5 Preparation Tips for Public Speaking Engagements

5 Preparation Tips for Public Speaking Engagements

On March 23rd, the Speak Up! Series continued with a workshop on public speaking for speeches, presentations, and other speaking engagements. The discussion was led by Leigh Wall, former legal administrator turned apprentice truck and transport mechanic and now student recruiter for Vancouver Community College. After being asked to speak on behalf of VCC’s trades program, her opportunities in public speaking snowballed, including speaking at the We for She BC Conference in 2016. In her session, Leigh shared her tips on preparing for public speaking, combatting nerves, and getting personal.

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6 Pro Tips Every Emerging Young Professional Should Know About Workplace Communication

6 Pro Tips Every Emerging Young Professional Should Know About Workplace Communication

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.

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5 Fundamental Tips to Public Speaking

5 Fundamental Tips to Public Speaking

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.

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3 Reasons You Need to Attend Beyond: Lead Through Action

3 Reasons You Need to Attend Beyond: Lead Through Action

Beyond: Lead Through Action is a one-day conference for young professionals to connect, develop and grow. This conference will build your leadership skill set, your knowledge, and your network. With inspiring speakers, new leadership ideologies, informative panel discussions and hands-on workshops, Beyond will provide the skills you need to break into your leadership potential.

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How to get from the Classroom to the Boardroom

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?


5 Tips & Tricks on Effective Negotiation: Event Recap

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

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

  1. Linda, Listen!

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!

Q & A with Mark Savard - Covenant House Vancouver

We recently held our Mingle & Jingle winter social and had the opportunity to partner with Covenant House Vancouver. Following the event, we asked Mark a few questions about his work at Covenant House Vancouver, how to get involved, and what advice he has for the YWiB members.


    1. Can you tell us about Covenant House, your role there, and how you got involved?
    2. Founded in 1997, Covenant House Vancouver offers a clear exit from life on the street for youth aged 16 to 24. We make this possible through a carefully designed Continuum of Care including a daily drop-in, a 54 bed residential crisis program, a transitional living program, relapse prevention, and life-skills training. Each and every day, young people come to us damaged from the abuses of their past, desperately needing love and guidance. Over the next year, more than 1,400 homeless young people will come to Covenant House Vancouver and take the first steps in creating a better life for themselves.

      My name is Mark Savard and my role is Development Officer – Community Giving. I’m part of the Development and Communications team which includes: fundraising, volunteers, communications, and gifts-in-kind administration. I’m responsible for working (and fundraising) with: schools, community groups, service clubs, employee groups, and stewarding third party events (individuals or groups creating events benefitting Covenant House). I’ve been in this particular role for 8 years and have been on this team at Covenant house for 10 years. I always say that I ‘fell into it backwards’ – starting out on contract. I’ve had the opportunity to grow with the agency and I’ve never looked back! From my first day here I was very impressed with the program delivery model.

      Youth accessing Covenant House’s programs and services are met ‘where they’re at’. They drive what they want to do and are accompanied through their journey with us by Youth Workers. Some youth may use all three programs; some may need just one. It all depends on their individual needs. We refer to our programs collectively as our ‘Continuum of Care’. Ultimately, we provide the programs and services that allow youth to leave the streets behind for good by providing a hand up, and not a handout.


    3. With winter upon us, how can people best support or get involved with Covenant House and the great work you do?
    4. There are a few options to help Covenant House in its work with homeless youth:

      Donating items:

      Gently used clothing appropriate for youth in our age range of 16 to 24, donating new toiletry items, socks, and/or underwear. Non-perishable food is welcome however it does need to be commercially prepared (we can’t accept food made at home).

      Financial donations are always welcome:

      We’re 95% privately funded so individuals, corporations, foundations, community, and employee groups sustain the work we do. You can donate online, via phone, or mail. You can also become a monthly donor!

      Third party events:

      People can hold all kinds of fundraisers from bake sales to birthdays. We have a peer-to-peer fundraising website where people, groups, and/or teams can set up fundraising pages then encourage friends and family to support them (they get instant tax receipts when donating online).Short-term volunteering: We hold thank-a-thons in our offices at the Drake Street building. This involves calling donors to simply say ‘thank you’ for their recent gift. We do this twice per week in October and November (plus a few dates in December) then again in February, April, and May. The application is brief and not the same process as the regular volunteer positions.

      Long-term (regular) volunteer positions:

      To hold a regular volunteer position at Covenant House you need to be at least 26 years old. There’s a fairly rigorous process involving: an application, one-on-one meeting with our Manager of Volunteers, police check, and group orientation.

      Mentor Program:

      This is a new opportunity to act as a mentor for youth residing in our transitional living program. You have to be at least 25 years old and be able to meet with your mentee once per month in person and be available via phone and/or email once per week.


    5. What piece of advice would you give to the members of Young Women in Business Vancouver in regards to professional and/or personal development?
    6. My grandmother told me, “never stop learning”, which I’ve endeavored to do (and I’m middle aged now!). It doesn’t have to be learning in the formalized (school) sense, but being open to new ideas, networks, and opportunities. When networking and meeting new people, I think about what I could possibly do for them and what other networks I know of that they could benefit from. Of course everyone you meet has a story so there’s learning potential from each person you encounter!

      A couple of my favourite quotes come from Eleanor Roosevelt:

      “Do one thing that scares you every day”.

      “You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give”.