I am moving

Am excited to announce that after years of dawdling, I have finally launched my site. It is at rowenamorais.com.

What’s new

This new site has just been launched in August 2016. The focus is clear  : I am helping my readers to write, to get published and to strengthen their personal brand.

It’s been difficult to figure out what I’d like to do. I look back at my history and I see myself writing about all kinds of things, it’s a bit of a mish-mash. But I also know it’s a journey and you have to begin to get somewhere. It’s just daunting to be so exposed, to have your digital footprint so clearly visible.

For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them – Aristotle

Yet, for the very reasons I have been less than satisfied with my efforts so far, it has helped to distill what I am good at, what I care about and what I’d like to focus on.

Why you should care

If you’re an existing follower of mine (via email), I have migrated you onto my newsletter. If you’re a WordPress  blog follower, I am not sure how to migrate you over so please take this as an invitation to check out my new site. Hopefully, if you like what you see, and if it makes sense for your journey, then you will sign up for my newsletter. No pressure intended, no commitment required and you can always opt-out anytime you like.

If you’re interested in writing and building your brand name through the written word, you’re probably looking at creating or bettering your website or blog. You probably already do some form of content marketing, whether through ad-hoc pieces like eBooks or regular pieces like long-form content.

This is what I can help with.

What’s next?

I intend to blog at my new site, from now on. I will still keep this site up but don’t intend to post anything new here. So, I hope you will check rowenamorais.com out. I’d love to hear from you, whether it’s suggestions for improvements, other things I could work on or just to say hello.

Hopefully, we meet again.

How to raise your visibility : Test and tweak relentlessly

I can understand why you would want to hide away and just do your work, your best work. No interruptions, no judgement, no need to second guess yourself. Whether you criticise your work or get this done by a third party, there comes a time when you must end all the perfecting, redrafting and constant revision and simply ship. You’ve got to close it and present it.

But this is not so much about shipping as it is about testing and tweaking.  While as a bit of a perfectionist myself, I can completely see the value in trying to improve, you want to do it in a way you can rely on. Testing without data is just simple experimentation.

When it comes to raising your visibility, you must be open to trying new things… things that you’ve never done before. You must be open to experiencing failure, as is bound to be the case when you are doing something for the first time.

You are raising the bar for yourself, and doing that requires courage.

Courage is not the absence of fear but the acquired ability to move beyond fear – anon

Some tips on testing and tweaking

Test one thing at a time

If you test too many things simultaneously, it makes it difficult to identify what’s moving the needle.

Test over a period of time

This means you’ve got to commit to whatever activity you are doing for a period of time, and perhaps that period shifts depending on the type of activity.

Go with the flow.

There are some activities you will embrace a lot quicker and with ease – do more of that. There are some that will be hard – be patient and do not give up too early. The problem here is that time is a subjective and you need to be able to make that decision as you move along.

Tweaks should also be done one at a time

Tweaks need not necessarily always be the major shifts you think they are – it could be tiny, little adjustments. For example, your personal dress sense or the type of business card you are giving out. But they are best implemented one at a time.

Consider everything

Leave no stone unturned. Things you should think and rethink include :

  • the way you dress when you attend business meetings, functions or networking get togethers;
  • the way in which you manage yourself at a networking party;
  • how you address people and what sort of first impression you think you make;
  • how proactive you are in a meeting, group discussion or networking event;
  • how you present a paper;
  • how you write an article;
  • how you interact in online discussion forums;
  • how you handle feedback.

The list is endless …

What you want to do is consider what makes you stand out, what makes you falter, what brings the positive comments flowing and …what brings the nasties on as well.

This is not to mean the feedback should drive your next activity – for every positive comment, there’s bound to be negative ones lurking. We have to be stronger than that and be grounded in our conviction. But we can certainly notice patterns and rethink the assumptions on which we make our decisions.

Do you agree? Love to hear what you think, so please leave a comment.

Updated – here are the links to all the posts in this series :

#1 How to raise your visibility – give it time
#2 How to raise your visibility – put your stamp on it
#3 How to raise your visibility – build expertise and show value
#4 How to raise your visibility – test and tweak relentlessly.

 

I run the Verticaldistinct.com platform and Accelerate Magazine. I blog regularly on personal development, mindfulness, growth and habits. I also contribute posts regularly to Women of HR, HRIS World and post on LinkedIn.  Check out the May 2015 issue of Accelerate Magazine – let me know what you think!I run the Verticaldistinct.com platform and Accelerate Magazine. I blog regularly on personal development, mindfulness, growth and habits. I also contribute posts to Women of HR and post on LinkedIn.  Check out the May 2015 issue of Accelerate Magazine – let me know what you think!

How to raise your visibility : Build expertise and show value

Do you think what you’re aiming for is akin to boiling the ocean? No way.

If you believe that anything worth doing is worth doing well, then you will expect that this entire process is one that will take time.

An expert is not born overnight.

Two things that go hand in hand when raising your profile are :-

1. building expertise; and
2. providing tremendous value.

Building expertise requires a great deal of failure
An expert is not born overnight. You become one over time because you’ve invested of yourself – time, energy, commitment and patience – to meet your goal. In the process, your status moves from newbie, semi-literate, competent, professional and then expert. And undoubtedly in your journey, you stretch yourself, try new things, explore previously unchartered territories, conquer fears and … fail.

But the difference here is that unlike others who then stop, you take that failure and own it.

You turn it around, examine it, go through the emotional rollercoaster it brings on and face it head on. By doing so, you’re unlikely to make the same deadly mistake twice.

The quicker you establish your space, the areas for which you want to focus on and be known for, the quicker and easier the route to getting there because there is a plan mapped out. If you decide to take on more than your fair share though, you’re likely to  drop the ball at times, lose focus on what it is you are trying to achieve or simply take longer to complete the journey.

Building expertise also takes a lot of guts
To stand up, to stand for something, to put your stake in the ground. So the practice you give yourself each time you build that expertise and watch it develop then strengthens your resolve to keep moving in that direction.

Building that expertise needs to be your passion
You cannot endure the hardship, pain and the rigour associated with this journey if you don’t firstly have a love for what you do. That one single thing makes all the difference.

Make it easy for them to decide.

Provide value because it gives people a taster
Wouldn’t you want to have a bite of that doughnut before you committed to getting the 6-pack deal? A taste of the action beats all the words and psychology in trying to make someone decide something blindly. Let their tastebuds decide and let it be that you go back to the drawing board if there are no takers.

Provide value because you should operate on the basis of “give first, ask later”
It’s human nature to be far more receptive to giving, once they have received. And you will stand out from the others who go down the more traditional, staid route.

Provide value so you can blow the competition out of the water
If you provide value before you ask for the sale, you ensure that you are already front and centre in their mind. You make an impact and it’s against this they will hold to, as others come calling.

Provide value because it makes it easier for them to decide, don’t you think?
People can make decisions based on spreadsheets and ROI and metrics. Or they can make decisions based on how they feel and justify that with logic. Whatever you do, you want to appeal to both the logical and emotional sides.

Make it easy for them to decide.

If you take a good look around you, you will notice that most successful people and organisations consistently provide value of some sort : upfront, free, repeatedly. They put in a bang-up effort. We’re not talking about giving away too many things of value because successful people also believe in the value of what they bring. It’s a balance – just enough to tip the scale in their favour.

How do you compete with that? Can you afford not to make a stab at this and just pitch yourself forward?

I think it’s a given that building expertise (the fundamentals necessary) and showcasing real, impactful value upfront is the way to raise your visibility … and that much more.

Do you agree? Love to hear what you think, so please leave a comment.

Updated – here are the links to all the posts in this series :

#1 How to raise your visibility – give it time
#2 How to raise your visibility – put your stamp on it
#3 How to raise your visibility – build expertise and show value
#4 How to raise your visibility – test and tweak relentlessly.

 

I run the Verticaldistinct.com platform and Accelerate Magazine. I blog regularly on personal development, mindfulness, growth and habits. I also contribute posts regularly to Women of HR, HRIS World and post on LinkedIn.  Check out the May 2015 issue of Accelerate Magazine – let me know what you think!I run the Verticaldistinct.com platform and Accelerate Magazine. I blog regularly on personal development, mindfulness, growth and habits. I also contribute posts to Women of HR and post on LinkedIn.  Check out the May 2015 issue of Accelerate Magazine – let me know what you think!

How to raise your visibility : Put your stamp on it

Profile building involves being clear about what it is that you want to be known for.

In our life, it’s natural to have many spheres, some of which may overlap. Our different roles and responsibilities, the things we are passionate about, the causes we want to fight all make up part of who we are and what we do. The internet and rise of social media has only served to increase our options when it comes to raising our visibility. We need only ‘to quiet the lizard brain‘, as Seth Godin would put it.

We can create our own brand of content, we can self publish, we can build a following of like-minded souls.

It can be particularly confusing when you are starting on this journey – there are so many roads to take, which ones are the most successful? How soon before you give up? Where do you start?

Facebook works for some, Twitter kills it for others. Some prefer blog posts and there are some, strange as it may sound, who avoid cellphones. My point? It does not matter what others do.

Each person uses each platform or technology for different needs. Further, each person has different objectives. The answer is : there is no right or wrong answer. You need to discover what works for you by yourself.

But if you are starting out, the first thing you need to do is to get clarity about the areas/things you want to be known for. What you want is to put your stamp on it. This simply means you have carved a space you call your own. When people think social media specialist, conversion strategist, turnaround guru or whoever it is you are establishing yourself as, you are the person who comes to mind.

Doing the work involved is hard undoubtedly hard and it requires patience, time and a thick skin.

How do you do this?

1. Figure out firstly what it is that you want to be known for.

2. Don’t try to do too much and be too many things to too many people.

3. Put the time in so that the work necessary, to call this space yours, is done. Develop your expertise.

4. Experiment. How else will you discover?

5. Focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. This is about celebrating what is good, brave and solid – not about fixing, bettering or making adjustments.

6. Embrace a sense of bold adventure – you cannot escape the need for courage, for curiosity, for wonder…. for what could be.

Slowly, surely, you build this, one step at a time. As you look back, you gather traction and you gain a kind of satisfaction as you examine your body of work. Yes, it now begins to take shape.

And there you have it – a plan for moving forward.

What are you waiting for? This is all the inspiration you need.

Updated – here are the links to all the posts in this series :

#1 How to raise your visibility – give it time
#2 How to raise your visibility – put your stamp on it
#3 How to raise your visibility – build expertise and show value
#4 How to raise your visibility – test and tweak relentlessly.

 

I run the Verticaldistinct.com platform and Accelerate Magazine. I blog regularly on personal development, mindfulness, growth and habits. I also contribute posts regularly to Women of HR, HRIS World and post on LinkedIn.  Check out the May 2015 issue of Accelerate Magazine – let me know what you think!

How to raise your visibility : Give it time

Gaining visibility, for most, takes time. Unless you have a lot of money to throw at this or you just want cheap publicity, the kind of visibility you are trying to drive towards takes patience, time, consistent effort and a bit of planning.

In the past, one of the businesses I ran involved helping people reach their target audience through email marketing. And one of the things I saw consistently is that many who were trying to reach out to their audience were giving up too early in the game.

They would send out one email campaign and then sit and wait for results. Sometimes, they would do this to the exclusion of any other marketing activity.

Yes, some of these were small businesses and they had limited budgets.

But when you commit to just one activity or too short a timeframe, you’ve effectively wasted both time, resources and money. You’ve shot it down prematurely. As I indicated in my previous post, the top brands in the world spend millions, if not more, consistently. What do you think that means for smaller, unknown brands?

The hard part lies in knowing how much to do and for how long. There are no quick answers – no one else can tell you how much time and effort to invest because this is your business. You know it best.

Give it time to hit the tipping point.
Give it all the support you can muster so that you can say that you’ve done your best by your campaign.
Try different things and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Be brave, be bold.
Start anyway.
There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t believe in it, or has a different view on how to do it. Start anyway. There’s enough pressure involved without you adding to it, go with the flow.

Updated – here are the links to all the posts in this series :

#1 How to raise your visibility – give it time
#2 How to raise your visibility – put your stamp on it
#3 How to raise your visibility – build expertise and show value
#4 How to raise your visibility – test and tweak relentlessly.

I run the Verticaldistinct.com platform and Accelerate Magazine. I blog regularly on personal development, mindfulness, growth and habits. I also contribute posts regularly to Women of HR, HRIS World and post on LinkedIn.  Check out the May 2015 issue of Accelerate Magazine – let me know what you think!

What not to do when looking for a job

1. Send out applications en masse

This seems so obvious but who among us has not seen the generic application letter? It is the quickest way into oblivion. You don’t need to use perfume on your letterhead, or adorn your cover letter with flowery swirls. You want to get noticed but it needs to be for the right reason. The generic application is one that is unlikely to be read by you and if that’s the case, you certainly can’t expect anyone else to either. So tailor it to the individual reader and make it distinct.

2. Contact people you don’t know and expect them to give you a referral

I would not dream of reaching out to people I have not met and asking them to give me a referral or to recommend me. Firstly, on what basis would I do so? Secondly, why would you consider asking someone who doesn’t know you professionally to undertake something like this? Yet, I have encountered people who believe that this is a good strategy.

3. Rely on an outdated, boring resume

There’s LinkedIn  profiles, video resumes, online resumes and now, even the Prezume. We are far more responsive to visual stimuli than to text. If technology and the world of work now makes it possible for us to connect, to impress and to present ourselves, with much more ease and impact, we should take that cue and do the needful. Bin the word doc and get yourself out there in a truly significant, impactful manner. Because you owe it to yourself.

4. Call in favours

If you want to get that job because you called in a favour, remember two things. Firstly, did you get your job the best way you should have and for the right reasons? Secondly, someday, that favour will need to be repaid. Would you be willing to pay the price?

5. Be careless about how you brand yourself

If you use social media, if you work with computers, smart phones and tablets and if you’ve put your profile out there on the internet, you have a digital footprint. This footprint covers the links you have clicked on, what you’ve searched for on the internet, things you’ve ‘liked’, places you’ve visited or given feedback about, your location, your IP address, what you’ve said and what’s been said of you.

Typically, there’s two choices. One is to monitor how you are presenting yourself and what you discuss so that you are painstakingly aware of how this is represented. You do this to project an image of who you are and to ensure that the myriad representations out there do as intended. The other is to just dive right in and let it be what it may. Some view their Facebook profiles and social activities as quite distinct – what they do in their personal space and time is theirs and should not be used to judge them. But the fact remains that while some may or may not agree, your activities, profile and footprint present you in a certain light. So, it’s far better to be in control of how that is presented.

6. Be sloppy about how you communicate

How you communicate gives people an impression of who you are. And a sloppy presentation will only tell badly on you. Check phraseology, nuances, typos and edit. Cull, cull, cull because less is more. And when in doubt, leave it out.

7. Make claims you can’t back up

If there’s a way to find out, it will be done. So if you want to make claims, ensure it’s something solid you are relying on or it will come back to bite you.

8. Be uncertain about what you want to do and where you want to go

We don’t always want to start out hearing about your goals. Asking people about whether they are an achiever may not yield honest answers. Maybe, these are not really good indicators of your personality either. The truth is that any interview-savvy applicant can answer questions without giving the interviewer a clue about the truth. Nevertheless, you need to be led by your over-riding goal. You need to be clear about what you’d like to achieve. It makes you look like you have a sense of purpose and drive.

9. Be unprofessional

You’ll never win if you go there. Don’t rat on anyone. Don’t complain or moan about your ex-colleague. Don’t whine about the last place you worked at. It says more about you than about them.

10. Give up

It’s a long, slow process. You do this for the journey as much as for the destination. Giving up is therefore, not an option. Unless you plan on becoming an entrepreneur which requires a completely different mindset.

11.  Be disinterested in the company you’re applying to

There’s some baseline stuff you should know. Take an interest, google the company, ask around, talk. You’re bound to discover useful information. You can use it to show the company that you’ve made an effort. You can also use it to make your final decision when the time comes.

12. Take shortcuts

Lastly, and probably the most important, don’t expect that you can gain anything useful with shortcuts. Do the work, put in the time.

The rewards will come to those who do what they need to, to get to where they want to be.

Next post : If not this, then what? What you should do when looking for a job.

Feeling Under-Appreciated? Here’s How You Can Make It Better…

Feeling Under-Appreciated? Here’s How You Can Make It Better…

Thrilled to see one of my recent guest posts at Women of HR has been posted yesterday. Women of HR is a site dedicated to the development of women in human resources and business.

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