News.  This summer, I am on a 4,000 mile cross country cycling trip to raise money and awareness to help individuals with disabilities. I'm keeping a blog to document my trip, and am maintaining networking leads through my use of social media in preparation for my full-time job search. 

If you are a social media resume rookie, and would like to supplement your own job search with a Visual CV or other resume, here is some advice:

  • Think buffet style. When crafting a social media, don’t hold back in terms of diverse content.  If you have created multimedia assets in your professional or educational endeavors, show them off!  My VisualCV page includes videos, a podcast, writing samples, screenshots, a PowerPoint presentation and web site links that are easily aggregated together.  If you don’t have similar resources under your belt, or would prefer a more simple approach, you might consider alternative ways to make things pop and encourage a viewer to learn more--graphs, photos, etc.    
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. This is not to suggest a radical breakaway from professionalism, but rather a chance to have some fun and provide a broader look at who you are.  On my page, I have included a comedic (yet tasteful) YouTube video I created for a presentation, as well as photos of me "cheesing it up" at some of the places I have traveled abroad.  By including possible items as simple as a filmed introduction to the page or photos of you engaging in your favorite hobbies, you are presenting a well-rounded depiction of yourself and can stick out in the applicant pool. (As I see it, it is easier for people to relate to you when you've shared information about yourself.)
  • Shout from the rooftops. Once you have created a page to be proud of, don’t allow it to linger in "cyber" obscurity!  While your competitive side might be hesitant to let your personal network in on the still-emerging social media resume trend, these people may ultimately be the best place to start.  I opted to announce the creation of my page (and request feedback) on both Facebook and Twitter, while also incorporating it into my email signature and “link” section of online spaces such as LinkedIn.  By choosing to throw myself out there, I was able to establish relationships with new job search advocates and even receive news coverage.  There is no telling where your page could lead!
  • Make it a committed relationship. Once you have made the rounds with your eclectic, exciting page, there is no reason to let it fall to the wayside.  Whenever you have a new accomplishment or professional undertaking that enhances your credibility, pass ‘Go’ and report directly to your social media resume.  By consistently keeping your page fresh, you are maintaining an accurate living document online and advancing your personal marketability at the same time.

Hats off to Bobby for sharing his advice! If you have any additional suggestions or leads, please share 'em!

Linked In: On the Surface & Under the Hood

I am frequently asked questions about how LinkedIn. Here is the first installment of a three part series on using LinkedIn for networking and as a strategy for relationship management.

If you take a quick look at LinkedIn, it may seem similar to Facebook: it's a list of who you know. Here's an overview of LinkedIn and how it can help you on "the surface":

  • An estimated 80% of mid-to-senior level job offers are the result of Networking. LinkedIn helps you expand your network.
  • Your chance of success increases with an introduction: Just as your friends can help you get a job, so can your “friends of friends.”  LinkedIn provides a transparent way for you to see how people are connected to one another so that you can build strong relationships—and request appropriate introductions for networking.
  • A complete LinkedIn profile allows you to develop a snapshot of another individual’s job history and interests. LinkedIn helps give you an opening.

Dig a little deeper and you'll see several not-so-obvious features that you can use to present yourself:

  • LinkedIn allows you to be a snoop—and make the information work for you. Evaluating other people’s profiles allows you to see how others with your skill set present themselves—a cheat sheet for resume writing since it may provide you with an additional perspective on your work.
  • LinkedIn is a safe place to search for answers to the questions you may have—but are afraid to ask. Search the Question and Answer section for previously asked questions and how they were answered.
  • LinkedIn limits the number of characters you can write in your profile summary as well as each job description. As such, LinkedIn is a guaranteed tool for resume development—it forces you to be concise and to have a consistent tone.
  • LinkedIn is a shortcut to resume writing. Your profile becomes an abbreviated resume as you write it. Note the PDF icon in your LinkedIn account—it is a pdf version of your profile that can easily be sent to others.

Are  you an active LinkedIn user? If yes, do you have any other tips and strategies you'd like to share?

Five Must-Reads of 2008

As we welcome 2009, here are five must-reads of 2008 that will help you stay ahead of the curve:Times_square

  1. It's tough to make a resolution that sticks if you're putting up with something that's always in the way. In I Hated My Lawnmower, author Jason Alba provides a lesson in the satisfaction that can come from fixing a simple but nagging problem.
  2. If you're not on LinkedIn yet, you should be. Statistics on successful job searches routinely show that at least 60% of job offers come from networking, and LinkedIn is the granddaddy of social networking apps (some call it "Facebook" for grown-ups). Here are tips on how to write your LinkedIn profile for your future from social media whiz Chris Brogan.
  3. If you're applying for a front office position--or seeking positions in a very competitive field-- you'll want to differentiate yourself. I recommend subscribing to Dan Schawbel's personal branding blog. (Note: If you decide your job search strategy should include starting a blog of your own, see his tips on how to do this.)
  4. Do They Care About Your Personal Brand? As important as it is to differentiate yourself and stand out amongst other candidates in the actual job search, employers search and hires based on their own needs. This piece by Louise Fletcher, founder of Career Hub and Owner of Blue Sky Resumes, is a great reminder of the need for balance between branding and positioning yourself to meet employer requirements and mission critical demands.
  5. 10 Ways You Stop Yourself from Getting the Right Job. In a tough economy, it's easy to shy away from the job market or feel overwhelmed. Don't. London-based Sital Ruparelia's tips will help you keep a stiff upper lip and keep your career moving forward!

To Your Success,

How to Generate Buzz with A Blog

Several months ago, I called David Heiser a rock star. A current student at the College of Charleston, David is pursuing a public relations career in the hospitality with focus, gusto, and an impressive portfolio.David_heiser 

I asked David to share strategies with us, here is the first installment of how David does it:

As a senior scheduled to graduate this spring, I’ve felt the looming threat of life after graduation for quite a while. In an economic landscape like this, where even people with years of experience are getting laid off left and right, it’s a little frightening to be heading into the workforce with nothing but internships under your belt.

For students pursuing a career in public relations, like myself, it is important to have some experience or skill that differentiates us from the hundreds of other individuals who are applying for the same positions.

This past February, I began attempting to differentiate myself by creating and maintaining a blog. I knew a blog would help establish my personal brand and increase my visibility on the internet to potential employers.

When it came time to choose a subject for my blog, I made my decision based on two criteria.

  1. I needed to pick a topic that I was passionate enough about to ensure that I wouldn’t get bored and stop writing in a few months. Too many blogs start out strong, only to fizzle when their author loses interest and stops posting.
  2. I also needed my topic to be related to an industry which I was interested in doing public relations for. This will help potential employers feel confident that I will be able to effectively communicate their client’s messages the media and other publics within the industry.

I eventually settled on restaurant reviews (I also write movie reviews, but that is mainly to insure that I have a steady stream of content). I went in this direction because I’ve always been interested in food and the restaurant industry. I love going out to eat and I’m the one my friends turn to for restaurant recommendations. I’ve also worked in restaurants and for restaurants for years, so it seemed like a logical choice.

In the nine-plus months that I’ve been writing for my blog, I’ve written 88 posts and slowly crept up the Google results for my name (I’m currently in fourth). I’ve had my reviews syndicated on two local news websites, which has helped to increase my site’s visibility. I’ve also made sure to keep a consistently updated resume, a variety of writing samples, and a current list of all of my social media profiles easily accessible for anyone (especially potential employers) who may be interested.

To help push my blog entries out to everyone in my network, I have used a variety of social media tools. First, I set up an RSS feed and an e-mail feed, so visitors would have multiple ways of subscribing to my site. I use TwitterFeed to send a tweet every time I make a new post. Facebook’s Blogcast application and MySpace’s RSS Reader share my entries with my friends on each site. Most people (even your close friends) won’t check your Web site every day, so it’s important to make it as easy as possible for them to know when you’ve produced new material.

While a blog/Web site won’t get you a job by itself, it can certainly increase your chances. You will still need to have a well-crafted resume, network like there’s no tomorrow, and prepare for interviews like they are midterms if you want to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you. So, how is it working for me? Well, I don’t have any offers for after graduation yet, but I have managed to leverage my blog experience to help land three internships. From here, I just need to keep up the hard work and hope my effort pays off.

Many thanks to David for sharing his expertise on blogs, and stay tuned for more information on how his job search progresses. I'm predicting big things.

Predictions on Brand for 2009 (& How to Start Hooking Yourself Up)

Over at the Personal Branding Blog, social media guru Dan Schawbel has posted his list of personal branding predictions for 2009. Dan specializes in personal brand management for Gen Y and has a book coming out early next year which I plan to review soon.

Check out Dan's hot list of branding trends. Regardless of whether you believe that personal branding will be a "top of mind" catchphrase in 2009, I agree with Dan that managing your online presence is essential and his statement that,

One of the biggest challenges with building a personal brand, in bits and bytes, is managing it over your lifetime"

With that in mind, here are three very quick things you can do now--even if exams or holiday obligations are looming over your head--

1. If you don't have one already, set up a LinkedIn profile. You may find this advice from Chris Brogan on how to write your profile for your future to be helpful

You can mark it as private until you're ready to use it. In the interim, claim your public URL (i.e. address) through the "Edit Public Profile" settings.

One reason why this really works: When you want to be known, you'll come up quicker in searches.

2. Set up a Google News Alert on your name so that you can monitor information about yourself (this may or may not work with Facebook tagging of photos--but you should be monitoring these, anyway).

3. Consider following Dan Schawbel's advice and buying your own domain name with your name--if it is still available. This way, no one else can snag it, and you'll have the space to place your own online portfolio if you decide that is something you want to do. ( is one place to do this, but there are multiple vendors for domain names on the web, just search "domain names.")

In my opinion, branding alone won't get you hired--you need to be able to demonstrate your fit for a position and fit organizational needs--but it can speed up your search. And these three quick moves will help you lay a foundation for "being found" once you are ready to kick your search into high gear.

To your success,

What You Can Learn from Prince

180px-Theartist Several years ago, Prince made a major branding decision: he decided to be known as "The Artist formerly known as Prince" and to use a graphic symbol for his branding.

If you want to be found and known, following "the artist's" lead is a good strategy for managing your online presence. Here's why: If I "Google" you, I should--theoretically--only find hits that relate directly to you. Strive to develop and use your name consistently across platforms--i.e. don't sign up with one name in LinkedIn and another on DIGG unless you don't want to be found in both.

You want to make it easier for potential employers to connect the dots and learn about you.

Some of us are lucky, we don't share our names and don't have to create our own unique moniker. For example, I have only met a handful of people with the name Chandlee in my life. Most of them have Chandlee for a last name (I was given the name Chandlee in honor of my ancestors, the Chandlee family of Quaker clock makers)...I don't know of anyone else named "Chandlee Bryan." So if I post anything online or find anything online under the name of "Chandlee Bryan," it's typically about me. (This, is--mostly--a good thing, though it means I run the risk of also being easily found when I make a mistake!)

If someone else has your name, consider using a variation of your name to present yourself--i.e. you might use an initial, your full name, etc. Then use the same exact name across website and social networking platforms...and check your search results. You'd be surprised how much this simple change can increase your ability to be known.

To your success,


P.S. Of course this also works in reverse, too: take care to not be known for the things you'd prefer to stay in the background...


"I eat my peas with honey, I've done it all my life.
It may taste kind of funny but it keeps them on my knife."

This is one of the only poems I can repeat from memory, a poem oft-quoted by my mother, and--often in the same breath as "Mabel, Mabel, strong and able...keep your elbows off the table."

Regardless of whether manners and etiquette are important to you, you can count on the fact that they may be important to the employers and individuals who help you in the job search. Fortunately, many of the "standards" for behavior are generally universal in scope--firm handshakes (for the U.S. based job search), saying "thank you for your consideration" in a cover letter, and sending a follow-up note post-interview.

What's less clear is etiquette protocol surrounding Web 2.0 and cell phones. Given that my mother has never sent a text message, I need more go-to resources on this...(and I find many of them through my friends at Career Hub).

In her latest post on Water Cooler Wisdom, Alexandra Levit shares Five Burning Questions about Tech Etiquette from Real Simple magazine. This piece provides expert answers to all of these questions you might even not have thought to ask.

1. You’re walking down the street and listening to your iPod when you run into someone you know. Do you need to remove both earbuds to talk to her?

2. Is it rude to check your PDA at a friend’s house?

3. How quickly must I respond to an e-mail? Are the standards different for work e-mails versus personal e-mails?

4. If someone calls you, can you e-mail the person back or send a text message if you’re not in the mood to talk? What if you text or e-mail someone and the person calls you back?

 5. Is using BCC on an e-mail considered sneaky? (Note: I especially liked this answer, as it had information I had not previously considered).

To learn the answers to these questions, check out the posting on Alexandra's Water Cooler Wisdom blog.

Missing Tim Russert (& The Secret to a Great Presentation)

Tim_russert It's election night, and I join many in missing Tim Russert.

Over at Keppie Careers, my friend Miriam Salpeter has posted a lovely piece in appreciation of Mr. Russert's interpersonal and communication skills. I remember his smile and easy manner; I once spotted him enjoying a quiet beer and a few laughs at the Hawk and Dove near Capitol Hill.

But more than that, I remember his election night skills and his legacy--the white board. As technology and poll tracking improved dramatically in 2000 and 2004, Mr. Russert always referred to a simple whiteboard with a dry erase pen to explain the results to the American public. He showed us how his math worked as if he were our third grade math teacher--and made the complex simple. I'll never forget the election of 2000, when at least one network called Florida for "Gore" and then retracted. In the end, Mr. Russert's white board prediction that the election would hinge on "Florida, Florida, Florida" was correct--and it was four long weeks before we truly knew our next President.

As I write, the polls are closing. Many statistics buffs, analysts, pundits and journalists are scrambling to access what's happened, and I'm thinking about how Mr. Russert's  legacy extends beyond politics to strong relationships and presentations of elegant simplicity.

I can only imagine that he'd be an advocate of the 3 x 5 rule for making PowerPoint presentations: no more than three bullet points per slide and five words per line. Next time you have a chance to attend a conference, evaluate the effectiveness of the speakers presentation techniques: In your opinion, what's more effective--having extensive slides with all the notes included onscreen, or a sparse presentation high on substance and low on bells and whistles? What works for you, and do you have any presentation role models or tips you'd like to share?