Our Speak Up! public speaking workshop series continued on March 2nd with a discussion around workplace communication. The session was led by Brianna Blaney, founder and managing partner of the employer branding and people solutions firm Envol Strategies. Blaney shared her pro tips for making a strong first impression, delivering presentations, handling negotiations, and navigating tough conversations at work.Read More
On February 9th, we kicked off Speak Up!, our workshop series on the topic of public speaking, with Genicca Whitney, founder of the Badass Lady Boss Collective. During the session, the dynamic entrepreneur and storyteller pinpointed common public speaking fears and provided strategies for young professionals to use to effectively speak to their audiences.Read More
When is the last time you felt so inspired that you wanted to stop right in the middle of something to chase a dream? Beyond: Lead Through Action was a conference put on by YWiB that at numerous times made you want to run out to try a new strategy with your team, apply for the ‘unattainable’ job or pursue your passion. A room full of ambitious, curious and fun women (and some men!) spent November 19th engaging with well-known leaders in the community and learning applicable skills, all while making valuable connections with people from different fields. With an incredible line up with speakers, panelists and workshops, there were a lot of takeaways. Here are some of the ways the attendees learned to uncover leadership skills.Read More
At some point in our careers we’ve all been on the hunt for a job and a new professional adventure. We all have different approaches in going about this search, but are there some methods that work better than others? Earlier this month at Microsoft’s Vancouver office, YWiB was lucky to have Carmen Tsang from Lighthouse Labs guide us through this often challenging task. Don’t worry, there’s hope for all of us if you follow her words of wisdom!
Phase 1: The Hunt
Throughout the job hunt process, you want to remain diligent and proactive. It’s easy to be discouraged while unemployed, so it’s good to set daily goals for yourself (e.g. send out five resumes each day). Even if you don’t completely qualify for a position, you can still apply. Carmen says this is okay as long as you meet 70% of the requirements. If you’re planning to apply for many positions, make organization your best friend by creating a spreadsheet with all the key application details (e.g. company, position title, date sent, etc.) to keep track in the event of a call back. While waiting for an interview, research the job titles you are interested in and reach out to industry professionals in similar positions that may have some insight to share. Finally, leverage your network to its full extent. You never know who might know someone looking to hire, or who’s connection could get you in the door.
Phase 2: The Interview
So you’ve landed the interview, now what? Carmen says NEVER “wing it”. Before your interview, go in knowing three key things; yourself, the company and the job description. This seems easy enough but focusing on each area will help you identify whether or not the company and the position align with what’s important to you and your professional progression. As long as all three areas align, you’ll remain consistent throughout the interview and will demonstrate how self aware you are.
When it comes to the questions you’re being asked, make sure to be honest, especially with the dreaded “weaknesses” question. Don’t pick a strength and disguise it (*sigh*, we’ve all done it) because interviewers see past this and are less likely to consider you as a suitable candidate. Share something real, and what you’ve done to address the issue in the past 6 months. When it’s your turn, make sure not to ask too many questions. This can be off-putting to interviewers and may give them the wrong impression of your capabilities.
Finally, if you have references, make sure you know what they plan to say. Again, this can help you remain consistent with what may be said regarding your areas for improvement.
Phase 3: Follow-up
Once your interview is over, don’t be shy to ask when you can expect a response back. Feel free to let them know that you’re actively looking or that you have other interviews (if it’s true) but that you want to give them full consideration. Of course, always send a “thank you” email once you’re fully done.
A big thanks to Carmen for sharing all of these wonderful tips, and to Microsoft for the amazing venue space. Are there any tips you would add?
Last Tuesday, to quote our amazing speaker Mitra Kiamanesh, “We teased the topic of negotiation”. Having over 30 years of international experience in mediation, intercultural project management, conflict resolution and negotiation, Mitra opened our eyes on a few key things we have to prepare for and keep in mind whether we enter a negotiation in our professional or personal lives.
“In business as in life, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.”
- Chester. L. Karrass
Ask for What’s Feasible
Before starting, say, a salary negotiation, do your homework! What is the industry average? Does the company need you? What is the company’s current state? What is the ceiling? What are some of the arguments the company might have against your proposal and how would you prove that you deserve that promotion? Coming in prepared, with statistics to back up your asks, will add weight and professionalism to your points.
Everyone is Right
If you think about it, everyone thinks that their perspective is the right one. However, with this approach an agreement can never be reached as everyone’s “right” does not match. It is important to think about similarities and differences in your points of view and negotiate around them. Don’t ignore cultural sensitivities! We all come from different backgrounds and have different points of view.
Have a Reservation Point
Coming into negotiation, have these three things figured out: what you want - the ideal outcome, what are your maybes - things you can play around with and are willing to concede on, and your non-negotiables. You have to be true to yourself and strict about your non-negotiables. If a negotiation starts putting your non-negotiables at risk, you have hit your reservation point and it’s best to walk away to avoid regretting any decisions made.
Environment and Body Language Matter
Be very mindful of the setting in which negotiation takes place. Certain seating arrangements, for example, can either make or break a conversation. For example, a round table is inviting and erases any power dynamics as everyone can see each other and sit at the same level.
As for body language tips and tricks, nobody said it better than Amy Cuddy, you can watch her TED talk here: https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en
We can’t stress enough how crucial it is to practice active listening. Acknowledging the fact that you heard and understood what the other person was saying by rephrasing his or her words will show that you were listening, you care about their position and you want to reach an agreement. This type of listening calms people down and sets an overall positive atmosphere.
On the importance of listening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP8RB7UZHKI
If you have any questions about the content of the session or would like to join us at an upcoming event, check out our events page. We can’t wait to meet you!
We had the pleasure of having Web Developer and Camp Tech Vancouver City Manager, Laura Eagin, join us for our ‘WordPress for Business’ workshop last week. Laura’s WordPress tips and tricks were valuable for everyone. Beginners and everyday users alike left having learned something new. In case you missed it, here are our top five takeaways from Laura’s workshop.
- Know the difference between WordPress.org vs WordPress.com It can be confusing to grasp at first, and despite the two nearly identical URLs, they operate as two completely different websites. See the chart below for a brief comparison, but simply: if you want to set up a simple blog or website - go with WordPress.com. If you want a more complex and multi-functional website - go with WordPress.org.As the chart indicates, WordPress.com is completely free while WordPress.org will have web hosting costs, which brings us to our next takeaway…
- Pick a good webhost!With the plethora of webhost providers out there, how do you ensure that the one you pick is right for you?A web host is a service that provides you space on the Internet to run your website(s). To put it in a different context, it can be compared to how you would purchase a house or pay rent to a landlord; essentially you are paying for the land (i.e. the space) for your dwellings.Do your research and make sure the web host provides all the features you need. For example, you want to make sure that the web host provides WordPress installation or even better, a one-click or automatic WordPress installation. Check out whoishostingthis.com for a list of the different web host WordPress providers including a breakdown of their ratings, costs, and the type of different features they provide.Here are some of Laura’s top picks for webhosts:
- The do’s and don’t’s with themesWhether you’re going for a more simplistic and minimal look or a friendly and retro feeling, there are multiple themes for you to choose from!A WordPress theme is a way to change the overall design and layout of your website. A theme will change the way your content looks but not the content itself.There are several ways you can get themes, some free and some paid:
- Wordpress.org/themes: Provides free themes vetted by WordPress
- Wordpress.org/themes/commercial: Provides paid themes vetted by WordPress
- woothemes.com: Provides paid themes with online shop features
- Googling and downloading from any website – you may risk downloading themes that are poorly coded
- ThemeForest.net bloated themes – Themeforest.net themes may appear to be a gold mine but often comes with panels and sheets of unnecessary code which will make further customization difficult
- No active support team – Making sure that you have an active support team will allow you to ask questions in the future when it comes to website and theme support
- Not mobile friendly – in the golden age of mobiles, not having a mobile optimized theme is a huge red flag!
- Not touch screen friendly – similar to above, it’s all about adapting to the market’s needs.
- Customize it with pluginsDepending on your website, you may need to install different plugins to further enhance the user experience. WordPress Plugins are bits of software that can be uploaded to extend and expand the functionality of your WordPress website.In continuation of our house example, think of plugins as installing a dishwasher or upgrading to a flat screen TV in your new home.Laura’s recommended plugins include:
- For building Contact Forms → Gravity Forms
- For website backups → BackupBuddy
- For SEO optimization → Yoast SEO
- For an anti-spam website → Akismet
- For an e-commerce website → WooCommerce
- If your website is under maintenance → UnderConstruction
- Don’t forget about those metrics!You have your domain and web host, you chose the perfect theme, and your website has all the plugins that you need. What’s next? The next step is ensuring that you are meeting your website goals, whether it is reaching a certain number of hits each month or having users perform a certain action on your website.Set up Google Analytics on your website to track important data like number of new visitors, visitor demographics, which pages visitors are going to, and bounce rate, to name a few. There’s even a behavior flow chart that tracks the path a user takes when they visit the website.
Ready to get started? Simply, login with your Google account at Google Analytics.
We hope you’re ready to take a stab at WordPress for your business with these essential tips. Looking to learn more? Don’t forget to check out Camp Tech Vancouver’s website for courses on WordPress, SEO, and more. Interested in getting more involved with YWiB Vancouver? Check out our events page.
We're still feeling the afterglow of last Thursday's inspiring panel at RED Academy, on Women & Innovation. We saw a lot of eyes light up listening to our panelists, and in case you were too in awe to take notes, we wanted to share some of the thoughts from the evening. Here we go...
On defining "innovation"
- A mindset/skill that needs to be practiced (don't just stick with the same old answers!)
- You do not need to reinvent the wheel to be considered innovative
- Taking concepts or ideas and applying them to another situation or for another purpose
- Taking old concepts or ideas and applying them to modern day situations or purposes
- Solving a problem in a new way
On being innovative
- Don't force it. To be innovative, you need to know who YOU are; your strengths and passions; focus on those. It can be difficult to come up with creative ideas for things that bore you or you know little about. strengthfinder.com.
- Innovation is not equal to technology. Technology is a result of innovation and a tool to be innovative, but not innovation itself. You can be innovative in any field of work.
- Stick to your guns. Your ideas are good ones. Men get an idea and think it's the best thing since sliced bread. Confidence (even if false or fake) can be convincing.
When it comes to defending your ideas
- Know your audience. Tailor your pitch to what you think they are looking for or what motivates them.
- Make sure you put your idea in context of the problem it's solving.
- Your ideas are not YOU. It's easy to be emotionally attached to your ideas, but don't take things so personally if someone shuts one down.
- Further to the above, some people will never be won over (or won't be until you're already successful :P). Some people need to be shown how good an idea is, not told.
- Sometimes it's important to realize if the environment your in is not welcoming of your innovative ideas, it may be time to move to somewhere that is.
On what organizations can do to cultivate innovative thinking/corporate culture around innovation
- Incentives for new ideas that work
- Starting an innovative group (Vision Critical's Innovation Circle)
- Generally being open-minded and welcoming of employees' ideas (sometimes it may not be the entire organization, but someone who has decision power who listens to you and will give you a chance without repercussions)
You don't need to know it all
- Create your own personal Board of Advisors and consult them on decisions you feel are important. These people will be invaluable. Family do not count.
- Get a mentor. Whether informal through a personal connection (maybe someone on your Board of Advisors) or a formal mentor who has relevant experience and new connections for you...better yet, do both. Apply to YWiB Vancouver's Blueprint Mentorship Program before October 15th!