COM0015 – Blog #3: Professional Networking Now and In the Future

Networking has always been the bane of my professional life.  As someone who is terribly shy, the prospect of getting out and talking to complete strangers makes me die a little inside.  To add to that shyness, I’m also a true Introvert so networking in person literally sucks the energy right out of me.  All that being said, I’ve been getting better at it over the years.  The best advice I have come across for overcoming my fears of networking has come from the book Splash: An Introvert’s Guide to Being Seen, Heard and Remembered.  Definitely worth a read for any of my fellow Introverts.

Being the shy Introvert that I am, networking in the online world is my comfort zone.  I don’t need to worry about how I’m dressed, if I ate too much garlic at lunch, or have to keep up with the dreaded small talk!  While it may be within my comfort zone, after reading the lessons in this course, I’ve realized that I’ve got a lot of room for improvement, and need a good tune up in certain areas.

The Algonquin Social Media program has gotten me into blogging, and I am very thankful for that.  While I don’t maintain my own blog, I do maintain one for work, and my bio with attached picture is at the end of every post I write, and I slip my name into the list of keywords. This helps get my name more recognized, and people used to seeing my face.

While I seem to be doing well on the blogging front, my LinkedIn profile needs some serious attention. I went in to have a look at my profile the other day, and realized that my profile picture was over 10 years old!  I mean, it was a good picture, but was well overdue for an update.  My “resume” was also lacking in details, and didn’t reflect a bunch of my current activities.  When I updated it, I started getting a bunch of random messages from people in my network congratulating me on my new position, despite being in it for a few years already.  I guess it pays to stay current.

My other social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, are private accounts.  I don’t really like mixing my personal life with my work life more than I need to.  That’s not to say that I don’t have friends who are also colleagues, but I tend to get *a little* vocal about my political views around elections, and I don’t want to be putting off clients, or potential clients because their views are wrong.  I maintain the company Facebook and Twitter accounts, but my name is not associated with them.  I am thinking about creating a “public” Twitter account for myself that I can use in my professional life for networking purposes. Has anyone else done this for themselves?  I’d love to hear thoughts on it.

I have a handful of commitments for the dreaded face-to-face networking in the next year or so.  I typically go to conferences on Career Development about 3-4 times a year, mostly in Ontario.  There are also a number of other smaller professional development events that I go to about 5-6 times a year, again all in the Career Development field.  For these events I make sure that I’ve had a haircut recently, and have a stack of business cards on me before I head out the door.

My overall strategy is to make sure all of my social networks are up to date, with current bios and pictures so people can identify me when I am out at the in person events.  There is a definite uptake in the number of LinkedIn network requests, and Twitter follows that happen right after an event, so I will make sure to a few things to the content of these channels before I head out with my new haircut and stack of business cards.

Networking now (COM0015)

What is networking? To me the image of business owners standing in a room, exchanging pleasantries and business cards come to mind. However in this day and age it can be so much more.

With the creation of social media it is easier to find like minded individual, or even networklike-minded I am slowly joining and networking with local business owners and exchanging services. This is allowing me to create a personal network. I have also joined multiple Facebook group; there I have virtually met some great contacts.

Some of the groups I am in are planning some local meet ups and I am planning on going and growing my network.


I am also working on creating online relationships; chatting, following others, learning, and forging links. I am trying to grow my network and slowly trying to expand out of my professional circle and expanding in french and english. I need to work on releasing appealing content for them.

Ultimately I want to be close enough in others forethoughts that if my industry comes up in regular conversation that my name would be one that they remember and suggest.  (Just as if you ask, I have a few businesses, local and online, that I can recall and suggest because of good networking).

COM0015 – Assignment 1 -Blog 4 – Out of the Box

Combining everything that we already knew about SOCIAL MEDIA with all the cases we’ve studied and all the best tools that are to be had: it feels like I’m only ever getting half-way to a solution.  Before starting this program, I thought I had a hunch about a few tools and programs out there in the real world of business meets social media… but.. wait a minute: ‘Things are changing… how will I ever keep up?’

LISTENING + LEARNING + STAYING IN ACTION  = keep to keeping up with trends and generating new ways of looking at the world through the lens of #SocialMediaMeetsBusiness.


So what do I hope to accomplish with social media?  Is it working? Well, I’m constantly learning new tricks.

From what I gather, I’m using platforms that are suited to my particular field and/or project(s.)  I’m learning from others about the varied style of communication using social media = the ins and outs of sharing your message.  What works for some people is worth a try but it might not quite work for me.  I guess it’s all a question of finding a style and sticking to it..

GOING MOBILE?  Here are a few tools that might come in handy…

I’m always looking for social media inspiration: taking free webinars and online courses.  I have found a whole bunch of useful information about how mobile apps come into play

Instagram can house short videos… Hilary Rushford, of Dean Street Society, hosted a webinar called: ‘Doubling Your Instagram Following.’

Distributing a free workbook, her program talked about free tools for editing and posting images on Instagram.

VSCO CAM = where you add a photo to your library and she talked us through using the editing tools.

@HilaryRushford also talked about the PERISCOPE App = live mobile video streaming; which works really well when you’re sharing content on a road trip, from various locations.

Another useful tool that I’ve grown to love is HOOTSUITE Suggestions...

Right from my iPhone, I am able to call up HOT TOPICS that I can easily share on my Twitter and Facebook accounts.

FYI>> It gives you THREE topics to search for and you can assign unlimited accounts… so make sure that you tweak the settings before posting on multiple accounts.  Be #strategic in what you post and where.  Double check your postings on each platform to catch anything that goes wrong.  If in doubt, delete and give it another try.  Skill takes practice.

Puzzled by PINNING?

PINTEREST is a social media platform that would appear to have limited application to business… but Melanie Duncan’s webinar gave me a whole bunch of information about optimizing this platform to steer traffic from PINS back to your company site.

> The type of material you PIN is part of the formula.  Inforgraphics are the most popular format (they spread like wild fire.)

Melanie also suggest the following tools:

PICMonkey =  Protecting your content with a watermark

Easily creating infographics =

Getting a Pinterest tab for your Facebook Page =

Pinterest stuff = Courtesy of Melanie Duncan (

> The BLOGEME poster thingy I built (featured image)  still lives on which I’ve embedded on my personal blog (backdoor access = click expand button on bottom corner)

COM0011 – Can Snapchat Become a Primary Social Media Tool for Small Business Marketing?


By: Kamal Hylton

When it comes to how useful a social media platform is to the business world, I zero in on how effective it is at interacting with an audience, sharing ideas and/or getting a message across.

During the current era of social media boom, the impact of tools like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn on big business have made a clear impression. However it has made an even bigger mark on small businesses, startup companies and given local entrepreneurs marketing power and global reach like never before. Twitter have allowed owner/customer relations to blossom and build productive long-term relationships through short and simple messages, Facebook has enabled startups to unleash detailed marketing campaigns that are professional quality at little to no cost, Instagram is tailor-made for video or image marketing equal to any big advertising firm and LinkedIn has done away with the old rolodex in its ability to keep up with contacts and find like-minded professionals.

That said, one social media platform I personally can’t wrap my head around as a “go to” tool for small businesses social media marketing is Snapchat – the video messaging app that allows viewers to see short videos up to 10 seconds in length before being deleted permanently.

Being a writer/social media marketer on behalf of a media company, part of my job is to help startups acquire and sustain an online following. Typically these are companies with little to no advertising budgets or are in fields like healthcare, data security and employment services that although important aren’t exactly sexy or exude excitement like the music or art industries nor do they have the ability to get a big star like Justin Bieber or Drake to do a social media takeover of their brand. When it comes to Snapchat, I’ve found it hard even suggest as a primary tool to our clients simply due to its premise and main selling points not making sense for them. There are some good selling points to Snapchat that I’d love to use for specific projects like the “Discover” feature, giving companies a 24 hour channel of videos and short articles. The easy way Sanpchat can be used to promote specific events is also a plus, its immediacy perfect for pop up giveaways or the creation of citywide treasure hunts all in the name of publicity.

The issues I’m presented with in regard to Snapchat could come down to demographic  or nature, with more than half of Snapchat users under the age of 25 and companies I tend to work with not catering to the flashy nature of the app. It could also be as simple as Snapchat still being a new tool that hasn’t reached its full potential enough to make it a primary social media pillar like the others mentioned. Whatever the case, right now I can’t recommend Snapchat for a company right out of the gate in the same vein as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

I’d love to hear from you (especially if you are a regular Snapchat user). What makes Snapchat appeal to you? How could a small business make best use of Snapchat? How do you see Snapchat evolving in the future?

Reference Material:

Snapchat for Beginners: 6 Ways To Use It For Business –

Making Sense of Snapchat for your Small Business

Guide to How Snapchat is being used today

COM0015 Blog Post #3 – Hello….It’s Me.

While I maintain professional contacts both online and in person I still tend to make face to face contact first and then follow with an online connection.tag & card

My online world includes Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. I use Facebook primarily for personal connections, but do include some business connections to keep current on news and events.

LinkedIn is for my business connections. While these sometimes overlap as friends I do not use this platform to post personal details. I connect with people I have both met in person as well as some who I have met virtually. I do however still struggle a bit with accepting requests to connect from people with whom I have no prior relationship.

I don’t use Twitter very frequently but do maintain account to follow and be followed.

In person, I regularly attend a number of events where networking is the focus. Through my full-time and part-time jobs I regularly take part in events hosted by local chambers of commerce, business associations and industry partners.gcacc

In the next 6-12 months I plan be more deliberate about my ‘in-person’ networking by making stronger connections with people I don’t know well and seek out information on businesses I would like to learn more about. In the on-line space, I would like to interact more with LinkedIn groups to both develop my networks and learn more about opportunities in my areas of expertise.

What about you – do tend to network more on-line or in person?  Do you struggle with making connections in either medium?

Assignment #5 – Event Participation Blog – Building a Website and Online Presence

Building a Website and an Online Presence – September 8, 2015 – 12:30 – 2:30 pminvest

 While looking for a professional development event online I found a fantastic organization Invest Ottawa. Invest Ottawa’s mission is “to make Ottawa the best place in Canada to start and grow a business.” They offer business seminars and workshops on a variety of topics ranging from business planning, web design, marketing, human resources, legal issues, importing/exporting and financing. They are targeted to entrepreneurs and small business owners and are run by experienced professionals wanting to share their knowledge. The best part is a lot of these workshops are free!

silkI attended a workshop, “Building a Website and an Online Presence,” which was hosted by Invest Ottawa and SiLK Web Solutions. I chose this event because I am very interested in learning more about website design. I have recently started my own blog and I wanted to learn more about building a user friendly website. I also figured the building an online presence portion would tie nicely into what we have learned in our courses in the Social Media program. It was also going to be touching on SEO best practices which I find very interesting in creating my own website. Our teacher, Sarah Green, from SiLK Web Solutions was fantastic! She was so knowledgeable and very patient with all of our questions! Her presentation was very well thought out, easy to understand and very informative.

picsWe learned a lot and had many ideas that we could take away.  We learned the importance of having a dynamic website instead of a static website. Sarah taught us the importance of PLAN when planning our website. P stands for prepare – who is your audience? L stands for landscape – what kind of site do you want? A stands for Aesthetics – what colours and images do you want? N stands for Navigation – what pages do you need for a good visitor experience – site map. Sarah said that when planning a website we should have the majority of our information above the fold (the area before you have to scroll). I found this very interesting, as I had not considered it before, but even from personal experience it makes sense. Sarah did a fantastic job walking us through the whole process from creating a site, launching a site and finally marketing a site. She also stressed the importance of social media and keeping fresh content throughout our online presence. While at the event I heard two quotes that stood out. One about our websites and online presence, “Rethink, Refresh and Revise.” Sarah explained we should always be changing and re-evaluating our online presence. The other quote I really liked was at the end of the workshop.  Sarah reminded us, “Always be giving back to your community – you cannot always be taking!” She offers this course monthly for free to give back to the community that has brought her so much success! I thought this was a great reminder and something important to keep in mind.

Attending this event allowed me to build my professional network by meeting some local entrepreneurs. I had a chance to learn about their businesses and ideas. I also had a chance to share about my business idea and my blog. One of the ladies I spoke with even offered to take a look at my site and help me build my use of keywords for SEO. I also was able to tap into their experiences so far in becoming entrepreneurs. I suggested we exchange contact information for a meet up in a months’ time to talk about our experiences implementing the strategies we learned at the workshop. I look forward to being able to tap into these new connections and learn from their experiences and expertise!

picI also had a chance to speak with some of the other instructors about classes they would be teaching that would be coming up in November. One of the classes is about building great content that is optimized for SEO but also content that people want to read. I also head about another course being offered in November for Google Analytics, taught by David Bird. I am very excited to take these courses when the time comes.

I will definitely attend a similar event in the future and I already have a few on my radar. I think these events are so fantastic and they are free which is awesome! I love that they are run by industry leaders in our own community! I also love that they are attended by like-minded people who are interested in learning more about the industry. It is a great opportunity to meet new people and build a professional network. It is also a great opportunity to learn more from these knowledgeable people. I highly recommend you check out Invest Ottawa for courses that may interest you!



COM0015 – Blog #3: Professional Networking Now and in the Future – My New Strategy

network 2I have a confession to make……I do not have a professional networking strategy at all. To be honest, I had not given it a lot of thought until this class. Of course I have work connections, school connections and a half completed LinkedIn profile but I never gave them a lot of thought. After this class, I have a hard time believing I did not see the value to all of this before now. In reality, I think I saw the value; it just did not occur to me that it should be a strategy versus casual. I have been lucky to have mentor/coaching relationships in my professional life but it was never formal or strategic. However, I think this kind of long range planning and thinking can have a lot of value in expanding the possibilities of networking. Therefore, my first commitment is to develop a professional networking strategy.

My first priority is to finish and update my LinkedIn profile. It could definitely use some attention and could be more fully developed. I think this is a good place to start because in the digital world we live in people are looking for me online and I want to be in control of what they are finding. I had not considered that so many people would look me up before or after meeting me and the weight it would have in their opinion of me. Therefore, one of my plans for the future is to expand my profile to reflect all my past/current experience. I also want to ensure I reach out to all my possible connections.

My second priority is to foster my current relationships. I want to ensure the people who have been there for me over the years know the value they have added and the appreciation I have for them. In the idea of improving/building relationships I would also like to see who I can add to my inner circle. I would like to seek out new mentors and coaches that are doing some of the things I would like to work towards doing in the future. While online networking is a huge area of focus right now, I don’t want to lose sight of the importance of face to face contact.

networkMy third priority is to look for opportunities online or in person to practice networking and to build my professional network. These events could be social, educational or business events. The main goal is to become more comfortable especially at in person events. I have found these scenarios intimidating in the past but I have started to do some research to overcome those feelings. This includes ideas on how to make conversation, researching the speakers ahead of time, ways to add value, building an elevator speech and the importance of post meeting notes.

My fourth priority is to look for people I can mentor or coach. I have been very lucky over the years to have people take me under their wing and teach me important lessons that I use to this day. I think it is important to remember in networking that it is as much about what we are putting out as it is about what we are getting in return. I try to help others succeed the way I have been helped. I would like to formalize this in order to make it consistent instead of the sporadic way I use now.

I am very lucky to be working in an industry that I enjoy with a company that I love. I always thought of networking as being less planned and often used to change jobs. I am excited to use it to build connections and to be able to offer my support to others. I now see how it is important to stay current and connected. I look forward to putting my strategy in place and seeing where it takes me!
network 3

The lights are on…but no one’s home

lights on

Hello? Hello? Anyone home? Says right here in Google that you have a website and even a Facebook page. The lights are on but no one’s home.  Drives me crazy!!!! I’m surfing to find a plumber because my faucet needs to be fixed NOW.  And I want to check out the website of a nearby yoga studio.

But when I go to the fix-that-flood-now-dot-com I find there’s no one to contact. Truth be told, I wasn’t going to fix it myself but googling how-to will lead me to someone who will fix it for me. There’s a few pics, a logo, and a mailing address. A MAILING ADDRESS.  Yes, I’m shouting.faucet

Oh, sure, let me run out to the post office, tomorrow, when it opens, buy a stamp, write the plumber a letter, find a mailbox. Make my way back home and splash through the water on my kitchen floor.  Then check the mail box every day for a response.

The fact is, no one is home on that website even though the lights are on .It was created to say they have a website. It does nothing except show me a picture of the plumber (not waiting by his mailbox) and a logo. Whippty Do!

So for relaxation and to relieve the stress, I’m going to take that yoga class in the nearby Yoga FBstudio. I see people going in there every day with their Lululemon leggings on and long, narrow bags strapped across their bodies. So it’s happening over there right now. I know it is. I look for them on Facebook because both yoga and Facebook are kind of in vogue so they must have a Facebook page.

Click. Click. Click. Yup. There’s the page. OMG – they only have 57 ‘likes’. That can’t be a lot in a town of 20K people, can it? I got 81 likes when I posted a picture of my runaway macaroon cookie disaster last December (I’m adding the picture here for a smile).cookies

Ah, I will just send a message to ask if they have an evening class and where can I find the full schedule. It’s 2 p.m. I will hear back in time to get ready and make my way to the class. All this direct messaging, tweeting, texting, whatever…it’s instant and it eliminates my need for a phone. Surely I’m not going to have to CALL someone and talk to them about the schedule, am I?

And then zzzzzzz. My phone buzzes:  “We have gentle yoga at 6 pm tonight. $12 drop-in fee. Full schedule attached.”  Ahhh, thank you yoga Acharya.  I am starting to relax now. I’m glad I don’t have to wear my socks at the yoga class – they’re wet from the leaky faucet disaster.


COM0015 – Assignment 5 – Training With Lisa Larter

Where do I begin? I have so much to say that my head is exploding! I enrolled in The Pilot Project with Lisa Larter at the beginning of the year. It was and is a work in progress. Pilot Project dives into you and your business. When it comes to business you just cannot get away from NUMBERS! So, I won’t sugar coat it here either, she dives into the numbers from the get go.

The first module jumps right in feet first and you are on your way to working and figuring out your business. It is eight modules long with bonus information daily. There is support! Support is lifetime within the Facebook group. You are also free to take the course over again to revamp what you have learned about yourself and business or go over points you may have missed. This online course is about YOU and about YOUR business! It’s all you. Whether you own a start-up or a 6 figure company the tools and insights that are presented this course will grow your business if you apply them and do the work. You learn at your own pace. You have the key to make real changes as well! You get what you put into the course. From top to bottom Lisa will have you taking a real look at your goals and growing your business. It’s not easy. There were many eye- opening moments and I am still working through the material in the course.
During the program it was suggested pretty strongly that we find accountability partners and/or groups. I managed to connect with a lady from the United States taking the course as well. Due to the distance we met online via Skype and Google hangouts. I have often used Skype but never Google hangouts so the lady I connected with was more than open to running a meeting using Google hangouts. Setting up hangouts took longer than I thought. Downloading the proper apps while we were meeting and the lady I was connecting with was so patient with me that I was thankful! During the Google hangout, I noticed and learned that it is very different than Skype. I truthfully found it difficult to hear the other end. I found having to wear the microphone a little awkward and on top of that the video quality was not as good as what I was used to through Skype. I was told that there are different apps available to download to improve these areas. I must say I am happy to hear that due to the fact that there are more online hangouts I would like to take part in. The lady that I connected with and I traded information that can help our businesses by suggesting new trainings and links to blogs, sites and Facebook pages of seasoned professionals working in areas of interest such as video and business consulting. I have since continued the connection with this lady by connecting and friending her on Facebook.

In terms of the Pilot Project, I can go through all the modules one by one but have chosen not too because it truly is different for everyone. Lisa shares her story and nuggets throughout the program to help you get to be where YOU want to be! I feel this program is perfect for anyone looking to add additional training beyond the Algonquin College Social Media program, whom may be looking to apply the new knowledge in a way to form a viable business.

In addition to the Pilot Project, I took part in Lisa Larter’s Twitter webinar. Even though I have used Twitter and understand it, I thought it was a good idea to review the basics and learn a few more things about it. I was completely impressed with the webinar that was one hour long. I learned “lists”, something I was a little foggy about. Lisa explained clearly and in turn I was able to help someone with a “Lists” tip on a group I joined on Facebook. I was able to USE what I learned and apply it immediately!

That’s the main theme for training with Lisa Larter I have found. She presents information in such a way that you can apply it immediately. She wants you to succeed!

I am thankful I have found Lisa Larter and will be on the lookout for more training with her.

If you are interested in finding out more about Lisa Larter, and her Pilot Project, please visit . I would also recommend signing on to her email list to stay in touch when new trainings become available and her tips you can access through her blog.

In conclusion, I must say that I would definitely take more training from Lisa Larter. In fact I plan to do The Pilot Project over again, fine tuning and adding to my business the necessary changes to succeed. It’s a program that is actually good to do over again because there are things you miss the first time around because you really put you and your business under a microscope. The Pilot Project, with life time membership and support, now, how can you go wrong with that?

The following are screen shots which signify proof of attendance.

Lisa Larter TPP

Lisa Larter Twitter

Lisa Larter Page 1

Lisa Larter Page 2

Post 3 – Professional Networking now and in the future


Most of my career has been spent working for four organizations. And, for different reasons, I was fortunate enough to be able to take some time when leaving one and joining another. It enabled me to take time to regroup after a lengthy tenure at a fast-paced high tech company, and another to spend some time with my young children. Recently I was able to take a year off to spend some quality time with my ailing mother before she passed.

Each new job I started came as a result of someone approaching me. Call it luck, serendipity, or the result of astute employers knowing a good thing when they saw it (I like to think it’s the latter). Whatever it was, the fact is I never had to network to find employment. For the past few months I’ve started reaching out to my network of friends and former work colleagues. This can be somewhat frustrating.

Up until this point I never bothered to pay much attention to keeping an online profile. I’m a social person, but I also like to keep somewhat private. Constantly updating my profile for the world doesn’t come naturally to me. I don’t think it ever will, but I realize I’ve got to do it. Although I’ve been tweeting under two anonymous accounts for years now, I need to create a twitter handle that identifies me. I don’t have a facebook page. My professional online network is limited to LinkedIn, and even that had been rather neglected until just recently.

After updating my LinkedIn page, I joined several LinkedIn groups related to Marketing and Communications. I have been spending most of my time monitoring the activity to get a sense of the type of individual that participates and the conversation style – once I feel confident that my comments will have value, I’ll begin participating. Until then, I don’t want to be doing myself a disservice by jumping in ill-prepared.


Moving forward I plan to participate in the LinkedIn groups, and then discover other groups that will continue to expand my network. I also plan to begin exploring relevant blogs that could increase my profile by providing valuable comments. Once I’ve established myself in a few of these groups I’m hopeful I’ll be able to meet some of the other contributors at marketing/communications functions and events.

I also plan to finally create my Twitter account to use to further my career. After using Twitter for years I know how it works and feel comfortable with the technique. I’ve also already been following many of the top marketing/communications leaders – now it’s time to begin contributing to the conversations and building my own following under the real me.

A little further down the road, once I’ve firmly established myself in LinkedIn and Twitter, I plan to begin blogging. It might make more sense to create the blog first, but the Twitter account works best for my schedule now. And, hopefully I’ll be able to build a large following that will be a solid potential audience for my first blog post when the time comes. And of course, I plan to leverage these accounts to arrange face-to-face meetings with people who can either help expand my knowledge base or find me a suitable employer.

What about you? What do you plan to do to boost your professional networking in the future?