…sort of. Joel Cohen, the Writer and Producer of the Simpsons was the closing keynote speaker on Day 2 of the PW*BAW Project Management conference. And Leslie Hughes, President of Punch Media, did a very stimulating and helpful session on improving your LinkedIn presence. Below are some pointers I hope you will find useful in your PM life!
If you want to read the helpful hints from Day 1, here’s the link.
Day 2, 1st speaker: Leslie Hughes; topic: LinkedIn Tips (“Managing the biggest mistakes Business Analysts and Project Managers make with their online presence”)
“You can’t read the label when you’re inside the jar!”
In other words, when it comes to marketing yourself, don’t just rely on yourself – get someone else’s perspective as well!
“People buy ‘Why’ you do, not ‘What’ you do.”
To understand this better, watch this TED talk by Simon Sinek.
“Nobody knows what you know – from your perspective.”
Or, be confident when describing a situation. Only you can describe what you personally experienced, and by definition that can’t be wrong.
Pretty good, right? And that was not even the meat of the presentation! The real deal were the LinkedIn tips. These apply to all of us, and here are just a few that you can do right away
- Use more white space – short sentences, small paragraphs, space between paragraphs. Test yourself and see what articles you find easier to read.
- Your headline on LinkedIn has 120 characters. That is probably more space than you use. Fill it!
- Do you have designations and degrees? Add them to your name. These get more hits (I still need to do this myself).
- LinkedIn summary – make it powerful. Leslie recommended we do it in first person. All of us felt awkward thinking about this initially. But she had a point – when writing in first person, you make a more personal connection to people. I still need to get around to doing that too.
- LinkedIn summary: include accomplishments, keywords, call to action, and at least 3 things you are proud of.
Most of us felt awkward since, well, who wants to be seen as bragging? And Leslie addressed that. Let’s face it, and she’s right, “People want to work with the best in class”. That probably goes for you, right? I know I do.
Her point is that the problem is the opposite: we hold ourselves back (guilty, as charged).
“It is a big disservice to your network if you don’t tell them how great you are”.
Talk about getting us to think differently.
Day 2, 2nd speaker(s): Jason Greatrex and Dana Mohapl; topic: Implementing change from the bottom up (“A win-Win Partnership for Staff and your Institution: Leading Change and Driving Service Excellence from the Grassroots”)
After the dynamic presentation from Leslie, it felt calming to hear a good story told quietly. Dana and Jason tag-teamed on sharing their experience on how they transformed the Information Systems and Technology department at the University of Waterloo.
And in case you think there is little to learn unless you run a project in the public sector, think again. Some of the challenges they faced appear everywhere:
- an organization resistant to change
- management that is bureaucratic and not closely connected to staff
- constant restructuring resulting in multiple management changes
So how to you effect a change that will last when everything around you is constantly changing? How do you build a solid foundation of a home in quicksand during a hurricane? Well Jason and Dana did it. And kudos to them. Basically, they used three simple principles.
- Transform staff into Change Champions – They got their staff together. They organized staff led workshops. They let the staff lead while they facilitated.
- Initiate change by learning from your own stories – The staff used their own experiences to idealize desired scenarios, define challenges and come up with solutions.
- Use Project Management and Business Analysis to execute the change – self-explanatory.
And the result? Some of their changes are now embedded in the operating principles of the department, and are being rolled out across other areas.
What was refreshing about this presentation is how generous Dana and Jason were with openly sharing what worked and what didn’t. For example, in their case Lunch and Learns did not work – but the Leadership Book Club did!
They also shared their expected, and unexpected outcomes.
The whole thing felt less like a presentation than a good sit down with a close colleague who shares their war stories and victories, for your benefit.
The Keynote speakers were well worth the hype.
Mark Bowden kicked off the day with a very educational and funny talk on how to use body language.
That was the kicker for me – it was not a talk on how important body language is. We all know it’s important. He demonstrated what is effective in opening people up to listen to you.
And you know what? I have been using one of his suggestions, and it has been extremely effective! I use it whenever I need to be convincing, and it’s worked every time. That tip alone was worth the cost of admission!
If you want to know what it was, you have to contact me directly. For a relatively inexpensive lunch I will share it with you as well. In the meantime, here is a link to his book which I plan on buying myself as well.
Finally, Joel Cohen, the Writer and Producer of the Simpsons was just what you would expect him to be: completely irreverent and hilarious. It was like being in the auditorium in Springfield, being part of the joke and laughing anyways.
I just regret having booked a meeting and had to leave before Joel finished speaking.
The main lesson I drew from what Joel said was,
“Don’t worry about what others think if you want to truly be innovative.”
People don’t get innovation. They will resist it. They will try to shut it down. But they will accept the success. So just forge your own path, do what you have to despite everyone else.
I have never laughed myself to a high level of motivation, but after listening to Joel, that’s exactly what happened.
What a great way to finish a great conference. Hopefully I will see you there next year!