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Opinion Editorials

Are You a Bad Boy (or Girl)?

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You may be and not even know it!

A few times a year I will get an email from my dad asking a random question, such as: “Why were you quoted in an article on the latest ocular surgery practices in Alaska?”

What the …. ???

As much as the world has its hands full with one, yes, there is at least one other Brandie Young who apparently is an expert in the ocular surgery field (sorry to disappoint dad, I’m not a doctor).  My dad likes to Google my name every now and again.

Reputation management

Have you Googled yourself lately?  Your clients or potential clients most likely have, and if you don’t know what comes up on the first page when you Google your name, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise.

More than your name alone …

Don’t just Google your name, Google phrases.  For example, When I Google ‘GE Spokesperson Brandie Young’ I get an entirely different set of results than if I Google my name alone.  (ugh, bad memories from the result of that search …)

If potential clients Google you, they are probably entering Your Name, realtor, city name, your company, your previous company, etc.  Try a number of combinations, including misspelling your name, make note of each search and any unfavorable results.

:: Pause :: Search yourself now

Did you do a search with more than just your name?  Or did you add other key words, such as agent, complaints, real estate, etc.

Please share your results in the comment box, particularly any surprises!

Your reputation – guard it with your life!

To quote a book I love called The 48 Laws of Power:

“Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win: once it slips, however, you are vulnerable, and will be attacked on all sides.  Make your reputation unassailable.”

While it may take some work, it is probably worth it to correct, comment on (or, if possible, have deleted) any instances where you are mentioned in an inaccurately unflattering light. (Emphasis on inaccurately)

Vigilance is vital

Most important is any negative comments from previous clients or peers.  If you find them, the best course of action is to work to resolve the issue in person or over the phone, then see about updating negative online commentary.

Keep in mind, however, this doesn’t include anyone that takes you to task or disagrees with your point of view on your blog, or a comment you left on someone else’s blog.  That makes you a real, substantive person with an opinion.

According to Nielsen’s “Trust in Advertising” Report from October 2007, 78% of people trust the recommendations of other consumers over ads (I’m sure that stat has increased since the study).  And, with more and more trust placed on the opinion of bloggers it’s vital to be vigilant.

Monitor

Once you have all your phrases, set up a Google alert for each of the phrases as well as your name (include variations, i.e. Bob and Rob in addition to Robert).  You will get an email anytime one of those phrases appears online, saving you the time of searching yourself on a regular basis.

Brandie is an unapologetically candid marketing professional who was recently mentioned on BusinessWeek as a Top Young Female Entrepreneur. She recently co-founded consulting firm MarketingTBD. She's held senior level positions with GE and Fidelity, as well as with entrepreneurial start-ups. Raised by a real estate Broker, Brandie is passionate about real estate and is an avid investor. Follow her on Twitter.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Lisha Fabris

    April 30, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Great article Brandie. I was never one to track myself online but now that I’m in the PR game, I find it critical. Thanks for the tips & reminders.

  2. Annie Maloney

    April 30, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Well you had me feeling sort of paranoid for a second. My husband handles all the internet and SEO stuff and I have never really “Googled” myself. Thankfully everything has come back OK. Sorry, no dramatic results to report….

    Nice post.

  3. Missy Caulk

    April 30, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I love Google Alerts, it is the best for reputation management. I also follow some competitors too. LOL

  4. Tom Vanderwell

    April 30, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Interesting story about google alerts. I discovered that there is another Tom VanderWell who lives in Iowa. He’s in the quality control/call center consulting business. We are now facebook friends and also linkedin and have discovered that his daughter’s fiance just got done volunteering at a mission in Haiti not far from where the orphanage we’re involved in is located. Fortunately, both of us Tom Vanderwells have pretty good reputations.

    I tell you, it was really weird when he called me about mortgages, the phone rang, “Hi, Tom Vanderwell here.” “Tom, this is Tom VanderWell and I had a question……”

    Tom

  5. Danilo Bogdanovic

    April 30, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Google Alerts is your best friend in reputation management! And as Missy said, you can even use it to follow your competitors 🙂

  6. Brandie Young

    May 1, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Lisha – yep, now that you hve PR responsibilities under your belt, Alerts are critical. You may want to add your Exec. names to the alerts as well as competitors (per Missy).

    Annie – glad there were no surprises! Hope it stays that way.

    Missy – awesome (as usual!)

    Tom – that’s crazy! Vanderwell’s are clearly great people!

    Danilo – thanks for chiming in!

  7. Bill Lublin

    May 2, 2009 at 5:18 am

    Brandie;
    I think everyone should Google themselves, and I do (though not so frequently as to cause damage to my eyesight) – I love the idea of googling a phrase though – that was a new one for me – Thanks for the idea!

  8. Paula Henry

    May 3, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Brandie – I have Google Alerts for my name. There are a few Paula Henry’s who show up for my name, so phrases actually give me a better return for the termsI want to be known for.

  9. Brandie Young

    May 3, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Hi Bill – Glad you picked up something!

    Paula – Great – let me know if anything suprising appears!

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Opinion Editorials

10 tips for anyone looking to up their professional game

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) It’s easy to get bogged down by the details, procrastinate, and feel unproductive. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track and crush your professional goals.

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work productivity

Self-reflection is critical to a growth mindset, which you must have if you want to grow and improve. If you are ready to take your professional game to the next level, here are some stories and tips to help you remain focused on killing your goals.

1. Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy, as the quote goes. And, in the workplace it’s bound to make you second guess yourself and your abilities. This story explains when comparison can be useful, when to avoid it, and how to change your focus if it’s sucking the life out of you.

2. Burnout is real and the harder you work, the less productive you are. It’s an inverse relationship. But, there are ways to work smarter and have better life balance. Here are some tips to prioritize your workload and find more ease.

3. Stop procrastinating and start getting sh@t done. The reason we procrastinate may be less about not wanting to do something and more about the emotions underlying the task. Ready to get going and stop hemming and hawing, you got this and here’s the way to push through.

4. Perfection is impossible and if you seek this in your work and life, it’s likely you are very frustrated. Let that desire go and learn to be happy with excellence over perfection.

5. If you think you’re really awesome and seriously deserve more money, more responsibility, more of anything and are ready to drop the knowledge on your supervisor or boss, you may want to check this story out to see if your spinning in the right direction.

6. Technology makes it so easy to get answers so quickly, it’s hard to wait around for things to happen. We like instant gratification. Yet, that is another reason procrastination is a problem for some of us, but every person has a different way/reason for procrastinating. Learn what’s up with that.

7. Making choices can be a challenge for some of us (me included) who worry we are making the wrong choice. If you’ve ever struggled with decision making, you know it can be paralyzing and then you either make no decision or choose the safest option. What we have here is the Ambiguity Effect and it can be a real time suck. Kick ambiguity to the curb.

8. If you are having trouble interacting with colleagues or wondering why you don’t hear back from contacts it could be you are creeping folks out unintentionally (we hope). Here’s how to #belesscreepy.

9. In the social media era building your brand and marketing are critical, yet, if you’re posting to the usual suspects and seeing very little engagement, you’ve got a problem. Wharton Business School even did a study on how to fix the situation and be more shareable.

10. Every time you do a presentation that one co-worker butts in and calls you out. Dang. If you aren’t earning respect on the job, you will be limited in your ability to get to the next level. Respect is critical to any leadership position, as well as to making a difference in any role you may have within an organization, but actions can be misconstrued. There are ways to take what may be negative situations and use them to your advantage, building mutual respect.

You have the tools you need, now get out there, work hard, play hard and make sh*t happen. Oh, and remember, growth requires continual reflection and action, but you got this.

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Opinion Editorials

Why soft skills are even more essential in online era

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Since many of us aren’t seeing our co-workers in person these days, our soft skills are even more important in the online working space.

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Skype video chat with person writing in notebook. Soft skills are critical online.

When did we start thinking of “soft” as bad? I mean, we’ve got soft serve (excellent), softball (good exercise), fabric soft-ener (another industry I’m enjoying killing as a millennial). And we’ve got soft skills.

Or at least… I hope we do.

The shift to non-optional remote working has been difficult for a lot of us, especially for everyone who forgets to press mute before making sure the kids behave. But it’ll take more than being hot-mic savvy to make it through the foreseeable future. Brush up on these soft skills while we’re waiting on a vaccine, and it’ll make the coming months (years?) much easier.

1. Tone mastery

Do you know the difference between “Hey, Brenda, can we have a 1:1 at 12:30pm to go over the laser-equipped yoga pants presentation details?” and “Brenda, we need to talk…”?

If not, you might not have a great grasp on how to say with your typey-words what you can no longer say with your facial expressions. You don’t need to throw an emoji or exclamation point into every sentence to get your points across, but you do have the power to keep your coworkers’ heart rates in a safe range by explaining what exactly you need from them in your initial messages.

Use that power wisely.

2. Checking in

There’s no water cooler talk if there’s no water cooler, right?

Making and maintaining connections is more important now than ever, natural introversion be damned. You wanna be a star, don’tcha? Keep up relationships with public shoutouts, inquiries, and reaction images, and you’ll keep up morale while maintaining and boosting your potential for growth in the company.

Even if you’re not a small-talk kind of person, just a drop in for updates, meeting minutes, or sharing a relevant article via appropriate chatrooms and DMs can help hone your soft skills.

“Karen, this MLM article reminded me of your anti-Scentsy tangent you forgot we could all hear, maybe send this to your pushy ex-friend.”

“Hey, Ravindra, how’s the new laptop working out? All good? No ‘Kill all Humans’ protocols like the last one?”

Simple blips like this can add up like couch change. If you’re an admin, make a general chats section, and work in enough time in meetings to allow everyone to have a bit of a chat before getting down to business.

3. Make yourself available

This was important before the pandemic, honestly, but it bears repeating now, especially for everyone in a leadership position. If you’re not making time for check-ins, constantly cancelling meetings, or just generally enjoying being gone when people need you…figure out a way to not. Delegate what you can, bring on a VA, shorten that vacation, whatever you have to do. Everyone’s struggling, and being captain means your crew is looking to you. Don’t let the general air of desperation lull you into thinking a metaphorical keelhauling is out of the question—that extra power still comes with extra responsibility.

Keep yourself from double-bookings, cancellations, and absences as much as possible, and things will continue to improve internally… Even if they don’t in the outside world.

Aesop had a fable about an oak tree and a little river reed. When a storm came, the hardened oak tree fell and died, while the flexible reed bent with the wind and lived. We’re in the storm now, and everyone’s doing their best not to break. Keep yourself rooted friends, but the moral here is to soften up.

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Opinion Editorials

Before you quit your job, ask yourself these 5 questions

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Frustrated at work? Here are 5 ideas utilizing design thinking and exploration tactics to assess if you really are ready to quit your job.

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Man reclining on beanbag with laptop, thoughtful. Considering tactics before you quit your job.

We have all been there. We are in a job that just doesn’t feel right for us. Maybe we strongly dislike our manager or even our day to day work responsibilities. We find it easy to blame everyone else for everything we dislike. We question life and ask “Is this what life is all about? Shouldn’t I be spending my time doing something I am more passionate about?” But, we probably like the regular paycheck… Thus, we stay there and possibly become more miserable by the day. Some of us may even start to feel physical symptoms of headaches, stomach aches, and possibly depression. We also may go to the internet like this person seeking answers and hoping someone else can tell us what to do:

“I feel conflicted but I want to quit my job. What should I do?

I was thinking of quitting my job because I dislike what I do, and I feel I am underpaid.

However last week my colleague tendered her resignation too. Needless to say, if I leave too, my whole department will fall into a larger mess and that causes some feelings of conflict within me.

Should my colleague quitting affect when I want to leave too? How do I go about quitting now?”

We can definitely empathize with this – it’s really uncomfortable, sometimes sad, and hard to be in a position where we feel we are underpaid and we aren’t happy.

So, how can you navigate a situation like this? How do you figure out if you should just quit your job? How can you be an adult about this?

Here are some exploratory questions, ideas, and some design thinking activities to help you answer this question for yourself.

  • Before you up and quit, assuming you don’t yet have your next opportunity lined up, have you considered asking for a raise – or better yet, figure out how you add value to the organization? Would your supervisor be willing to move you in to a new role or offer additional compensation?
  • If you don’t have a job lined up, do you have the recommended AT LEAST six months of living expenses in your savings account? Some would recommend that you have even more during a global pandemic where unemployment is at an all-time high – it may take longer to find a new position.
  • Do you have a safety net of family or friends that are willing and able to help you with your bills if you don’t have your regular paycheck? Would you be willing to put that burden on them so you can quit your job?
  • Why aren’t you job searching if you are unhappy? Is it because the task seems daunting and the idea of interviewing right now makes you want to puke?
  • What would your ideal job be and what would it take for you to go for it?

Many people claim they don’t like their job but they don’t know what to do next or even worse, don’t know what they WANT to do. To offer a little bit of tough love here: Well, then, that’s your job to figure it out. You can go on Reddit all you want, but no one else can tell you what is right for you.

Here are some ways to explore what may be an exciting career move for you or help you identify some areas that you need to learn more about in order to figure out where work will align with your skills, interests, and passions.

  1. Consider ordering the Design Your Life Workbook that provides writing prompts to help you figure out what it is that you are looking for in a job/career. You may also like the book Designing Your Work Life which is about “How to Thrive and Change and Find Happiness at Work”.
  2. Utilize design thinking to answer some of your questions. Make a diamond shape and in each of the four corners, write out the “Who” you want to be working with, “What” you’d like to be doing, “Where” you’d like to be, and “Why” you want to be there or doing that kind of work.
  3. Conduct informational interviews with people doing work that you think you might be interested in. Usually these conversations give you lots of interesting insights and either a green light to pursue something or validation that maybe that role isn’t right for you either.
  4. Get your resume updated. Sometimes just dusting off your resume, updating it, and making it ready gives you a feeling of relief that if you did really want to pursue a new job, you are almost ready. Consider updating your LinkedIn profile as well.
  5. Explore what you can do differently. A lot of what we can be frustrated about can be related to things out of our control. Consider exploring ways to work better with your team or how to grow to become invaluable. Tune in to Lindsey Pollak’s podcast, The Work Remix, where she gives great ideas on how to navigate working in current times where there are five generations in the workplace. There may be ways you need to adjust your communication style or tune in to emotional intelligence on how to better work with your supervisor or employees. Again, focus on what is within your control.

You may decide that you need to quit your job to be able to focus your energy on finding a better fit for you. But at the same time, be realistic. Most of us have to work to live. Everyone has bills, so you may continue working while you sort out some of the other factors to help you find a more exciting prospect. Either way, wishing you all the best on this journey, and the time and patience to allow you to figure it out.

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