One of my good friends is married to a chef. People are always telling her how lucky she is because her man cooks. But I had to ask…does he cook at home? or does he give his restaurant customers delicious meals and then pop in a frozen pizza when he gets home?
She laughed and said, no he cooks for his family too and we’re his guinea pigs on new dishes.
So it is for the blogger.
I’ve been spending a lot of time “cooking” elsewhere and have ignored serving it up here on the Tell Your Story blog, so I thought I’d share a few of my writing projects recently.
In addition to these guest blogging gigs, I’m also working on a fiction book about a would-be scientist and his great discovery. More about that later.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you find value in these.
To me, it’s like asking how to get someone to fall in love with you. There are a lot of snake oil salesman who are willing to give you a quick fix but building a relationship with your members takes time and dedication. It takes a mentality of placing them first and a commitment to understand what they want and how they want to be appreciated. Plus it also takes a bit of chemistry. There’s no way to make a member fall in love with you, if the member and your association aren’t a good fit.
Because salvaging a member relationship doesn’t work as they’re backing down the driveway with their car packed full of tokens of your time together.
Just as in a relationship, when it’s new, everyone is excited. As it becomes a daily part of their lives, things become less enchanting. Annoyances crop up. Thoughts of wishing you’d do things another way filter into their consciousness and just like in relationships, we can only hope the members will tell us. But if they don’t we have to be prepared to read them through body language and data.
As someone who has been in the association space for about half a decade now, here is my advice for the upcoming generation. In addition to this video, I wrote a blog post about the importance of telling your story as a young professional.
If video’s not your thing, here’s the transcript of my advice to the emerging young professional.
Although the comedian in me really wanted to leave the original transcript at YouTube transcribed it, I did in the end, edit it to the best of my recollection. If there’s something slightly amiss, please forgive the error.
Hi. I’m Christina Green and I’m a freelance writer and marketer for associations, chambers of commerce and small businesses.
Here’s my advice to you emerging young professional:
Take advantage of the time you have now. I know you don’t feel like you have any time that you’re so stressed with work and you come home and just want to relax but 15 years from now you’re going to have responsibilities you haven’t even dreamed of yet so take advantage of the time that you have now.
Join the groups you’re interested in, spend your time thinking about what you want to do in your career.
Gaining the knowledge that would be necessary. I know that you’ve just graduated from school and it seems like you just got done educating yourself what more do you have to do? But let me tell you, the way things are moving with social media and new technologies constantly changing, you have to be in charge of your own education. It’s a very rare organization that’s going to come to you and ask you to you learn more about a topic. To be a vital and contributing part of this market you need to constantly be on top of the technologies that are out there and the different ways of doing things. No one’s going to do that for you. You need to take that upon yourself, which brings me back to time.
If somebody asks you to take on a special project, something that could be the beginning of a huge opportunity for you, don’t tell them they’re gonna have to wait until the weekend or they’re going to have to wait a couple of weeks because it’s a pretty stressful time (for you) at work right now and you just don’t know when it’s going to happen. Give them an exact date that they can expect that deadline or that product to be produced or that service to be rendered and then beat (due date).
Now is the time to wow people. Now is the time to knock them on their tukus.
You have the time work hard. Do it. I know you can. That’s my advice to you emerging professional.
While I am a firm believer that a memoir is probably not the right fit for a ten year-old looking to publish a book, telling your story is not something to put off until you’re middle-aged. Your story is part of your personal brand and can help you stand out in a sea of people who are equally exuberant and equally without relevant job history.
When I was asked a few weeks ago to put together a post about advice I would give a young association professional, my first reaction was “to make the most of your time” because as you age it not only goes faster but you have less of it. Making the most of your time means: joining groups; experimenting with different projects and tasks to find out what you’re really skilled at and what you like; keeping your skills up-to-date by taking control of your own personal development – a diploma doesn’t mean the learning is complete; starting that novel now versus later…you get the idea.
You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. – The Breakfast Club
But I would also add that it’s important while you’re doing these things to examine who you are, where you came from and what makes you unique. Think of the college entrance essays you wrote about what inspires you or shaped you. Use those things to tell your story.
Questions/Tips for Creating and Telling Your Story
Think about when you’re happiest. What does that say about you?
How would your friends describe you?
If Hollywood told your story, who would they cast to play you and what parts of your life would they highlight?
Think about what the market wants/needs right now and answer how you can fill it based on your life experiences.
Keep in mind that employers, networkers, peers will all see you as they see any other recent grad – ready to take on the world with no practical experience with which to do so.
Stand out from the crowd.
Tell them who you are.
Don’t wait for them to decide.
Tell your story.
There was a lot of great advice on the topic. I encourage you to read:
Serving what your audience wants is crucial to maintaining one
I went to a baby shower a while back. All of the dishes served had some form of nuts in them – almond string beans, peanut-encrusted chicken, carrot cake (with walnuts). You would’ve thought the momma-to-be loved nuts. Actually, she hated them but the hostess thought everything was better with nuts and people liked them.
The hostess, in this example, is an old-school marketer. She is serving up what she wants to serve, what she thinks should be served. She’s mistaking general popularity with what her guests want, when in reality, the guest of honor doesn’t even want it.