Social Media & HR – my speaking notes for a presentation

This is a short presentation I gave to a group of HR Professionals on why I use social media, the benefits, how to get over some stumbling blocks, and why I think everyone should just have a go!

Slide 2: I work in HR in my day job, and outside of that I’m quite active on Twitter and social media channels. I make weekly videos for AHRI where I talk about what’s happened in HR and social media for that week. So I guess you could say… I quite like social media and would happily advocate for it!

Slide 3: My story starts with me moving from Australia to Singapore in my first year out of uni. I found myself in a small HR team, and separated from my networks. Very soon I realised I was lacking mentors and networks, so I decided to seek it through an online network. I started writing a blog I called ‘Whipper Snapper HR’ and joined the HR community on Twitter.

Slide 4: Social media helped to build my subject matter confidence in talking about HR, and also in talking about social media. Social media connected me to incredible people and networks that have followed me wherever I’ve lived. It provides a constant stream of fresh ideas and challenges, it keeps me on my toes and out of a comfort zone in what I know about HR. And finally, it taught me great attitude lessons about generosity and the power of generosity with time, praise and feedback in building networks.

Slide 5: I think that social media has done some incredibly powerful things for me, and I could understand people feeling like they would need to aim for ‘fame’ if they dive into social media. But numbers aren’t everything – you don’t need huge numbers of followers and you don’t need to be connected to a huge number of people to be feeling the rewards of participating in the online HR community.

Slide 6: By dipping your toe into social media, be it participating in a Linkedin Group, or starting a podcast, I think this will help build your confidence in just having a go! It will connect you to great people who share common interests, and it will mean you have informed opinions about social media and how it can assist your organisation.

Slide 7: Here are a few of the reasons I think that HR people may have hesitations around social media.
Time – a few minutes a day count most. By keeping your streams full of people you know have valuable content, you will be able to tap into rich content in short amounts of time.
Confidentiality – you can join the HR community without talking cases, and if all else fails, pet pictures work! 

Where to start? – become a commenter. The 1% internet rule is that 90% of internet users ‘lurk’, 9% of internet users contribute and only 1% of internet users create content. So if you aren’t someone with a burning desire to be a content creator, the best place to start is just by contributing with comments, feedback, and shares.

Slide 8: There are so many formats in social media – and after a day at a computer I completely understand that reading more text on a computer screen isn’t always appealing. I really encourage having a play with formats that you would enjoy experimenting with, and just having a go!

Slide 9: Cringe moments will happen – things will be typed that just don’t translate – typos will go unnoticed… in my favourite Ted talk by Matt Smith, he talks about the physical manifestation of cringing, and how that affects our reaction to failure.

Slide 10: So it’s important to practice things like Failure Bows when you’re doing things like playing with social media… if you make a mistake, take a bow with a cheesy grin and arms up, like a trapeze artist would after making an error… it’s not the end of the world, and you don’t need to beat yourself up about it. It’s important to have a healthy attitude about failure and remember, everything moves so fast in social media, it will be forgotten in no time!

Slide 11: Your biggest asset when joining an online community is generosity. Be it through commenting, retweeting, sharing links to content in your blog, or just sharing well wishes – you can build up strong participation really easily. And you’ll also be regarded as a valuable part of the community that people recognise. It doesn’t have to be about being the best, the most famous, the funniest or the most widely read – and for me personally, that takes a lot of the pressure off, and I can just enjoy it for what it is: some great people I am really lucky to share with and learn from.

Slide 12: I think it’s important to come back to this point of remembering why you started when you get into things like social media – it’s about making relationships – not shouting out in to the world “listen to me!”

Slide 13: So my final thoughts, and how I sign off every week in my AHRI video on social media, “if you’re having fun (and it’s not at someone’s expense) then you’re doing it right!”

Slide 14: I hope I’ve given some reasons to have a go at trying out social media beyond the comfort zone of a resume on Linkedin and a Facebook profile… so if you’re keen to get started, I highly recommend this book by @HR_Gem and @TimScottHR – it’s right down to the nuts and bolts of starting out with social media and getting involved in the HR community. Awesome stuff!

Slide 15: This book helped me so much when I started up my blog Whipper Snapper HR – if you’re keen on creating content, I highly recommend this!

Slide 16:
And this book has great ideas on how to build your online portfolio, and how to share what you’re working on. It’s quirky and fun.

Best of luck – I hope you aim to try something new in social media and have some fun with it!

Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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The Importance of *expletive* Intermissions

It’s the Cabaret Festival in Adelaide, and last night we went along to support a friend’s show – you know one of those things where it’s probably not your cup of tea, but you want to see your people succeed. Well within the first 5 minutes, it was so NOT my cup of tea, I had checked out mentally and couldn’t make eye contact with the one-woman show. It was making me cringe, I didn’t want to be there, I was counting down the minutes until it ended.

And then 1hr 25min into the show, without a break, the one-woman show was singing an upbeat song supposedly from our shared childhoods (I’d never heard of it, and it would have been played on a radio station I would have switched off). And during the song, she spied little ol’ me and my absolute fascination with the zip on my purse. And she walked right to me and sang right to me and made eye contact right to me. And I made some godawful attempt at smiling back, but had murder in my eyes, because all I wanted was for the goddamn show to be over.

Sometimes people just don’t want to sing the same song you’re singing – sometimes folks would rather cut off their arms than sway a lighter to your tune. Last night I felt the most intense desire to be elsewhere and was totally trapped. There was no way I could fumble my way towards an exit without interrupting the entire performance. I didn’t know how to get out, I didn’t know when I could get out. It made me hate that goddamn show even more.

So if you’re suddenly singing a now song in your organisation, and you’re expecting employees to join the kumbaya circle, here are two things I learnt from last night:

1. Don’t bother with the folks who have checked out. Last night I was OUT, and I was not even remotely interested in being brought in. I was looking at my feet, my purse, people in the audience, the stage floor – anything but that horrible show. I even winced a few times at the songs… Could my body language have been any clearer? So when the one-woman show tried to pull me back in by singing at me, it was just a dumb waste of energy for both of us. She should have sung to someone who was loving it, and given them the show they were cheering for.

2. For the love of all things good, give people the path and the opportunity to exit. Last night I was praying for an intermission, but it never came. Imagine how much pain could have been prevented if I could have just left half way through? I’m pretty certain my bad energy was radiating throughout the place, and how unfortunate is that for an intimate cabaret setting? You would have wanted me out, I wanted to be out. Employees who are hating it want out. Show them the way out.

I suppose my conclusion from the ordeal is the importance of the flipside to change management. When you are creating change, and asking people to join in a new song and dance, it’s just as important to focus on those who have said “hell no” to it. There is a seriously slim chance they’re going to change their minds if they have honestly checked out. So leaders have got to be fair to them, and the rest of the team exposed to that ‘checked out’ energy, and give them an intermission. Inter-mission. You know, a checkpoint within the mission to let someone off the bus. Intermissions are really *expletive* important.

They’re also a great opportunity to get more delicious snacks, and I’m always heartily in favour of that.

Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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You’re Better than Samsung

I will never buy a product that needs to shit on the competition to advertise itself.

That’s probably why I find Samsung phones unattractive.

And why I change the channel every time this Ford Territory MkII ad comes on:

It just makes me cringe at all the ugly traits coming through… insecurity… meanness… I don’t know, why is it necessary to shit on other products and people to sell ourselves?

If that’s the territory you are veering into with anything you are doing, you are playing a losing game. Because it’s all about how you perceive yourself: if you are saying the other people are worse, that’s not saying you are the best. I think that’s a distinction that can often get lost.

Ultimately, you sell by convincing people you are what they want. And really, what do people want – something that’s comparatively better than something that’s been shat all over, or the best?

I believe everyone of us has the possibility of being the best in our own way. Do you believe that about yourself?

Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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Be The Asshole Who Says It

Those special relationships at work aren’t doing anyone favours.

Think of that team mate that’s really liked, but needs extra guidance with ‘careful cotton gloves’- they’re not getting the real picture. And that respected colleague who can’t print a document, and isn’t improving despite an extra 20 minutes of daily help – not getting it either.

Nobody will intuitively know the truth about their incompetence if everything is signalling that they’re ok.

And that’s not fair on them.

They need to know about resilience, taking feedback, using initiative and meeting expectations. They need to know about keeping relevant skills, remaining employable, and continuous learning.

Because when change happens – and it inevitably will – the truth will come out and totally blindside them.

And just because I like to harp on to drive my point home, what about this for a kicker? “Research has shown that a teacher’s expectations can raise or lower a student’s IQ score, that a mother’s expectations influences the drinking behavior of her middle schooler, that military trainers’ expectations can literally make a soldier run faster or slower.” 

So if you want to change your life, listen to this podcast, because it will inspire you to never expect anything but the best from anyone ever again. I’m expecting you to be wowed.

Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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It’s spring, and although everything is green, I was surprised that when I actually looked at the garden, a huge amount of weeds have sprung up.
It was a good reminder that in times of growth, we have to be really on guard about what’s establishing in our lives.
Are you learning – pushing yourself – getting out of your comfort zone?  
Or are you being challenged – feeling stretched – making lots of tough calls?

Whether it’s growth you’re choosing, or that’s being imposed on you, while you are concentrating on everything else, just take a moment to look at what’s established during these times … your sleep habits, eating habits, stress relief… Is there some weeding to do?
Btw, if you’re wondering how I can be employed in HR, and write about HR – here‘s my explanation.

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