First Impressions.

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So what creates your first impression?  In the Old Normal it may have been your appearance.  That is why we had expressions like “Dress for Success,” and we all spent lots of money on nice suits and ties or business suits for women.

Today in the New Normal your first impression is created by the results that surface when people search for you on Google.

Today we have ads for Reputation Management Firms offering to improve your online reputation.

A derogatory posting on Google is much more of a liability than poor word of mouth because it is accessible to everyone and no longer to only a few.

I have always believed that your online presence is much more important than your elevator speech as your chances of getting on an elevator with a decision maker are slim but the chances of people checking you out on Google are very high.

That is why I have been speaking on How to Rise Above the Crowd for a few years now.

So how do you rise above the crowd?  Well being active on social media platforms like Linkedin can certainly accomplish that.

Today the base level of acceptable presence is owning all the postings on the first page of Google.  All the postings.

The base level of acceptable is having 500 Linkedin connections.

But appearance is not everything in apparel or the internet.

You online presence needs to be one of significance to create a favorable impression of who you are both in work and in life.

Having a definitive social media strategy can help you accomplish that.  It is even stronger if that is the way you live your life because that can appear in your search results.  For instance if you mentor and speak to school groups and they post your presentation on YouTube.  When that comes up in a search it says something about you without you talking.

You see your online reputation is more than just your presence.  It should also reflect your substance and your social media strategy should plan for how to achieve that.  That way you can be sure that your first impression will count today as it did in the past.

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin

http://www.linkedin.com/in/hankblankcom

Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

Watch his video on YouTube on How to Rise Above the Crowd.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkO7efleWX4

The Currencies of Networking.

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I listened to a webinar today put on by Keith Ferrazi a master networker.  He wrote a book published in 2005 called Never Eat Alone. I think I bought it at Borders. That was before the world melted and we moved to the New Normal except for Borders.  That was a very long and short time ago.

On his Webinar he had Reid Hoffman the Founder of Linkedin.  I enjoy using Linkedin.  It is my primary social media channel.  When Social Media was getting launched my peers embraced Facebook but I loved Linkedin.  Anyway it became my preferred social media channel although I engage with many others. Continue reading

Has Social Media Turned us Into Linchpins or Lemmings?

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The recent passing of Steve Jobs probably made everybody take another look at Apple’s Famous 1984 spot directed by Ridley Scott. We all remember the rolls of marching minions.

Many say that the commercial was inspired by Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. The movie takes place in a dystopian society where wealthy intellectuals rule from vast tower complexes, oppressing the workers who live in the depths below them. It was created during a time of industrial change not to the betterment of all.

Because I was a film freak in college I also remember Modern Times a 1936 comedy film by Charlie Chaplin that has his iconic Little Tramp character struggling to survive in the modern, industrialized world.  It was created during the last great depression.

Who was it that wrote that the more that things change, the more those things stay the same?

So what are we today?  Are we linchpins who are indispensible or are we lemmings who go along unquestioningly with popular opinion, mass culture and social media?  Just like the lemmings that follow others off cliffs or become the Mayor of their local Starbucks.

I think that Smart Phones are certainly a misnomer when placed in the hands of many people. I see lines of lemmings every morning standing six deep in the line at Starbucks looking at their crackberries like their next big gig is going to come in the form of a text or unexpected Facebook post.  They are oblivious to the people around them.  Their engagement comes from their phones rather than the people around them.  They have no clue if the Barista’s mother is the President of a bank and could help them get their next job.  She doesn’t look successful they assume.  Community isn’t in your phone; it is in your life moments.

Oh don’t get me wrong.  I love technology and social media but the cost of entry is so low to communicate that I wonder if it is becoming a necessary evil versus necessary.   While I get some interesting content on my Twitter stream, the majority of it is Twitter Litter. Like people honking their horns in traffic that isn’t moving.  Is it really building community?  Maybe I am naive but I always thought that the more connected and stronger the community the more enlightened the society.

People always cite that social media offers the democratization of information no matter if you are rich or poor.  So did libraries but maybe in a better way because their stacks were filled with books rich with useful knowledge. I don’t think that is a byproduct of social media communities in many instances when it is based on your tweet that you are enjoying your ice cream cone.

I think the worst thing that Linkedin did was to link with Twitter so now I get the same stuff on my Linkedin feed.  If that’s what people on Linkedin who supposedly make $80K on average think is thought leadership then they are terribly mistaken.  Noise is not knowledge.  People form opinions about you based on what you say in real life and in real time.  Your boss and potential future hiring manager may be reading it. Lightweight or heavyweight?

I believe to be a linchpin you have to be the most networked person in your circle of work and life because you will be the best resourced and have the most ability to fuel change and solve problems.  You can become as powerful as a magnet.

I believe to stop being a lemming most people need to focus on a simple question.  What is the purpose of my next communication? Does it offer useful information, make a small difference, not waste my time or others or is it just drivel?  If the latter is the answer then start marching.

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/hankblankcom

Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

Watch some videos on http://www.youtube.com/user/MrHankblank

Here is one on How to Rise Above the Crowd.  Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkO7efleWX4&list=UUEigDTyDiFGXVfyg7sRErOg&index=1&feature=plcp

Why CEO’s Need to Market Themselves in the New Normal.

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This blog is not for the CEO’s of Wall Street.  They are easy to find.  This is a blog for the CEO’s of Main Street companies.

We all know that the average job lifecycle of a CMO can be pretty short these days.  I have read articles that say it can be as short as 18 months in some categories.  While doing some research on that topic I also came across some stats that said the average life cycle of a CEO was 54 months.

Since nobody gets hired as a CEO right out of college that translates to roughly  four to five CEO jobs in a working lifetime.  I also read an article that said it takes an average person making $100K plus an average of 18 months to find a job using networking, recruiters and job boards.  That is a lot of time on the beach.

I recently learned that two CEO’s who jobs were eliminated.  They were doing a great job but things happen, companies get sold, things go bad, there are mergers and acquisitions, changes, and cheese gets moved in the New Normal.

I have always believed that the CEO’s of companies need to do more to market and promote themselves when they are working.  They need to create a lot of accomplishment legacy on Google to help them find their next gig when things go South.

I think that they should insure that a proportion of their companies PR budget is focused on promoting them as well as the company.  They should be the face of the brand or the company.

Some say that this is self serving.  Well are company’s severance packages self serving these days?  I have heard many stories of people at various levels of organizations who were heroes one day bestowed with cornucopias of awards and recognition jettisoned from those companies in a fashion that would make your think they were delivery people. Accomplishments and accolades dissipated into vapor.

CEO’s need to stay top of mind when they are out of the game and the content of your past achievements on Google helps keep you there.  The more content you get out there when you are on the job the better. While you are tenured you need to promote yourself.

Make sure your leadership and accomplishments are the focus of company features in trade and business journals. The perceptions of a well run ship inspires employee and investor confidence.   Bringing that to the forefront is not self serving, it is smart business. There is a legacy of CEO’s that were great personal branders when personal branding was not in the vernacular.

CEO’s need to write articles and blog.  Be one of the few CEO’s who has a robust Social Media presence besides Richard Branson.  Also be one of the few CEO’s that attends networking meetings on a regular basis in your business community and industry.  Speak at Conferences. Accept Linkedin invites.  People who walk a different path get noticed.

Start your own CEO networking group comprised of working CEO’s and CEO’s in transition. Promote it aggressively and get credit for it. When you need a lifeline the CEO’s that are currently in transition may have landed and they will be your strongest supporters.

Does this take a lot of time?  For sure.  Then again if you remember the stats at the start of this blog there will be times when you have too much time.

By the way I am not a CEO.  I just see.

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin

http://www.linkedin.com/in/hankblankcom

Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

Watch some videos on http://www.youtube.com/user/MrHankblank

Email him at hank@hankblank.com